Introducing Phoenix PHPServer

One of the more interesting recent developments in information technology has been the rise of the so-called "LAMP" software stack. When first coined in the late 90's, the acronym stood for "Linux-Apache-mSQL-Perl", a set of modular components to build dynamic websites.

As time progressed, some components were replaced by others: mSQL was superseded by MySQL, which in turn was superseded by SQLite on the low end and by Oracle and DB2 in corporate settings. Similarly, Perl was replaced by PHP3, which evolved into PHP4 and PHP5, and Windows based systems became as common as Linux based systems. Each change made the stack better and proved the power of the modular approach.

One key hurdle for broad use of the LAMP technology for mid-market solutions was that it was never easy to configure and manage. Phoenix PHPServer changes that: it can be installed with just four clicks of the mouse and works out of the box.

Phoenix PHPServer is designed to work with the Firebird database. Firebird is a powerfull database with a feature set that matches the market leading enterprise systems, yet is very easy to install and manage. Like PHPServer, Firebird can be installed with just four clicks and works out of the box.

Firebird + PHPServer is the ideal way to create intranet applications for mid-market businesses, and to build B2C or B2B web sites and web services, whilst keeping all your data safe in a central repository.

What is in Phoenix PHPServer?

The Phoenix PHPServer is built entirely from open source components: MyServer, PHP and the Firebird client. It does not contain the Firebird server itself, wich is a separate download. The components are all installed in a single directory (with sub-directories) and can co-exists with other installs of e.g. PHP on the same system.

MyServer 0.8.1

MyServer is a powerful web server designed to be easily run on a (personal) server by the average computer user. It is based on multi-threaded architecture, which makes it highly scalable and usable in large scale sites as well as in small networks. It supports the HTTP, HTTPS, CGI, ISAPI, WinCGI and FastCGI protocols.

MyServer is both easy to deploy and easy to manage, which makes it ideal for use by mid-market businesses. It has a remote configuration and management facility to enable easy deployment by service providers.

PHP 5.0.5

PHP was designed to function like popular programming languages such as C and Java. The PHP language extends far beyond web applications and can be employed and compiled to create standard graphical user interface style programs, which run as stand-alone applications in all popular web browsers on all operating systems.

Running fast PHP programs used to require running it as a module in a web server such as Apache or IIS. This solution is hard to configure and errors in the application code can take down the whole server. The Phoenix PHPServer uses the FastCGI protocol to run PHP in its own process, thus achieving both performance and reliability.

Firebird 1.5 Client

Firebird is a relational database offering many ANSI SQL-99 features that runs on Linux, Windows, and a variety of Unix platforms. Firebird offers excellent concurrency, high performance, and powerful language support for stored procedures and triggers. It has been used in production systems, under a variety of names since 1981.

PHP has rich support for working with databases, but this can be hard to configure. Phoenix PHPServer comes with support for Firebird pre-configured, using the standard client library of Firebird 1.5

What are the advantages of Firebird + PHP?

At first glance, the concept of PHP appears similar to that of JavaScript and other scripting languages that can be embedded in traditional html code. It adds new capabilities and makes more complicated operations possible within the web environment.

However, the process of removing much of the processing from individual computers has some important benefits.


The user's computer is not required to do much of the processor-intensive work. This can speed page load times and generally ease the browsing experience. As well, PHP does not put a strain on servers. The code is optimized to make the server's job easier.

This fact and the cost savings that come with the open-source license are speeding the adoption of PHP over competitors like Microsoft's ASP.NET and Visual and Sun Microsystems' Java.


By moving the processing onto the server, PHP makes the collection and use of data much more convenient. Data can be readily stored in databases and used in novel ways. Users have access to this centralized data. Web sites can be created that tap into this central reserve much more efficiently.

Developers benefit by streamlining the development process. PHP gives them much more freedom to create light, feature rich web sites that reuse common elements while still being connected to extended data sources


The main reason for centralized databases is the creation of dynamic websites that can react to user input. As a program language, one of the main functions of PHP is storing variables. The scripts can encode and store user inputs into variables that can be passed on to other code to execute. The code can query databases to draw out data and perform comparisons.

Through these means, PHP can take user input and change a website in response to input unlike hard coded html which is generally static.

Downloading Phoenix PHPServer

Phoenix PHPServer 0.9 for Windows

To install PHPServer, download the executable file "phpserver-0.9-windows-installer.exe". After downloading, you can run this file, which will guide you through the install process.

The installer will install the PHPServer and create a icon for the configuration program on your desktop. The configuration program allows you to start and stop the server or to create a Windows service, which is started as part of the boot process.

package size download time (56Kb)
phpserver-0.9-windows-installer.exe 7.0 MB 15 min.

Phoenix PHPServer 0.9 for Linux

To install PHPServer, download the executable file "phpserver-0.9-linux-installer.bin". After downloading, change the file permissions, so that you can execute the file. If you start it from a text-based shell, the installer will lead you through a text-based install process. If you start it from within a graphical shell (such as KDE and Gnome), the installer will use a GUI interface to guide you through the install process.

The installer will install the PHPServer and create a icon for the configuration program on your desktop. The configuration program allows you to start and stop the server or to start it as a deamon. To automatically start PHPServer as part of the boot process, please refer to the documentation of your linux distribution.

The linux version of PHPServer is pre-configured to use port 8080, so that it does not need to be running with root privileges. You can use the configuration utility to change this to port 80.

package size download time (56Kb)
phpserver-0.9-linux-installer.bin 6.0 MB 15 min.