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Introduction and Installation of PHP


This tutorial describes:

What is PHP.
Download PHP binary version for Windows.
Writing the first PHP script.
Installing PHP on IIS as CGI.

What Is PHP?

PHP stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, a recursive acronym. It is mainly a Web server side scripting language. But it can also be used for other purposes.

PHP was originally created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1995 as a simple Web page generation tool named as PHP/FI (Personal Home Page/Forms Interpreter). Today it becomes the number one of server side scripting languages. Here is a comparison of number of matches on Google for key words: "PHP script", "Perl script", and "ASP script":

Key words     Number of matches

PHP script    13,600,000 
Perl script   11,900,000 
ASP script     8,650,000

Downloading PHP 5.0.4 for Windows

1. Go to, and download PHP 5.0.4 binary for Windows. You will get a file called of 7488 KB.

2. Unzip to \php directory.

3. Open a command window, and try the following commands:

>\php\php -v
PHP 5.0.4 (cli) (built: Mar 31 2005 02:45:48)
Copyright (c) 1997-2004 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.0.4-dev, Copyright (c) 1998-2004 Zend Technologies

>\php\php-cgi -v
PHP 5.0.4 (cgi-fcgi) (built: Mar 31 2005 02:45:43)
Copyright (c) 1997-2004 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.0.4-dev, Copyright (c) 1998-2004 Zend Technologies

Cool, both Command Line Interface (CLI) and Common Gateway Interface (CGI) are working!

My First PHP Script - Hello.php

Use any text editor, and enter the first PHP script, Hello.php:

Hello <?php echo "world!"; ?>

Let's run it PHP CLI first:

>\php\php Hello.php
Hello world!

Now run it PHP CGI:

>\php\php-cgi Hello.php
Content-type: text/html
X-Powered-By: PHP/5.0.4

Hello world!

As expected, PHP CGI did generate the HTTP response header for me.

Installing PHP with IIS as CGI

1. Add \php to the PATH environment variable. I assume you know how to do this.

2. Set up PHP configuration file. First rename \php\php.ini-recommended to \php\php.ini. Then edit \php\php.ini to set the following values:

cgi.force_redirect = 0
doc_root = "c:\inetpub\wwwroot"
cgi.redirect_status_env = ENV_VAR_NAME

3. Create a new environment variable PHPRC with \php. This is needed to access php.ini.

4. Now we need to change IIS configuration to run PHP scripts as CGI scripts. Run Control Panel, Internet Information Service, Default Web Site, and Properties. On the Directory tab, first set Execute Permissions to "Scripts only". Then click Configuration to add a new Application Mapping with Executable=\php\php-cgi.exe, Extension=.php, and Script engine checked.

5. Stop and start Default Web Site.

6. Copy Hello.php to \inetpub\wwwroot.

7. Run Internet Explorer (IE) with http://localhost/Hello.php. You should see:

Hello world!

Congratulation, you have installed PHP with IIS as CGI correctly!


Installation PHP on Windows IIS as CGI seems to be simple.

Of course, you can also install PHP with IIS as a server module, using php5isapi.dll.

For additional installation instructions, please read \php\install.txt.