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Deploy PHP applications


PHP is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML.

PHP is available on our platform with the branches 5.6, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 and 8.0. You can use FTP or Git to deploy your applications.

The HTTP server is Apache 2, and the PHP code is executed by PHP-FPM.

Create an application on Clever Cloud

via the web console

  1. Create a new app by clicking on the Add an Application button, in the sidebar.
  2. Select a brand new instance (or a repository from GitHub if your account is linked).
  3. Then select PHP in the platform list.
  4. Configure your scaling options.
  5. Enter your application’s name and description and click “Next”. You can also select the region you want (North America or Europe).

Refer to https://www.clever-cloud.com/doc/getting-started/ for more details on application creation via the console.

via the Clever Tools CLI

  1. Make sure you have clever-tools installed locally. Report to https://www.clever-cloud.com/doc/reference/clever-tools/getting_started/
  2. In your code folder, do clever create --type <type> <app-name> --region <zone> --org <org> where type is the type of technology you rely on, app-name the name you want for your application, zone deployment zone (par for Paris and mtl for Montreal), and org the organization ID the application will be created under.

Refer to https://www.clever-cloud.com/doc/reference/clever-tools/create/ for more details on application creation with Clever Tools.

Setting up environment variables on Clever Cloud

With the Clever Cloud console

  1. Go to the Clever Cloud console, and find the app you want to fine tune under it’s organization.
  2. Find the Environment variables menu and select it.
  3. In this menu, you will see a form with VARIABLE_NAME and variable value fields. Fill them with the desired values then select Create.

With the Clever Tools CLI

  1. Make sure you have clever-tools installed locally. Report to https://www.clever-cloud.com/doc/reference/clever-tools/getting_started/
  2. In your code folder, do clever env set <variable-name> <variable-value>

Refer to https://www.clever-cloud.com/doc/reference/reference-environment-variables/ for more details on available environment variables on Clever Cloud. You can of course create custom ones with the interface we just demonstrated, they will be available for your application.

Configure your PHP application

Choose your PHP version

Set the CC_PHP_VERSION environment variable to one of the following values:

  • 5.6
  • 7.2
  • 7.3
  • 7.4
  • 8.0

All new PHP applications are created with a default CC_PHP_VERSION, set to 7, which means latest php 7 version available. You can of course change it whenever you want then redeploy your application to use the version you want.

The configuration file for your PHP application must be /clevercloud/php.json, that is a php.json file in a /clevercloud folder at the root of your application.

Change the webroot

Since one of the best practices of PHP development is to take the libraries and core files outside the webroot, you may want to set another webroot than the default one (the root of your application).

Using an environment variable

Add a new environment variable called CC_WEBROOT and set /public as its value.

clever env set CC_WEBROOT /public

Using a configuration file

To change the webroot, just set the key webroot in the deploy part of the configuration file clevercloud/php.json with the absolute path (from the root of your application) of your new public folder.

In the following example we want to set the webroot to the folder /public:

    "deploy": {
      "webroot": "/public"

Change PHP settings

PHP settings

Most PHP settings can be changed using a .user.ini file.

If you want the settings to be applied to the whole application, you should put this file in your webroot. If you did not change it (see above), then your webroot is the root of the repository.

If you put the .user.ini file in a sub-directory; settings will be applied recursively starting from this sub-directory.

Timezone configuration

All instances on Clever Cloud run on the UTC timezone. We recommend to handle all your dates in UTC internally, and only handle timezones when reading or displaying dates.

Additionally, you can set PHP’s time zone setting with .user.ini. For instance, to use the french time zone, edit .user.ini to add this line:

Header injection

Usually, you can use an .htaccess file to create / update / delete headers. You won’t be able to do it from the .htaccess file if the headers come from a .php file, because php-fpm ignores the mod_headers plugin. It works fine for static files directly served by apache.

So if you need to inject headers on HTTP responses (for instance for CORS), you have to do it from PHP (you can’t do it from .htaccess).

header("Access-Control-Allow-Origin: *");

If you want to keep this separate from your application, you can configure the application to execute some code on every request.

In .user.ini, add the following line (you need to create inject_headers.php first):


Please refer to the official documentation for more information. You can review the available directives; all the PHP_INI_USER, PHP_INI_PERDIR, and PHP_INI_ALL directives can be set from within .user.ini.

