Pragmatism in the real world

Setting up PHP & MySQL on OS X Yosemite

It’s that time again; Apple has shipped a new version of OS X, 10.10 Yosemite. Apple ships PHP 5.5.14 with Yosemite and this is how to set it up from a clean install.

However, if you don’t want to use the built-in PHP or want to use version 5.6, then these are some alternatives:

Let’s get started…


Homebrew is a package manager for OS X. Install it, as we’ll need it later.

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

You’ll also need the Xcode command line tools – at least version 6.1. Usually you would install using
xcode-select --install, however, as of this writing Xcode 6.1 isn’t available on the Mac App Store, so use this direct link. Don’t forget to start up Xcode…

Note: if /usr/include doesn’t exist, then you need to do:

sudo ln -s /Applications/ /usr/include


  1. Download the “Mac OS X 10.9 (x86, 64-bit), DMG Archive” from and install the pkg.
  2. Open the pref pane and start the MySQL Server.
  3. Update the path by editing ~/.bash_profile and add:
    export PATH=~/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/mysql/bin:$PATH

    at top of file.

  4. Set up MySQL root password:
    mysqladmin -u root password {new-password}
    mysqladmin -u root -p{new-password} -h localhost password {new-password}
    mysqladmin -u root -p{new-password} reload

    Clear the history file by typing history -c so that {new-password} isn’t in plain text on the disk.

  5. Now ensure that the mysql.sock file can be found by PHP:
    1. Ensure that MySQL is running
    2. sudo mkdir /var/mysql
    3. sudo ln -s /tmp/mysql.sock /var/mysql/mysql.sock


In Yosemite, Apache 2.4.9 is installed. We just have to use the command line to start and stop it.

One change compared to 2.2.x worth noting is that we now need the Require all granted directive in our virtual host definitions in place of Allow from all. Read the upgrading documentation for more information.

  1. cd /etc/apache2
  2. Edit /etc/apache2/httpd.conf
    1. To enable PHP and rewriting in Apache, remove the leading # from these two lines:
      #LoadModule rewrite_module libexec/apache2/
      #LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/
    2. Find the <Directory "/Library/WebServer/Documents">section and change:
      AllowOverride None to AllowOverride All so that .htaccess files will work
      and Options FollowSymLinks Multiviews to Options FollowSymLinks Multiviews Indexes so that we can view directory listings.
  3. Restart Apache: sudo apachectl restart
  4. Give yourself permissions to the /Library/WebServer/Documents/ folder using the terminal commands:
    1. sudo chgrp staff /Library/WebServer/Documents
    2. sudo chmod g+rws /Library/WebServer/Documents
    3. sudo chmod g+rw /Library/WebServer/Documents/*
  5. Open Finder and navigate to /Library/WebServer/Documents/ using shift+cmd+g
  6. Create a new folder called “orig” and place all files currently in the Documents folder into it.
  7. Create a new file called info.php with <?php phpinfo(); inside it.
  8. Use Safari to navigate to http://localhost/info.php and check that the PHP version is displayed (5.5.14 at the time of writing).


  1. cd /etc
  2. sudo cp php.ini.default php.ini
  3. sudo chmod ug+w php.ini
  4. sudo chgrp admin php.ini
  5. Edit php.ini and change settings appropriately.
    At a minimum, you should change:
    date.timezone = "Europe/London"
    error_reporting  =  E_ALL
    display_errors = On


Can’t have a PHP development environment without xdebug! Fortunately, Yosemite ships with it ready to enable:

  1. Edit /etc/php.ini and add this line to the end:
    zend_extension = ""
  2. If you want to configure your xdebug settings, then add an [xdebug] section. I like these settings (use with caution…):
    xdebug.var_display_max_children = 999
    xdebug.var_display_max_data = 999
    xdebug.var_display_max_depth = 100
    xdebug.max_nesting_level = 200
  3. Restart apache: sudo apachectl restart and check in the phpinfo that xdebug is now loaded.


Install Composer into /usr/local/bin:

  1. cd /usr/local/bin
  2. curl -sS | php
  3. mv composer.phar composer


We need PEAR solely for installing PHP extensions using PECL. We just need to run the install phar file.

