November 14, 2022

Using ZendPHP, PHP-FPM, and Nginx on IBM i


In this blog, we walk through the steps for setting up a ZendPHP, PHP-FPM, and Nginx web server on IBM i, including configuration and fastcgi files.

ZendPHP Installation and Configuration

This walkthrough detailed in this blog requires you to have ZendPHP already installed on your IBM i server.

To start, use the Zend script for managing the install/uninstall processes:


You will also need to add the executable portion to the owner of the file, while ignoring the umask:

chmod ug+x

After that, make sure you have installed all prerequisite tools:

yum install wget tar-gnu gzip db2util

The script creates the ZendPHP yum repository file /QOpenSys/etc/yum/repos.d/zendphp.repo . 

You can use this script to install the requested ZendPHP version using:

./ --version=<PHP version>

Note: If you need full details on how to use the managing script, use the command: --help

The ZendPHPH executable binary installed directory will be /QOpenSys/pkgs/bin

yum list installed | grep zend

You can see the ZendPHP error log file in directory /QOpenSys/var/log .

cat > /qopenSys/var/log/php_errors.log

You will want to change the php.ini file directive to Log php errors to the specified file. To do so, open the file at /qopensys/etc/php/81zend/php.ini, then change the directive:

error_log = "/QOpenSys/var/log/php_errors.log”

You can view documentation for the ZendPHP installation process here.

PHP-FPM Installation and Configuration

PHP-FPM is a simple and robust FastCGI Process Manager for PHP. Additional extensions, like PHP-FPM, are installed separately from your initial ZendPHP install.

Before you jump into installation, it's important to remember that the ZendPHP naming format prfix contains the PHP for the version specific released package. For example, packages compatible with PHP version 8.1 have the prefix: "php81zend-php".

To install the php-fpm extension for PHP version 8.1, either install it using the Access Client Solution Manager, or use the script:

yum install -y php81zend-php-fpm

After that, you will want to set up your path and .profile to include php-fpm. To do that, use the echo command with a redirect to update the .profile file:

echo "PATH=/QOpenSys/pkgs/bin:/QOpenSys/pkgs/sbin:\$PATH\nexport PATH" > $HOME/.profile

Then use the cat command to display the contents of your .profile file:

cat $HOME/.profile

Next, we'll move to the configuration file global directives:


There, you'll define global options

  • pid = run/ 
  • error_log = log/php-fpm.log
  • log_level = notice
  • include=/QOpenSys/etc/php/81zend/php-fpm.d/*.conf

Note that and php-fpm.sock files are located in directory /QOpenSys/var/run

ps -ef | grep fpm  
ls -l /QOpenSys/var/run/

Next, you'll move onto the PHP-FPM configuration file for pool directives:


Once there, you will define the pool options:

  • user = qtmhhttp
  • group = nogroup
  • listen = /QOpenSys/var/run/php-fpm.sock
  • pm.max_children = 5
  • pm.start_servers = 2
  • Other directives

When you do this, note that multiple pool processes may be started with different management options on different ports, and the pool name will be used for the logs and stats files.

To start PHP-FPM, run the command php-fpm:


To stop PHP-FPM, run the command:

ps -ef | grep php-fpm| awk '{print $2}'| xargs kill -9

Lastly, to test the PHP-FPM configuration, run the command:

/QOpenSys/pkgs/sbin/php-fpm –t

If the test is succesfull, you'll see a notice similar to the one below:

[26-Oct-2021 17:00:03] NOTICE: configuration file /QOpenSys/etc/php/81zend/php-fpm.conf test is successful

Note that starting the PHP-FPM from a 5250 session, CLP or QP2term will run the jobs under the QINTER subsystem.

PHP-FPM active jobs menu

Nginx Installation Via Access Client Solution

Nginx is a web server that can be used as a reverse proxy, load balancer, mail proxy, and HTTP cache. You can read more about Nginx in the documentation

Nginx Server is available via the IBM i Yum-based Access Client Solutions Open Source Package Management.

image showing open source package management menu on IBM i access client solutions

To get started installing Nginx, first launch the IBM i Access Client Solution by selecting "Open Source Package Management." Once the Open Source Package Management utility is available, select the "Available Packages" tab, then scroll to locate the "Nginx" sever option.

image showing nginx selected on open source package management menu on IBM i

Once there, click the install button, then follow the install screen until you see the "completed!" message.

image showing package installation for php-fpm on ibm i access client solutions

After that's completed, head back to the Open Source Package Management menu and select the "Installed packages" tab, then select View | Refresh to refresh the list of installed packages.

