The “PHP-FastCGI Process Manager” (short PHP-FPM) is an alternative FastCGI Implementation for PHP in a web-server.

Here we always have (at least) one PHP-FPM process parallel to the web-server process which handles PHP interpretation.

FPM processes group up into different “pools”. In these pools there will usually be several proccess created which handle PHP interpretation for a specific web page.

The amount of these processes and many more settings can be set in the FPM configuration (see bellow).

Installation (Debian based Distros)

sudo apt install php7.2 php7.2-common php7.2-cli php7.2-fpm

FPM Configuration

This is located in “/etc/php/7.2/fpm/pool.d/”.
Here we should create one file per socket/website.

user = <username>
group = <groupname>
listen = /run/php/<socket-name>.sock
listen.owner = www-data = www-data
pm = dynamic
pm.max_children = 5
pm.start_servers = 2
pm.min_spare_servers = 1
pm.max_spare_servers = 3
env[PATH] = /usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin
chroot = <docroot-path>
php_admin_value[openssl.capath] = /etc/ssl/certs

The “listen” defines where the linux socket should be placed in the file system. This socket will be created after the PHP-FPM process has been restarted.

Via this socket the web-server can redirect PHP interpretation to the FPM process (see bellow)

Web-Server Configuration (NGINX)

The web-server has to know how and where it should send PHP-Files to the corresponding PHP process.

This is an example for: /etc/nginx/sites-available/<domain-name>.conf

server {
    listen 443 ssl http2; # managed by Certbot
    listen [::]:443 ssl http2;

    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/<domain-name>/fullchain.pem; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/<domain-name>/privkey.pem; # managed by Certbot
    include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-nginx.conf; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_dhparam /etc/letsencrypt/ssl-dhparams.pem; # managed by Certbot

    root <path-to-docroot>;
    server_name <domain-name>;

    index index.html index.htm index.php;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;

    location ~ \.php$ {
        include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
	fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/<fpm-socket-name>.sock;
    error_log <path-to-logs>/error.log warn;
    access_log <path-to-logs>/access.log apm;

server {
    if ($host = <domain-name>) {
        return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
    } # managed by Certbot
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;

    server_name <domain-name>;
    return 404; # managed by Certbot

The following line is responsible for the “redirection” to the FPM process:

fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/<fpm-socket-name>.sock;

When you change something in the PHP-FPM config or the NGINX config you should always restart both services:

sudo systemctl restart php7.2-fpm.service nginx
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