PHP Settings in Plesk

Posted on 2013-05-25
Last Modified: 2013-05-27
PHP Experts - I have not worked extensively in PHP until now and setting up a new PHP on a windows server using Plesk and  PHP 5.4.15.  There are some settings I would like some opinions on.  I don't need each one, but if any few of these you have a strong opinion on.  

For instance, there is an option for error reporting to go to a file inside our outside the webroot.  If there is an error, I just don't want the actual error to be available except on the server like asp if that is possible.


The maximum amount of memory in bytes a script is allowed to allocate. Set the value to -1 to have no memory limit (not recommended). Use shortcuts for byte values: K (kilo), M (mega), and G (giga). For example, 128M.

The maximum time in seconds a script is allowed to run before it is terminated.

The maximum time in seconds a script is allowed to parse input data.

The maximum size in bytes of data that can be posted with the POST method. Typically, should be larger than upload_max_filesize and smaller than memory_limit. Use shortcuts for byte values: K (kilo), M (mega), and G (giga). For example, 128M.

The maximum size in bytes of an uploaded file. Use shortcuts for byte values: K (kilo), M (mega), and G (giga). For example, 128M.

Common settings
(Removed in PHP 5.4.0) Enables PHP safe mode. This mode puts a number of restrictions on scripts (say, access to file system) mainly for security reasons.

(Removed in PHP 5.4.0) If PHP is in the safe mode and a script tries to access some files, files from this directory will bypass security (UID/GID) checks. The directory must also be in include_path. For example: /dir/inc

(Removed in PHP 5.4.0) If PHP is in the safe mode, scripts can execute external programs located only in this directory. For example: /dir/external

The list of directories where scripts look for files (similar to system's PATH variable). To separate directories, use a colon (:) on Linux and a semicolon (;) on Windows. For example, on Linux: .:/dir/inc:/usr/lib/php

The directory where PHP writes session data (files). For example: /dir/tmp

Additional parameters for the mail() function used to send mail. For example, to use your custom Sendmail configuration: -C /dir/

Tells whether to register the contents of the EGPCS (Environment, GET, POST, Cookie, Server) variables as global variables. When on, register_globals will inject your scripts with all sorts of variables, like request variables from HTML forms. This option is a great security risk, thus do not turn it on without necessity.

The list of directories used to limit the files that can be opened by PHP. If the file is outside the specified directories, PHP scripts will refuse to open it. To separate directories, use a colon (:) on Linux and a semicolon (;) on Windows. For example, on Linux: /dir/upload:/usr/tmp

The error reporting level.

Determines whether errors should be printed to the screen as part of the output or if they should not be shown to a user.

Tells whether to log errors. By default, errors are logged in the server's error log. Use the error_log directive to specify the path to your own log file.

Allows PHP file functions to retrieve data from remote locations over FTP or HTTP. This option is a great security risk, thus do not turn it on without necessity.

Allows uploading files over HTTP.

Allows the short form (<? ?>) of the PHP's open tag.

(Removed in PHP 5.4.0) Sets the magic_quotes state for the GPC (Get/Post/Cookie) operations. When magic_quotes are on, all ' (single-quote), " (double quote), \ (backslash), and NULL special characters are escaped with the \ (backslash) automatically.
Question by:Scott Fell,  EE MVE
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LVL 82

Accepted Solution

Dave Baldwin earned 250 total points
ID: 39197375
I generally don't change the setting in 'php.ini' from the default unless I have a reason to.  If you go here you can see what all those things do including all the things removed in PHP 5.4.  You do need to set session.save_path to something that the web server and PHP can write to.  Since I put PHP in C:\PHP, I put session.save_path = "C:/PHP/save".  Make sure the directory permissions allow for writing.
LVL 108

Assisted Solution

by:Ray Paseur
Ray Paseur earned 250 total points
ID: 39197583
Exactly what DaveBaldwin said!  Here are things I might like in the default installation of PHP.

Register Globals: Off
Magic Quotes: Off
Display_Errors(TRUE) and possibly suppressed in the runtime build
Allow_URL_FOpen(TRUE) for API compatibility
Date_Default_TimeZone_Set to something useful for most work

Things like Short_Open_Tag are mostly noise.  It's a configuration option that introduces an irrelevant complicating factor.  Just don't do that.

My $0.02, ~Ray
LVL 52

Author Closing Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 39197704
Thank you both!

I figured it was better to set the error log outside of the site as long as there are write privileges.

For suppressing error reporting at run time, do I just an include file at the top of each page with error_reporting(0);
LVL 82

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39197775
I never suppress error reporting... I want to know even if it means a customer calls and asks what's going on.  You can't fix what you don't know about.
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LVL 52

Author Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 39197887
I know.   I show friendly errors to the public and detail errors only on the server for asp.   But that is done in iis/web.config.    I just want to avoid showing any type of error to help hackers.
LVL 108

Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 39197962
Thanks for the points.  This is quite useful for runtime errors in a live setting.
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Author Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 39199250
Does set_error_handler go on every page?
LVL 82

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39199319
I'm sure it does like almost everything else in PHP.  The only place that all routines will have in common is the settings in 'php.ini'.  Things like set_error_handler() and ini_set() are used to override the settings in 'php.ini'.  Note that not all things can be changed at run-time.

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