How do I create a phprc file via SSH?


Every installation of PHP comes with default settings which are usually fine for most websites. Occasionally, the needs of a website makes it necessary to adjust these PHP settings. Creating a php.ini (phprc) file is the solution to adjust the PHP settings for your website.

The standard term for a PHP configuration file is php.ini. However, DreamHost uses the term "phprc" file instead. This acts the same way – only the name is different. In this article, only the term phprc is used.

You can create a phprc file using an FTP client, or by logging into the server via SSH, however creating a phprc file is easier using an FTP client. This article is for more advanced users and explains how to create this phprc file via SSH.

Adding a phprc file using SSH

  1. Log into your server via SSH. Visit the following article for instructions on how to do this based on which operating system you’re using:
  2. Make sure you’re in your users directory by typing in ‘pwd’ to confirm:
    [server]$ pwd 

    In this directory, you can run a single command to create the /.php folder as well as the /7.2 folder that goes inside of it. Remember to first check which version of PHP your site is using. In the following example, we’ll assume the site is using PHP 7.2. If your site is running PHP 7.1, the directory would be named 7.1 instead.

  3. Run the following command:
    [server]$ mkdir -p ~/.php/7.2
  4. Change your directory into these two new folders you just created, by running the following:
    [server]$ cd .php/7.2
    • When you run pwd, you now see the entire filepath you just created:
    [server]$ pwd
  5. In this folder, create the phprc file without an extension.

    There are a few programs you can run to create this file. This example uses a program called nano. View the 'Creating and editing a file via SSH' article for further details.

  6. Run the following to create the phprc file.
    [server]$ nano phprc
    • A text editor pops up.
  7. Edit the file with all of your PHP customizations.
  8. Close the file and return to your shell.

Killing off running PHP processes

After you've saved your changes, you should kill off all running PHP processes. This ensures your new settings are updated. View the following article for instructions on how to kill off all running PHP processes:

Confirming your changes

After you've edited the file and killed off all PHP processes, you should check to confirm the values have updated. You can do this by creating a phpinfo.php file.

If you do not see your changes have updated, try killing off your PHP processes again:


The phprc file you just created is used for any domains under this specific username that are also running the specific version of PHP you chose in step#3 when creating the directory.

For example, if the user has three domains where two are running PHP 7.2 and the third is running PHP 7.1, only the first two domains running 7.2 would be affected by the phprc file. You would need to create a separate phprc file for the PHP 7.1 site.

See also

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Article last updated PST.