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A PowerShell module to install/update PHP, PHP extensions and Composer on Windows


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This repository contains a PowerShell module that implements functions to install, update and configure PHP on Windows.


You'll need at least PowerShell version 5: in order to determine which version you have, open PowerShell and type:


If you have an older version, you can upgrade it following these instructions.

To install this module for any user of your PC, open an elevated PowerShell session (for example with Start-Process powershell -Verb runAs) and run this command:

Install-Module -Name PhpManager -Repository PSGallery -Force

To install this module for the current user only:

Install-Module -Name PhpManager -Repository PSGallery -Force -Scope CurrentUser

If you won't be able to execute the module functions, you may need to tell PowerShell to enable their execution:

Set-ExecutionPolicy -ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned -Scope CurrentUser -Force

Available Features

Here you can find a short description of the available commands: in order to get more details, type Get-Help <CommandName> (or Get-Help -Detailed <CommandName> or Get-Help -Full <CommandName>).

Installing PHP

Use the Install-Php command to install PHP.

  • you can specify a generic version (eg 7) or a more refined version (eg 7.2 or 7.2.1). You can also ask to install release candidate versions (eg 7.2.5RC), as well as development versions (eg 7.4snapshot or master)
  • you can specify to install a 32-bit or a 64-bit version
  • you can specify to install a Thread-Safe or Non-Thread-Safe version
  • you can specify the default time zone
  • you can ask to add the PHP installation path to the system or to the user PATH variable (so that you'll be able to use php.exe without specifying its path)
Install-Php -Version 7.2 -Architecture x64 -ThreadSafe 0 -Path C:\PHP -TimeZone UTC -AddToPath User

Upgrading PHP

Use the Update-Php command to upgrade PHP. The command will automatically check if there's a newer version available: if so, the PHP installation will be upgraded. Please note that stable versions will be upgraded to stable, and non-stable (alpha/beta/release candidate) versions will be upgraded to stable or non-stable versions. Also the 32/64 bit and the thread safety will be the same.

Update-Php C:\PHP

Updating PHP to a specified version

Use the Install-Php command to update PHP (for example existing version 7.2.10 to 7.2.15). If you don't specify the InitialPhpIni parameter all settings are retained. Also the parameter Force is required

Install-Php -Version 7.2.15 -Architecture x64 -ThreadSafe $true -Path C:\PHP -Force

Uninstalling PHP

Use the Uninstall-Php command to uninstall PHP. This command will remove the PHP installation folder, and its path will be removed from the PATH environment variables.

Uninstall-Php C:\PHP

Working with multiple PHP installations

It's often handy to be able to use different PHP versions for different projects.
For instance, sometimes you may want that php.exe is PHP 5.6, sometimes you may want that php.exe is PHP 7.2.
This module let's you easily switch the current PHP version (that is, the one accessible without specifying the php.exe path) with the concept of PHP Switcher.
First, you install the PHP versions you need:

Install-Php -Version 5.6 -Architecture x86 -ThreadSafe $true -Path C:\Dev\PHP5.6 -TimeZone UTC
Install-Php -Version 7.2 -Architecture x86 -ThreadSafe $true -Path C:\Dev\PHP7.2 -TimeZone UTC

Then you initialize the PHP Switcher, specifying where the current PHP version should be available:

Initialize-PhpSwitcher -Alias C:\Dev\PHP -Scope CurrentUser

Then, you can add to the PHP Switcher the PHP versions you installed:

Add-PhpToSwitcher -Name 5.6 -Path C:\Dev\PHP5.6
Add-PhpToSwitcher -Name 7.2 -Path C:\Dev\PHP7.2

You can get the details about the PHP Switcher configuration with the Get-PhpSwitcher command:


Once you have done that, you can switch the current PHP version as easily as calling the Switch-Php command.
Here's a sample session:

PS C:\> Switch-Php 5.6
PS C:\> php -r 'echo PHP_VERSION;'
PS C:\> (Get-Command php).Path
PS C:\> Switch-Php 7.2
PS C:\> php -r 'echo PHP_VERSION;'
PS C:\> (Get-Command php).Path
PS C:\>

You can use the Remove-PhpFromSwitcher to remove a PHP installation from the PHP Switcher, Move-PhpSwitcher to change the directory where php.exe will be visible in (C:\Dev\PHP in the example above), and Remove-PhpSwitcher to remove the PHP Switcher.

