LiteSpeed Web Server comes pre-configured for PHP 5, /usr/local/lsws/fcgi-bin/lsphp5, however it is for testing only and can not be used for real applications. Users should install php binary through “yum install” or “apt-get” lsphp packages from LiteSpeed Repositories. PHP external application and script or context handler should be setup before PHP can be used. This wiki reviews how PHP is configured with LiteSpeed Web Server.

Unlike Apache's mod_php, which embeds the PHP engine inside web server processes, LiteSpeed Web Server talks to standalone PHP engine processes via a PHP SAPI interface. This allows the web server to delegate processes to different processors and efficiently handle multiple tasks. Two types of PHP SAPI interfaces are supported by LiteSpeed: LSAPI and FastCGI. LiteSpeed SAPI (LSAPI) has similar architecture to FastCGI SAPI with two major enhancements:

  1. Up to 50% better performance
  2. Support for dynamic PHP configuration changes through web server configuration and .htaccess files.

For cPanel, if you are using EasyApache 3, PHP should be built and working fine with Apache through EA3, then LiteSpeed builds matching PHP (with LSAPI) through LiteSpeed WHM/cPanel plugin. See cPanel installation Guide. For EA4, PHP no longer needs to be built, please refer here instead.

For Plesk, please refer here.

For DirectAdmin, we recommend DA CustomBuild 2.0 to build matching PHP.

For CloudLinux PHP Selector, please refer here.

If no control panel PHP or no CloudLinux PHP is used, we suggest to install PHP packages through rpms/apt-get packages. PHP source code compiling is another alternative option but it is not recommend unless there are special requirements.

If your PHP runs into 503 errors, this is often indicative of a problem with PHP. Please see our 503 troubleshooting guide for the necessary steps to diagnose and fix these errors.

If you are not using a Control Panel or CloudLinux, you may need to install the LSPHP Binary through rpms/apt-get packages.

Installing LSPHP via RPMThe fastest way to get PHP for CentOS
Installing LSPHP via APTThe fastest way to get PHP for Debian/Ubuntu

Defining a external application in LSWS's settings tells the server how to handle dynamic content. (In this case you are defining a PHP external application to tell the server how to handle PHP scripts.) When adding an external application, you will be first asked to choose the “Type”. This refers to which SAPI (either LSAPI or FastCGI, in the case of PHP) will be used to communicate with the application.

If you are unsure which SAPI you have compiled PHP for, you can check this using the following command:

[lsws_home]/fcgi-bin/lsphp -v

An external application can be added from the WebAdmin Console under Server > External App. Here a new external application of type LSAPI should be created with Command being set to the path of the PHP binary you intend to use. It is also recommended to set Instances to 1 and add an LSAPI_CHILDREN environment variable to Environment equal to the value set for Max Connections.

If you like the command line, you can set or modify the external application from LSWS configuration file:

vi /usr/local/lsws/conf/httpd_config.xml

Some example configuration:


Make sure the external app binary path set to the installed php binary or other right location.

For example: update command path to /usr/local/lsws/lsphp56/bin/lsphp.

Script and context handlers tell the server which files go to a certain application. Script handlers differentiate content based on the file’s suffix (and the corresponding MIME type). Setting up script handler for an external application (in the Script Handler tab at either the server or virtual host level) will cause the server to send certain types of files to that external application. When configured as a context handler, an external application will be used for content based on its location instead its file type. The web server will send content to the external application as long as the request’s URL matches the URI specified in the context settings.

Both handler types can be configured in the WebAdmin Console with script handlers configured under Configuration > Server > Script Handler or Configuration >Virtual Hosts > your_virtual_host > Script Handler, and context handlers configured at the virtual host level under Configuration > Virtual Hosts > your_virtual_host > Context.

To create a server level script handler for LSPHP, first got to Configuration > Server > Script Handler in the WebAdmin Console. Here, add a new script handler and set Suffix to php or php5 for example, depending on the suffix of your PHP scripts. Handler Type should be set to LiteSpeed SAPI and Handler Name set to the name of your previously created external application.

Perform a graceful restart to apply these changes and begin using the defined external application for scripts matching the suffix set in the related script handler. This can be done in the WebAdmin Console under Actions > Graceful Restart.

If you want to run PHP as user:group instead of webserver user such as nobody, you will need to create external apps (name should be unique and different than server level external apps and other virtual host external apps, for example, lsphp_$vhost; also set it to run as username:usergroup to implement PHP SuEXEC) and script handler pointing to the newly created external app under each virtual host.

  • Admin
  • Last modified: 2019/10/18 20:27
  • by Jonathan Kagan