There are several different ways to install PHP4 on a Virtual Private Server. The best way is to install the mod_php4 Apache Module. Another less desirable method is to install The PHP4 CGI to which PHP4 files are redirected by your web server.

NOTE: PHP no longer creates GIF images via lib-gd. Due to patent restrictions on the GIF compression algorithm we can no longer support it. The PNG Image Format has support for alpha channels, gamma correction, has better compression than GIF compression and supports 48-bit color depth (versus 8-bit color GIF images), and is now widely supported by nearly all modern web browsers.


Connect to your Virtual Private Server via Telnet or SSH and do the following.

  1. Install the PHP4 Apache modules. Follow the directions that correspond to your Virtual Private Server O/S.

    • FreeBSD & Solaris [PHP 4.2.3]
      Run the following command:

      % vinstall php4-dso

      NOTE: Any version of PHP prior to 4.2.2 has a known security vulnerability which can compromise your Virtual Private Server. If you are using any version prior to PHP 4.2.2, we strongly encourage you to upgrade to the current version.

    • If you don't know the Virtual Private Server O/S, try the following:


    When you run the vinstall command, you will be given the option to select which extensions you want to use. In order to not waste memory on your Virtual Private Server, we recomend that you only select extensions you will actually be using. If you find you need to add or remove extensions at a later time, you can manually edit the php.ini file, or use the vinstall command to change the active extensions.

  2. The installation process should configure your web server to dynamically load the PHP4 Apache module. Check to make sure the following line is in your web server configuration file (~/www/conf/httpd.conf).

    LoadModule php4_module modules/

    NOTE: In versions of PHP 4.2.2 and later, one of the default settings has been changed. This has been found to affect several commonly used scripts, including TWIG. If you are using TWIG or are having trouble with scripts that worked without problems prior to upgrading to version 4.2.2, create or edit the file named php.ini in the ~/usr/local/lib/ directory of your Virtual Private Server. The php.ini file needs to contain at least this line:

    register_globals = On

  3. Make the following additions and modifications to your web server configuration file (~/www/conf/httpd.conf).

    1. Modify the DirectoryIndex line so that PHP4 files will be included as directory indices.

      DirectoryIndex index.php index.php4 index.php3 index.cgi index.html index.htm
    2. Add the following lines so that all files with .php, .php3, .php4, and .phtml extensions will be redirected to the PHP4 Apache module.

      AddType application/x-httpd-php .php .php3 .php4 .phtml
      AddType application/x-httpd-php-source .phps
    3. Restart your web server.
  4. To test your PHP installation, try creating the following ~/www/htdocs/test.php document and viewing it in your web browser at


    The phpinfo() function reports the PHP version number, as well as the features that are compiled into PHP and much more information about the system and environment.

Please note: the information on this page applies to ITS web hosting plans. It may or may not apply to other environments. If you are looking for a feature described here, or better support from your hosting provider, please consider hosting your site with ITS!

1555 N Naperville/Wheaton Road, Suite 107
Naperville, IL 60563
phone 630.420.2550
fax 630.420.2771