How to Install Different PHP (5.6, 7.x and 8.0) Versions in Ubuntu

PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is an open-source, popular general-purpose scripting language that is widely used and best suited for developing websites and web-based applications. It is a server-side scripting language that can be embedded in HTML.

Currently, there are three supported versions of PHP, i.e PHP 5.6, 7.0, and 8.0. Meaning PHP 5.3, 5.4, and 5.5 have all reached the end of life; they are no longer supported with security updates.

In this article, we will explain how to install all the supported versions of PHP in Ubuntu and its derivatives with the most requested PHP extensions for both Apache and Nginx web servers using an Ondřej Surý PPA. We will also explain how to set the default version of PHP to be used on the Ubuntu system.

Note that PHP 7.x is the supported stable version in the Ubuntu software repositories, you can confirm this by running the apt command below.

$ sudo apt show php
$ sudo apt show php -a
Show PHP Version Information
Package: php
Version: 1:7.0+35ubuntu6
Priority: optional
Section: php
Source: php-defaults (35ubuntu6)
Origin: Ubuntu
Maintainer: Ubuntu Developers <[email protected]>
Original-Maintainer: Debian PHP Maintainers <[email protected]>
Installed-Size: 11.3 kB
Depends: php7.0
Supported: 5y
Download-Size: 2,832 B
APT-Sources: xenial/main amd64 Packages
Description: server-side, HTML-embedded scripting language (default)
 PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used
 open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited
 for web development and can be embedded into HTML.
 This package is a dependency package, which depends on Debian's default
 PHP version (currently 7.0).

To install the default PHP version from the Ubuntu software repositories, use the command below.

$ sudo apt install php

Install PHP (5.6, 7.x, 8.0) on Ubuntu Using PPA

1. First start by adding Ondřej Surý PPA to install different versions of PHP – PHP 5.6, PHP 7.x, and PHP 8.0 on the Ubuntu system.

$ sudo apt install software-properties-common
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php
Add PPA in Ubuntu
Add PPA in Ubuntu

2. Next, update the system as follows.

$ sudo apt-get update

3. Now install different supported versions of PHP as follows.

For Apache Web Server

$ sudo apt install php5.6   [PHP 5.6]
$ sudo apt install php7.0   [PHP 7.0]
$ sudo apt install php7.1   [PHP 7.1]
$ sudo apt install php7.2   [PHP 7.2]
$ sudo apt install php7.3   [PHP 7.3]
$ sudo apt install php7.4   [PHP 7.4]
$ sudo apt install php8.0   [PHP 8.0]

For Nginx Web Server

$ sudo apt install php5.6-fpm   [PHP 5.6]
$ sudo apt install php7.0-fpm   [PHP 7.0]
$ sudo apt install php7.1-fpm   [PHP 7.1]
$ sudo apt install php7.2-fpm   [PHP 7.2]
$ sudo apt install php7.3-fpm   [PHP 7.3]
$ sudo apt install php7.4-fpm   [PHP 7.4]
$ sudo apt install php8.0-fpm   [PHP 8.0]

4. To install any PHP modules, simply specify the PHP version and use the auto-completion functionality to view all modules as follows.

------------ press Tab key for auto-completion ------------ 
$ sudo apt install php5.6 
$ sudo apt install php7.0 
$ sudo apt install php7.1
$ sudo apt install php7.2
$ sudo apt install php7.3 
$ sudo apt install php7.4
$ sudo apt install php8.0
Search PHP Modules
Search PHP Modules

5. Now you can install the most required PHP modules from the list.

------------ Install PHP Modules ------------
$ sudo apt install php5.6-cli php5.6-xml php5.6-mysql 
$ sudo apt install php7.0-cli php7.0-xml php7.0-mysql 
$ sudo apt install php7.1-cli php7.1-xml php7.1-mysql
$ sudo apt install php7.2-cli php7.2-xml php7.2-mysql 
$ sudo apt install php7.3-cli php7.3-xml php7.3-mysql 
$ sudo apt install php7.3-cli php7.4-xml php7.4-mysql  
$ sudo apt install php7.3-cli php8.0-xml php8.0-mysql  

6. Finally, verify your default PHP version used on your system like this.

$ php -v 
Check Default PHP Version in Ubuntu
Check Default PHP Version in Ubuntu

Set Default PHP Version in Ubuntu

7. You can set the default PHP version to be used on the system with the update-alternatives command, after setting it, check the PHP version to confirm as follows.