Note: .user.ini files are not loaded by the php cli

clevercloud/php.json settings

Other settings than the one mentioned above can be changed by adding the following line in clevercloud/php.json:

      "configuration": {
         "my.setting": "value"

Here is the list of available settings:

  • mbstring.func_overload
  • pm.max_children

Note: You can send a request to the support if you need to change a setting which cannot be changed via a .user.ini file and is not in this list.

Memory Limit

When php-fpm spawns a worker it allocates a smaller part of the application’s memory to the worker, here is the allocated memory for each flavor:

To change this limit you can define MEMORY_LIMIT environment variable.

If you define a limit exceeding the application memory it will use the default one.

pm.max_children: Maximum PHP Children per instance

You can fix the maximum number of PHP running processes per instance by setting pm.max_children (see above).

This setting is useful if you need to limit the number of running processes according to the maximum connections limit of your MySQL or PostgreSQL database.

By default, pm.max_children is set to 10.

Configure Apache

We use Apache 2 as HTTP Server. In order to configure it, you can create a .htaccess file and set directives inside this file.


The .htaccess file can be created everywhere in you app, depending of the part of the application covered by directives. However, directives who applies to the entire application must be declared in a .htaccess file to the application root.


If you need basic authentication, you can use the .htpasswd file. The path to the .htpasswd of the AuthUserFile directive has to be absolute. Your site root folder is available at /var/www/bas/site/, so the directive should look like: AuthUserFile /var/www/bas/site/.htpasswd

Define a custom HTTP timeout

You can define the timeout of an HTTP request in Apache using the HTTP_TIMEOUT environment variable.

By default, the HTTP timeout is se to 3 minutes (180 seconds).

Force HTTPS traffic

Load balancers handle HTTPS traffic ahead of your application. You can use the X-Forwarded-Proto header to know the original protocol (http or https).

Place the following snippet in a .htaccess file to ensure that your visitors only access your application through HTTPS.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteCond %{HTTP:X-Forwarded-Proto} !https
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

Prevent Apache to redirect HTTPS calls to HTTP when adding a trailing slash

DirectorySlash is enabled by default on the PHP scalers, therefore Apache will add a trailing slash to a resource when it detects that it is a directory.

eg. if foobar is a directory, Apache will automatically redirect http://example.com/foobar to http://example.com/foobar/

Unfortunately the module is unable to detect if the request comes from a secure connection or not. As a result it will force an HTTPS call to be redirected to HTTP.

In order to prevent this behavior, you can add the following statements in a .htaccess file:

DirectorySlash Off
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
RewriteRule ^(.+[^/])$          %{HTTP:X-Forwarded-Proto}://%{HTTP_HOST}/$1/  [R=301,L,QSA]

These statements will keep the former protocol of the request when issuying the redirect. Assuming that the header X-Forwarded-Proto is always filled (which is the case on our platform).

If you want to force all redirects to HTTPS, you can replace %{HTTP:X-Forwarded-Proto} with https.

Environment injection

As mentionned above, Clever Cloud can inject environment variables that are defined in the dashboard and by add-ons linked to your application.

To access the variables, use the getenv function. So, for example, if your application has a postgresql add-on linked:


$dbh = new PDO( 'postgresql:host='.getenv("POSTGRESQL_ADDON_HOST").';dbname='.getenv("POSTGRESQL_ADDON_DB"), getenv("POSTGRESQL_ADDON_USER"), getenv("POSTGRESQL_ADDON_PASSWORD") );


We support Composer build out of the box. You just need to provide a composer.json file in the root of your repository and we will run composer.phar install --no-ansi --no-progress --no-interaction --no-dev for you.

You can also set the CC_COMPOSER_VERSION to 1 or 2 to select the composer version to use.

You can perform your own composer.phar install by using the Post Build hook if for example you need to install dev dependencies.

If you need to install development dependencies automatically, please let us know by opening a support ticket. This feature may be implemented using an environment variable in the future if this is often asked.

