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CentOS / Redhat Enterprise Linux Setup Lighttpd in Chroot Jail

Many people asked me to write about setting up Lighttpd under CentOS or RHEL 5 Linux using chroot() call. The instructions are almost same but you need to make little modification as compare to Debian / Ubuntu Linux instructions.

For example purpose we will build jail at /webroot location.
=> Default document root : /home/lighttpd/default/
=> Port : 80
=> IP: Your Public IP address
=> Virtual domain1: /home/lighttpd/vdomain1.com/
=> Virtual domain1 access log file: /var/log/lighttpd/vomain1.com/
=> Default access log file:/var/log/lighttpd/access.log
=> Default error log file:/var/log/lighttpd/error.log
=> Default php error log file: /var/log/lighttpd/php.log


These installation instructions assume you have:

  • Linux distribution
  • Required RPMs (see below for installation instructions)
    • php, php-pear, php-common, php-pdo, php-ldap, php-gd, php-cli, php-mysql
    • mysql, mysql-server etc
    • lighttpd, lighttpd-fastcgi (rpm available here)
  • Installations were tested on Red Hat Enterprise Linux v4/5 or CentOS v4/5 or Fedora Linux 7

Step # 1: Install required packages

Install php and related packages:
# yum install php php-pear php-common php-pdo php-ldap php-gd php-cli php-mysql
Install mysql and related packages:
# yum install mysql mysql-server
Install lighttpd and mod_fastcgi for lighttpd:
# rpm -ivh http://dag.wieers.com/rpm/packages/lighttpd/lighttpd-1.4.18-1.el5.rf.i386.rpm
# rpm -ivh http://dag.wieers.com/rpm/packages/lighttpd/lighttpd-fastcgi-1.4.18-1.el5.rf.i386.rpm

Step # 2: Create /webroot and related directories

# mkdir /webroot
# cd /webroot
# mkdir etc
# mkdir tmp
# chmod 1777 tmp/
# mkdir -p usr/bin
# mkdir -p home/lighttpd/default
# mkdir -p var/run/lighttpd
# mkdir -p var/log/lighttpd
# chown lighttpd:lighttpd var/run/lighttpd/
# chown lighttpd:lighttpd var/log/lighttpd/
# chown -R lighttpd:lighttpd home/

Step # 3: Install chroot script

You need to download and install my script that will help you to build lighttpd in jail:
# cd /sbin/
# wget http://www.cyberciti.biz/files/lighttpd/l2chroot.txt
# mv l2chroot.txt l2chroot
# chmod +x l2chroot

Step # 4: Install php in jail

Now copy php-cgi binary and related shared libraries using l2chroot script:
# cd /webroot/usr/bin
# cp /usr/bin/php-cgi .
# l2chroot php-cgi

Step # 5: Copy required files to /etc

Now you must copy php.ini and related all files to /etc/
# cd /webroot/etc
# cp /etc/passwd .
# cp /etc/group .
# cp /etc/hosts .
# cp /etc/nsswitch.conf .
# cp /etc/resolv.conf .
# cp /etc/php.ini .
# cp -avr /etc/php.d/ .
# cp -avr /etc/ld* .

Update (Oct-1-2008, 1:52pm) : You need to copy entire /etc/ and /usr/share/zoneinfo files to work with latest php version:
# cd /webroot/etc
# /bin/cp -avr /etc/* .

Copy all files from /usr/share/zoneinfo/:
# mkdir -p /webroot/usr/share/
# cd /webroot/usr/share/
# cp -avr /usr/share/zoneinfo/ .

Open group and passwd file and only keep entries for root and lighttpd user:
# vi /webroot/etc/group
Make sure file look as follows:

Also open passwd file inside jail:
# vi /webroot/etc/passwd
Make sure file look as follows:
lighttpd:x:100:101:lighttpd web server:/srv/www/lighttpd:/sbin/nologin

Step # 5: Copy php modules

Now copy php mysql support, php gd and other all modules:
# cd /webroot/usr/lib/
# cp -avr /usr/lib/php/ .
# cd php/modules
# for l in *.so; do l2chroot $l; done

Step # 6: Configure lighttpd chroot call

Open /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf file:
# vi /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
Setup default document root and chroot directory:
server.document-root = "/home/lighttpd/default/"

Save and close the file.

Step # 7: Restart lighttpd

Type the following command:
# /etc/init.d/lighttpd restart

Jail size

# du -ch /webroot/

12K     /webroot/var/log/lighttpd
16K     /webroot/var/log
4.0K    /webroot/var/run/lighttpd
8.0K    /webroot/var/run
28K     /webroot/var
8.0K    /webroot/etc/ld.so.conf.d
36K     /webroot/etc/php.d
160K    /webroot/etc
8.0K    /webroot/home/lighttpd/default
12K     /webroot/home/lighttpd
16K     /webroot/home
5.3M    /webroot/lib
4.0K    /webroot/tmp
872K    /webroot/usr/lib/sse2
1.4M    /webroot/usr/lib/mysql
676K    /webroot/usr/lib/php/modules
4.0K    /webroot/usr/lib/php/pear
684K    /webroot/usr/lib/php
9.9M    /webroot/usr/lib
2.9M    /webroot/usr/bin
13M     /webroot/usr
19M     /webroot/
19M     total


Always go thought /var/log/messages and server log files:
# tail -f /var/log/messages

Download mysql testing script

Copy and test php mysql connectivity with this script.

Install PHP 5 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 4

It appears that many people or sys admin want to run php 5 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Unfortunately Redhat does not provide this package (RPM file) for RHEL. You can download source code and install php 5 from official php site. This requires compiler collection on your system. Download source code and just follow instructions presented in INSTALL or REDME file.

Another option is search and installs PHP 5 packages. You can download x86_64 PHP 5 package here. Use wget command to download these packages and rpm command to install new packages. But first remove old php4 package using rpm -e command.

Alert: This post is outdated. Please use the latest version of RHEL/CentOS v6.x+ for PHP 5.x. The author no longer support php 5 rpm on RHEL 4.x.

However these rpm packages 64 bit so if you are running 32 bit os rebuild RPM file.

Step # 1: Download src rpm

# cd /tmp
# wget http://www.cyberciti.biz/files/lighttpd/rhel4-php5-fastcgi/php-5.1.4-1.esp1.src.rpm
# rpm -ivh php-5.1.4-1.esp1.src.rpm

Step #2: Rebuild RPM for 32 bit RHEL version

# cd /usr/src/redhat/SPECS
# rpmbuild -bb php.spec

It will take some time to compile and rebuild RPM files.

Step #3: Install new php5 RPM file

Remove old php4 rpm. Go to /usr/src/redhat/RPMS directory and install PHP5 RPM files.

Please note that PHP 5 is not official supported by Red Hat on RHEL 4.0. You are using these packages on your own risk ;)