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php7dev is a Debian 8 Vagrant image which is preconfigured for testing PHP apps and developing extensions across many versions of PHP. See the Changelog.


Download and install Virtualbox

Download and install Vagrant

If you are on Windows, download and install Git

Make sure you are at least at Vagrant version 1.5 or the steps below may not work for you.

If you are on Windows use the Manual Install instructions or use git-bash.

Otherwise for UNIX and UNIX-like users just clone and go. Like this:

$ git clone
$ cd php7dev
$ vagrant up
$ vagrant ssh

Add this to your hosts file: php7dev

There are also various vagrant plugins that can help you update your dns. See local-domain-resolution.

At this point you should be able to point your browser at:


and it should show the PHP7 phpinfo() page.

The box will also fetch an ip via DHCP so it will be on your local network like any other machine. This also means you don't need to use vagrant ssh anymore.

Manual Install

You don't really need the helpers in the Github repo. I doubt they work well on Windows. You can get up and running using just Vagrant.

$ vagrant box add rasmus/php7dev
$ vagrant init rasmus/php7dev
$ vagrant up
$ vagrant ssh

If you have vagrant version < 1.5, you may run into "command was not invoked properly" error with vagrant box add rasmus/php7dev, then you can run it with the following explicit url:

$ vagrant box add "rasmus/php7dev"

For DHCP add: "public_network", type: "dhcp"

To your Vagrantfile. For a static IP, add: "private_network", ip: ""

Full docs on this is at

Updating your php7dev image

$ vagrant box outdated
Checking if box 'rasmus/php7dev' is up to date...
A newer version of the box 'rasmus/php7dev' is available! You currently
have version '0.0.3'. The latest is version '0.0.4'. Run
`vagrant box update` to update.

$ vagrant box update

$ vagrant box list
rasmus/php7dev (virtualbox, 0.0.3)
rasmus/php7dev (virtualbox, 0.0.4)

At this point you have two versions of the box. It won't automatically destroy your current one since you could have added some important data to it. To use this new version, make sure anything you need from your current one is saved elsewhere and do:

$ vagrant destroy
    default: Are you sure you want to destroy the 'default' VM? [y/N] y
==> default: Forcing shutdown of VM...
==> default: Destroying VM and associated drives...

$ vagrant up

If virtualbox complains about an unsupported provider, make sure to have a working virtualbox and prefix the command with VAGRANT_DEFAULT_PROVIDER=virtualbox:

$ VAGRANT_DEFAULT_PROVIDER=virtualbox vagrant up

Compiling the latest PHP 7

There is a script called makephp which does unattended builds. To build and install the latest PHP 7.0 and PHP 7.0-debug just do:

$ makephp 7

Or you can build it manually like this:

$ cd php-src
$ git pull -r
$ make distclean
$ ./buildconf -f
$ ./cn
$ make
$ sudo make install
$ newphp 7 debug

Note the ./cn script. The --prefix setting specifies where to install to. Make sure the path matches your debug/zts setting. You can change that script to build the non-debug version by changing --enable-debug to --disable-debug and removing -debug from the --prefix*. In that case you would just do: newphp 7

Web Server

The default web server is nginx. Switching to Apache is as simple as:

$ sudo service nginx stop
$ sudo apachectl start

Running newphp will correctly enable the specified PHP version and restart Apache for you.

There are a couple of other convenience scripts. makeext in an extension's directory will build and install that extension for the specified version of PHP. For example:

vagrant@php7dev:~$ cd src
vagrant@php7dev:~/src$ git clone
Cloning into 'phpredis'...
vagrant@php7dev:~/src$ cd phpredis/
vagrant@php7dev:~/src/phpredis$ git checkout php7
Branch php7 set up to track remote branch php7 from origin.
Switched to a new branch 'php7'
vagrant@php7dev:~/src/phpredis$ makeext 7
Build log in /tmp/build.log
Building extension for PHP 7
Building PHP 7-debug
vagrant@php7dev:~/src/phpredis$ makeext 71
Build log in /tmp/build.log
Building extension for PHP 71
Building PHP 71-debug

And a second helper script, phpext enables or disables an extension for the current version of PHP. eg.

