Whenever I am delivering a presentation where I need to use PHP, I typically use a batch file that I wrote in order to rapidly deploy PHP on the system that I am using for my demos. The batch file usually takes less than a second to run, which always seems to amaze people in the audience. As a result, I usually have several people ask me for my batch file after each presentation, so I thought that it would make a good subject for today's blog.

I should mention that I have used this batch file in order to demonstrate PHP with IIS in a variety of scenarios, and one of my favorite demos is when I would borrow someone's laptop and plug in a flash drive where I had IIS Express pre-installed, and then I would run the batch file in this blog to deploy PHP. Next I would launch IIS Express, open a web browser on their system, and then browse to http://localhost/ in order to show that IIS Express was working correctly. Lastly I would write a simple PHP "Hello World" page to show that PHP was up-and-running on their system in a matter of seconds.

That being said, I have to point out that there is a very important prerequisite that you must have in order to follow the steps in the blog: you need to start with a known-good installation of PHP from one of your systems, and I'll explain what I mean by that.

My batch file expects to find a folder containing ready-to-run files for PHP in order to deploy PHP on a new system. I originally obtained my PHP files by using the Web Platform Installer (WebPI) to install PHP, and then I copied the files to my flash drive or some other repository. (Note that WebPI usually installs PHP in the "%ProgramFiles(x86)%\PHP" folder.) If you don't want to use WebPI, you can also download PHP from http://windows.php.net/, but you're on your own for configuration.

Once I have the files from a known-good installation of PHP, I create the following folder structure in the location where I will be storing the files that I use to deploy PHP on other systems:

  • <root folder>
    • SETUP_PHP.cmd (the batch file from this blog)
    • PHP (the folder containing the PHP files)
      • PHP.INI
      • PHP-CGI.EXE
      • etc. (all of the remaining PHP files and folders)

One thing to note is that the PHP.INI file you use may contain paths which refer to specific directories on the system from which you are copying your PHP files, so you need to make sure that those paths will exist on the system where you deploy PHP.

Here is an example: when I used WebPI to install PHP 5.5 on a system with IIS, it installed PHP into my "%ProgramFiles(x86)%\PHP\v5.5" folder. During the installation process, WebPI updated the PHP file to reflect any paths that need to be defined. At the time that I put together my notes for this blog, those updates mainly applied to the path where PHP expects to find it's extensions:

extension_dir="C:\Program Files (x86)\PHP\v5.5\ext\"

What this means is - if you want to deploy PHP to some other path on subsequent systems, you will need to update at least that line in the PHP.INI file that you are using to deploy PHP. In my particular case, I prefer to deploy PHP to the "%SystemDrive%\PHP" path, but it can be anywhere as long as you update everything accordingly.

The following batch file will deploy the PHP files in the "%SystemDrive%\PHP" folder on your system, and then it will update IIS with the necessary settings for this PHP deployment to work:

@echo off

REM Change to the installation folder
pushd "%~dp0"

REM Cheap test to see if IIS is installed
if exist "%SystemRoot%\System32\inetsrv" (
  REM Check for the PHP installation files in a subfolder
  if exist "%~dp0PHP" (
    REM Check for an existing installation of PHP
    if not exist "%SystemDrive%\PHP" (
      REM Create the folder for PHP
      md "%SystemDrive%\PHP"
      REM Deploy the PHP files
      xcopy /erhky "%~dp0PHP\*" "%SystemDrive%\PHP"
    )
    pushd "%SystemRoot%\System32\inetsrv"
    REM Configure the IIS settings for PHP
    appcmd.exe set config -section:system.webServer/fastCgi /+"[fullPath='%SystemDrive%\PHP\php-cgi.exe',monitorChangesTo='php.ini',activityTimeout='600',requestTimeout='600',instanceMaxRequests='10000']" /commit:apphost
    appcmd.exe set config -section:system.webServer/fastCgi /+"[fullPath='%SystemDrive%\PHP\php-cgi.exe',monitorChangesTo='php.ini',activityTimeout='600',requestTimeout='600',instanceMaxRequests='10000'].environmentVariables.[name='PHP_FCGI_MAX_REQUESTS',value='10000']" /commit:apphost
    appcmd.exe set config -section:system.webServer/fastCgi /+"[fullPath='%SystemDrive%\PHP\php-cgi.exe',monitorChangesTo='php.ini',activityTimeout='600',requestTimeout='600',instanceMaxRequests='10000'].environmentVariables.[name='PHPRC',value='%SystemDrive%\PHP']" /commit:apphost
    appcmd.exe set config -section:system.webServer/handlers /+"[name='PHP_via_FastCGI',path='*.php',verb='GET,HEAD,POST',modules='FastCgiModule',scriptProcessor='%SystemDrive%\PHP\php-cgi.exe',resourceType='Either']" /commit:apphost
    popd
  )
)
popd

Once you have all of that in place, it usually takes less than a second to deploy PHP, which is why so many people seem interested during my presentations.

Note that you can deploy PHP for IIS Express just as easily by updating the "%SystemRoot%\System32\inetsrv" paths in the batch file to "%ProgramFiles%\IIS Express" or "%ProgramFiles(x86)%\IIS Express" paths. You can also use this batch file as part of a deployment process for PHP within a web farm; in which case, you will need to pay attention to the paths inside your PHP.INI file which I mentioned earlier.