Setup PHP 8 with Apache on a Raspberry Pi

How to install and configure PHP 8.2 or later/earlier with Apache on Raspberry Pi running Raspberry Pi OS (Buster, Bullseye or Bookworm).

PHP 8.1.2 phpinfo()

Raspberry Pi OS release track stable Debian release, the current being Bookworm, previous version Bullseye.

Note: Debian 12 Bookworm now comes with PHP 8.2 and if you are happy with the version that Debian provides, you can skip pretty much everything here and just install the require packages listed below (TL;DR apt install php-fpm). On the other hand, you you would like to keep more updated that what the default distribution packages offer, then please read along!

PHP is included in Bullseye, but unfortunately it is from the PHP 7 series that is no longer supported upstream and therefore not recommended to be used anymore. Upstream PHP support is time limited, PHP 7 is no longer supported and you should use 8.1, 8.2 or 8.3. As there can be major or minor incompatibilities you might need to run a specific version depending on the PHP based application that you are using. For example, if you are running Drupal 9 or 10 site the supported version is 8.0/8.1 and recommended version is 8.2

Supported PHP versions
BranchInitial ReleaseActive Support UntilSecurity Support Until
7.428 Nov 201928 Nov 202128 Nov 2022
8.026 Nov 202026 Nov 202226 Nov 2023
8.125 Nov 202125 Nov 202325 Nov 2024
8.28 Dec 20228 Dec 20248 Dec 2025
8.323 Nov 202323 Nov 202523 Nov 2026
  • Debian Buster comes with version 7.2.9 that is already EOL:ed upstream and 7.3 is now unsupported too.
  • Debian Bullseye comes with version 7.4.30 that is EOL
  • Debian Bullseye does NOT come with PHP 8
  • Debian Bookworm comes with 8.2

Note: The packages from the repository we will use are unfortunately not compatible with the ARMv6 (armhf) based Raspberry Pis, you need to be using a ARMv7 or ARMv8 based Raspberry Pi 2, 3 or 4.

This tutorial will show installation instructions for PHP 8.1 but in case you need to use something else like 8.2 or still 7.4, just adjust the versions in the packages and commands. And there is also the issues of the recommended way to run PHP these days. It is not as a Apache module, libapache2-mod-php, anymore!

What we need to do is:

  1. Add apt source repository for up to date PHP packages
  2. Install Apache with required modules
  3. Install PHP 8.1 with optional extras. In this guide we will start with installation of version 8.1
  4. Optional: Parallel install other PHP versions

Add the PHP repository

So how to get a fresh version of PHP then ? Luckily the Debian PHP maintainer hosts a repository with fresh version of PHP and it includes armhf (Note: armv7 or above only!) versions too. Lets start by adding the repository PGP key:

 wget -q -O- | sudo tee /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/php.gpg

And add the PHP repository to your apt sources (adjust for the Raspberry OS version you are running, stretch/buster or bullseye)

 echo "deb bullseye main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/php.list

Update repository pacakge index

 sudo apt update

In case apt complains about "The method driver /usr/lib/apt/methods/https could not be found", install the following optional packages:

 sudo apt install ca-certificates apt-transport-https

Install Apache and FastCGI module

Next we will install Apache and the required extra module for FastCGI support:

 sudo apt install apache2 libapache2-mod-fcgid

Verify that apache work by going to http://YOUR-RPI-IP with your browser. If all is well and you get a response, continue with installation of PHP.

Install PHP 8.1 and common modules

Next we will install PHP 8.1 with some common modules, but not the Apache module version! Instead we will use php-fpm, the FastCGI version.

If you need some other version, just adjust the version in the package names and commands. Later we will show how you can have multiple PHP version running in parallel.

 sudo apt install php8.1-cli php8.1-fpm \
 php8.1-opcache php8.1-curl php8.1-mbstring \
 php8.1-pgsql php8.1-zip php8.1-xml php8.1-gd

The above list is some of the most common PHP modules that you might need, for example for running Drupal. If you need something else, just use: apt search php8 to find them.

Enable apache fpm proxy module and enable php-fpm configuration with (make sure you installed both apache2 and libapache2-mod-fcgid first!)

 sudo a2enmod proxy_fcgi
 sudo a2enconf php8.1-fpm

And reload Apache

 sudo systemctl reload apache2

Test the installation

Test PHP cli

php8.1 -v

It should response with something close to:

PHP 8.1.12 (cli) (built: Oct 28 2022 18:35:51) (NTS)
Copyright (c) The PHP Group
Zend Engine v4.1.12, Copyright (c) Zend Technologies
    with Zend OPcache v8.1.12, Copyright (c), by Zend Technologies

Test serving a PHP page

Create a "test.php" file in /var/www/html with your favorite editor, use the contents:

 <?php phpinfo(); ?>

And the point your browser to http://YOUR-RPI-IP/test.php

Your browser should now show the PHP information page with all kinds of details.

Configure PHP & PHP-FPM

The default FPM configuration are quite suitable for a small to medium site and the power of a Pi. But in case you need to adjust them see the php-fpm configuration file:


And for PHP specific configuration see:


Parallel install other PHP versions

With php-fpm it is possible to have multiple version of PHP installed and served by Apache. You have one version configured as the default and then Virtual hosts can run some other version.

This might be needed in case your PHP based software required some specific version or is not yet compatible with the latest version. The following example will show how to run multiple versions at the same time.

Install other PHP versions

Installing other versions of php-fpm is straightforward, just install the phpVersion-fpm packages you need. For example, to run both 8.1 and 7.4, install both fpm packages with:

sudo apt-get install php7.4-fpm php8.1-fpm

Example parallel configuration

We will create two virtual hosts, running on custom ports. Edit Apache configuration file /etc/apache2/ports.conf and add the following lines after "Listen 80":

Listen 8080
Listen 8081

Then edit the default VirtualHost configuration in /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf and add two more VirtualHost settings:

<VirtualHost *:8080>
    <FilesMatch ".+\.ph(ar|p|tml)$">
        SetHandler "proxy:unix:/run/php/php7.4-fpm.sock|fcgi://localhost"

<VirtualHost *:8081>
    <FilesMatch ".+\.ph(ar|p|tml)$">
        SetHandler "proxy:unix:/run/php/php8.1-fpm.sock|fcgi://localhost"

Then restart apache. Now when visiting the test page with http://YOUR-RPI-IP:8080/test.php or http://YOUR-RPI-IP:8081/test.php will give you different PHP versions. You can of course run them on different IP addresses or paths instead of ports.

Enjoy PHP 8 on your Pi!