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

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

Now that you have learned how to create a website domain and configure 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 server-side PHP script allows you to run a complex and dynamic website with advanced functionality.

Both a web server like PHP or other lateral processing scripts are necessary to run a dynamic and successful website today.

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

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

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How to connect to the Google Cloud server

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

Browser SSH supports the following:

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

No additional software or browser extensions are required. Just log in to the 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 you want to connect to.

establish ssh connection to vm instances

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

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

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

connect to the host of the Google cloud instance

How to install PHP on Ubuntu Linux on Google Cloud Server

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

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

A details and help post on how to install PHP on Ubuntu Linux is at the link below. Click on it for more information on how to install and manage PHP on Ubuntu Linux.

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How to install PHP on Ubuntu Linux

With PHP installed, your domain name should now be able to open a PHP test page from the default web server when someone browses your domain name followed by /phpfinfo.php.

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

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 close.

Restart your web server (Nginx or Apache).

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

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

php fpm install with nginx ubuntu google cloud server

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

php install with apache ubuntu google cloud

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

We will continue to add other servers and software so that you can run a functional website online.


In this tutorial we have seen how to install PHP on Ubuntu Linux on Google Cloud. If you find any errors above or have something to add, use the comment form below.

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