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Tricky php.ini settings

   April 19th, 2012

There are several ways PHP settings can be adjusted.  The 2 most common are in the Apache config file, or usually, the php.ini file.

Typically you can use phpinfo(); to get the php settings.  This is extremely useful as it also shows EXACTLY which php.ini file is being used to pull its configuration from.

I recently ran in to a particularly frustrating situation trying to adjust the settings.  I had already grep’ed throughall the Apache config files and knew there were no php configuration settings hidden in there.  So, I knew it was pulling its config from the php file.  In the past it has been a simple matter to adjust the value in the ini file and then reload Apache (this causes php to reload).  Well, this time it wasn’t working.  No matter how many times I killed Apache’s processes and restarted it, it was STILL pulling the old values.

I was really about to lose my mind when I ran the phpinfo via the php cli, and it showed my new correct values!  Arggg!!!

After a shamefully long amount of time trying to figure this out, I FINALLY found the solution.  Well, unbeknownst to me, this server was using something call php-fpm.  Php-fpm is a FastCGI Process Manager, which is an alternative to PHP FastCGI (which if was being used would have also hung me up).  This basically spawns php in a separate service to allow it to work faster.  Well, since php is basically its own process, you have to restart the php-fpm service to get Apache’s PHP to reload the config file!

[root@myserver php53]# /etc/init.d/php-fpm restart
Gracefully shutting down php-fpm . done
Starting php-fpm done

And bam, I finally got the new settings to load!  Note, if you’re using the standard FastCGI module you’d use php-fastcgi restart instead.

I feel silly for not knowing about this php-fpm process before… but I’m used to Apache just calling php directly itself.  This was a set up I had not dealt with before, so it was time for me to learn something new.

Happy PHP’ing folks!

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