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FreeBSD Configure Apache PHP with mod_fastcgi Module


Q. How do I configure and Install Apache web server with PHP5 and mod_fastcgi to get faster PHP access under FreeBSD server?

A.mod_fastcgi is a cgi-module for Apache web server.
FastCGI is a language independent, scalable, open extension to CGI that provides high performance without the limitations of server specific APIs.
Red Hat Linux / CentOS Linux specific mod_fastcgi tutorial is here.

FreeBSD Install Apache Web server

Install apache using FreeBSD ports collection:
# cd /usr/ports/www/apache22
# make install clean
# echo ‘apache22_enable=”YES”‘ >> /etc/rc.conf

FreeBSD Install PHP5

Make sure php-cgi binary exists and it is compiled with fastcgi support:
# /usr/local/bin/php-cgi -v

PHP 5.2.6 with Suhosin-Patch (cgi-fcgi) (built: Sep 10 2008 19:07:02)
Copyright (c) 1997-2008 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2008 Zend Technologies
    with XCache v1.2.2, Copyright (c) 2005-2007, by mOo

If you do not see word cgi-fcgi, recompile php with fastcgi support by visiting /usr/ports/lang/php5:
# cd /usr/ports/lang/php5
# make config
# make install clean

Fig.01 Enable FastCGI support by selecting FastCGI option

Fig.01 Enable FastCGI support by selecting FastCGI option

Make sure you install php-gd, php-mysql and other extensions, enter:
# cd /usr/ports/lang/php5-extensions/
# make install clean

Fig.02: Configure FreeBSD PHP5 extensions

Fig.02: Configure FreeBSD PHP5 extensions

Configure FreeBSD Apache mod_fastcgi

Install mod_fastcgi, enter:
# cd /usr/ports/www/mod_fastcgi
# make install clean
Open /usr/local/etc/apache22/httpd.conf file, enter:
# vi /usr/local/etc/apache22/httpd.conf
Make sure following line exists:

LoadModule fastcgi_module     libexec/apache22/

Create virtual hosting configurations

Your sample setup:

  • Apache share IP address:
  • Domain name:
  • DocumentRoot Directory: /websites/home/
  • Log Directory: /websites/home/
  • PHP cgi-bin Directory: /websites/home/

Create directory structure as above:
# mkdir -p /websites/home/{http,https,logs,cgi-bin,images,private,stats}
# chown -R theosftpuser:theosftpgroup /websites/home/
Replace username, groupname and directories as per your setup.
Append following configuration directives to httpd.conf virtual hosting section:

<VirtualHost *:80>
        DocumentRoot "/websites/home/"
        ErrorLog "/websites/home/"
        CustomLog "/websites/home/" common
        ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ "/websites/home/"
 <Directory "/websites/home/">
  Options -Indexes FollowSymLinks +ExecCGI
  AllowOverride AuthConfig FileInfo
  AddHandler php5-fastcgi .php
  Action php5-fastcgi /cgi-bin/php.cgi
  Order allow,deny
  Allow from all
 <Directory "/websites/home/">
  AllowOverride None
  Options None
  Order allow,deny
  Allow from all

Save and close the file.

Create php.cgi script

Create a shell script as follows (/websites/home/

# Shell Script To Run PHP5 using mod_fastcgi under Apache 2.x
# Tested under FreeBSD 6.x and 7.x
### Set PATH ###
### no editing below ###
exec $PHP_CGI

Copy above shell script to /websites/home/ as php.cgi. Set permissions:
# chmod +x /websites/home/

Restart Apache

Type the following command to restart Apache:
# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/apache22 restart

Test your setup

Place following code at /websites/home/


Optional: Open port 80 using FreeBSD PF firewall

Add following PF firewall rule to /etc/pf.conf file:

pass in on $ext_if proto tcp from any to port 80 flags S/SA synproxy state

Close and save the file. Reload pf firewall:
# /etc/rc.d/pf restart

Further configuration:

I also recommend installing xcache opcode php cacher and MySQL database server to host dynamic web sites.
Once installed you can upload open source scripts / software such as wordpress, phpBB and others at /websites/home/ directory.

Further readings:

  • Apache documentation
  • man pages: ports, make, httpd.conf

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1 Comment

  1. Nice information about configuring apache server.

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