Using a custom php.ini when using FAST CGI (fcgi) in Cpanel WHM

When using FastCGI (FCGI) as the loader for PHP, traditional php_values in the .htaccess file as well as custom php.ini files in the public_html directory no longer work. Instead we must create a wrapper for the main FCGI binary that causes the php.ini to be loaded from it’s current working directory instead of the server-wide one.

Edit the .htaccess file in the directory you want to use a custom PHP configuration for and add the following lines to the bottom of the file:

AddHandler php5-fastcgi .php
Action php5-fastcgi /cgi-bin/php5.fcgi

Next, you’ll need to copy your your main server php.ini which is located in /usr/local/lib/. Also note that it needs to have the correct ownership.

cd /home/user/public_html/cgi-bin/
cp -a /usr/local/lib/php.ini .
chown user:user php.ini
chgrp user:user php.ini

Create a file in your current directory (cgi-bin) called  php5.fcgi as defined above and add the following:

exec /usr/local/cpanel/cgi-sys/php5

Finally, make sure the ownership and permissions are correct on this file:

chown user:user php5.fcgi && chmod 0755 php5.fcgi
chgrp user:user php5.fcgi && chmod 0755 php5.fcgi

You can now edit the php.ini inside cgi-bin/ and change the desired values. You can verify they are set properly by inserting the phpinfo() function inside a PHPscript on that user account.

Linux Recursive GREP search excluding directories example

This command will search for text inside files in a directory while excluding some directories you do not want to search in.

This is helpful when a search is going slow due to a directory that might contain thousands of files that you are not interested in searching through, such as an images or cache directory.

grep -r –exclude-dir=product_images –exclude-dir=cache –exclude-dir=.svn search term *




How to use whatis and xargs linux commands

Have you ever wanted to know what the commands various commands in linux do?  Such as the commands in:


Move to the bin directory of your choice and follow the example below:

cd /bin
ls | xargs whatis | less

You will get an output of the command and a summary of it’s function:


basename             (3p)  – return the last component of a pathname

bash                 (1)  – GNU Bourne-Again SHell

bash [builtins]      (1)  – bash built-in commands, see bash(1)

bash [sh]            (1)  – GNU Bourne-Again SHell

ca                   (1ssl)  – sample minimal CA application

cat                  (1)  – concatenate files and print on the standard output

cat                  (1p)  – concatenate and print files

chgrp                (1)  – change group ownership

chgrp                (1p)  – change the file group ownership

chmod                (1)  – change file mode bits

chmod                (1p)  – change the file modes

chmod                (2)  – change permissions of a file

chmod                (3p)  – change mode of a file

chown                (1)  – change file owner and group


The netcat linux command

One of the neatest tools that I’ve found is the program netcat. It is a way to pipe data over the network simply and easily. You don’t need a fancy protocol like CIFS, just stream the data over the LAN.

Netcat is a “full duplex” connection, meaning it both sends and receives using the connection. It “cross-connects” the standard in of one computer to the standand out of the other and vice versa.

You specify one computer as the listener, and one as the receiver.

Type “echo hi there | nc -v -l -p 5000″ on one computer, then “echo receiving you loud and clear | nc -v 5000″ on the other.

On the “listening side”:

nc -v means verbose (tells you what ports are being listened on)
-l means listen
-p specifies the port to listen on
5000 specifies the port number

nc -v means verbose (tells you what ports are being connected to) is the IP address to connect to
5000 is the IP port number to connect.

If you want to use the same computer, open up two lxterminal windows and pretend they are different computers, using “localhost” or “” as your IP address.

Type “echo hi there | nc -v -l -p 5000″ in one terminal window, then “echo receiving you loud and clear | nc -v 5000″ on the other.

It really doesn’t matter who is the “listener” because as I mentioned, netcat “cross connects” the standard input of one side to the standard output of the other side.

There are examples abound on the internet, but here’s one that I particularly like: imaging hard drives over the network.

So on one computer (the one to image) I type: (note that the -q 0 is necessary to close the link when stdin is closed, otherwise the
connection will stay open)

“dd if=/dev/hda | nc -v -l -p 5000 -q 0″

and on the destination computer I type:

“nc 5000 > /media/sda1/MY_IMAGE_FILE”

And if you want to reverse it, where the sending computer is the “client” if you will,

type this on the destination computer first (because it has to be listening before you connect to it)
“nc -v -l -p 5000 > /media/sda1/MY_IMAGE_FILE”


“dd if=/dev/hda | nc 5000 -q 0″ on the sending computer.

If you have a knoppix with the pv program (pipe viewer) you can throw a pv into the pipeline to check the progress.

“dd if=/dev/hda | pv -b | nc -v -l -p 5000″ for example.

And to test if your image is correct, use your good friend md5sum.

md5sum /dev/hda

md5sum /media/sda1/MY_IMAGE_FILE

Remember that you need to be very careful with the dd program…. they don’t call it disk destroyer for nothing… Practice your dd skills on a test system. I’ve clobbered my hard drive before by typing something wrong and there isn’t any undo… good thing I had a backup.

I found this useful to play with the tomsrtbt floppy linux distribution and image an old laptop over the network using tomsrtbt on the old laptop and a 3c589 pcmcia card and knoppix on the other computer. Tomsrtbt doesn’t have the CIFS network protocol, so netcat comes in handy. Tomsrtbt has a slightly different format for the nc command (netcat is also called nc). You don’t need to specify the -p option.

This should get you started, but go check out the netcat page on wikipedia. You’ll find lots of good examples. There are other netcat type programs out there, such as ncat (which is also present on knoppix 7.2 dvd).

If your netcat gets “stuck” (like you forgot the -q 0 parameter) and you want to close it, a simple ctrl-c will make it close the connection.

Parsing YouTube V3 JSON with PHP Example

In this article we’re going over an example of how to parse the JSON output from the YouTube V3 API using PHP.

First you’ll need to login to the Google Developers Console and obtain your API key to use when making queries to the YouTube API.

The following code will execute your query to YouTube and display the title of the video along with a thumbnail and description.


$apikey = “YOURKEY”;
$per_page = 6;
$search = “your search term”;
$category = “2”; //autos

$query = “$search&maxResults=$per_page&videoCategoryId=$category&safesearch=strict&key=$apikey”;

$json_file3 = file_get_contents(“$query”);

$jfo3 = json_decode($json_file3,true);

foreach($jfo3[‘items’] as $val) {

$title = $val[‘snippet’][‘title’];
$description = $val[‘snippet’][‘description’];
$id = $val[‘id’][‘videoId’];
$thumbnail_url = $val[‘snippet’][‘thumbnails’][‘default’][‘url’];

echo <<<EOF

<p><img width = “250” src = “$thumbnail_url” align = “right”></a>
<a href =”video-viewer.php?v=$id”>$title<BR>
$description</p><br clear=”all”><HR>