Written by James McDonald

June 1, 2024

CakePHP 5 uses zend.assertions = 1 for development so if you have production and test environments on your server you need separate instance of php-fpm so you can run one with zend.assertions = 1 for development and the other zend.assertions = -1 for production

The following is done on Ubuntu 24.04 LTS

Copy the default php8.3-fpm.service file to a new name and location

cp /etc/systemd/system/multi-user.target.wants/php8.3-fpm.service /etc/systemd/system/php8.3-fpm-test.service

Copy the default php.ini to a create a separate php.ini for the new php-fpm service

cp /etc/php/8.3/fpm/php.ini /etc/php/8.3/fpm/php-test.ini 

Modify the contents of the service file to use the different php-test.ini and a new socket

Description=FPM Service for Test Env

ExecStart=/usr/sbin/php-fpm8.3 --php-ini /etc/php/8.3/fpm/php-test.ini --nodaemonize --fpm-config /etc/php/8.3/fpm/php-fpm-test.conf
ExecStartPost=-/usr/lib/php/php-fpm-socket-helper install /run/php/php-fpm-test.sock /etc/php/8.3/fpm/pool-test.d/www-test.conf 83
ExecStopPost=-/usr/lib/php/php-fpm-socket-helper remove /run/php/php-fpm-test.sock /etc/php/8.3/fpm/pool-test.d/www-test.conf 83
ExecReload=/bin/kill -USR2 $MAINPID


Modify the contents of the php-test.ini e.g. add stuff you want for a dev setup for example you can up the memory or enable assertions and xdebug.

; other config directives above and below these
memory_limit = 512M

zend.assertions = 1

Create a pool directory for the new php-fpm instance

sudo mkdir /etc/php/8.3/fpm/pool-test.d

Create a pool file /etc/php/8.3/fpm/poot-test.d/www-test.conf (notice how it is using the different socket and you could change the user/group to be some thing other than www-data too)

user = www-data
group = www-data
listen = /run/php/php8.3-fpm-test.sock
listen.owner = www-data
listen.group = www-data
pm = dynamic
pm.max_children = 5
pm.start_servers = 2
pm.min_spare_servers = 1
pm.max_spare_servers = 3

Configure nginx to use the now separate default and ‘test’ php-fpm instances. In this example the /live location uses the default php8.3-fpm service and the /test location uses the php8.3-fpm-test service

 location / {
                # First attempt to serve request as file, then
                # as directory, then fall back to displaying a 404.
                rewrite ^ /live/ last;
                try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

        location /live {
                alias /var/www/sites/live/webroot;
                try_files $uri $uri/ @live;
                location ~ \.php$ {
                        include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
                        include live_fastcgi_params.conf;
                        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $request_filename;
                        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php8.3-fpm.sock;

        location @live {
                rewrite ^ /live/index.php last;

        location /test {
                alias /var/www/sites/test/webroot;
                try_files $uri $uri/ @test;
                location ~ \.php$ {
                        include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
                        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $request_filename;
                        fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php8.3-fpm-test.sock;

        location @test {
                rewrite ^ /test/index.php last;
        location ~ /\.ht {
                deny all;

Enable the service

sudo systemctl enable php8.3-fpm-test.service

You should now have separate php-fpm services with separate php.ini files you can tweak as you like


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