Install Nginx & Multiple PHP Versions on macOS 12 Monterey

bridge and rock mountain

Important Note: There is a tutorial for installing multiple versions of PHP with nginx on macOS 13 Ventura.

In this tutorial, you will set up nginx and multiple PHP versions on macOS 12 Monterey. In the end, you will have a robust, clean, and fast local web development environment on Mac’s Intel or Apple Silicon (M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max) chipsets. Here is the software you will install, in order:

  1. Xcode, VS Code & Homebrew *: This step is required to get started.
  2. openSSL & wget *: This step is required to get started.
  3. MySQL: This step is not required, but MySQL and PHP are like PB & J.
  4. PostgreSQL: This step is not required, but I personally use PostgreSQL, so its here.
  5. Multiple PHP Versions *: This is the meat.
  6. Xdebug: This is an awesome tool I highly recommend.
  7. Nginx *: This step is required and is super in-depth, so you get SSL/TLS certs and custom local domains.
  8. Dnsmasq *: This step is required for those custom domains.
  9. MailHog: This tool is excellent that you will love if you send email during local development. It catches emails and provides a nice looking UI to view them.
  10. Redis: This is recommended if you are doing Laravel work.

Setup: Xcode, VS Code, & Homebrew

Before starting you need a few tools installed to take the stress out of the setup process: Xcode, VS Code, and Homebrew.

First, install Xcode. Next, install the CLI tools from the terminal. You will be using the terminal a lot coming up (I like iTerm2).

xcode-select --install

Also, you will need VS Code installed with the code command in your system path.

Finally, install Homebrew.

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install.sh)"

Homebrew will ask you to run a few commands, don’t miss them.

Now, that the tools are installed, you can get into the rest of the setup process.

OpenSSL & wget

Install OpenSSL and get. You will need these before moving forward.

brew install openssl
brew install wget

MySQL

Install MySQL.

brew install mysql
brew services start mysql
brew services list

Next, update your my.cnf.

# Intel x86 Chipset
code /usr/local/etc/my.cnf
# Apple Silicon M1 Chipset
code /opt/homebrew/etc/my.cnf
# Default Homebrew MySQL server config
[mysqld]
# Only allow connections from localhost
bind-address = 127.0.0.1
mysqlx-bind-address = 127.0.0.1

# Add mode only if needed
sql_mode = "ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY,ERROR_FOR_DIVISION_BY_ZERO,NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION"

Now, secure using the password password and then restart.

mysql_secure_installation
brew services restart mysql

Next, MySQL 8 authentication needs to be updated per user to mysql_native_password. Note, there is no space before the username and password.

mysql -uroot -ppassword
mysql> ALTER USER 'root'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED WITH mysql_native_password BY 'password';

You might have to reset your password security level to LOW if the above fails for ERROR 1819 (HY000): Your password does not satisfy the current policy requirements.

mysql> SHOW VARIABLES LIKE 'validate_password%';
validate password policy low
mysql> SET GLOBAL validate_password.policy=LOW;

Postgres

Install postgresql (not the postgres app).

brew install postgresql
brew services start postgresql
brew services list
psql postgres

Now, you can check your user list.

postgres-# \du

Install Multiple PHP Verions

Now, install multiple PHP versions on your Mac computer. First, don’t use the default homebrew core tap for PHP. Use shivammathur/php.

brew tap shivammathur/php

brew install shivammathur/php/[email protected]
brew install shivammathur/php/[email protected]
brew install shivammathur/php/[email protected]
brew install shivammathur/php/[email protected]
brew install shivammathur/php/[email protected]

Next, set PHP 7.4 as your default php CLI version.

brew unlink php
brew link --overwrite --force [email protected]

Now, for each version update the php-fpm you will need a unique port. Change the ports of each php-fpm to match its php version number. For example, [email protected] I use port 9074.

Also, you will want php-fpm to run with your user account and not _www. Note, the folder path difference is based on the Mac processor your computer has (Intel x86 or Apple M1 ARM).

