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How to install NGINX and HHVM with PHP5-FPM Fallback on Ubuntu 16/14

In this tutorial I will be guiding you with steps to install NGINX stable, HHVM 3.9 and PHP 5 FPM.

  • Nginx is a great webserver or reverse proxy that comes with a default configuration much faster than Apache 2.4 with its default MPM (Prefork).
  • HHVM is a virtual machine that uses JIT (Just in time) compilation aproach.
  • PHP-FPM (FastCGI Process Manager) is an alternative PHP FastCGI implementation with some additional features useful for sites of any size, especially busier sites.

A little setup background:

  • Clean KVM Machine with Ubuntu 16/14 LTS with 1GB RAM and 1 CPU Core from Vultr (Less than 1GB RAM will cause you trouble if you bundle MySQL)
  • Root access (Else you must do sudo [command])

First, Nginx:

add-apt-repository ppa:nginx/stable
apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
apt-get install nginx

Second, HHVM:

apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 0x5a16e7281be7a449
add-apt-repository "deb http://dl.hhvm.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) main"
apt-get update
apt-get install hhvm
update-rc.d hhvm defaults
/usr/bin/update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/php php /usr/bin/hhvm 60

We want to run HHVM on a Unix Socket, so let’s edit it’s configuration:

nano /etc/hhvm/server.ini

Comment “hhvm.server.port = 9000” with ; and add “hhvm.server.file_socket = /var/run/hhvm/hhvm.sock”

It should look like this:

; php options
pid = /var/run/hhvm/pid
; hhvm specific
;hhvm.server.port = 9000
hhvm.server.file_socket = /var/run/hhvm/hhvm.sock
hhvm.server.type = fastcgi
hhvm.server.default_document = index.php
hhvm.log.use_log_file = true
hhvm.log.file = /var/log/hhvm/error.log
hhvm.repo.central.path = /var/run/hhvm/hhvm.hhbc

Save with Ctrl + X and then ‘Y’


apt-get install php5-fpm

This should install FPM and listen on /var/run/php5-fpm.sock by default

We are done installing! Let’s configure things now. Let’s start by creating a upstream conf file for nginx:

nano /etc/nginx/conf.d/upstream.conf

Add the following and save:

upstream php {
server unix:/var/run/hhvm/hhvm.sock;
server unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock backup;

As you can see, PHP-FPM will be a backup in case HHVM fails.

Now let’s edit Nginx’s HHVM conf file:

nano /etc/nginx/hhvm.confg

Replace “fastcgi_pass;” with “fastcgi_pass php;” . It should look like this:

location ~ \.(hh|php)$ {
fastcgi_keep_conn on;
fastcgi_pass php;
fastcgi_index index.php;
fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
include fastcgi_params;

Restart the services with:

service hhvm restart && service php5-fpm restart && service nginx restart

Test with:

curl -I localhost/test.php

Should be a 404 (As the actual test.php doesn’t exist) with these headers:

Server: nginx/1.8.0
X-Powered-By: HHVM/3.9.0

And that’s all! We have latest stable Nginx with latest HHVM in fastcgi with php-fpm fallback!

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