You can do many fancy stuff with PHP Switcher. For example, to download and enable the redis PHP extension for all the PHP versions, you can write something like this:

$phpSwitcher = Get-PhpSwitcher
$phpSwitcher.Targets.Keys | ForEach-Object {
    Write-Host -Object "Installing for $_... " -NoNewline
    try {
        Install-PhpExtension -Path $phpSwitcher.Targets[$_] redis
        Write-Host -Object 'done.' -ForegroundColor Green
    } catch {
        Write-Host -Object $_ -ForegroundColor Red

If you want to let Apache work with PHP, you have to add the LoadModule directive to the Apache configuration file, which should point to the appropriate DLL. For instance, with PHP 5.6 it is

LoadModule php5_module "C:\Dev\PHP5.6\php5apache2_4.dll"

And for PHP 7.2 it is

LoadModule php7_module "C:\Dev\PHP7.2\php7apache2_4.dll"

In order to simplify switching the PHP version used by Apache, the Install-Php command creates a file called Apache.conf in the PHP installation directory, containing the right LoadModule definition. So, in your Apache configuration file, instead of writing the LoadModule directive, you can simply write:

Include "C:\Dev\PHP\Apache.conf"

That's all: to switch the PHP version used by Apache simply call Switch-Php and restart Apache.

Getting details about installed PHPs

Use the Get-Php command to list the PHP installations found in the current PATH environment variable. You can also specify a directory: the command will display the details of the PHP installed there.

Get-Php C:\PHP

Sample Output:

Folder             : C:\PHP
ExecutablePath     : C:\PHP\php.exe
ExtensionsPath     : C:\PHP\ext
MajorMinorVersion  : 7.4
Version            : 7.4.0
FullVersion        : 7.4.0RC6
UnstabilityLevel   : RC
UnstabilityVersion : 6
DisplayName        : PHP 7.4.0RC6 x86 (32-bit) Thread-Safe
Architecture       : x86
ThreadSafe         : True
VCVersion          : 15

Getting php.ini configuration keys

Use the Get-PhpIniKey command to retrieve the value of a configuration in the php.ini file used by a PHP installation.

Get-PhpIniKey default_charset C:\PHP

Setting and removing php.ini configuration keys

Use the Set-PhpIniKey command to add or change configuration keys in the php.ini file used by a PHP installation. You can also delete, comment or uncomment configuration keys with this command.

Set-PhpIniKey default_charset UTF-8 C:\PHP

Getting the list of PHP extensions

You can use the Get-PhpExtension command to get the PHP extensions currently available (enabled or disabled) in the PHP installation.

# List the builtin extensions
Get-PhpExtension C:\PHP | Where { $_.Type -eq 'Builtin' }
# List the enabled extensions
Get-PhpExtension C:\PHP | Where { $_.State -eq 'Enabled' }
# List the Zend extensions (xdebug, opcache, ...)
Get-PhpExtension C:\PHP | Where { $_.Type -eq 'Zend' }

The Type property of the extension objects can be:

  • Builtin for extensions bundled in PHP (for example: reflection, spl, tokenizer)
  • Php for regular PHP extensions
  • Zend for Zend extensions (for example: xdebug or opcache)

The State property of the extension objects can be:

  • Builtin for extensions bundled in PHP (for example: reflection, spl, tokenizer) (those extensions are always enabled)
  • Enabled for enabled non-builtin extensions
  • Disabled for disabled non-builtin extensions
  • Unknown if you pass Get-PhpExtension the path to a DLL extension file (see here)

Enabling and disabling PHP extensions

You can use the Enable-PhpExtension/Disable-PhpExtension command to enable or disable PHP extensions. Please remark that the Enable-PhpExtension command requires that the extension is already present in your PHP installation; if you don't have the installation DLL file, you can use the Install-PhpExtension command.

Enable-PhpExtension opcache C:\PHP
Disable-PhpExtension mbstring C:\PHP

Adding new extensions (from PECL)

The Enable-PhpExtension command can only enable extensions that are already present in the PHP installation. In order to add new extensions (like xdebug or imagick - imagemagick) you can use the Install-PhpExtension command. This command will download the DLLs of the extensions from the PECL archive. You can specify a version of the extension (generic, like 1, or specific, like 1.2), and the minimum stability:

Install-PhpExtension xdebug -Version 2.6
Install-PhpExtension imagick -MinimumStability snapshot

Some extensions require additional dependencies (for example imagick). By default, Install-PhpExtension automatically installs these dependencies in the directory where PHP is installed. If you want to install them in another directory, you have to call the Install-PhpExtensionPrerequisite command, and specify the -NoDependencies option for Install-PhpExtension.

PS: Install-PhpExtension can also be used to upgrade (or downgrade) a PHP extension to the most recent version available online.

Getting the list of PHP versions available online

Use the Get-PhpAvailableVersion command to list the PHP versions available online. You can specify to list the Release versions (that is, the ones currently supported), as well as the Archive versions (the ones at end-of-life) and the QA versions (that is, the release candidates).

