How to Install PHP on Google Cloud Server

This post shows students and new users steps to install PHP on Google Cloud servers running Ubuntu Linux. If you want run a website online, you’ll need a web server. You’ll probably also need a PHP server-side programming language script installed on your server. PHP is the most popular open source side-side script in use today, and runs on majority of websites online.

This is the fifth post in this series which can be used as a beginner’s guide to learn how to create a website domain, set up a Google Cloud server with Ubuntu Linux and install software and packages to build and run a website online.

In this series:

Now that you’ve learned how to create a website domain and set up a Google Cloud server, this post shows you how to install PHP on Google Cloud server with Ubuntu Linux.

A web server allows content to be published and served to web clients and your audience browsing your website. A PHP server-side script allows you to run complex and dynamic website with advanced functionality.

Both a web server and PHP or other side-side processing scripts are needed in order to run a dynamic and successful website today.

In our first post, we mentioned that after you create a domain name, it can’t be used until forwarded or pointed to a server. In the second post, we showed you how to point a domain to a server we created.

At this point, we’re ready to connect to our Google Cloud server and begin installing software and additional packages that will be used to run a website online.

How to connect to Google Cloud server

Google Cloud server (Compute Engine) allows users to connect using SSH from the browser window to their virtual machine (VM) instance from within the Google Cloud Console. 

SSH from the browser supports the following:

  • Web browsers
    • Latest version of Google Chrome
    • Firefox
    • Microsoft Edge
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 and later
    • Safari 8 and later. Note that Safari in private browser mode is not supported.
  • Virtual machine configurations
    • All Linux VM images that are natively available in Google Cloud.

No additional software or browser extensions needed. Simply login to Google Cloud Console, and go to Menu ==> Compute Engine ==> VM instances.

In the list of virtual machine instances, click SSH in the row of the instance that you want to connect to.

Alternatively, you can open an SSH connection to an instance by clicking its name and clicking SSH from the instance details page.

A SSH terminal window will open with the Ubuntu Linux instance that was created in the second posts of the series.

You should now be able to run commands in Ubuntu Linux created on Google Cloud server.

How to install PHP on Ubuntu Linux on Google Cloud Server

Installing PHP on Ubuntu Linux is no different, whether on Google Cloud or on a local VM instance.

PHP packages are available in Ubuntu default repositories. One can simply use the apt get commands to download and install PHP on Ubuntu Linux.

A detailed post and help on how to install PHP on Ubuntu Linux is at the link below. Click on it to learn more about installing and managing PHP on Ubuntu Linux.

How to install PHP on Ubuntu Linux

With PHP installed, your domain name should now be able to bring up a default web server PHP test page page when any browse your domain name followed by /phpfinfo.php.

First, create a test PHP file called phpnfo.php in the web server default home directory.

sudo nano /var/www/html/phpinfo.php

Then copy and paste the line into the file and save it.

<?php phpinfo( ); ?>

Save the file and exit.

Restart your web server (Nginx or Apache).

Next, go and type you domain name in your browser, and you should see an example page similar to the one below:

If you installed Nginx web server with PHP-FPM, then you should see a page similar to the one below:

If you installed Apache web server with PHP, you should get a similar page below instead.

As you can see, your server hosted on Google Cloud is now resolving your domain name and serving web content with PHP.

We’ll continue to add other servers and software in order for you to run a functional website online.


This post showed you how to install PHP on Ubuntu Linux in Google Cloud. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.