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Installation of extensions on Windows

After installing PHP and a web server on Windows, you will probably want to install some extensions for added functionality. You can choose which extensions you would like to load when PHP starts by modifying your php.ini. You can also load a module dynamically in your script using dl().

The DLLs for PHP extensions are prefixed with php_.

Many extensions are built into the Windows version of PHP. This means additional DLL files, and the extension directive, are not used to load these extensions. The Windows PHP Extensions table lists extensions that require, or used to require, additional PHP DLL files. Here's a list of built in extensions:

In PHP 4 (updated PHP 4.3.11): BCMath, Caledar, COM, Ctype, FTP, MySQL, ODBC, Overload, PCRE, Session, Tokenizer, WDDX, XML and Zlib

In PHP 5 (updated PHP 5.0.4), the following changes exist. Built in: DOM, LibXML, Iconv, SimpleXML, SPL and SQLite. And the following are no longer built in: MySQL and Overload.

The default location PHP searches for extensions is C:\php4\extensions in PHP 4 and C:\php5 in PHP 5. To change this setting to reflect your setup of PHP edit your php.ini file:

  • You will need to change the extension_dir setting to point to the directory where your extensions lives, or where you have placed your php_*.dll files. For example:

    extension_dir = C:\php\extensions
  • Enable the extension(s) in php.ini you want to use by uncommenting the extension=php_*.dll lines in php.ini. This is done by deleting the leading ; from the extension you want to load.

    Example 4.8. Enable Bzip2 extension for PHP-Windows

    // change the following line from ...

    // ... to

  • Some of the extensions need extra DLLs to work. Couple of them can be found in the distribution package, in the C:\php\dlls\ folder in PHP 4 or in the main folder in PHP 5, but some, for example Oracle (php_oci8.dll) require DLLs which are not bundled with the distribution package. If you are installing PHP 4, copy the bundled DLLs from C:\php\dlls folder to the main C:\php folder. Don't forget to include C:\php in the system PATH (this process is explained in a separate FAQ entry).

  • Some of these DLLs are not bundled with the PHP distribution. See each extensions documentation page for details. Also, read the manual section titled Installation of PECL extensions for details on PECL. An increasingly large number of PHP extensions are found in PECL, and these extensions require a separate download.


If you are running a server module version of PHP remember to restart your web server to reflect your changes to php.ini.

The following table describes some of the extensions available and required additional dlls.

Table 4.1. PHP Extensions

php_bz2.dllbzip2 compression functionsNone
php_calendar.dllCalendar conversion functionsBuilt in since PHP 4.0.3
php_cpdf.dllClibPDF functionsNone
php_crack.dllCrack functionsNone
php_ctype.dllctype family functionsBuilt in since PHP 4.3.0
php_curl.dllCURL, Client URL library functionsRequires: libeay32.dll, ssleay32.dll (bundled)
php_cybercash.dllCybercash payment functionsPHP <= 4.2.0
php_db.dllDBM functionsDeprecated. Use DBA instead (php_dba.dll)
php_dba.dllDBA: DataBase (dbm-style) Abstraction layer functionsNone
php_dbase.dlldBase functionsNone
php_dbx.dlldbx functions 
php_domxml.dllDOM XML functions PHP <= 4.2.0 requires: libxml2.dll (bundled) PHP >= 4.3.0 requires: iconv.dll (bundled)
php_dotnet.dll.NET functionsPHP <= 4.1.1
php_exif.dllEXIF functions php_mbstring.dll. And, php_exif.dll must be loaded after php_mbstring.dll in php.ini.
php_fbsql.dllFrontBase functionsPHP <= 4.2.0
php_fdf.dllFDF: Forms Data Format functions.Requires: fdftk.dll (bundled)
php_filepro.dllfilePro functionsRead-only access
php_ftp.dllFTP functionsBuilt-in since PHP 4.0.3
php_gd.dllGD library image functions Removed in PHP 4.3.2. Also note that truecolor functions are not available in GD1, instead, use php_gd2.dll.
php_gd2.dllGD library image functionsGD2
php_gettext.dllGettext functions PHP <= 4.2.0 requires gnu_gettext.dll (bundled), PHP >= 4.2.3 requires libintl-1.dll, iconv.dll (bundled).
php_hyperwave.dllHyperWave functionsNone
php_iconv.dllICONV characterset conversionRequires: iconv-1.3.dll (bundled), PHP >=4.2.1 iconv.dll
php_ifx.dllInformix functionsRequires: Informix libraries
php_iisfunc.dllIIS management functionsNone
php_imap.dllIMAP POP3 and NNTP functionsNone
php_ingres.dllIngres II functionsRequires: Ingres II libraries
php_interbase.dllInterBase functionsRequires: gds32.dll (bundled)
php_java.dllJava functionsPHP <= 4.0.6 requires: jvm.dll (bundled)
php_ldap.dllLDAP functions PHP <= 4.2.0 requires libsasl.dll (bundled), PHP >= 4.3.0 requires libeay32.dll, ssleay32.dll (bundled)
php_mbstring.dllMulti-Byte String functionsNone
php_mcrypt.dllMcrypt Encryption functionsRequires: libmcrypt.dll
php_mhash.dllMhash functionsPHP >= 4.3.0 requires: libmhash.dll (bundled)
php_mime_magic.dllMimetype functionsRequires: magic.mime (bundled)
php_ming.dllMing functions for FlashNone
php_msql.dllmSQL functionsRequires: msql.dll (bundled)
php_mssql.dllMSSQL functionsRequires: ntwdblib.dll (bundled)
php_mysql.dllMySQL functionsPHP >= 5.0.0, requires libmysql.dll (bundled)
php_mysqli.dllMySQLi functionsPHP >= 5.0.0, requires libmysql.dll (libmysqli.dll in PHP <= 5.0.2) (bundled)
php_oci8.dllOracle 8 functionsRequires: Oracle 8.1+ client libraries
php_openssl.dllOpenSSL functionsRequires: libeay32.dll (bundled)
php_oracle.dllOracle functionsRequires: Oracle 7 client libraries
php_overload.dllObject overloading functionsBuilt in since PHP 4.3.0
php_pdf.dllPDF functionsNone
php_pgsql.dllPostgreSQL functionsNone
php_printer.dllPrinter functionsNone
php_shmop.dllShared Memory functionsNone
php_snmp.dllSNMP get and walk functionsNT only!
php_soap.dllSOAP functionsPHP >= 5.0.0
php_sockets.dllSocket functionsNone
php_sybase_ct.dllSybase functionsRequires: Sybase client libraries
php_tidy.dllTidy functionsPHP >= 5.0.0
php_tokenizer.dllTokenizer functionsBuilt in since PHP 4.3.0
php_w32api.dllW32api functionsNone
php_xmlrpc.dllXML-RPC functionsPHP >= 4.2.1 requires: iconv.dll (bundled)
php_xslt.dllXSLT functions PHP <= 4.2.0 requires sablot.dll, expat.dll (bundled). PHP >= 4.2.1 requires sablot.dll, expat.dll, iconv.dll (bundled).
php_yaz.dllYAZ functionsRequires: yaz.dll (bundled)
php_zip.dllZip File functionsRead only access
php_zlib.dllZLib compression functionsBuilt in since PHP 4.3.0