vagrant@php7dev:~/src/phpredis$ newphp 70
Activating PHP 7.0.12-dev (cli) (built: Sep  6 2016 04:47:05) ( NTS ) and restarting php-fpm
vagrant@php7dev:~/src/phpredis$ phpext enable redis
Restarting php-fpm...
vagrant@php7dev:~/src/phpredis$ php -m | grep redis


vagrant@php7dev:~$ newphp 71
Activating PHP 7.1.0-dev (cli) (built: Sep  6 2016 04:38:13) ( NTS ) and restarting php-fpm
vagrant@php7dev:~$ phpext list
Available extensions for PHP 7.1.0-dev:
ast (enabled)
http (enabled)
memcached (enabled)
mysql (enabled)
redis (enabled)
xdebug (enabled)
vagrant@php7dev:~$ phpext disable xdebug
Restarting php-fpm...
xdebug disabled

Installing phpBB

Now you can install something. The sites live in /var/www.

For example, to install phpBB:

$ cd /var/www
$ wget
$ unzip
$ sudo chown -R www-data phpBB3

Create /etc/nginx/conf.d/phpbb.conf with this config:

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name  phpbb;
    root   /var/www/phpBB3;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;
    access_log /var/log/nginx/phpbb-access.log;
    error_log /var/log/nginx/phpbb-error.log;

    location ~ /(config\.php|common\.php|cache|files|images/avatars/upload|includes|store) {
        deny all;
        return 403;

    location ~* \.(gif|jpe?g|png|css)$ {
        expires   30d;

    include php.conf;

You will need to sudo to do it. It shouldn't ask you for a password, but every password, sudo, root, mysql is set to: vagrant in case you need it.

Then do:

$ sudo service nginx reload

On the machine where you are running your web browser, add an entry to your /etc/hosts file with:

192.168.x.x phpbb

Substitute your ip there, of course.

Now you can go to http://phpbb/ and you should be redirected to the phpBB installer.

Before you start, you need to create the database:

$ mysqladmin create phpbb

Now go through the steps. Your Database host is localhost and the user is vagrant, password vagrant. Database name is phpbb. You can leave the port empty. Click through the rest and you should be done. Then remove the install directory to get rid of the annoying warning:

$ sudo rm -rf /var/www/phpBB3/install/

Adding Shared Folders

Add shared folders by adding them to the folders section in the php7dev.yaml configuration file.

Toggle Public Network

By default the vagrant machine will use DHCP to be accessible over the local network. This can be disabled in the php7dev.yaml configuration file.

Add MySQL databases

Add the name of the database you want to be created in the databases section of the php7dev.yaml configuration file.

Installing other apps

For the most part installing almost anything follows the same pattern. Download the tarball or zip file to /var/www. Extract, make it owned by www-data and find the nginx server config. Usually a quick Google search will turn it up. If it doesn't, something like:

    server {
       listen 80;
       server_name mysite;
       root /var/www/mysite;
       access_log /var/log/nginx/mysite-access.log;
       error_log /var/log/nginx/mysite-error.log;

       index index.php index.html;

       location / {
           try_files $uri $uri/ @rewrite;
        location @rewrite {
            rewrite ^(.*)$ /index.php;

        include php.conf;

Usually does the trick. You will also find composer already installed in /usr/local/bin.

Switching PHP versions

New in version 0.0.3 of the image is the ability to switch the entire PHP environment quickly. Every version of PHP since 5.3 is precompiled and installed in /usr/local/php*. There are actually 4 builds for each version. debug, zts, debug-zts and the standard non-debug, non-zts. To switch versions do:

$ newphp 55 debug zts
Activating PHP 5.5.22-dev and restarting php-fpm

If you reload http://php7dev/ you will see the PHP 5.5 info page, but much more importanly, if you run phpize in an extension directory it will now build the extension for PHP 5.5-debug-zts and install it in the correct place. You can quickly switch between versions like this and build your extension for 24 different combinations of PHP versions (this was requested by @auroraeosrose so if it is useful to you, she is partly to blame - if it isn't, blame me).

