I have installed Apache and PHP. I know PHP works as I have tested a simple PHP file on an Apache server.

I'm writing a simple webserver which should be able to process PHP files. So once I get a request for a PHP file, I want to do something like 'exec php test.php' and get the output and pass it to the client.

As I'm not much into Ubuntu, I don't know where the PHP executable is (should be in \bin right?) to do it. But there is no PHP file inside \bin or \usr\bin.

When I run 'which php' it shows nothing. How do I do this?

  • 1
    What happened is most likely that you got php in apache as php module (technically - a library not an executable binary that gets called externally), that's why you couldn't find the binary. This comment is meant to complete the answer, which tells you what needs to be done to get the php binary in your system but doesn't provide any reasons why it was missing. Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 9:32
  • If you are really running Ubuntu 8.10 like your tags suggest, you should understand Ubuntu 8.10 is extremely out of date. You really should upgrade ASAP. There is no security support for that release.
    – Zoredache
    Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 9:49
  • @Zoredache yeah I know it's very old. But I'm not a Ubuntu user. I had the CD and I installed it, just for my assignment! :D
    – samsamara
    Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 11:16

4 Answers 4


You need to install the php5-cli or php5-cgi package.

sudo apt-get install php5-cli
# OR
sudo apt-get install php5-cgi

As Zoredache noted in the comment. cli version doesn't process headers nor dos output them - it's sort of clean PHP interpreter completely unaware of HTTP.

If you want version capable of above mentioned, use the CGI version.

  • 1
    yeah I just learned I need php-cli..:)
    – samsamara
    Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 8:20
  • 1
    Since he is writing a web server, he probably doesn't want the CLI version since that isn't going to be able to get the GET/POST data.
    – Zoredache
    Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 9:50
  • 2
    ok, installed, still question: where is the executable?
    – Andrew
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 19:10

Type the following in your terminal

whereis php

  • I got this php: /usr/bin/php7.1 /usr/bin/php7.0 /usr/bin/php /usr/bin/php7.2 /usr/lib/php /etc/php /usr/include/php /usr/share/php7.1-opcache /usr/share/php7.2-zip /usr/share/php7.0-intl /usr/share/php7.1-common /usr/share/php7.0-gd /usr/share/php7.2-common /usr/share/php7.1-gd /usr/share/php7.1-xmlrpc /usr/share/php7.2-intl /usr/share/php7.2-mysql
    – abu abu
    Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 10:37

I found the executables in /usr/bin/


  • /usr/bin/php
  • /usr/bin/php7.0
  • /usr/bin/php7.1

If you are writing your own web server you almost certainly want to install or build the CGI version of the PHP binary, and you will want to implement the CGI protocol in your web server. The CGI version has the required facilities to capture the GET/POST data.


  • I'm writing a simple web server with PHP and CGI support. For parsing php files, what I'm gonna do is 'exec /usr/bin/php file.php'. And you can run CGI scripts by parsing them to perl. Am I right? feasible?
    – samsamara
    Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 11:41
  • 1
    Uhm, no CGI hasnothing to do with perl. You really should read at least the wikipedia article.
    – Zoredache
    Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 20:16

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