DebianDebian Based

How To Install PHP on Debian 12

Install PHP on Debian 12

In this tutorial, we will show you how to install PHP on Debian 12. PHP is a widely used open-source server-side scripting language that powers millions of websites and web applications worldwide. With the recent release of PHP 8.3, developers can take advantage of new features, performance improvements, and enhanced security measures. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of installing PHP 8.3 on Debian 12, ensuring a smooth and successful setup.

Keeping your PHP version up-to-date is crucial for maintaining a secure and efficient web environment. PHP 8.3 introduces several exciting enhancements, including improved type safety, better performance, and support for modern coding practices.

This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the PHP programming language on a Debian 12 (Bookworm).


  • A server running one of the following operating systems: Debian 12 (Bookworm).
  • It’s recommended that you use a fresh OS install to prevent any potential issues.
  • SSH access to the server (or just open Terminal if you’re on a desktop).
  • An active internet connection. You’ll need an internet connection to download the necessary packages and dependencies for PHP.
  • A non-root sudo user or access to the root user. We recommend acting as a non-root sudo user, however, as you can harm your system if you’re not careful when acting as the root.

Install PHP on Debian 12 Bookworm

Step 1. Keeping your system up-to-date is a best practice that ensures stability, security, and compatibility with the latest software versions. Begin by updating your system’s package list and upgrading any existing packages:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install apt-transport-https lsb-release ca-certificates

This command will refresh the repository, allowing you to install the latest versions of software packages.

Step 2. Installing PHP on Debian 12.

While Debian’s default repositories provide a stable version of PHP, they may not include the latest release. To install PHP 8.3, you’ll need to add a third-party repository maintained by the PHP community. Follow these steps:

sudo apt install lsb-release ca-certificates apt-transport-https software-properties-common -y
sudo wget -O /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/php.gpg

Add the PHP repository to your system’s sources list:

echo "deb $(lsb_release -sc) main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/sury-php.list

 With the repository added, you can now proceed to install PHP 8.3 and its essential packages:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install php8.3 php8.3-common php8.3-cli php8.3-curl php8.3-gd php8.3-mbstring php8.3-xml php8.3-zip

This command installs the core PHP 8.3 package, along with several commonly used extensions:

  • php8.3-common: Provides shared files and resources for PHP 8.3.
  • php8.3-cli: Enables running PHP scripts from the command line.
  • php8.3-curl: Adds support for making HTTP requests using cURL.
  • php8.3-gd: Provides image processing capabilities.
  • php8.3-mbstring: Handles multi-byte character sets and Unicode.
  • php8.3-xml: Enables XML parsing and manipulation.
  • php8.3-zip: Adds support for reading and writing ZIP archives.

Depending on your project requirements, you may need to install additional PHP extensions. We’ll cover this in a later section.

To ensure that PHP is installed correctly, let’s run a simple test:

sudo nano /var/www/html/info.php

Add the following content to the file:


Save the file and exit the text editor, then open a web browser and navigate to http://your_server_IP/info.php. You should see a PHP information page displaying detailed information about your PHP installation.

Step 3. Customizing PHP Configuration.

PHP’s default configuration may not always align with your project’s requirements. Let’s explore how you can customize the PHP settings to fine-tune your environment.

  • Overview of PHP Configuration:

The PHP configuration is managed through the php.ini file. This file contains various directives that control PHP’s behavior:

  • Modifying PHP Settings:

Locate the php.ini file:

sudo nano /etc/php/8.3/apache2/php.ini

Within this file, you can modify settings such as memory_limit, error_reporting, and display_errors, among others. For example, to increase the memory limit to 256MB, find the memory_limit directive and update it as follows:

memory_limit = 256M

Save the changes and restart the web server for the new configuration to take effect:

sudo systemctl restart apache2

Step 4. Securing PHP 8.3.

While PHP 8.3 introduces several security improvements, it’s essential to follow best practices to ensure your installation remains secure and protected against potential threats.

    • Disable Dangerous Functions: Some PHP functions can pose security risks if misused. Consider disabling these functions by adding the following line to your php.ini file:
disable_functions = exec, passthru, shell_exec, system, proc_open, popen
    • Set Proper File Permissions: Ensure that your PHP files and directories have appropriate permissions to prevent unauthorized access or modification. Use the following commands to set permissions:
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/
    • Keep PHP Up to Date: Regularly check for and install PHP updates and security patches. These updates often address critical vulnerabilities and improve the overall security of your installation.
    • Enable OPcache: OPcache is a bytecode cache that can significantly improve PHP performance and security. Enable it by adding the following line to your php.ini file:
    • Implement Additional Security Measures: Consider implementing additional security measures like input validation, output encoding, and secure session management to protect your web applications from common vulnerabilities like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and cross-site request forgery (CSRF).

By following these security best practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of potential attacks and ensure the integrity of your PHP-based web applications.

Step 5. Troubleshooting Tips.

Even with careful installation, issues may arise. Here are some common troubleshooting tips.

  • Verify that the PHP package is installed correctly by running:
php -v
  • Check the web server logs for any error messages that may indicate misconfigurations or other issues:
sudo tail -f /var/log/apache2/error.log
  • Ensure that the required PHP extensions for your application are installed. You can search for available PHP extensions using the command:
apt search php | grep ^php

Congratulations! You have successfully installed PHP. Thanks for using this tutorial for installing the latest version of PHP programming language on Debian 12 Bookworm. For additional help or useful information, we recommend you check the official PHP website.

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r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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