For quick testing there are symlinks in /usr/local/bin to the various versions, so you can quickly check php56 -a without activating it. Similarly, you can do:

$ service php-fpm stop
$ service php56-fpm start

Debugging Tools

For debugging, you have many options. Valgrind is installed and the suppressions file is up to date. I have included a helper script I use called memcheck. Try it:

$ memcheck php -v
==3788== Memcheck, a memory error detector
==3788== Copyright (C) 2002-2011, and GNU GPL'd, by Julian Seward et al.
==3788== Using Valgrind-3.7.0 and LibVEX; rerun with -h for copyright info
==3788== Command: php -v
PHP 7.0.0-dev (cli) (built: Jan 28 2015 15:53:12) (DEBUG)
Copyright (c) 1997-2015 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.0.0-dev, Copyright (c) 1998-2015 Zend Technologies
    with Zend OPcache v7.0.4-dev, Copyright (c) 1999-2015, by Zend Technologies
==3788== HEAP SUMMARY:
==3788==     in use at exit: 19,112 bytes in 17 blocks
==3788==   total heap usage: 29,459 allocs, 29,442 frees, 3,033,303 bytes allocated
==3788== LEAK SUMMARY:
==3788==    definitely lost: 0 bytes in 0 blocks
==3788==    indirectly lost: 0 bytes in 0 blocks
==3788==      possibly lost: 0 bytes in 0 blocks
==3788==    still reachable: 0 bytes in 0 blocks
==3788==         suppressed: 19,112 bytes in 17 blocks
==3788== For counts of detected and suppressed errors, rerun with: -v
==3788== ERROR SUMMARY: 0 errors from 0 contexts (suppressed: 28 from 6)

Also, sometimes it is easier to track down issues with a single standalone process instead of using php-fpm. You can do this like this:

$ sudo service php-fpm stop
$ sudo php-cgi -b /var/run/php-fpm.sock

The debug build will report memory leaks and you can of course run it under gdb or valgrind as well. See the /usr/local/bin/memcheck script for how to run Valgrind.

You will also find a .gdbinit symlink in ~vagrant which provides a number of useful gdb macros. The symlink into php-src should ensure you have the right set for the current checked out version of the code.


And a tiny apt primer:

  • update pkg list: sudo apt-get update
  • search for stuff: apt-cache search stuff
  • install stuff: sudo apt-get install stuff
  • list installed: dpkg -l
  • upgrade installed: apt-get upgrade

If something isn't working or you have suggestions, please let me know here.


Changes in 1.0.0

  • Upgrade to Vagrant 1.8.5
  • Updated all PHP builds to the latest
  • Updated all Debian packages
  • Added phpext script to enable/disable extensions
  • Added xdebug, yaml, stats and redis extensions
  • Big Phan update

Changes in 0.1.0

  • Updated all PHP builds to the latest
  • Updated all Debian packages
  • Added PHP 7.1 builds bringing the total builds included to 24
  • Added php-fpm systemd support
  • Included pear and pecl tools
  • Enabled the PHP 7 file-based opcache cache
  • Fully supported Apache in newphp version switching
  • Added AST extension to PHP 7 builds
  • Added Phan static analyzer
  • Added memcached extension to all versions
  • Added raphf, propro and http extensions to all versions

Changes in 0.0.9

  • Upgraded the base image OS from Debian 7.8 to 8.0 and recompiled all 20 PHP builds
  • Added PosgreSQL support to all builds
  • newphp will now switch the Apache module between PHP 5 and PHP 7 (default is still nginx)
  • Added ack
  • Updated virtualbox guest-additions

Changes in 0.0.8

  • Fix double-entry in /etc/network/interfaces

Changes in 0.0.7

  • Try to fix vagrant ssh issue by adding new insecure vagrant key

Changes in 0.0.6

  • Default PHP version is 7 again
  • Use -j2 in makephp since the vm is configured for 2 CPUs
  • Updated composer
  • Put image version in /etc/motd

Changes in 0.0.5

  • dist-upgraded all Debian packages
  • Updated newphp script - no longer need to sudo
  • Added makephp script
  • Added src/mysql checkout from pecl
  • Rebuilt all PHP versions
  • Added phpdbg to PHP 7.0 builds
  • Updated Valgrind .suppressions file
  • Re-installed headers as per #4
  • Installed strace


Documentation for the php7dev Vagrant box image







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