Example of a composer.json file:

   "require": {
      "laravel/framework": "4.1.*",
      "ruflin/Elastica": "dev-master",
      "shift31/laravel-elasticsearch": "dev-master",
      "natxet/CssMin": "dev-master"
   "repositories": [
         "type": "vcs",
         "url": "https://GitHub.com/timothylhuillier/laravel-elasticsearch.git"
   "autoload": {
      "classmap": [
      "psr-0": {
         "SomeApp": "app"
   "config": {
      "preferred-install": "dist"
   "minimum-stability": "dev"

Example of a minimalist PHP application using composer and custom scripts: php-composer-demo

GitHub rate limit

Sometimes, you can encounter the following error when downloading dependencies:

Failed to download symfony/symfony from dist: Could not authenticate against GitHub.com

To prevent this download dependencies’s fails that is often caused by rate limit of GitHub API while deploying your apps, we recommend you to add oauth token in your composer configuration file or in separate file named as described in composer FAQ (API rate limit and OAuth tokens).

You can find more documentation about composer configuration at getcomposer.com.


You use Artisan to manage your project and you want to execute artisan migrate before running your app.

To do this, we use a post build hook, you have to set a new environment variable on your Clever application as following:

CC_POST_BUILD_HOOK=php artisan migrate --force

Note: You must add the execute permission to your file (chmod u+x yourfile) before pushing it.

Frameworks and CMS

The following is the list of tested CMS by our team.

It’s quite not exhaustive, so it does not mean that other CMS can’t work on the Clever Cloud platform.


Available extensions and modules

You can check enabled extensions and versions by viewing our phpinfo() example for

Warning: some extensions need to be enabled explicitely

The following extensions are enabled by default: amqp, imagick, libsodium, memcached, memcache, mongodb, opcache, redis, solr, ssh2, zip.

You can add DISABLE_<extension_name>: true in your environment variable to disable them.

If you have a request about modules, feel free to contact our support at support@clever-cloud.com.

Enable specific extensions

Some extensions need to be enabled explicitly. To enable these extensions, you’ll need to set the corresponding environment variable:

  • APC: set ENABLE_APC to true.

    APC is a framework for caching and optimizing PHP intermediate code. Warning: APC is only available for PHP 5.4.

  • APCu: set ENABLE_APCU to true.

    APCu is an in-memory key-value store for PHP. Keys are of type string and values can be any PHP variables.

  • Couchbase: set ENABLE_COUCHBASE and ENABLE_PCS to true

    Couchbase is a document database with a SQL-based query language that is engineered to deliver performance at scale.

  • IonCube: set ENABLE_IONCUBE to true.

    IonCube is a tool to obfuscate PHP code. It’s often used by paying Prestashop and WordPress plugins.

  • Mailparse: set ENABLE_MAILPARSE to true.

    Mailparse is an extension for parsing and working with email messages. It can deal with RFC 822 and RFC 2045 (MIME) compliant messages.

  • Mongo: set ENABLE_MONGO to true.

    MongoDB is a NoSQL Database. This extension allows to use it from PHP. Warning: this extension is now superseded by the mongodb extension. We provide it for backward compatibility.

  • NewRelic: set ENABLE_NEWRELIC to true.

    Newrelic Agent for PHP. Newrelic is a software analytics tool.

  • OAuth: set ENABLE_OAUTH to true.

    OAuth consumer extension. OAuth is an authorization protocol built on top of HTTP.

  • XDebug: set ENABLE_XDEBUG to true.

    XDebug is a debugger and profiler tool for PHP.

  • Rdkafka: set ENABLE_RDKAFKA to true.

    PHP-rdkafka is a thin librdkafka binding providing a working PHP 5 / PHP 7 Kafka client.

  • Sqreen: The Sqreen agent is started automatically after adding the environment variables (SQREEN_API_APP_NAME and SQREEN_API_TOKEN).

Use Redis to store PHP Sessions

By default, sessions are stored on a replicated file system, so that session data is available on each instance. We also provide the possibility to store the PHP sessions in a Redis database to improve performance: if your application is under heavy load, redis persistence for sessions can improve latency.

To enable this feature, you need to:

  • enable Redis support on the application (create an environment variable named ENABLE_REDIS with the value true.)
  • create and link a Redis add-on
  • create an environment variable named SESSION_TYPE with the value redis.

Sending emails

The PHP language has the mail function to directly send emails. While we do not provide a SMTP server (needed to send the emails), you can configure one through environment variables.