# Intel x86 Chipset
code /usr/local/etc/php/7.4/php-fpm.d/www.conf
# Apple Silicon M1 Chipset
code /opt/homebrew/etc/php/7.4/php-fpm.d/www.conf
# default
user = _www
group = _www
listen = 127.0.0.1:9000

# change to
user = <your_username>
group = staff
listen = 127.0.0.1:9074

Optionally, before starting php-fpm, if you want to make edits to a php.ini file now is the time. For example, you might want to increase the upload_max_filesize and post_max_size to 10M.

Again, note the path based on the chipset.

# Intel x86 Chipset
/usr/local/etc/php/7.2/php.ini
/usr/local/etc/php/7.3/php.ini
/usr/local/etc/php/7.4/php.ini
/usr/local/etc/php/8.0/php.ini
/usr/local/etc/php/8.1/php.ini
# Apple Silicon M1 Chipset
/opt/homebrew/etc/php/7.2/php.ini
/opt/homebrew/etc/php/7.3/php.ini
/opt/homebrew/etc/php/7.4/php.ini
/opt/homebrew/etc/php/8.0/php.ini
/opt/homebrew/etc/php/8.1/php.ini

Once you are ready, start up php-fpm for each version.

brew services start [email protected]
brew services start [email protected]
brew services start [email protected]
brew services start [email protected]
brew services start [email protected]

Check that you have processes running and validate your ports are correct.

sudo lsof -i -n -P|grep php-fpm
Multiple PHP versions on macOS 12 Monterey
Multiple versions of php-fpm running on macOS Monterey (including PHP 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 8.0, and 8.1)

Alias multiple PHP versions on macOS

Next, and optionally, add some PHP CLI aliases by adding the following to the bash scripts within your .bashrc or .zshrc file. This will give you quick access to a specific version when needed.

# Intel x86 Chipset
alias php72="/usr/local/opt/[email protected]/bin/php"
alias php73="/usr/local/opt/[email protected]/bin/php"
alias php74="/usr/local/opt/[email protected]/bin/php"
alias php80="/usr/local/opt/[email protected]/bin/php"
alias php81="/usr/local/opt/[email protected]/bin/php"
# Apple Silicon M1 Chipset
alias php72="/opt/homebrew/opt/[email protected]/bin/php"
alias php73="/opt/homebrew/opt/[email protected]/bin/php"
alias php74="/opt/homebrew/opt/[email protected]/bin/php"
alias php80="/opt/homebrew/opt/[email protected]/bin/php"
alias php81="/opt/homebrew/opt/[email protected]/bin/php"

Once you reload your bash file, you can access each alias from the Mac command line. For example, you can check the exact version of the aliased version of PHP.

php72 -v

Switching Between Multiple PHP Versions

How do I switch between PHP versions? You can add the following to your bash scripts, to make switching between multiple PHP versions on macOS simple:

# Make switching versions easy
function phpv() {
    brew unlink php
    brew link --overwrite --force "[email protected]$1"
    php -v
}

If you want to change the default php CLI you can set it using brew or if added, the bash function phpv 7.4.

# brew
brew unlink php
brew link --overwrite --force [email protected]

# bash function
phpv 7.4

Homebrew Upgrade PHP Errors

As time passes Homebrew is bound to break your PHP installations. When this happens you can reinstall the PHP version having the error. Keep in mind you may need to reconfigure that version of PHP but I’ve found your php.ini files remain the same.

brew reinstall shivammathur/php/[email protected]

Xdebug

I like xdebug for development with PHPStorm. To install xdebug for each version of php (cli and fpm) run the following.

brew link --overwrite --force [email protected]
pecl uninstall -r xdebug 
pecl install xdebug
brew link --overwrite --force [email protected]
pecl uninstall -r xdebug 
pecl install xdebug
brew link --overwrite --force [email protected]
pecl uninstall -r xdebug 
pecl install xdebug
brew link --overwrite --force [email protected]
pecl uninstall -r xdebug
pecl install xdebug
brew link --overwrite --force [email protected]
pecl uninstall -r xdebug
pecl install xdebug

For each version, you have installed update the php.ini. In our example, [email protected]

# Intel x86 Chipset
code /usr/local/etc/php/7.4/php.ini
# Apple Silicon M1 Chipset
code /opt/homebrew/etc/php/7.4/php.ini

You will need to remove the zend_extension="xdebug.so" that is added to the top of the file by the pecl install process. The new default xdebug port is 9003 – it was port 9000.

Add the following to the bottom of your php.ini file.

