Home PHP How to Install Multiple PHP Versions on Ubuntu

How to Install Multiple PHP Versions on Ubuntu

PHP, being a versatile scripting language, often requires developers to install different PHP versions to run different web applications for development purposes or for running legacy applications that require older PHP versions.

This article will guide you through the process of installing multiple PHP versions on Ubuntu using the phpbrew tool.

Install phpbrew in Ubuntu

To install multiple PHP versions on a Linux system, you need to install the “phpbrew” tool that simplifies the process of installing, managing, and switching between different PHP versions on your Ubuntu system.

To install “phpbrew“, you need to install the following required libraries on your system using apt commands.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y php-cli php-xml curl build-essential libxml2-dev php-xml pkg-config libssl-dev libbz2-dev libcurl4-gnutls-dev libonig-dev

Once the required libraries are installed, you can use the following curl command to install phpbrew as shown.

curl -L -O https://github.com/phpbrew/phpbrew/raw/master/phpbrew
chmod +x phpbrew
sudo mv phpbrew /usr/local/bin/phpbrew
Install phpbrew in Linux
Install phpbrew in Linux

Once installed, init a bash script for your shell environment as shown.

phpbrew init

Next, add the following line(s) to the end of your ~/.bashrc or .zshrc file and start a new shell, phpbrew should be up and fully functional from there.

[[ -e ~/.phpbrew/bashrc ]] && source ~/.phpbrew/bashrc

Install Multiple PHP Versions in Ubuntu

To install different PHP versions, first, you need to list all of the PHP versions that are available for installation with phpbrew.

phpbrew known
List PHP Versions
List PHP Versions

To install a specific PHP version (e.g. 7.4 and 8.3), you can use the phpbrew install command.

phpbrew install 7.4 +default
phpbrew install 8.3 +default

On Ubuntu 22.04, I encountered the following error, which is because the PHP 7.4 or PHP 8.3 version requires the use of libssl1.1 during the compilation of the openssl extension. However, Ubuntu 22.04 comes with OpenSSL 3.

/usr/include/openssl/rsa.h:289:29: note: expected ‘RSA *’ {aka ‘struct rsa_st *’} but argument is of type ‘const struct rsa_st *’
make: *** [Makefile:638: ext/openssl/openssl.lo] Error 1

To fix this error, you need to compile OpenSSL 1.1 from the source on Ubuntu 22.04 and set the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable to indicate the path for OpenSSL 1.1.

Compile OpenSSL 1.1 from the Source

cd $HOME
wget https://www.openssl.org/source/openssl-1.1.1i.tar.gz
tar xzf $HOME/openssl-1.1.1i.tar.gz
cd openssl-1.1.1i
./Configure --prefix=$HOME/openssl-1.1.1i/bin -fPIC -shared linux-x86_64
make -j 8 
make install

Now try to install PHP 7.4 and PHP 8.3 with phpbrew as shown.

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$HOME/openssl-1.1.1i/bin/lib/pkgconfig && phpbrew --debug install 7.4 +default
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$HOME/openssl-1.1.1i/bin/lib/pkgconfig && phpbrew --debug install 8.3 +default

Switch Between PHP Versions

Once php versions are installed, you can use phpbrew list command to list the installed version.

phpbrew list
List PHP Installed Versions
List PHP Installed Versions

Now you can use the following phpbrew switch command to switch between different PHP versions that have been installed with phpbrew.

phpbrew use php-7.4.33
phpbrew use php-8.3.0

You can verify the installed PHP version by running.

php -v
Switch PHP Versions
Switch PHP Versions

Set Specific PHP Version as Default

To set a specific PHP version as the default, use:

phpbrew switch php-7.4.33
phpbrew use php-7.4.33
phpbrew app get

Uninstall Specific PHP Version

To uninstall a specific PHP version, use the following command which will remove PHP from your system, along with any associated extensions or modules.

phpbrew uninstall php-7.4.33
phpbrew uninstall php-8.3.0

In conclusion, the ability to switch between PHP versions is a crucial skill for developers and system administrators that allows efficient testing, debugging, and ensuring compatibility across diverse projects.

Ravi Saive
I am an Experienced GNU/Linux expert and a full-stack software developer with over a decade in the field of Linux and Open Source technologies. Founder of TecMint.com, LinuxShellTips.com, and Fossmint.com. Over 150+ million people visited my websites.

Each tutorial at UbuntuMint is created by a team of experienced writers so that it meets our high-quality standards.

Was this article helpful? Please add a comment to show your appreciation and support.

Got something to say? Join the discussion.

Thanks for choosing to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our comment policy, and your email address will NOT be published or shared. Please Do NOT use keywords in the name field. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.