FrankenPHP: A Modern PHP App Server in Go (Install + Use)

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FrankenPHP is a modern PHP app server built on Go and using the Caddy server under the hood. The standout feature that caught my eye was its standalone and self-contained binary, which can be easily downloaded and used without requiring any installation.

In a single binary file, it aims to provide you with a PHP app server, a Caddy server, popular PHP extensions, native support for HTTP/1.1, HTTP/2, and HTTP/3, and much more that can truly enhance the experience, allowing developers to easily develop portable applications or quickly deploy their PHP applications to production.

It’s truly a modern PHP app server, and we’ll discuss more about its features, installation, and usage in this article, so read it till the end.

Tutorial Details

DescriptionFrankenPHP: A Modern PHP App Server in Go
Difficulty LevelLow
Root or Sudo PrivilegesYes
OS CompatibilityLinux, Windows, and macOS
Internet RequiredYes (for installation)

Features of FrankenPHP

The following is a list of features that truly set it apart from its competitors.

  • A standalone, self-executable, dependency-free binary file built using Go and C.
  • It doesn’t rely on PHP-FPM; instead, it uses its own SAPI, specially crafted for Go web servers.
  • It is 3.5x faster than FPM, according to their benchmarks, and improves website load times by 30%.
  • It is wrapped with the latest PHP 8, popular PHP extensions, (automatic HTTPS, HTTP/3, Brotli compression, etc.) powered by Caddy.
  • It provides native support for Symfony, API Platform, and Laravel.
  • Once launched, the application is stored in memory and handles incoming requests in milliseconds.
  • It offers a defined format and a specialized logging mechanism.
  • It automatically generates, renews, and revokes HTTPS certificates.

How to Install FrankenPHP on Linux

First of all, it doesn’t require any installation; you can either use a Docker or directly download the standalone binary file from the project release page for Linux and macOS, give it executable permission, and then run it like a shell script with root or sudo privileges.

When using HTTPS, ensure to visit β€œhttps://localhost” instead of β€œhttps://” to accept the self-signed certificate.
#With Docker
$ docker run -v $PWD:/app/public -p 80:80 -p 443:443 -p 443:443/udp dunglas/frankenphp

#With a Standalone Binary File
$ chmod +x frankenphp                                                         #First, Give it a Executable Permission.
$ sudo ./frankenphp php-server                                           #Serve the Content of the Current Directory.
$ sudo ./frankenphp php-cli /path/to/your/script.php    #Serve the Content of the Assigned Script in CLI.

How to Use FrankenPHP

The usage is pretty simple; to serve your PHP file, simply place the FrankenPHP binary file in the same directory and execute the following command:

Specify the β€œ--worker” option to serve the content of the current directory using a worker and the β€œ-a” option to access the log.
$ sudo ./frankenphp php-server


serving a directory using frankenphp

To execute a PHP script file in your terminal, specify the following command with the path to the PHP script file as an argument:

$ sudo ./frankenphp php-cli /var/www/html/index.php


executing php script using frankenphp

Most libraries require the HTTPS protocol to function. Therefore, to serve your PHP page using the HTTPS protocol, you can use the following command:

It’s not recommended to use this approach in production as the certificate is self-signed.
$ sudo ./frankenphp php-server -d localhost


server php file in https protocol in frankenphp

To share your file locally or remotely via the file server, use the FrankenPHP built-in file server with a beautiful UI using the following command:

$ sudo ./frankenphp file-server                                                        #Start the file server.
$ sudo ./frankenphp file-server -b                                                   #Serve the Current Directory.
$ sudo ./frankenphp file-server -b -d localhost                             #Serve the Files in HTTPS protocol.


starting file server in frankenphp

Lastly, there are many ways to use FrankenPHP, but the article will become too long. Instead, I suggest checking out the following table for other command usages with their descriptions.

sudo ./frankenphp environPrint the environment variables.
sudo ./frankenphp list-modulesLists the installed Caddy modules.
sudo ./frankenphp remove-package Removes Caddy packages.
sudo ./frankenphp trustInstalls a CA certificate in local trust stores.
sudo ./frankenphp upgradeUpgrade Caddy.

Also, check out the documentation page for information about various configuration settings.

Final Word

I hope you find this article useful, and if you want to know more about FrankenPHP, then do let me know in the comments, as I eagerly await your responses.

Till then, peace!

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2 thoughts on β€œFrankenPHP: A Modern PHP App Server in Go (Install + Use)”

  1. Arch Linux php-fpm package size: 3MB
    frankenphp package size 113 MB

    I stopped there. Clearly too much complexity under the hood.
    Thanks for the article.

    • you should have carried on reading.
      you can not compare a self-contained binary package like frankenphp with just php-fpm package from arch.
      is basically a single file that contains everything an application needs to run. This includes the program’s code itself (the executable), along with any libraries or other dependencies it relies on.

      Here’s a breakdown of the key features:

      Single File: The entire application is bundled into one executable file, making it easy to distribute and use.
      No External Dependencies: Unlike regular applications, self-contained ones don’t require users to have specific libraries or software pre-installed on their system. Everything it needs is packed within the single file.
      Portability: Because they are self-contained, these packages can be run on any system that supports the binary format, regardless of the specific libraries or configurations present.

      moreover FrankenPHP contain a webserver +php + the glue
      your package Arch Linux php-fpm does not contain php by itself it need also to install it and more you should take into account it’s dependencies and the dependencies of the dependencies.