[xdebug]
zend_extension="xdebug.so"
xdebug.mode=debug
xdebug.client_port=9003
xdebug.idekey=PHPSTORM

When finished adding your xdebug configuration to each version you have installed kill all the currently running php-fpm processes. This is not wise to do on a production server. On a new Mac dev setup, this is perfectly fine.

sudo killall php-fpm

Nginx

Install nginx.

brew install nginx
sudo nginx

Now test the installation is working.

http://localhost:8080
nginx localhost screen
nginx localhost:8080 index.html

Now, change the default settings.

# Intel x86 Chipset
code /usr/local/etc/nginx/nginx.conf
# Apple Silicon M1 Chipset
code /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/nginx.conf

At the top of the nginx.conf file replace #user nobody; at the top of the file with the following:

user <your_username> staff;

Next, add the following to the http {} block.

# allow for many servers
server_names_hash_bucket_size 512;

Then, make these updates inside server {} block.

# From
listen 8080;
server_name  localhost;
index index.html;

# To
listen 80;
server_name  localhost test.x;
index index.html index.htm index.php;

Next, add a FastCGI gateway to php-fpm on the default server. The latest version of php installed is best. For other servers, you can set the version of PHP to the project requirement.

location ~ \.php$ {
  fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
  include fastcgi_params;
  fastcgi_pass 127.0.0.1:9074;
  fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
}

Next, add some basic security to your default server.

add_header X-Frame-Options "SAMEORIGIN";
add_header X-XSS-Protection "1; mode=block";
add_header X-Content-Type-Options "nosniff";

Then add the charset.

charset utf-8;

Now, you might want to allow for large file uploads.

http {
    ...
    client_max_body_size 100M;
}

Next, edit the real index.html file used by nginx. So, replace the index.html with an index.php file. Then, and some php code to make sure everything is working.

mv /usr/local/var/www/index.html /usr/local/var/www/index.php
code /usr/local/var/www/index.php
mv /opt/homebrew/var/www/index.html /opt/homebrew/var/www/index.php
code /opt/homebrew/var/www/index.php
<?php echo phpinfo(); ?>

Reload nginx.

sudo nginx -s reload
http://localhost
nginx php page
nginx index.php with info.

To add more servers you can go to the nginx servers directory, Intel as /usr/local/etc/nginx/servers and M1 as /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/servers/, and add them there as individual files. Here is a basic Intel template and one for M1 Macs.

To keep things organized, you will want to create an SSL folder to hold your future SSL certs.

mkdir /usr/local/etc/nginx/ssl/
mkdir /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/ssl/
server {
    listen 443 ssl http2;
    listen [::]:443 ssl http2;

    ssl_certificate      /usr/local/etc/nginx/ssl/{{host}}.crt;
    ssl_certificate_key  /usr/local/etc/nginx/ssl/{{host}}.key;
    ssl_ciphers          HIGH:!aNULL:!MD5;
    
    # listen       80;
    server_name {{host}};
    root   {{root}};

    add_header X-Frame-Options "SAMEORIGIN";
    add_header X-XSS-Protection "1; mode=block";
    add_header X-Content-Type-Options "nosniff";

    index index.html index.htm index.php;

    charset utf-8;
    
    location = /favicon.ico { access_log off; log_not_found off; }
    location = /robots.txt  { access_log off; log_not_found off; }

    access_log off;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$query_string;
    }

    error_page 404 /index.php;

    location ~ \.php$ {
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
        fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
        fastcgi_pass 127.0.0.1:9074;
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        include fastcgi_params;
    }
    
    location ~ /\.(?!well-known).* {
        deny all;
    }
}
server {
    listen 443 ssl http2;
    listen [::]:443 ssl http2;

    ssl_certificate      /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/ssl/{{host}}.crt;
    ssl_certificate_key  /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/ssl/{{host}}.key;
    ssl_ciphers          HIGH:!aNULL:!MD5;
    
    # listen       80;
    server_name {{host}};
    root   {{root}};

    add_header X-Frame-Options "SAMEORIGIN";
    add_header X-XSS-Protection "1; mode=block";
    add_header X-Content-Type-Options "nosniff";

    index index.html index.htm index.php;

    charset utf-8;
    
    location = /favicon.ico { access_log off; log_not_found off; }
    location = /robots.txt  { access_log off; log_not_found off; }

    access_log off;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$query_string;
    }

    error_page 404 /index.php;

    location ~ \.php$ {
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
        fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
        fastcgi_pass 127.0.0.1:9074;
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        include fastcgi_params;
    }
    
    location ~ /\.(?!well-known).* {
        deny all;
    }
}

To add SSL for your nginx server, I use these bash functions to make the process faster. These functions:

  • Generates a unique certificate per site.
  • Adds the SSL certificate to your Mac’s Keychain.
  • Generates the nginx server for the domain with PHP 7.4 the default.

