How to Install PHP 8.1 on Rocky Linux 8

PHP 8.1 is a significant update of the PHP language that will be “officially” released on November 25, 2021. This is a standard upgrade going forward from the existing PHP 8.0 release with the new PHP 8.1 is bringing enums, fibers, never return type, final class constants, intersection types, read-only properties amongst the long list of new features and changes.

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to import the REMI Module and install PHP 8.1 on your Rocky Linux system.

Prerequisites

  • Recommended OS: Rocky Linux 8.+.
  • User account: A user account with sudo or root access.

Update Operating System

Update your Rocky Linux operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo dnf upgrade --refresh -y

The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo status.

To verify sudo status on your account:

sudo whoami

Example output showing sudo status:

[joshua@rockylinux ~]$ sudo whoami
root

To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on How to Add a User to Sudoers on Rocky Linux.

To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.

su

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Install PHP 8.1 Remi Repository

Currently, PHP 8.1 is not featured in Rocky Linux’s AppStream, given it’s still relatively new and hasn’t filtered down the chain in Rhel’s repositories yet. However, you can install PHP from (Remi) repository, a free-to-use third-party repository that deploys the latest PHP 8.1 builds.

The first task is to install the (EPEL) repository, which stands for (Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux). For newer users to Rhel and Rocky Linux, EPEL contains the most commonly used software packages for Enterprise Linux.

To install EPEL, use the following (dnf) terminal command:

sudo dnf install epel-release

Example output:

How to Install PHP 8.1 on Rocky Linux 8

Type “Y,” then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation.

Now that you have added the EPEL repository, enable (Remi repository) with the following:

sudo dnf install dnf-utils http://rpms.remirepo.net/enterprise/remi-release-8.rpm

Example output:

How to Install PHP 8.1 on Rocky Linux 8

Type “Y,” then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation.

Next, use the (dnf) command to update your repository list:

sudo dnf update

You will notice a query in your terminal about importing the (GPG key) for the Remi repository.

Example:

How to Install PHP 8.1 on Rocky Linux 8

Type “Y,” then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with importing the GPG key and completing the installation.

Note, you will be prompt x2 more times to type “Y” to import more GPG keys. This is fine to do.

Enable PHP 8.1 (Remi) Repository

PHP 7.2 is the default PHP choice for standard installation on Rhel/Rocky Linux with Remi’s repository. A quick tip is to use the (list php) command to see the options available and the default.

The following dnf module list command can do this:

sudo dnf module list php

You will get the following output as below. Note the (d) tag for default PHP to be installed:

How to Install PHP 8.1 on Rocky Linux 8

As you can see above, the (d) tag is next to PHP 7.2, which you will need to reset and change to install PHP 8.1 on Rocky Linux.

To reset the PHP list is easy with the following command:

sudo dnf module list reset php

Next, enable PHP 8.1 with the following command:

sudo dnf module enable php:remi-8.1

Example output:

How to Install PHP 8.1 on Rocky Linux 8

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Install PHP 8.1

Now that you have added the Remi PHP repository and enabled PHP 8.1 to be the default version on your Rocky Linux system, you can install PHP 8.1 with the following command:

sudo dnf install php

Example output:

How to Install PHP 8.1 on Rocky Linux 8

Type “Y,” then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation.

Note, you will be prompted for more GPG key imports.

If you would like to install the most commonly used extensions for PHP 8.1, use the following command:

sudo dnf install php-cli php-fpm php-curl php-mysqlnd php-gd php-opcache php-zip php-intl php-common php-bcmath php-imap php-imagick php-xmlrpc php-json php-readline php-memcached php-redis php-mbstring php-apcu php-xml

Note, remove the options you do not want this is optional.

Example output:

How to Install PHP 8.1 on Rocky Linux 8

Type “Y,” then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation.

Now that you have installed PHP 8.1 and the extensions, check the version with the following command:

php -v

Example output:

How to Install PHP 8.1 on Rocky Linux 8

PHP-FPM Installations of PHP 8.1

Unlike PHP-FPM installations on Debian/Ubuntu that use the (www-data) user, this isn’t the case with RHEL family installations. By default on AlmaLinux, the PHP-FPM service is designed to be run (Apache) user, which is incorrect since we are using Nginx, and this needed to be corrected.

Firstly, open following (www.conf) configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf

Next, replace the (Apache) user and group with the (Nginx) user and group:

How to Install PHP 8.0 on Rocky Linux 8

To save, press (CTRL+O) then exit (CTRL+X).

Now you will too reload or restart your PHP-FPM service:

sudo systemctl restart php-fpm

Nginx Configurement

The Nginx server block needs the following example below for Nginx to process the PHP files.

Below, example for all server blocks that process PHP files that need the location ~ .php$ added.

server {
 # … some other code
 # Pass the php scripts to FastCGI server specified in upstream declaration.
	location ~ \.php(/|$) {
		include fastcgi.conf;
                fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php-fpm/www.sock;
		fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.*)$;
		fastcgi_param PATH_INFO $fastcgi_path_info;
		fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $realpath_root$fastcgi_script_name;
		fastcgi_param DOCUMENT_ROOT $realpath_root;
		try_files $uri $uri/ /app.php$is_args$args;
		fastcgi_intercept_errors on;	
	}
}

Test Nginx to make sure you have no errors with the adjustments made with the code above; enter the following.

sudo nginx -t

Example output:

nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful

Restart Nginx service for installation to be complete.

sudo systemctl restart nginx

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Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have learned how to install PHP 8.1 and configure how to use it with Apache and Nginx. PHP 8.1 is exciting. However, at the current moment, it is still coming out of beta and not considered stable, such as 8.0 or the old stable 7.4, so beware you may find that many of your favorite software like WordPress or Plugins/Themes for CMS software may conflict until developers can update.

Do some research, prepare, and have PHP 7.4 or 8.0 installed and ready to replace if anything goes wrong when making the switch. The stable versions such as 8.0 are still actively developed, and packages are pushed simultaneously along with the 8.1 packages.

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