Minimalist fcgid with custom php.ini on cPanel

I recently changed to using fastcgi on my personal cPanel server (11.28, CentOS) and thought others might benefit from my findings, as I wasn’t able to find any complete configuration tutorials.

I was able to replicate the functionality I enjoyed from SuPHP (per directory php.ini configurations) with a simple wrapper script that’s called using an “Action” parameter in the .htaccess file.

To start, you’ll need to run EasyApache:
I have disabled “Mod SuPHP” from the easyapache configuration and enabled “Mod FCGID”. This was the only change required to enable FastCGI support using the system php.ini configuration.

I reviewed many forum posts on the topic of local php.ini configuration with fcgid, but none really focused on the per-user aspect and how it can be user definable. I accomplished this with a very simple wrapper script for php-cgi that sets the PHPRC shell variable to the desired path, then a handler and action in .htaccess to call the script for handling php files. This allows for different directories to use different php.ini configurations by creating a different wrapper for each php.ini required.

First, edit the wrapper with your favorite text editor:
nano -w ~/public_html/php5.fcgi
Note, the name is arbitrary, but it needs to be in cgi-bin. Add the following code:
export PHPRC
exec /usr/local/cpanel/cgi-sys/php5

Then save, and make it executable:
chmod 755 ~/public_html/php5.fcgi

Next, you need to associate it with .php (and any other you’d like) extensions. Add these two lines to ~/public_html/.htaccess (or any .htaccess file)
AddHandler php5-fastcgi .php
Action php5-fastcgi /cgi-bin/php5.fcgi

You can add additional extensions to the AddHandler line like so:
AddHandler php5-fastcgi .php .phtml .html

Update: The above instructions will break subdomains and addon domains if a separate php5.fcgi is not placed in each sub/addon cgi-bin folder. To combat this, I’m using a system accessible php5.fcgi that sets PHPRC to ~/public_html/. To do the same:
nano -w /usr/local/cpanel/cgi-sys/php5.fcgi
Then add this code:
export PHPRC
exec /usr/local/cpanel/cgi-sys/php5

Set permissions correctly:
chown root:wheel /usr/local/cpanel/cgi-sys/php5.fcgi
chmod 755 /usr/local/cpanel/cgi-sys/php5.fcgi

Finally, change .htaccess to use the new path:
AddHandler php5-fastcgi .php
Action php5-fastcgi /cgi-sys/php5.fcgi

That’s it. It’s generic, can be copied to any user account without modification, and uses system configs for fcgid options, so it can use sane defaults.

I’ve uploaded my cpanel3-skel folder with perms set in case you would like to use it on your server.  Click here.

Helius reports in the comments that the steps above can break Fantastico on the server. To correct this, you’ll need to build cPanel’s PHP:
Thanks for the info Helius!