------------ Set Default PHP Version 5.6 ------------
$ sudo update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php5.6
Set PHP 5.6 Version in Ubuntu
Set PHP 5.6 Version in Ubuntu
------------ Set Default PHP Version 7.0 ------------
$ sudo update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php7.0
Set PHP 7.0 Version in Ubuntu
Set PHP 7.0 Version in Ubuntu
------------ Set Default PHP Version 7.1 ------------
$ sudo update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php7.1
Set PHP 7.1 Version in Ubuntu
Set PHP 7.1 Version in Ubuntu
------------ Set Default PHP Version 8.0 ------------
$ sudo update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php8.0
Set PHP 8 Version
Set PHP 8 Version

8. To set the PHP version that will work with the Apache web server, use the commands below. First, disable the current version with the a2dismod command and then enable the one you want with the a2enmod command.

----------- Disable PHP Version ----------- 
$ sudo a2dismod php5.6
$ sudo a2dismod php7.0
$ sudo a2dismod php7.1
$ sudo a2dismod php7.2
$ sudo a2dismod php7.3
$ sudo a2dismod php7.4
$ sudo a2dismod php8.0

----------- Enable PHP Version ----------- 
$ sudo a2enmod php5.6
$ sudo a2enmod php7.1
$ sudo a2enmod php7.2
$ sudo a2enmod php7.3
$ sudo a2enmod php7.4
$ sudo a2enmod php8.0

----------- Restart Apache Server ----------- 
$ sudo systemctl restart apache2
Enable Disable PHP Modules for Apache
Enable Disable PHP Modules for Apache

9. After switching from one version to another, you can find your PHP configuration file, by running the command below.

------------ For PHP 5.6 ------------
$ sudo update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php5.6
$ php -i | grep "Loaded Configuration File"

------------ For PHP 7.0 ------------
$ sudo update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php7.0
$ php -i | grep "Loaded Configuration File"

------------ For PHP 7.1 ------------
$ sudo update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php7.1
$ php -i | grep "Loaded Configuration File"

------------ For PHP 7.2 ------------
$ sudo update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php7.2
$ php -i | grep "Loaded Configuration File"

------------ For PHP 7.3 ------------
$ sudo update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php7.3
$ php -i | grep "Loaded Configuration File"

------------ For PHP 7.4 ------------
$ sudo update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php7.4
$ php -i | grep "Loaded Configuration File"

------------ For PHP 8.0 ------------
$ sudo update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php8.0
$ php -i | grep "Loaded Configuration File"
Find PHP Configuration File
Find PHP Configuration File

You may also like:

  1. How to Use and Execute PHP Codes in Linux Command Line
  2. 12 Useful PHP Commandline Usage Every Linux User Must Know
  3. How to Hide PHP Version in HTTP Header

In this article, we showed how to install all the supported versions of PHP in Ubuntu and its derivatives. If you have any queries or thoughts to share, do so via the feedback form below.

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Aaron Kili
Aaron Kili is a Linux and F.O.S.S enthusiast, an upcoming Linux SysAdmin, web developer, and currently a content creator for TecMint who loves working with computers and strongly believes in sharing knowledge.

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Leave a Reply
  1. If your terminal just hangs when running the ppa:ondrej/php repository you can edit the /etc/gai.conf file and uncomment the line:

    precedence ::ffff:0:0/96 100

    Then save and close the file and retry.

  2. FYI I had to start out by doing :

    $ sudo apt install software-properties-common

    instead of :

    $ sudo apt install python-software-properties
  3. Hi,

    Just a clarification. PHP isn’t an acronym (recursive or otherwise). PHP is an abbreviation (recursive if you like) of Hypertext PreProcessor. An acronym is a word (sound) made from the abbreviation (eg PIN “pin” is an acronym for Personal Identification Number & ATM “A T M” is an abbreviation of Automated teller Machine).

    Other than that, this is a great piece & saved my bacon by installing some older software that is PHP version dependent on a more current Ubuntu…

    • @Simon

      According to the official website, “PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML.”

      However, thanks for sharing these useful insights. We are grateful.