Nginx Installation Via SSH Terminal

Nginx installation can be done using any of the available SSH command interface/shells. Though, note that Qp2term uses ksh shell, while external SSH terminals like MobaXterm, PuTTy, and others use bash.

To execute from the command line, use SSH terminal QP2Term/MobaXterm/PuTTy, then use the following commands:

yum list available
yum install nginx
image showing php-fpm installation via ssh terminal

You can find the full Nginx installation instructions on the IBM support pages here.

Configuring Nginx

The Nginx default configuration files can be found at:


To edit them, open using your preferred text editor (e.g. EDTF on IBM i, vim on Linux,  NotePad on Windows)

For the Nginx Server configuration file /QOpenSys/etc/nginx/nginx.conf, set the following directives:

  • ‘worker_processes’ define a number processes
  • ‘pid’ process id of the master process 
  • ‘worker_connections’ max number of simultaneous connections
image showing error log notices for nginx
  • ‘listen’ port number
  • ‘server-name’  IP address
  • ‘root’ PHP application directory -> /www/zendphp/htdocs
  • ‘fastcgi_pass’ directive, to a unix-domain socket path -> unix:/QQopenSys/var/run/php-pfm.sock;
image showing error log for nginx

The Nginx fastCGI configuration file uses the default directives used in this blog.

image showing fastcgi_param for nginx

Note that you need to manually create the Nginx logs folder. Attempting to start the Nginx executable file will send the following error:

nginx: [emerg] open() "/QOpenSys/etc/nginx/logs/" failed (2: No such file or directory)

To resolve this issue, create the directory:

mkdir /QOpenSys/etc/nginx/logs

Controlling Your Nginx Server

To start the Nginx server, run the executable file nginx from any SSH terminal command line or CLP:


Then, to control the Nginx server, run the executable file nginx with the -s parameter and a signal using the syntax:

nginx -s signal

Here are some useful commands:

  • stop  - fast shutdown
  • quit  -  graceful shutdown
  • reload - reload the configuration file   
  • reopen - reopening the log files

As an example, for a fast shutdown you would use:

/QOpenSys/pkgs/bin/nginx –s stop
image showing nginx server controls for stopping nginx server

The Nginx worker processes(jobs) will use QTMHHTTP user profile. To get the list of all running Nginx processes, you can use the ps utility or WKRACTJOB:

ps -ef | grep nginx
     shlomo     711881      1   0 18:57:27      -  0:00 nginx
     qtmhhttp 711882 711881   0 18:57:27      -  0:00 nginx
QP0ZSPWT     SHLOMO      BCI      .0  PGM-nginx        THDW 
QP0ZSPWT     QTMHHTTP    BCI      .0  PGM-nginx        SELW

Note that starting Nginx from a SSH terminal like MobaXterm/PuTTY will run the jobs under QUSRWRK subsystem.

image showing active jobs on ssh terminal for nginx

Or, if you're starting Nginx from a 5250 session, CLP or QP2term will run the jobs under the QINTER subsystem.

image showing active jobs and status in nginx server

Here is the IBM i Menu using a CL Program and a bash scripting combination:

image showing nginx for ibm i menu options
  /* START NGINX jobs */ 
  IF         COND(%SST(&ACTION 1 1) *EQ 'S') THEN(DO)  
  CALL       PGM(QP2SHELL)  PARM('/home/shlomo/nginxmanage.bash' 'S') 
  MONMSG     MSGID(CPF0000)                            
  WRKACTJOB SBS(QINTER)                               
  SNDPGMMSG MSG('NGINX Start Services ')               

set -e
if [ $1 = "S" ]; then
echo "NGINX Start Services " $(ps -e | grep -c nginx)                                             

The Nginx Welcome Page 

The default Nginx Welcome Page directory is:


Running with the above blog settings should load the Welcome Page from the root directory defined in nginx.conf:

image showing nginx welcome page

Wrapping Up

That's really all there is to it. Keep in mind that he example we outlined here is a very basic configuration and you will want to configure to fit the needs of your system. But, aside from that, getting running with ZendPHP, Nginx, and IBM i is a fairly easy process.

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