To add a server I use the command nginxcreate my.test.x but you might want to modify the files to match your setup. Again, note the /usr/local/etc paths need to be changed to /opt/homebrew/etc if you are using an M1 Mac.

Here are the links to the server templates I created: Intel and M1.

alias nginxreload="sudo nginx -s reload"
alias nginxrestart="sudo nginx -s stop && sudo nginx"
alias nginxservers="cd /usr/local/etc/nginx/servers"
alias nginxlist="ll /usr/local/etc/nginx/servers"

# nginxcreate text.x /Users/yourname/Code/laravel/public/
function nginxcreate() {
    wget https://gist.githubusercontent.com/kevindees/4e3508357ef46676f7635c545e4fd017/raw/f2c2f2716605e4b22a437058e2a7ebf5f8b775b9/nginx-server-template.conf -O /usr/local/etc/nginx/servers/$1.conf
    sed -i '' "s:{{host}}:$1:" /usr/local/etc/nginx/servers/$1.conf

    if [ "$2" ]; then
        sed  -i '' "s:{{root}}:$2:" /usr/local/etc/nginx/servers/$1.conf
    else
        sed  -i '' "s:{{root}}:$HOME/Sites/$1:" /usr/local/etc/nginx/servers/$1.conf
    fi

    nginxaddssl $1

    nginxrestart

    code /usr/local/etc/nginx/servers/$1.conf
 }

 function nginxaddssl() {
     openssl req \
        -x509 -sha256 -nodes -newkey rsa:2048 -days 3650 \
        -subj "/CN=$1" \
        -reqexts SAN \
        -extensions SAN \
        -config <(cat /System/Library/OpenSSL/openssl.cnf; printf "[SAN]\nsubjectAltName=DNS:$1") \
        -keyout /usr/local/etc/nginx/ssl/$1.key \
        -out /usr/local/etc/nginx/ssl/$1.crt

    sudo security add-trusted-cert -d -r trustRoot -k /Library/Keychains/System.keychain /usr/local/etc/nginx/ssl/$1.crt
 }

 function nginxedit() {
     code /usr/local/etc/nginx/servers/$1
 }
alias nginxreload="sudo nginx -s reload"
alias nginxrestart="sudo nginx -s stop && sudo nginx"
alias nginxservers="cd /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/servers"
alias nginxlist="ll /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/servers"

# nginxcreate text.x  /Users/yourname/Code/laravel/public/
function nginxcreate() {
    wget https://gist.githubusercontent.com/kevindees/deb3e2bdef377bbf2ffacbc48dfa7574/raw/1d5dc055fe87319a7f247808c9f9ee14c6abd9cd/nginx-server-template-m1.conf -O /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/servers/$1.conf
    sed -i '' "s:{{host}}:$1:" /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/servers/$1.conf

    if [ "$2" ]; then
        sed  -i '' "s:{{root}}:$2:" /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/servers/$1.conf
    else
        sed  -i '' "s:{{root}}:$HOME/Sites/$1:" /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/servers/$1.conf
    fi

    nginxaddssl $1

    nginxrestart

    code /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/servers/$1.conf
 }

 function nginxaddssl() {
     openssl req \
        -x509 -sha256 -nodes -newkey rsa:2048 -days 3650 \
        -subj "/CN=$1" \
        -reqexts SAN \
        -extensions SAN \
        -config <(cat /System/Library/OpenSSL/openssl.cnf; printf "[SAN]\nsubjectAltName=DNS:$1") \
        -keyout /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/ssl/$1.key \
        -out /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/ssl/$1.crt

    sudo security add-trusted-cert -d -r trustRoot -k /Library/Keychains/System.keychain /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/ssl/$1.crt
 }

 function nginxedit() {
     code /opt/homebrew/etc/nginx/servers/$1
 }

Dnsmasq

To save yourself the fuss of editing your hosts file constantly you can use dnsmasq. Note, the M1 has those new paths.

brew install dnsmasq

Then set up a custom hosts TLD *.x  (or other hosts TLD like .test) that point to 127.0.0.1.

