I'm trying to execute a binary on my Linux web server. The binary is called 'phantomJS' which is used mainly to create screenshots of a webpage.

I logged into my cPanel and found the following information about my server:

Operating system : Linux
Architecture     : i686

So I went ahead and downloaded phantomjs-1.9.0-linux-i686.tar.bz2 from the phantomJS website. I also uploaded three more files to the same folder in which phantomjs was present:

  1. test.php (which is the main file which will be executed in the browser)
  2. test.js (which contains the code to start phantomjs)
  3. createScreenshot.php (which contains code that outputs some HTML)

So all the files are in the same folder. Thus, there shouldn't a problem arising out due to a wrong path.

exec('phantomjs test.js');
var page = require('webpage').create();
var url = 'createScreenshot.php';
page.open(url, function (status) {
echo '<h1>This should be converted to an image</h1>';
The Problem

Now when I browse to www.mydomain.com/test/test.php, all I get is a blank page, which is fine as the only thing that should happen is the creation of an image in the test folder, but that never happens. No error is being output. I also tried putting error_reporting(E_ALL) inside test.php, but still no error was shown, just a blank page.


I decided to test whether exec is at all enabled on my server. I did so by using

echo exec('whoami');

This printed out my cPanel username. So this means exec is working.

The next thing I did was to check for folder permissions. test folder had 755 permission and so did phantomjs. I tried changing both to 777 but that didn't help either.

This makes me believe that something is wrong with phantomjs file. I'm out of ideas on what to try next. I sure think that I downloaded the correct package from the phantomJS website (phantomjs-1.9.0-linux-i686.tar.bz2).

Is there anything else that I can do to debug the issue?

More Debugging


echo exec("ls -lh");

printed out

-rw-r--r-- 1 abc abc 1.8K Apr 6 05:15 third-party.txt

This third-party.txt is in the folder which holds the phantomjs binary, but I wonder why only one file name was printed. There are php and js files too in the same folder as third-party.txt. Not really sure 1 stands for in the above output though

yeah it seems like a server secuirty/permissions error, I guess. maybe apache doesn't have access to execute your file (phantomJs) ?

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