We also recommend you to use Mailgun or Mailjet if your project supports it. These services already have everything you need to send emails from your code.

Configure the SMTP server

Services like Mailgun or Mailjet provide SMTP servers. If your application has no other way but to use the mail function of PHP to send emails, you have to configure a SMTP server. This can be done through environment variables:

  • CC_MTA_SERVER_HOST: Host of the SMTP server.
  • CC_MTA_SERVER_PORT: Port of the SMTP server. Defaults to 465 whether TLS is enabled or not.
  • CC_MTA_AUTH_USER: User to authenticate to the SMTP server.
  • CC_MTA_AUTH_PASSWORD: Password to authenticate to the SMTP server.
  • CC_MTA_SERVER_USE_TLS: Enable or disable TLS (no STARTTLS support). Defaults to true.
  • CC_MTA_SERVER_AUTH_METHOD: Enable or disable authentication. Defaults to on.

Configure Monolog

A lot of frameworks (including Symfony) use Monolog to handle logging. The default configuration of Monolog doesn’t allow to log errors into the console. Here is a basic configuration of Monolog to send your application’s logs into our logging system and access them into the Console:

      type:     error_log
      level:    warning

You can change the level to whatever level you desire. For Symfony, the configuration file is app/config/config_prod.yml.

Laravel doesn’t need Monolog to retrieve logs via Clever console or Clever CLI. Here, ensure that you have the following line in config/app.php:

'log' => env('APP_LOG'),

Then, set APP_LOG=syslog as Clever application environment variable.

Using HTTP authentication

Using basic HTTP authentication, PHP usually gives you the user and password in variables named $_SERVER['PHP_AUTH_USER'] and $_SERVER['PHP_AUTH_PW']. On Clever Cloud, we have enabled an option in Apache to pass directly the Authorization header even though we are using FastCGI; still, PHP does not use the header and the variables mentioned before are empty.

You can do this to fill them using the Authorization header:

list($_SERVER['PHP_AUTH_USER'], $_SERVER['PHP_AUTH_PW']) = explode(':' , base64_decode(substr($_SERVER['Authorization'], 6)));

Monitor your application with New Relic

You can use New Relic to monitor your application on Clever Cloud. Please refer to [the New Relic section of the documentation] to configure it for your application.

Deploy on Clever Cloud

Application deployment on Clever Cloud is via Git or FTP.

Git Deployment on Clever Cloud

You need git on your computer to deploy via this tool. Here is the official website of Git to get more information: git-scm.com

Setting up your remotes

  1. The “Information” page of your app gives you your git deployment URL. It looks like this: git+ssh://git@push.clever-cloud.com/<your_app_id>.git. Copy it in your clipboard.

  2. Locally, under your code folder, type in git init to set up a new git repository or skip this step if you already have one.

  3. Add the deploy URL with git remote add <name> <your-git-deployment-url>.

  4. Add your files via git add <files path> and commit them via git commit -m <your commit message>.

  5. Now push your application on Clever Cloud with git push <name> master

Refer to https://www.clever-cloud.com/doc/getting-started/quickstart/ for more details on git deployments.

FTP Deployment

Make sure you have Filezilla or an other FTP software installed in your machine.

When you have chosen to deploy your application via FTP at the application creation, a free FS Bucket has been created with an ID matching your application’s ID. You will find the FTP credentials in the configuration tab of this particular FS Bucket.

Just follow the instructions of your FTP Software do send code to Clever Cloud.

Refer to https://www.clever-cloud.com/doc/getting-started/quickstart/ for more details on FTP deployments.


ProxySQL is a tool that acts like a proxy between your application and your MySQL add-on. Instead of connecting to your MySQL add-on, you can connect to the local ProxySQL and it will forward all your requests to your MySQL add-on.

This allows you to let ProxySQL take care of some interesting features like connection pooling or leader / follower setup.

You can learn more about ProxySQL on the dedicated documentation page

More configuration

Need more configuration? To run a script at the end of your deployment? To add your private SSH key to access private dependencies? Go check the Common configuration page.

You may want to have an advanced usage of your application, in which case we recommend you to read the Administrate documentation section.

If you can’t find something or have a specific need like using a non supported version of a particular software, please reach out to the support.