ppa:ondrej/php5-oldstable does not support PHP 5.4 for Ubuntu 13.10 and higher. There seems to be no official or a stable way to install PHP 5.4 instead of 5.5 on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS currently. I've seen most answers on StackOverflow/Exchange but in the end, they are mostly all outdated.

How can I install PHP 5.4 on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS directly from a repository?

  • possible duplicate of Downgrade PHP Version from 5.5 to 5.4 on Ubuntu 14.04
    – Panther
    Nov 16, 2014 at 6:11
  • @bodhi.zazen It is not. The answer refers to howtoforge.com/… which is based on Ubuntu 12.04 plus, it is instructions to DOWNGRADE to Apache+fcgid+php5.4 - I do not have anything installed yet and do not need fcgid. Nov 16, 2014 at 6:17
  • @bodhi.zazen I also ran into issues following that answer you pointed out. Nov 16, 2014 at 6:20
  • What "issues"? and the question is " Downgrade PHP Version from 5.5 to 5.4 on Ubuntu 14.04" so it applies to 14.04
    – Panther
    Nov 16, 2014 at 7:07
  • @bodhi.zazen it ended up installing PHP 5.3 - and I do not need to 'Downgrade' as there is no PHP installed to start off with. Nov 16, 2014 at 7:08

3 Answers 3


Install requirements for phpbrew

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get build-dep php5
apt-get install -y php5 php5-dev php-pear autoconf automake curl build-essential libxslt1-dev re2c libxml2 libxml2-dev php5-cli bison libbz2-dev libreadline-dev
apt-get install -y libfreetype6 libfreetype6-dev libpng12-0 libpng12-dev libjpeg-dev libjpeg8-dev libjpeg8  libgd-dev libgd3 libxpm4 libltdl7 libltdl-dev
apt-get install -y libssl-dev openssl
apt-get install -y gettext libgettextpo-dev libgettextpo0
apt-get install -y php5-cli
apt-get install -y libmcrypt-dev
apt-get install libicu-dev

Install phpbrew

curl -L -O https://github.com/phpbrew/phpbrew/raw/master/phpbrew
chmod +x phpbrew
sudo mv phpbrew /usr/bin/phpbrew

Initialise phpbrew, update and install PHP 5.4

phpbrew init
phpbrew known --update
phpbrew update

Here we choose PHP 5.4.34, but you can change this to any version that is available as listed by the above commands - like 5.5.22.

phpbrew install 5.4.34 +default

Update your shell config file by adding the following to the end of your ~/.bashrc or ~/.zshrc (basically the shell you're using, default to .bashrc)

source ~/.phpbrew/bashrc

Close your terminal to take effect, and restart it.

Switch the default PHP version to 5.4

phpbrew switch php-5.4.34

If it shows Invalid Argument, try phpbrew switch 5.4.34 instead.

Check your PHP version

php -v
  • 1
    You should run the install command as phpbrew install -j N 5.4.34 +default where N is the max number of CPU cores for compiling. That way your hugely wide multi-core system is put to more use and finishes faster.
    – jbo5112
    Mar 7, 2015 at 21:29
  • I completed everything as root (even restarting apache2 and php5-fpm services), but my web server still reports that it's running php 5.5. What am I missing?
    – jbo5112
    Mar 7, 2015 at 21:36
  • @jbo5112 phpbrew switch php-5.4.34 should do the trick if the previous steps were ok. Mar 9, 2015 at 23:38
  • 1
    I've run phpbrew switch php-5.4.38 (current version I compiled), restarted apache2 and php5-fpm, and checked the output of phpinfo() in my web server. Just running php -v works fine, but the web server still says "PHP Version 5.5.9-1ubuntu4.6". I assume I still have to update some system config file for php5-fpm.
    – jbo5112
    Mar 10, 2015 at 4:09
  • 2
    Also had to add source ~/.phpbrew/bashrc to the end of ~/.bashrc, otherwise it would not switch
    – Fluffy
    Dec 25, 2015 at 8:22

If it shows Invalid Argument, try over and over again nothing, the only thing that help is these two line and in this order:

source ~/.phpbrew/bashrc && phpbrew list
phpbrew switch 5.4.45
  • Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! Your answer may be a bit late as the OP already accepted the other answer. Your help is of course appreciated, however you might be better served by focusing your efforts on the unanswered questions
    – Wayne_Yux
    Dec 14, 2015 at 15:52

Make sure phpbrew is located in:



  • Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! ;-) you can edit existing answers to improve them. 2 reviewers will review your edits and approve if deemed useful! (I would!) ;-)
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    Apr 14, 2016 at 9:39

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