Easily Switch PHP versions on Linux with Script

A modern web developer who works in a different framework, packages need to have different PHP versions installed on their machine, (eg PHP 7.2, 7.0 & 5.6). Let's say by default your system is currently running on 7.2 for CLI and server Apache or Nginx, but due to some requirement, you may need to switch to 7.0 version to work on the previous project. In that case, you don't have to remove version 7.2 in order to work with 7.0. We can simply switch the PHP version from the command line.

Below I will show you how to use the command line as well as a bash alias function to easily switch your versions.

You may want to go from PHP 7.2 to 7.0, use the commands below.

//php 7.2 to php 7.0 switcher

sudo a2dismod php7.2 ; sudo a2enmod php7.0 ; sudo systemctl restart apache2

sudo ln -sfn /usr/bin/php7.0 /etc/alternatives/php

//if you are using nginx
sudo systemctl restart nginx

Similarly, while PHP version 7.0 is active, you can fall back to 7.2 with the following commands.

//php 7.0 to php 7.2 switcher

sudo a2dismod php7.0 ; sudo a2enmod php7.2 ; sudo systemctl restart apache2

sudo ln -sfn /usr/bin/php7.2 /etc/alternatives/php

//if you are using nginx
sudo systemctl restart nginx

Repeating the above process frequently is really irritating, time-wasting, right?

Finally, I decided to create a bash alias as a function to reduce my time to repeat the php switching and easy to remember.


Open up your terminal and type.

sudo nano ~/.bashrc

Scroll around the last line, where we want to paste the below function.

phpswap () {
    local IS_PHP7=`php --version|grep "PHP 7.2"`

    if [[ -z $IS_PHP7 ]]; then
        echo "Switching to PHP 7.2"
        sudo a2dismod php7.0;
        sudo a2enmod php7.2;
        sudo systemctl restart apache2;
        sudo ln -sfn /usr/bin/php7.2 /etc/alternatives/php
        echo "Switching to PHP 7.0"
        sudo a2dismod php7.2;
        sudo a2enmod php7.0;
        sudo systemctl restart apache2;
        sudo ln -sfn /usr/bin/php7.0 /etc/alternatives/php


Hit phpswap on your terminal.

I use 2 PHP versions, 7.2, 7.0 with Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS. These days i switch to them automatically whenever I run phpswap, it detects the PHP version which is active currently and switches to exactly reverse version.

Easy right?

We're done!


Thanks for reading this post up to the end, if you think this post is worth reading, feel free to share with others, also if you have feedback please post in the comment section below.

Happy Coding!

Last Updated: 16th Feb, 2018