  1. cd /usr/lib/php
  2. sudo php install-pear-nozlib.phar
  3. sudo pear channel-update
  4. sudo pecl channel-update
  5. sudo pear upgrade-all
  6. sudo pear config-set auto_discover 1

Compiling extensions

To compile extensions, you need the Xcode command line tools and autoconf.

brew install autoconf

Intl extension

If you need Locale:

  1. brew install icu4c
  2. sudo pecl install intl
    The path to the ICU libraries and headers is: /usr/local/opt/icu4c/
  3. Edit /etc/php.ini and add to the end.

Mcrypt extension

Firstly, install mcrypt:

  1. brew install mcrypt

Now the PHP extension:

  1. brew tap homebrew/dupes
  2. brew tap homebrew/versions
  3. brew tap homebrew/php
  4. brew install php55-mcrypt --without-homebrew-php
  5. Enable:
    • sudo mkdir -p /Library/Server/Web/Config/php
    • sudo ln -s /usr/local/etc/php/5.5/conf.d/ext-mcrypt.ini /Library/Server/Web/Config/php/ext-mcrypt.ini

Finally, restart apache: sudo apachectl restart.

That’s it! It all works on this machine, anyway :)

As I noted at the top, if you don’t want to do all this yourself, there are other options available for PHP on OS X which may work better for you.

23 thoughts on “Setting up PHP & MySQL on OS X Yosemite

  1. As an alternative to your php and mysql packages you mentioned and as you've installed brew anyway, you could just grab the packages from that tool.


    brew install php56 --without-pear

    There are several versions of php you can install (i.e. php53, php54, etc.)

    As with all brews you can get a full list of options with:

    brew info php56


    brew install mysql

    You wouldn't need to redefine your path environment var then, as it should already have been defined by homebrew.

    Also, to help with hardening your mysql install, post installation you can make use of mysql_secure_installation

  2. Now I get your "Don't forget to start up Xcode…" warning. It's easy to forget about doing that and then loosing half an hour to find a fix.

  3. 1. I followed the instructions for Local intl creation and after I did php-v I got "PHP Warning: PHP Startup: Unable to load dynamic library '/usr/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20121212/'".
    2. So I searched for and found it in "/usr/local/Cellar/php55/5.5.18/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20121212"
    3. I then changed the line in /etc/ to "extension=/usr/local/Cellar/php55/5.5.18/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20121212/", now php -v is OK and returns PHP v 5.5.14
    Any idea why in in php 5.5.18 directory? BTW I installed mySQL with brew mysql.

  4. Thanks for this walkthrough, it worked.
    However in addition to wojtek: don't start with upgrading until you have upgraded xcode and xcode command line tools to the latest version.

    I took me 3 hours before I noticed.

  5. Thnx, very helpful! Just a question with respect to the mysql installation: I already had a mysql server/db setup when I upgraded from maverick to yosemity osx, therefore I dont want to lose the database information of the various webapplications. However, the 'old' mysql server doesnt work anymore under yosemity. How to deal with this?: Should I still install mysql accoding to your instructions and somehow import the old db information into the new db system? Appreciate your comments…

  6. Thank you for the post, it helped me a lot.
    I have the following error when installing intl :
    downloading intl-3.0.0.tgz …
    Starting to download intl-3.0.0.tgz (248,200 bytes)
    …………………………………………….done: 248,200 bytes
    could not extract the package.xml file from "/tmp/pear/install/intl-3.0.0.tgz"
    Download of "pecl/intl" succeeded, but it is not a valid package archive
    Error: cannot download "pecl/intl"
    Download failed
    install failed
    any idea ?

    1. I had the same issue, but after a bit of reading around, I don't believe that we're the only one. How to fix it "properly", I'm not sure, as I've not done contributed to extensions, yet. However, here's two links which helped me out:

      I believe we're experiencing the same issue as in the scrypt bug. I manually extracted the intl archive and it did exactly that. However, cutting a long story short; I successfully installed the extension as follows:

      – extract the archive
      – run phpize inside the archive directory
      – run configure, make, make install
      – add to /etc/php.ini

      All the best with it.

  7. How do you do step 3? Update the path by editing ~/.bash_profile and add and the terminal code that follows…

    Do you just put that in the terminal and hit enter or is there something else?

  8. I've successfully followed this but for some reason I'm unable to get away from this version of php. I cannot unlink it and go to another brew install?

  9. Thank you!

    Spend several hours trying to figure out a problem and it turned out I just needed to run "sudo ln -s /tmp/mysql.sock /var/mysql/mysql.sock"


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