Compile Apache (with SSL), PHP 5 and MySQL on Linux

This article comes with a full reference on how to compile from source latest Apache 2.0.53 server, including support for SSL, PHP 5.0.3 as a module, and MySQL 4.1.10 database on a Linux. It was fully tested under SUSE Linux 9.1, SUSE Linux 9.2 and Fedora Core 3, but shall work with any Linux distribution (only on Debian you will have to change RPMs for proper deb packages).

Today, when almost every Linux distribution comes with a binary form of Apache 2.0.x, PHP 4.3.x and MySQL 4.0.x, it may seem a bit unnecessary to compile these, but, if you want some special configuration, latest components, or simply tune performance of your Apache, PHP and MySQL, compilation from source is the only possibility.

Basic system description:

PHP 5.0.3 will be compiled with support for: bz2, cpdflib, ctype, curllib, dom, ftp, gd2, freetype2, gettext, libiconv, libxml, mbstring, mysql, openssl, pcre, posix, session, SimpleXML, SPL, SQLite, tokenizer, xml, and zlib.

Apache 2.0.53 will be compiled with support for mod_access, mod_auth, mod_auth_digest, mod_deflate, mod_env, mod_headers, mod_setenvif, mod_ssl, mod_mime, mod_imap, mod_alias and mod_rewrite.

Compilation options:

Compilation can be customized by passing several parameters to gcc at runtime, for my Pentium-IV/HT/3.2GHz, this is a good starting set of parameters:

export CFLAGS="-march=pentium4 -mfpmath=sse -msse2 -O2 -pipe -s -fomit-frame-pointer"

You may get a list of gcc compilation options for your CPU at

All these scripts were fully tested under SESE Linux 9.1 with custom-built kernel and Fedora Core 3 with custom-built kernel, and gcc version 3.3.3 / 3.4.2, but they shall work with any Linux distro (only on Debian you may need to change rpm packages for deb ones).

This manual assumes that all source files are located (downloaded to) /usr/local/src directory, SSL keys are placed into /home/ssl directory, and web root is located at /home/www directory.

Compile from source (Open) SSL:

Compilation of OpenSSL:

cd /usr/local/src
tar -zxvf openssl-0.9.7e.tar.gz
cd openssl-0.9.7e
./config --prefix=/usr/local
make install

Create a private key and place it into directory /home/ssl:

mkdir /home/ssl
cd /home/ssl
/usr/local/bin/openssl genrsa -des3 -rand \ 
  some_big_file_1:some_big_file_2 \
  -out localhost.key 1024

Next, we will create a private key without a pass-phrase, this is less secure, but it allows us to bootup the server without manually entering the pass-phrase every time…

/usr/local/bin/openssl rsa \
  -in localhost.key \
  -out localhost.key.unsecure

We will also create a request file that will be emailed to proper certification authority for getting a trusted SSL certificate (if needed) under file localhost.key.csr:

/usr/local/bin/openssl req -new \
  -key localhost.key \
  -out localhost.key.csr

While waiting for the certification authority, we can create a temporary self-signed certificate, good for 30 days:

/usr/local/bin/openssl x509 -req \
  -days 30 \
  -in localhost.key.csr \
  -signkey localhost.key \
  -out localhost.cert 
chmod 400 localhost.cert
chmod 400 localhost.key
chmod 400 localhost.key.unsecure

Compile MySQL 4.1.10 database from source:

MySQL 4.1.10 has a completely different communication protocol and associated PHP mysqli functions. If your scripts were not designed for MySQL 4.1, you shall rather get MySQL release 4.0.23, to stay 100% compatible! Compilation options for MYSQL 4.0.23 will be the same, just remove one line with mysqli from PHP ./configure script.

However for any new development, MySQL 4.1.10 is recommended.

Compiling MySQL from source, and creating user / group called mysql:

cd /usr/local/src
tar -zxvf mysql-4.1.10.tar.gz
cd mysql-4.1.10
./configure \
  --prefix=/usr/local/mysql \
  --with-unix-sock-path=/tmp/mysql.sock \
make install
groupadd mysql
useradd -g mysql mysql
cp support-files/my-medium.cnf /etc/my.cnf
cd /usr/local/mysql
bin/mysql_install_db --user=mysql
chown -R root  .
chown -R mysql var
chgrp -R mysql .

MySQL configuration file /etc/my.cnf can (for our local testing) look like this:

port = 3306
socket = /tmp/mysql.sock
port = 3306
socket = /tmp/mysql.sock
key_buffer = 16K
max_allowed_packet = 1M
table_cache = 4
sort_buffer_size = 64K
net_buffer_length = 2K
thread_stack = 64K
server-id = 1
max_allowed_packet = 16M
key_buffer = 8M
sort_buffer_size = 8M
key_buffer = 8M
sort_buffer_size = 8M

Compile from source Apache 2.0.53 web server:

Quite a few web-hosting companies still use Apache 1.3.x, but time of Apache 2.0 incompatibilities and problems is long gone, so 2.0 is a better choice now.