  4. Great article!

    One more thing I want to know is if I can have two projects running under different PHP versions by adding this line “AddHandler application/x-httpd-php56 .php” in the .htaccess of each project. Is that correct?

  5. Only 5.6 works. Every time I try to enable one of the other 2 I get “ERROR: Module php7.1 does not exist!”

    • @William,

      Have you enabled PPA as shown in this article for installing different PHP versions? Also may I know which version of Ubuntu you are using?

    • @aldo

      If you mean managing (starting, stopping, enabling, disabling etc..) PHP-FPM server, we will include that in the article. Thanks for the heads up.

  6. If you are lazy, you can use this script for Ubuntu, Debian or Raspbian (but actually, it’s only working with Apache2, if requested, maybe I’ll prepare for Nginx). This install automatically PHP5.6, PHP7.0, PHP7.1, PHP7.2 with MySQL server, PostGreSQL server, SQLite package, PHP_CodeSniffer, PHPUnit and Composer.

    One line script install for Debian (or Rasbian), be sure that you have any PHP version installed before running this script!

    curl -L | sudo bash

    One line script install for Ubuntu:

    curl -L | sudo bash

    How change PHP version (this will change for CLI and host).

    - sudo PHP5.6
    - sudo PHP7.0
    - sudo PHP7.1
    - sudo PHP7.2

    For more information, please read the README:

  7. Very nice article. I’m preparing 1 script deployment with bash to recreate my website any time as it starting to get more and more page views per day. And my current Laravel 5.0 does not support PHP 7 yet, and soon I have to update to Laravel 5.3 which supports PHP 7, so juggling with 2 PHP versions is a must, and you help me understand this better. Thanks.

  8. Really good but I’m still stuck with the same problem. I can install and all works fine but the CLI stays always on 5.5.7 and that creates me some problems as I need 7.1 for some CLI based solutions.

    After switching the php version and restarting apache I get the info that it won’t load the configuration file after running the “php -i | grep “Loaded Configuration File
    Loaded Configuration File => (none)

    Any hint about what can be creating this problem? Thanks!

  9. Thanks for informative article.

    Apparently Apache 2.4 can run more than one version of PHP i.e. I have that runs PHP 5.6 and I have that runs PHP 7.1.

    Any idea how to do this?

  10. This was the first tutorial with multiple php versions that worked for me. First off all thank you!

    To have a more complete tutorial you should may add the install commands for the mbstring extension of each php version.

    $ sudo apt-get install php7.0-mbstring

    Best Marcel

    • @Marcel

      Okay, we will do that. May be we will update this article to include instructions on how to install modules for different PHP version. Thanks for feedback.

  11. I have install php5.6 php7.0 php7.1 packages, also installed -cgi, -cli and many more modules for all versions, but only update-alternatives example changes cli version while changing apache php version gives error:

    lenya@JabbaDesktop:/etc/apache2$ sudo a2enmod php7.1
    ERROR: Module php7.1 does not exist!

    I have do the same for all versions, but somehow not all libapache2-mod-php was installed.

    So I do following to fix error: (libapache2-mod-php5.6 was only one already installed)

    $ sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-php5.6 libapache2-mod-php7.0 libapache2-mod-php7.1

    After that a2dismod and a2enmod work as expected.

    Also, I have analyze install log and realized what update-alternatives example should be expanded to some thing like this:

    $ sudo update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php7.1
    $ sudo update-alternatives --set phar /usr/bin/phar7.1
    $ sudo update-alternatives --set phar.phar /usr/bin/phar.phar7.1
    $ sudo update-alternatives --set phpdbg /usr/bin/phpdbg7.1
    $ sudo update-alternatives --set php-cgi /usr/bin/php-cgi7.1
    $ sudo update-alternatives --set php-cgi-bin /usr/lib/cgi-bin/php7.1

    replace numbers with version you need..

  12. On my server I’m still with the issue of having the wrong CLI version as it still show an old version not installed but apache uses the correct version. I need to find out how to have the correct CLI because some console applications need the correct version. The steps above will not help as it only changes the version used by apache. Any help on this? Thanks

    • @Jaro

      If you are looking for the PHP-Apache config file, then it can be found in: /etc/php/PHP-VERSION/apache2/ directory (On Ubuntu/Debian).

      We will find a way of locating this using a simple command and let you know.


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