How to add GD support to PHP on a Linux server with Plesk

Adding GD graphic libraries support to php on your linux server with Plesk is relatively simple.

First, log into your server using ssh to get to a command line prompt.

Second, type the following command to install a version of php with GD support:

up2date php-gd

Third, restart your web service with this command:

service httpd restart

That is it. Your web server is now runing php with GD.

Installing IonCube loader with Zend Optimizer – cPanel

This is a common request we get for Ioncube to be installed. It’s generally not an issue, but when you factor in other optimization plugins like Zend and eAccelerator, a common misconception is that the three don’t get along. It’s very easy to install Ioncube into a PHP installation that already has Zend and eAccelerator.

This tutorial is specific to cPanel, assuming that you are using php 5.2.x with Zend 3.x.x.

If you need help installing eAccelerator, you can see this tutorial. For help with installing Zend, you can go here. The versions in both these tutorials are outdated, so you’ll probably want to apply the instructions to the newest versions available.
Go to and pick your download. This example assumes that you are using php 5.2.

cd /usr/src
tar -xvzf ioncube_loaders_lin_x86.tar.gz
cd ioncube

Copy the loader config to the user’s public_html or another location where you can access it from a browser.

cp ioncube-loader-helper.php /home/username/public_html

Now in your browser go to the loader file that you just copied. This file will tell you exactly which extension you need to use. Choose the ‘php.ini Installation Instructions’ link, and you should see something like this after the php config output:

zend_extension = /<path>/

Move the ioncube directory to a more permanent location:

mv /usr/src/ioncube /usr/local
chown -Rf root:root /usr/local/ioncube

Edit the php.ini and add look for this section (may not be exact):


Above this section, add this line:


Of course, make sure that the .so file is the one that the loader helper told you to use! After that is added, STOP and then START Apache to make sure that it’s loading. You should now see IonCube in your phpinfo file.

If you’re using eAccelerator, you shouldn’t need to change the location of the plugin loader in your php.ini.

Note that if Apache doesn’t start, it’s probably because of the order in which you have Zend and ioncube loading.  The lines for Ioncube should be above those for Zend optimizer.

Lastly, you should test your IonCube installation to make sure that it can decode its own files. In the original ‘ioncube’ directory that you moved, there’s a test ‘ioncube-encoded-file.php’ file that you can load through a browser to make sure that it works.

How to Upgrade PHP – cPanel

Whether you compiled manually or with EasyApache, running a PHP upgrade from a previous version is super easy but also one of the most common questions I get. There are 3 likely assumptions about your current environment (specific to Linux servers, sorry Windows users):

1. You are running a cPanel server and have PHP compiled by EasyApache

2. You compiled PHP manually from source

3. You used Yum, Aptitude, or another package manager


Perhaps the easiest (but least efficient time-wise), simply log into WebHost Manager > Apache Update and select “Previously Saved Config” option and “Start Customizing Based on Profile“. The next screen should take you to the Apache version, which you can keep the same or upgrade as well. Then you’ll be taken to select either PHP 4 or PHP 5, proceeded by the actual version you wish to run and then the options for both Apache and PHP on the next two steps (Advanced Configuration). You usually do not need to change the options if your target is just a simple upgrade within the same version family, but if you changed the Apache version, updated cPanel recently, or are upgrading to a different PHP version family (like 4.4.7 to 5.2.x), then you’ll want to double-check the Apache/PHP build options to make sure they are what they need to be before selecting “Save and Build.” If you are running older versions of EasyApache (usually with cPanel 10 or early versions of cPanel 11 STABLE) then all you have to do is select ‘Load Previous Config‘, pick your PHP version, and ‘Build‘.


If you’ve compiled PHP from source (./configure && make && make install method), you can use your previous configure arguments to compile against a different version. Refer to your server’s phpinfo file (if you don’t have one just create a PHP script with <?php phpinfo(); ?>) and copy the entire ./configure statement into notepad and remove the single quotes. Once you’ve done this, download the source tarball of the new PHP version, untar, and then enter the installation directory. From there, all you have to do is paste the configure statement from notepad. For instance, for PHP 5.2.5:


tar -xvzf php-5.2.5.tar.gz

cd php 5.2.5

./configure –options-from-your-phpinfo

After the configuration is complete, the script may indicate at the end of its output that you’ve specified configuration options that do not exist. This usually will not affect your build, but you’ll want to review them and consult the PHP documentation on the correct syntax or alternatives to the invalid build options, as these can change depending on which version of PHP you are installing. Doing a ./configure –help will also display the valid options you can use.

Once you have a good configuration, you can go ahead with the make and make install to install the new version of PHP. If you have PHP integrated with Apache (usually you would unless you compiled as CGI) then the installation should have already updated the PHP binary for Apache and module loader in httpd.conf. However, you may need to manually comment out old module loaders if there are conflicts. You’re looking for something like this:

LoadModule php5_module        modules/

Package Installation

Some people have PHP installed via package manager, like Yum or Aptitude. Since the package software usually handles all aspects of the configuration and installation (outside of modules you may have installed via PEAR or Pecl), then you can use its update function to take care of the upgrade as well. Most have a specific option for upgrades, for instance Yum uses:

yum update php

For more information, see NixCraft’s article on PHP installations with Yum.