FastCGI, PHP, Symfony2 with basic auth not working

Just had a little issue that seams to be common in the web. Got a new server with Plesk 11 (sorry for that) and it took me nearly a day to get it working and setup for capifony deployment of Symfony2 projects.

The typical issues with not correctly set access rights for the root directory of the project (should be 755), manually editing of parameters.ini and other stuff was ok. But what nearly killed me was that my Plesk installation always returned a 503 when running PHP as apache module. FastCGI was default and seemed to be working, so I went with this.

Unfortunately this did not work with the admin interface that was running in a “virtual” subdirectory. It was not possible to login. In the background it is using the default, simple, boring and potentially unsecure basic authentification.

Did you know that there is a problem with FastCGI, Symfony2 and basic authentification? I did not, but know I know. It is fixed in the current release (2.0.16) – which is good. But unfortunately there is a RewriteRule that has to be written inside your web/.htaccess. Check the comment in src/symfony/src/Symfony/Component/HttpFoundation/ServerBag.php:

* php-cgi under Apache does not pass HTTP Basic user/pass to PHP by default
* For this workaround to work, add this line to your .htaccess file:
* RewriteRule .* - [E=HTTP_AUTHORIZATION:%{HTTP:Authorization}]
* A sample .htaccess file:
* RewriteEngine On
* RewriteRule .* - [E=HTTP_AUTHORIZATION:%{HTTP:Authorization}]

Unfortunately, I tried a different line that was written in the ticket above:

RewriteRule .* - [E=HTTP_AUTHORIZATION:%{HTTP:Authorization},L]

This did not work, but resulted in 401 results for all requests. Just remove the ,l which means that this .htaccess file will be left.

So if you are running a Symfony2 project with FastCGI, add this line to your web/.htaccess file:

RewriteRule .* - [E=HTTP_AUTHORIZATION:%{HTTP:Authorization}]

Configure open_basedir for subdomains

Follow the 3 steps to fix open_basedir restriction for subdomains.

We assume that the domain name is $, the name of the subdomain is $subDomName. You have to replace these values with the appropriate values.

Our goal is to open access to the public website directory and the /tmp directory for the special subdirectory. The directories are mentioned in the php_admin_value open_basedir

Create vhost.conf file for subdomain

Create /srv/www/vhosts/$$subDomName/conf/vhost.conf with the following content:
<Directory /srv/www/vhosts/$$subDomName/httpdocs>
<IfModule sapi_apache2.c>
php_admin_flag engine on
php_admin_flag safe_mode off
php_admin_value open_basedir "/srv/www/vhosts/$$$subDomName/httpdocs:/tmp"
<IfModule mod_php5.c>
php_admin_flag engine on
php_admin_flag safe_mode off
php_admin_value open_basedir "/srv/www/vhosts/$$$subDomName/httpdocs:/tmp"

Apply the configuration

The next step is to apply the created configuration and recreate the apache configuration.
Execute the following command on the command line to update the Plesk configuration:
/usr/local/psa/admin/sbin/websrvmng -u --vhost-name=domain.tld

Restart apache

Final and last step is to restart apache:
apache2ctl  restart

That’s all, now your open_basedir restriction is gone.

subdomain accessible with www


subdomain & www in Plesk


Follow the 4 steps to make your subdomain accessible with www .

step 1: update vhosts.conf

Add one line to the special configuration file for the subdomain. Normally this file is located in /srv/vhosts/domain/subdomains/subdomain/vhosts.conf .

Create the file, if there is no file yet. Add the following line, save it and exit the editor.

What does ServerAlias mean?
This is a Apache configuation that says that Apache will also serve the subdomain if you access it with www. This is normally used for the domain name, but also working for sub-domains.

step 2: update dns settings (optionally)

(optional – maybe necessary in Plesk 7/7.5, but works without in Plesk 8)

  1. Add a record type in the DNS zone of the domain for the subdomain starting with www. Select the following menu entries:
    Server => Domains => => DNS
  2. There you’ll see a list of DNS entries for the domain. Check the IP address for the subdomain entry – copy to clipboard or write it down, if you don’t know it.
  3. Now you create a new entry with the button Add new entry – use the following values:
    • Record type: A
    • Domain name: www.subdomain (Plesk 8)
    • IP address: enter the IP address that you copied in step 2.2, e.g.

    Press OK to add the new entry to the DNS.

  4. Check if there is a new entry wit the following value: A 111.1111.111.111

step 3: update plesk config file

Recreate the Plesk / Apache configuration for the whole domain with this command:
/usr/local/psa/admin/sbin/websrvmng -u

step 4: restart apache

Restart Apache to read the new configuration and serve pages with

apache2ctl restart

Plesk 8 installation on debian 4

Installing Plesk 8.x on debian 4.x “etch” seems a bit uncommon, but the mixture of a rockstable and secure base system as debian and the common webserver management interface Plesk makes sense.

How to install Plesk on debian

  1. Install a fresh debian and perform a dist-upgrade:
    apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade
  2. Add the following line to the apt sources list located at /etc/apt/sources.list (replace 8.2.1 and etch with your versions)
    deb etch all
  3. Force apt-get to update database with new information from Plesk
    apt-get update
  4. Install Plesk base system with apt-get, say Yes to accept the packages from Plesk that have a problematic signature.
    apt-get install psa
  5. Install Plesk Autoupdate module with apt-get:
    apt-get install psa-autoinstaller
  6. Install package with PHP5 suport for Plesk
    apt-get install psa-php5-configurator
  7. Restart PSA – don’t forget this! Otherwise you’ll get 404 errors instead the login page.
    /etc/init.d/psa restart
  8. Access the fresh installed Plesk interface with your browser (replace your-server-name with the url/ip of your server). The default login is admin, the default password setup.
  9. That’s it. The rest can be done via the Plesk interface.

More information can be found in the Plesk v8.2.1 build82070918.10 for Debian-4.0 x86_64 Release Notes.