When PHP's open_basedir restriction is set, PHP disables the realpath cache for security reasons. This may hurt your application performance. The realpath_turbo PHP extension re-enables the realpath cache. Warning: This could be a security problem in your environment! Please read the README for further information.
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realpath_turbo – Use realpath cache despite open_basedir restriction

When you set PHP's open_basedir restriction, PHP will deactivate the realpath cache.

This will decrease the performance of any PHP application which uses multiple files (include_once, require_once) like WordPress, Drupal and Magento -- just to mention a few.

The decision to deactivate the realpath cache when using open_basedir (and the previous safe_mode) restriction was made when the PHP team fixed CVE-2006-5178. Please see PHP's bug report 52312 for further information.

The realpath_turbo PHP extension, created by Artur Graniszewski, is a workaround:

How realpath_turbo works

  1. Instead of setting open_basedir you will set realpath_cache_basedir.

    Because now open_basedir isn't set, PHP will not deactivate the realpath cache.

  2. When the realpath_turbo extension will be loaded, it will set the open_basedir restriction, which won't deactivate the realpath cache which will happen if you set the open_basedir restriction in your php.ini.

How to install realpath_turbo

  1. Download the realpath_turbo source code.

  2. Extract and compile the extension

    $ tar -xaf realpath_turbo*
    $ cd realpath_turbo*
    $ phpize
    $ ./configure
    $ make
    # make install
  3. Adjust your php.ini to load and configure turbo_realpath extension.


; you have to load the extension first

; realpath_turbo security mode
; Possible values:
;   0 - Ignore potential security issues
;   1 - Disable dangerous PHP functions (link,symlink)
realpath_cache_security = 1

; Set realpath_cache_basedir to whatever you want to set open_basedir to
realpath_cache_basedir = "/var/www/html/drupal:/usr/share/php"

; Disable PHP's open_basedir directive so that the realpath cache won't be
; disabled.
; Remember, turbo_realpath will set this option later to the
; realpath_cache_basedir value.
open_basedir = ""


It is very important to deactivate any PHP function which can be used to create/manipulate symlinks. If you don't do that, any attacker could create or manipulate a symlink to bypass the open_basedir restriction.

But even if you have disabled those functions in PHP you still maybe at risk: If you allow your users to create symlinks because they have shell access, they could do the same.

So it is more than just PHP you have to take care of when you rely on open_basedir restriction and want to use realpath_turbo.

Therefore realpath_turbo is not recommended for any shared hosting environment. Instead of relying on open_basedir, you should create VMs or use containers (LXC) to safely separate your users without any performance degradation.

See http://www.php.net/security-note.php for more information.

Further information


Patched for PHP7 by Mikk3lRo. No warranties!