And compile it:

cd /usr/local/src
tar -zxvf httpd-2.0.53.tar.gz
cd httpd-2.0.53
./configure \
   --prefix=/usr/local/apache2 \
   --enable-so \
   --enable-auth-digest \
   --enable-rewrite \
   --enable-setenvif \
   --enable-mime \
   --enable-deflate \
   --enable-ssl \
   --with-ssl=/usr/local \
make install

Next we have to modify (alter) main Apache config file located at /usr/local/apache2/conf/httpd.conf (this also assumes your web root is located at /home/www):

DocumentRoot "/home/www"

And we well add support for PHP 5 (as a module):

LoadModule php5_module modules/
DirectoryIndex index.html index.htm index.php
AddType application/x-httpd-php .php
AddType application/x-httpd-php-source .phps

We also have to allow / create basic mod_rewrite rules:

<Directory "/home/www">
 Options Indexes Includes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
 AllowOverride All
 Order allow,deny
 Allow from all

And dissalow clients to access .htaccess:

<Files ~ "^.ht">
   Order allow,deny
   Deny from all

Next, if using SSL (on standard port 443), we will have to modify file /usr/local/apache2/conf/ssl.conf as follows (just replace the file content with this):

Listen 443
<VirtualHost _default_:443>
 ServerName localhost
 SSLEngine on
 SSLCertificateFile /home/ssl/localhost.cert
 SSLCertificateKeyFile /home/ssl/localhost.key.unsecure

Compile from source PHP 5.0.3:

For compiling PHP, we will need quite a few external libraries, like libcurl, libiconv, libjpeg, libpng, and few others, which we have to download and compile first:

Compile libiconv from source:

cd /usr/local/src
tar -zxvf libiconv-1.9.2.tar.gz
cd libiconv-1.9.2
./configure --prefix=/usr/local
make install

Compile libjpeg from source:

cd /usr/local/src
tar -zxvf jpegsrc.v6b.tar.gz
cd jpeg-6b
./configure --prefix=/usr/local
make install
make install-lib

Compile libpng from source:

cd /usr/local/src
tar -zxvf libpng-1.2.8.tar.gz
cd libpng-1.2.8
cp scripts/makefile.linux makefile
make install

Compile cpdflib from source:

cd /usr/local/src
tar -zxvf clibpdf202r1.tar.gz
cd ClibPDF/source
cp Makefile.Linux makefile
make install

Compile curl from source:

cd /usr/local/src
tar -zxvf curl-7.12.1.tar.gz
cd curl-7.12.1
./configure --prefix=/usr/local
make install

Compile freetype 2 from source:

cd /usr/local/src
tar -jxvf freetype-2.1.9.tar.bz2
cd freetype-2.1.9
./configure --prefix=/usr/local
make install

Next, we will compile PHP, with support for MySQL, iconv, curl, zlib, gd2, mbstring, SSL and many other modules:

cd /usr/local/src
tar -jxvf php-5.0.3.tar.bz2
cd php-5.0.3
./configure \
  --with-apxs2=/usr/local/apache2/bin/apxs \
  --with-mysql=/usr/local/mysql  \
  --with-mysqli=/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql_config  \
  --with-mysql-sock=/tmp/mysql.sock \
  --with-sqlite \
  --enable-sqlite-utf8 \
  --with-zlib \
  --with-zlib-dir \
  --with-bz2 \
  --with-gd \
  --enable-gd \
  --enable-gd-native-ttf \
  --with-jpeg-dir=/usr/local \
  --with-png-dir=/usr/local \
  --with-ttf \
  --with-freetype-dir=/usr/local \
  --with-iconv=/usr/local \
  --with-curl=/usr/local \
  --enable-track-vars \
  --with-gettext \
  --with-config-file-path=/usr/local/apache2/conf \
  --enable-trans-id \
  --enable-ftp \
  --with-cpdflib=/usr/local \
  --enable-mbstring \
make install
cp php.ini-dist /usr/local/apache2/conf/php.ini

Next, we have to modify PHP configuration in file /usr/local/apache2/conf/php.ini, including basic PHP security settings:

mysql.default_socket = /tmp/mysql.sock
short_open_tag = Off
register_globals = Off
allow_url_fopen = Off

How to start Apache and MySQL at bootup?

The last thing left is to create a startup script, whitch will allow to run Apache and MySQL at bootup, automatically, so that we don’t have to do it manually. We will create a new file (for SuSE Linux 9.1, other ditros may vary here) /etc/init.d/web and set “executable” flag to it.