For instance, to list all the 64-bit thread-safe releases you can use this command:

Get-PhpAvailableVersion Release | Where { $_.Architecture -eq 'x64' -and $_.ThreadSafe -eq $true }

Managing HTTPS/TLS/SSL Certification Authority certificates

When connecting (with cURL, openssl, ...) to a remote resource via a secure protocol (for instance https:), PHP checks if the certificate has been issued by a valid Certification Authority (CA).
On Linux and Mac systems, the list of valid CAs is managed by the system.
On Windows there isn't a similar feature: we have to manually retrieve the list of reliable CAs and tell PHP where they are.
The Update-PhpCAInfo does all that for you: a simple call to this command will fetch the valid CA list and configure PHP.
Since the list of valid CA certificates changes over time, you should execute Update-PhpCAInfo on a regular basis.
In addition, Update-PhpCAInfo can optionally add your custom CA certificates to the list of official CA certificates.

Installing Composer

You can install Composer with the command Install-Composer. Install-Composer is able to add composer to the path, so that you can execute it from any location. Type Get-Help -Detailed Install-Composer for more details.

Configuring OpenSSL

If you need to use the OpenSSL PHP extension for key generation or certificate signing functions, you will need a valid openssl.cnf file. Set-OpenSSLConf will set the OPENSSL_CONF environment variable (for the current process, and optionally for the current user or local machine). Set-OpenSSLConf will look for openssl.cnf in some common places, but you can also provide the path to that file.

Inspecting a PHP extension DLL file

Get-PhpExtension is able to inspect a DLL file of a PHP extension:

PS C:\> Invoke-WebRequest -Uri -OutFile test.dll
PS C:\> Get-PhpExtension test.dll
Type         : Zend
State        : Unknown
Name         : Xdebug
Handle       : xdebug
Version      : 2.6.1
PhpVersion   : 7.0
Architecture : x64
ThreadSafe   : False
Filename     : test.dll

Caching downloads

This module downloads PHP and PHP extensions from internet.
In order to avoid downloading the same files multiple times you can use Set-PhpDownloadCache to specify the path of a local folder where the downloads will be cached (to get the configured value you can use Get-PhpDownloadCache).

By default Set-PhpDownloadCache does not persist the configured value: you can use the -Persist option to store if for the current user only, or for any user.

To retrieve the currently configured value you can use Get-PhpDownloadCache.

To disable the cache, run Set-PhpDownloadCache without arguments (to make this setting persistent, use Set-PhpDownloadCache -Persist CurrentUser or Set-PhpDownloadCache -Persist AllUsers).

Supported platforms

This module is fully tested on Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server Core, Windows Nano Server.


Tests require some module (PSScriptAnalyzer, Pester, ...).
You can run the test\setup.ps1 PowerShell script to install them.
The test\pester.ps1 script executes all the tests, which are located in the test\tests directory. You can test a specific case by specifying its name:

.\test\pester.ps1 Edit-FolderInPath

Some tests may require to run commands with elevated privileges. These tests are disabled by default: you can enable them by setting the PHPMANAGER_TEST_RUNAS environment variable to a non empty value:

.\test\pester.ps1 Edit-FolderInPath

Some other tests require that Node.js is installed and available in the PATH environment variable.

Do you want to really say thank you?

You can offer me a monthly coffee or a one-time coffee 😉


What are those executable in the archive?

In order to retrieve the name and the version of the locally available extensions, as well as to determine if they are normal PHP extensions (to be added to php.ini with extension=...) or Zend extensions (to be added to php.ini with zend_extension=...), we need to inspect the extension DLL files. This is done with this C code.

You could think that this code could be written in C# and included in the PowerShell scripts with the Add-Type -Language CSharp cmdlet. Sadly, we have to inspect DLLs that are compiled both for 32 and for 64 bits architectures, and the code would only be able to inspect DLLs with the same architecture used by PowerShell. So if PowerShell is running in 64-bit mode we won't be able to inspect 32-bit DLLs (and vice versa). That's why we need these executables: they will be started in 32-bit (Inspect-PhpExtension-x86.exe) or in 64-bit (Inspect-PhpExtension-x64.exe) mode.

Of course you don't have to trust them: you can compile them on your own (it will require Windows Subsystem for Linux) by calling the compile.bat script.

The folder also contains a couple of 7-Zip executables (one for 32-bit systems and one for 64-bit systems): they are used by PhpManager to unzip the downloaded archives.
Sure, we could use the standard Expand-Archive cmdlet, but these 7-Zip tools are about one order of magnitute faster than it.