(customize the commands as needed)

echo 'address=/.x/127.0.0.1' > /usr/local/etc/dnsmasq.conf
echo 'address=/.x/127.0.0.1' > /opt/homebrew/etc/dnsmasq.conf
sudo brew services start dnsmasq
sudo mkdir -v /etc/resolver 
sudo bash -c 'echo "nameserver 127.0.0.1" > /etc/resolver/x'

Test that it is working.

ping test.x

MailHog

I like to have mailhog running as a development mail server to test emails. But, if you don’t want to take this step that is perfectly fine.

brew install mailhog
brew services start mailhog

# start with
mailhog

Now, you can access MailHog at http://localhost:8025/. However, you still need to connect MailHog to PHP and the mail mac command used by Postfix (Postfix comes with macOS 12 Monterey).

code /etc/postfix/main.cf

Add the following to the end of the file to connect MailHog to Postfix.

# MailHog
myhostname = localhost
relayhost = [127.0.0.1]:1025

Send a test email and check MailHog.

echo "Test email from Postfix" | mail -s "Test Email" [email protected]

Next, update each php.ini file with the following, if you have multiple versions of PHP, and then restart php-fpm. Note, [email protected] should be used but will be overridden by any PHP scripts that run. Note, the M1 has those new paths.

sendmail_path = /usr/local/opt/mailhog/bin/MailHog sendmail [email protected]
sendmail_path = /opt/homebrew/opt/mailhog/bin/MailHog sendmail [email protected]
# Update your version number as needed
# 1.0.1 as of this writing
sendmail_path = /usr/local/Cellar/mailhog/1.0.1/bin/MailHog sendmail [email protected]
sudo killall php-fpm

Redis

Install Redis. This will install Redis Server v6.

brew install redis
brew services start redis
redis-server

Optionally, you can update your default dump.rdb file name in the redis.conf if you want. Note, the M1 has those new paths.

code /usr/local/etc/redis.conf
code /opt/homebrew/etc/redis.conf
# The filename where to dump the DB
dbfilename dump.rdb

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Resources

https://github.com/shivammathur/homebrew-php

https://medium.com/@wvervuurt/how-to-run-multiple-php-versions-simultaneously-under-os-x-el-capitan-using-standard-apache-98351f4cec67

https://getgrav.org/blog/macos-bigsur-apache-multiple-php-versions

https://litebreeze.com/software-development/install-nginx-mariadb-in-macos/

https://medium.com/@ThomasTan/installing-nginx-in-mac-os-x-maverick-with-homebrew-d8867b7e8a5a

https://serverfault.com/questions/845766/generating-a-self-signed-cert-with-openssl-that-works-in-chrome-58

https://github.com/openssl/openssl/issues/3363

https://www.moncefbelyamani.com/how-to-install-postgresql-on-a-mac-with-homebrew-and-lunchy/

https://dev.to/ravishan16/brew-redis-on-mac-1ni8

https://blog.menincode.com/en/how-to-configure-your-mailhog-and-postfix-on-mac-os-mojave/

5 thoughts on “Install Nginx & Multiple PHP Versions on macOS 12 Monterey

  1. You are awesome! Thank you so much!

    Also, I should mention that this guide applies to the linux homebrew package manager, but the paths will be different.

    I am using Ubuntu 22.04 and successfully installed 3 versions of php, nginx and mysql!

  2. Brilliant. Just bought an M1 MBP (switching back, now that the pain of dongle-gate, keyboard, and touchbar are over), and this is the exact stack I needed to configure. Thank you!

  3. Thank you so much! A very well written article!
    Exactly what I was looking for: a decent development stack for my new MBP!

  4. This is an outstanding guide to setting up for dev on the new mac. I’ve always meant to write one but kept bad notes, I just flew this the guide with no issues, everything just worked – never setup so quickly!

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