#! /bin/sh
# /etc/init.d/web
# (c) Radek HULAN
# Provides:       apache-mysql
# Default-Start:  5
# Default-Stop:   5
# Description:    Starts Apache2 and MySQL 4

case "$1" in
        /usr/local/apache2/bin/apachectl start
        /usr/local/mysql/share/mysql/mysql.server start
        /usr/local/apache2/bin/apachectl stop
        /usr/local/mysql/share/mysql/mysql.server stop
        /usr/local/apache2/bin/apachectl restart
        /usr/local/mysql/share/mysql/mysql.server restart

Next we will run YaST, section “System”, sub-section “Run level editor”, where we will enable service web for runlevel 3 and 5.

Testing the system?

First, start Apache and MySQL servers by entering:

/etc/init.d/web start

Next, create file /home/www/index.php with the following content:

<?php phpinfo(); ?>

In your browser, type URL http://localhost/ and https://localhost/, and if everything is installed fine, you will see a lot of information about your new Apache/PHP/MySQL installation.


We will also need phpMyAdmin to manage MySQL database, by entering http://localhost/db/ into our browser:

Installation of phpMyAdmin into /home/www/db:

mkdir /home/www
cd /home/www
tar -jxvf /usr/local/src/phpMyAdmin-2.6.1.tar.bz2
ln -s phpMyAdmin-2.6.1 db

Next, we will configure phpMyAdmin’s advanced feaures, by modifying file /home/www/db/

// URL to phpMyAdmin
$cfg['PmaAbsoluteUri'] = 'http://localhost/db/';

//connection settings
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['connect_type'] = 'socket';
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['extension'] = 'mysqli';

// user na password
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['auth_type'] = 'config';
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['user'] = 'root'; 
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['password'] = '';

// PMA settings
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['pmadb'] = 'phpmyadmin';
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['bookmarktable'] = 'pma_bookmark';
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['relation'] = 'pma_relation';
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['table_info'] = 'pma_table_info';
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['table_coords'] = 'pma_table_coords';
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['pdf_pages'] = 'pma_pdf_pages'; 
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['column_info'] = 'pma_column_info'; 
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['history'] = 'pma_history';
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['verbose_check'] = FALSE;

// persistent connections
$cfg['PersistentConnections'] = TRUE;

// do not display logo on the left
$cfg['LeftDisplayLogo'] = FALSE;

// show MySQL and PHP info
$cfg['ShowMysqlInfo'] = TRUE;
$cfg['ShowMysqlVars'] = TRUE;
$cfg['ShowPhpInfo'] = TRUE;

// show BLOBs
$cfg['ShowBlob'] = TRUE;

After everything is installed, use phpMyAdmin SQL window to run script /home/www/db/scripts/create_tables_mysql_4_1_2+.sql to create PMA tables, needed by phpMyAdmin.

Debugging PHP:

There are several tools, like PHPeclipse, which allow to debug PHP, in a full-featured IDE. In order to use PHPeclipse, you need to install PHP debugger first.


cd /usr/local/src
tar -zxvf dbg-2.11.32-src.tar.gz
cd dbg-2.11.32
mkdir /usr/local/modules
cp modules/ /usr/local/modules
cp modules/ /usr/local/modules

Next, you will have to modify PHP configuration file located at /usr/local/apache2/conf/php.ini, add here:

; load debugger
extension_dir = "/usr/local/modules"

; debugger configuration
debugger.enabled = true
debugger.profiler_enabled = true
debugger.JIT_host = localhost
debugger.JIT_port = 10001
debugger.JIT_enabled = on

; implicint flush - use only when debugging
implicit_flush = On

Do you need mod_perl as well?

Installation and compilation:

cd /usr/local/src
tar zxvf mod_perl-2.0-current.tar.gz
cd mod_perl-1.99_16
perl Makefile.PL MP_APXS=/usr/local/apache2/bin/apxs
make install

Next, you have to modify Apache configuration file located at /usr/local/apache2/conf/httpd.conf to load mod_perl, and set to use perl at directory /home/www/perl:

LoadModule perl_module modules/
PerlModule Apache2
Alias /perl/ /home/www/perl/
<Location /perl/>
    SetHandler perl-script
    PerlResponseHandler ModPerl::Registry
    PerlOptions +ParseHeaders
    Options +ExecCGI

Testing? Create file /home/www/perl/, issue chmod 755 on it, and type http://localhost/perl/ in your browser to test your mod_perl installation.

print "Content-type: text/plain\n\n";
print "mod_perl 2.0 rocks!\n";

18:00:43 - 15.07.07 - Linux - 312754x