Using PHP With Tomcat

This tutorial shows how to use PHP version 4 with Tomcat version 4 or later. The tutorial was originally written and sent to the tomcat-dev mailing list by Jean-Frederic Clere (on his vacation, no less (wink) ) and Henri Gomez.

PHP version 5 is not currently supported as it does not include the necessary servlet code.


  • Download PHP (this tutorial uses PHP 4.3.5)
  • Download Tomcat (this tutorial uses Tomcat 5.0.19)
  • Define $JAVA_HOME for your JDK installation
  • Define $TOMCAT_HOME for your Tomcat installation
  • Define $PHP_HOME for your PHP installation

Patch for PHP configure Script

There is a patch required to compile PHP 4 to use Tomcat 5.

Prior to version 2.4 of Servlet Specification, the name of the servlet jar file was servlet.jar. In version 2.4 of the Servlet Specification, this name was changed to servlet-api.jar. Tomcat 4 uses the name servlet.jar, whereas Tomcat 5 and later uses servlet-api.jar. This causes problems with PHP's configure script.

This patch for PHP's configure script will fix this problem:

---       2004-04-07 11:20:24.000000000 +0200
+++ configure   2004-04-07 11:22:50.000000000 +0200
      if test "$withval" = "yes"; then
+      if test -f $withval/common/lib/servlet-api.jar; then
+        SERVLET_CLASSPATH=$withval/common/lib/servlet-api.jar
+      fi
        if test -f $withval/lib/servlet.jar; then

Patch for sapi/servlet/

enum is now a reserved word with Java 5, thus causing to break the make process.

---   2005-09-26 22:25:55.000000000 -0400
+++        2005-09-26 22:26:11.000000000 -0400
@@ -63,12 +63,12 @@
     if (!request.getMethod().equals("POST")) {
       result = request.getQueryString();
     } else {
-      Enumeration enum = request.getParameterNames();
+      Enumeration xenum = request.getParameterNames();
       String concat = "";
       result = "";

-      while (enum.hasMoreElements()) {
-        String name  = (String)enum.nextElement();
+      while (xenum.hasMoreElements()) {
+        String name  = (String)xenum.nextElement();
         String value = request.getParameter(name);

         try {

PHP Installation

  • Extract the source code to PHP in a work directory
  • Patch if needed (that is, patch if building PHP to run with Tomcat version 5 or later)
  • Run configure, then make in the top directory of the PHP sources:
     ./configure --with-servlet=$TOMCAT_HOME --with-java=$JAVA_HOME
  • A jar file and dynamic library are produced from the make: sapi/servlet/phpsrvlt.jar and libs/
  • Copy the jar file to your web application's class repository, or, alternately, to Tomcat's common class repository (as is shown here):
     cp $PHP_HOME/sapi/servlet/phpsrvlt.jar $TOMCAT_HOME/common/lib

  • Declare PHP servlet and servlet-mapping in the web applications web.xml file, or in Tomcat's shared web.xml file:
    • Copy from $PHP_HOME/sapi/servlet/web.xml the servlet and servlet-mapping and paste into the file $TOMCAT_HOME/conf/web.xml.
  • Modify your LD_LIBRARY_PATH to include the dynamic library produced in the first step above:
     export LD_LIBRARY_PATH
    • As an option, you can put someplace where java is already looking, any place in System.getProperty("java.library.path"), such as any of:

Fedora Core 1 Issues with Tomcat 5.5.9, PHP 4.3.11 and jdk1.5.0_03

This may have just been an issue with the particular system I was building, but I was unable to set $JAVA_HOME, $PHP_HOME, $TOMCAT_HOME, or $LD_LIBRARY_PATH at the command line. The workaround was to edit /etc/profile and add the variables there (i.e., and the line


and add JAVA_HOME to the export variables).

  • If make returns an error where javac is not a recognized command, you'll need to patch the Makefile produced by ./configure. Look for "&& javac" and replace it with the full path to javac (i.e., "
     && /usr/java/jdk1.5.0_03/bin/javac
  • If make returns an error regarding "enum" while trying to build phpsrvlt.jar, you'll need to edit $PHP_HOME/sapi/servlet/ and replace enum with xenum.

Start Tomcat



Verify the following is in your webapp's web.xml (creates the servlet entries and maps .php to that servlet and mentioned in the PHP installation steps above):



Verify that phpsrvlt.jar is in you WEB-INF/lib directory, or the tomcat common/lib directory (as mentioned above in the PHP installation steps)

Create a file named test.php in the docBase directory of your webapp.

In that file, simply put:

   <?php phpinfo(); ?>

Point your browser at the file by navigating to http://localhost:8080/test.php

If everything is working as it should, you will see an informational status page produced by PHP.


  • No labels