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

Add a trailing slash to requested urls

Description of the problem

Some search engines remove the trailing slash from urls that look like directories – e.g. Yahoo does it. But – it could result into duplicated content problems when the same page content is accessible under different urls. Apache gives some more information in the Apache Server FAQ.

Let’s have a look at an example: is indexed in Yahoo as – which would result in two urls with the same content.


The solution was to create a .htaccess rewrite rule that adds the trailing slashes to these urls.

Example – redirect all urls that doesn’t have a trailing slash to urls with a trailing slash

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !example.php
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !(.*)/$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1/ [L,R=301]

Explanation of this add trailing slash .htaccess rewrite rule

The first line tells Apache that this is code for the rewrite engine of the mod_rewrite module of Apache.
The 2nd line sets the current directory as page root. But the interesting part is following now:

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f makes shure that files that are existing will not get a slash added. You shouldn’t do the same with directories since this would exlude the rewrite behaviour for existing directories.

The line RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !example.php exludes a sample url that shouldn’t be rewritten. This is just an example – if you don’t have any file or url that shouldn’t be rewritten, remove this line.

The condition RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !(.*)/$ finally fires when a urls doesn’t contain a trailing slash – this is all what we want. Now we need to redirect these url with the trailing slash:

RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1/ [L,R=301] does the 301 redirect to the url with the trailing slash appended for us. You should replace with your url. Make shure that you stick with the right domain name; if unshure, have a look at this article.

Enable mod_rewrite on SuSE Linux

Description of the problem

By default, SuSE doesn’t enable the mod_rewrite rewrite module. It’s installed, but not enabled.
Follow these steps to install it.

Solution – enable mod_rewrite on SuSE linux

  1. Edit the file /etc/sysconfig/apache2as root:
    1. search for APACHE_MODULES, you should find a line like this
      APACHE_MODULES="suexec access actions alias auth auth_dbm autoindex cgi dir env expires include log_config mime negotiation setenvif userdir ssl php4"
    2. Add rewrite to the content in the list between the “
    3. Save the changes and quit
  2. run SuSEconfig to update the apache configuration files
  3. run /etc/init.d/apache2 restart to restart the Apache server

Now, the mod_rewrite is enabled and integrated.

Check if mod_rewrite is installed and integrated in Apache

You can check this e.g. with the following php file. Create a file in your document root of your webserver (default on SuSE: /srv/www/htdocs) and copy the following content into this file:

<?php phpinfo(); ?>

When you view this file with your browser, search for rewrite – you should find one entry. If not – check if you did all steps 1 to 3.

Test .htaccess rewrite rule on SuSE linux Apache

The next step is to create an initial .htaccess rewrite rule to test if it’s working now. Create a file .htaccess in your document root (default on SuSE: /srv/www/htdocs) with the following content:

Options +FollowSymlinks
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine on
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule user/(.*)$ /user.php?user=$1

This is a simple rule that redirects all urls with the format user/something to the script /user.php with the something as parameter user. The IfModule prevents Apache errors when mod_rewrite should disappear.

If this doesn’t work – there is another pitfall of the default SuSE Apache installation: you’re not allowed to create custom .htaccess files! So – lets enable them

Enable custom Apache .htaccess mod_rewrite files on SuSE linux

  1. Edit the file /etc/apache2/default-server.confwith your prefered editor
    1. Search for AllowOverride – it should be below the line <Directory "/srv/www/htdocs">
    2. Change AllowOverride None to AllowOverride All – this will allow custom .htaccess rewrite rules
    3. Save your changes and exit
  2. run SuSEconfig to update the apache configuration files
  3. run /etc/init.d/apache2 restart to restart the Apache server

That’s all, now you can test the .htaccess rewrite rule again and it will work.