The Apache HTTP server and PHP configuration have changed in Fedora 27, here is some explanations.
1. Switch of the Apache HTTP server in event mode
Since the first days of the distribution, the severs use the prefork MPM.
For obvious performance reasons, we choose to follow the upstream project recommandations and to use the event MPM by default.
2. The problem of mod_php
The mod_php module is only supported when the prefork MPM is used
In the PHP documentation, we can read:
Warning We do not recommend using a threaded MPM in production with Apache 2.
And, indeed, we already have some bug reports about crashes in this configuration.
So it doesn’t make sense to keep mod_php by default.
Furthermore, this module have some annoying limitations:
- integrated in the web server, it shares its memory, which may have some negative security impacts
- a single version can be loaded
3. Using FastCGI
For many years, we are working to make the PHP execution as much flexible as possible, using various combinations, without configuration change:
- httpd + mod_php
- httpd + php-fpm (when mod_php is disabled or missing and with a running php-fpm server)
- nginx + php-fpm
The FPM way have become the default recommend configuration for a safe PHP execution:
- support of multiple web servers (httpd, nginx, lighttpd)
- fronted isolation for security
- multiple backends
- micro-services architecture
- containers (docker)
- multiple versions of PHP
4. FPM by default
Since Fedora 27, mod_php ZTS (multi-threaded) is still provided, but disabled, so FastCGI is now used by default.
To not break existing configuration during the distribution upgrade, and to have a working server after installation, we choose to implement some solutions, probably temporarily:
- the php package have a optional dependency on the php-fpm package, so it is now installed by default
- the httpd service have a dependency on the php-fpm service, so it is started automatically
5. Known issues
5.1. Configuration change
After a configuration change, or after a new extension installation, it is now required to restart the php-fpm service.
5.2. Configuration files
With mod_php, it is common to to use the php_value or php_flag directives in the Apache HTTP server configuration or in some .htaccess file.
It is now required to use the php_value or php_flag directives in the FPM pool configuration file, or to use some .user.ini file in the application directory.
6. Switching back to mod_php
If you really want to keep using (temporarily) mod_php, this is still possible, either way:
- Switch back to prefork MPM in the /etc/httpd/conf.modules.d/00-mpm.conf file
LoadModule mpm_prefork_module modules/mod_mpm_prefork.so #LoadModule mpm_worker_module modules/mod_mpm_worker.so #LoadModule mpm_event_module modules/mod_mpm_event.so
- Enable the module in the /etc/httpd/conf.modules.d/15-php.conf file. Warning, this configuration will not be supported, no bug report wil be accepted.
# ZTS module is not supported, so FPM is preferred LoadModule php7_module modules/libphp7-zts.so
After this change, the php-fpm package can be removed.
Fedora 27 now uses a modern configuration, matching the upstream projects recommendations. Security and performance are improved.
Any change may raise some small issues, and lot of gnashing of teeth, but we will try to take care of any difficulties, and to improve what must be in the next updates, or in the next fedora versions.
I plan to update this entry according to feedback.