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IIS 7 add-on beefs up PHP installation, configuration

With PHP Manager for IIS, admins running Internet Information Services 7 and up can gain access to a host of PHP management functions straight from the IIS console.

One of the fastest growing languages being used on Windows Server is PHP. In a broader context, it makes perfect sense -- a great many web applications are written in PHP and Microsoft has done a fair amount of work with developers to improve how the PHP stack runs on Windows Server.

What doesn’t always run as smoothly is the management of the PHP stack itself, including installing it, configuring it and even running multiple instances side-by-side if needed. There’s no native mechanism within Internet Information Services (IIS) to handle that; it’s assumed the administrator knows what he’s doing.

The conventional wisdom, as it were, goes something like this: if you have the wherewithal to maintain IIS, then managing PHP on top of that should be a snap. Well, maybe it is a snap, but I’m betting any administrator who hates wasting time wants all the help he or she can get to keep PHP running.

This brings me to PHP Manager for IIS, an add-on for IIS 7 and 7.5 that puts a whole slew of PHP-related administrative functions directly onto the IIS management console. It also presents these functions in a way that’s highly consistent with the rest of IIS, so you don’t feel like you’re jumping between different interface metaphors or applications to accomplish everything.

Before installing, be sure to pick the right version for your server (32- or 64-bit). The tool then adds a “PHP Manager” icon to the IIS section of the management console page. (Type “PHP” in the filter box to narrow down the view.) If you look on the management page for a specific site rather than the server as a whole, you’ll see an instance of PHP Manager there too, where you can assign PHP settings for that specific site.

PHP Manager consists of three basic sections -- Setup, Settings and Extensions. Under Setup, you can register a version of PHP with the site/server, change editions or check the information returned by the phpinfo() routine from that installed instance of PHP. This is particularly useful for determining general environmental information about the PHP installation. It’s also used as a troubleshooting measure and is one of the first diagnostics you might need to cough up if you’re trying to get PHP apps running.

The Settings section lets you directly edit the PHP.INI configuration file or read the server-side error log created by PHP. Additionally, you can change how error reporting works and manage the runtime limits, including things like maximum memory, POST size, upload size or timeout for script execution. You can also bring up and directly edit a list of every PHP setting if you’re familiar with them and are comfortable doing that. Finally, you can add, edit or remove extensions to PHP.

If you don’t have PHP you can obtain it directly from or use the Web platform installer to automatically install it.

PHP Manager for IIS is open source licensed under the provisions of the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL).

Figure 1: PHP Manager being used in an IIS site (click to enlarge)
 PHP Manager being used in an IIS site. No instance of PHP has been registered with this particular site yet, but different instances of PHP can be set up on different sites.

You can follow on Twitter @WindowsTT.

Serdar Yegulalp has been writing about computers and information technology for more than 15 years for a variety of publications, including InformationWeek and Windows Magazine.

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