How to completely remove PHP?

  • I need to clean up my server from PHP 5.3 packages (there are plenty of them) in order to be able to compile PHP 5.2. What is the easiest/safest method to get rid of them all?

  • RobinJ

    RobinJ Correct answer

    9 years ago

    This method is not advised to be used without careful review. Read below comments.

    This should completely remove any package with a name that starts with php and anything related to it.

    sudo apt-get purge 'php*'

    DON'T PRESS y UNTIL YOU ENSURE that in the removing packages list there are no other packages (besides related to php packages), like:

    php-common* python-openssl* php-curl* ... and tons of packages

    If so, type n, copy the list (& tidy up from the unrelated packages), and manually remove them:

    sudo apt-get purge      php-common* php-curl*    ... and tons of packages

    OK thanks both of you. I just chosen your answer because Marco does not seem to have lack of Karma :)

    Alright, any ideas on the best way to install PHP 5.2 now?

    Download:, extract, open a terminal inside the folder, `./configure`, `make`, `sudo apt-get install checkinstall`, `sudo checkinstall`.

    This exact command just wiped ALL the packages from my system. I don't advice anyone to use it ever.

    @RobinJ - I am afraid I was having the same feeling that it was not working in our interest. Why did it remove packages that didn't have PHP any where in its name?

    `php*` will get it treated as a regex, and ever package with `ph` in its name will get removed.

    I think you need to put "php*" in quotes otherwise it will interpret it as a file that doesn't exist.

    Am I the only one thinking this is not really a safe idea?

    This method doesn't work on my machine, I still able to do `php -v` and outputting the version of installed php.

    This answer is wrong. The command line call for this uses **shell globbing**, not **regex**. The pattern `php.*` will match any packages beginning with `php.`, and not handle like a regex to match any character. The proper glob which is **extremely dangerous** to run on its own is to use `php*`, and you really should not do this.

    @ThomasWard I know. That's what I originally had in the answer and someone else changed it.

    @RobinJ so fix it? There's an edit button for a reason you know. (I just fixed it, and added a bit to protect against Bash shell globbing which can cause problems when it expands `php*` to be any filename or directory name starting with 'php' in the current working directory.)

    @ThomasWard Thank you. I did not do this myself as I assumed it would not be appreciated if I simply removed someone's edits (in case maybe there was something special about my system that made their suggestion not work).

    maybe also `clean; autoclean; autoremove`

    Be very careful with autoremove.

  • I do not recommend running sudo apt-get purge php*.

    That was scary! Fortunately, I didn't type the -y option, because it chose about hundred of packages without php in their name.

    sudo apt-get purge `dpkg -l | grep php| awk '{print $2}' |tr "\n" " "`

    How it works:

    First, a list of packages is generated using this series of commands: dpkg -l | grep php| awk '{print $2}' |tr "\n" " ".

    Hint: You can run this part of the command in your terminal to see what packages would get removed. You should get something like: libapache2-mod-php5 php5 php5-cli php5-common php5-json

    Finally, when you run the full command, this list of packages gets passed to sudo apt-get purge, removing all of the packages.

    Hint: If it feels safer to you, you could just as easily run them separately, and copy+paste the list of packages to remove like so: sudo apt-get purge libapache2-mod-php5 php5 php5-cli php5-common php5-json

    This should be the accepted answer

    Sounds like you're suggesting one syntax is bad because too wide but do you mind explaining what your command does, so people may be able to judge if that's appropriate before running it?

    What if `aptitude` is not installed or cannot be installed on Ubuntu, how about `apt-get cache` search ?

  • You'll probably want to purge all the php* packages from your system. Something with a wild-card should work

    sudo apt-get purge php.*

    You may be interested in How to rollback to PHP 5.2 for where to go next.

    `php*` will get it treated as a regex, and ever package with `ph` in its name will get removed.

  • First, you have to remove Apache and all of its dependencies with:

    sudo apt-get purge apache2 php5 libapache2-mod-php5 mysql-server libapache2-mod-auth-mysql php5-mysql phpmyadmin

    and then:

    sudo rm -rf /etc/apache2; rm -rf /etc/php5; rm -rf /var/lib/mysql; rm etc/mysql 

    If you have any issues with phpMyAdmin, try entering this into the Terminal:

    dpkg-reconfigure phpmyadmin

    ***Note to those who copy-paste without reading carefully, this will also remove apache, which is not what OP asked for

  • sudo apt-get -y purge libapache2-mod-php5 libapache2-mod-php5filter libexpect-php5 libgv-php5 libow-php5 php5 php5-adodb php5-auth-pam php5-cgi php5-cli php5-common php5-curl php5-dbg php5-enchant php5-exactimage php5-ffmpeg php5-fpm php5-geoip php5-gmp php5-idn php5-imagick php5-imap php5-interbase php5-intl php5-json php5-lasso php5-ldap php5-librdf php5-mapscript php5-memcache php5-memcached php5-mhash php5-midgard2 php5-ming php5-mssql php5-mysql php5-mysqlnd php5-odbc php5-pgsql php5-ps php5-pspell php5-radius php5-recode php5-remctl php5-rrd php5-sasl php5-snmp php5-sqlite php5-suhosin php5-svn php5-sybase php5-tidy php5-tokyo-tyrant php5-uuid php5-xcache php5-xdebug php5-xmlrpc php5-xsl

    In your case, you could search for all the packages:

    sudo aptitude search php5|awk {'print $2'}|grep -v i386|grep -v "^A"|tr "\n"  " "

    and then purge them:

    sudo apt-get purge <list of packages found>

    `aptitude` is not installed on my system (16.04)

    If you wish to install aptitude you can do so by typing `sudo apt-get install aptitude`

  • In addition to any purges mentioned in the other answers, if you want to be completely sure everything is removed, you're likely to want to run

    cd /
    sudo find -name "php"

    Which will show you files/folders with the name php in them. You're then going to want to check each of these file paths, i.e.:

    cd /usr/local/include/php

    And delete them as is appropriate. Be careful not to delete anything that's critical to another process you need to keep running, though, unless you want to have to reinstall that too.

    To remove a directory, or file, we use the rm comment with the -rf flag, so given the above example, we'd type:

    sudo rm -rf /usr/local/include/php
  • The regex the two people said is incorrect.
    Instead of using php.* or php* One should use ^php*

    Thats the right answer.
    So you would use: sudo apt-get purge "^php*"

    Although I dont recommend using this method cause its highly automated and I encourge you to use sudo apt list --installed | grep php to get the list of packages and use these package names that you got from above command in this command:


    This doesn't remove libapache2-mod-php, for instance.

    @PatrickB. So you have to use both `^php*` and `php*`

    But `php.*` will also cover cases where `php` appears at the beginning of the package name. There's no reason to use both `^php*` and `php.*` Also, it should be `^php.*`; apt-get seems to know that `php*` is a glob, not a regex, but when you add the `^` character it can't possibly be a glob, so you'll get every package that starts in "ph."

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM