Here it is the third part of How to dockerize your old PHP monolith. Take a look at the first post and the second one. In this post we will create a Dockerfile for php-fpm, build it and link to Nginx, using docker-compose. Let’s start.


Remember, from the part two, we created a directories structure?

├── mariadb
├── nginx
├── php
├── redis
└── sphinx

Now let’s create a new Dockerfile in docker/php/ directory with this content:

FROM php:5.6.34-fpm-alpine

by the moment, it’s all what we need. Why don’t we use image option in docker-compose? Because we will need Dockerfile to add site’s php custom configurations and packages!


It’s a good alternative to the normal PHP installation, and there are no much alternatives if you want to use Nginx instead of Apache! PHP 5.6 is no longer supported (security fixes only), but I’m using it because USUALLY PHP monoliths do not use latest PHP versions :)

Nginx and PHP-FPM

Now it’s time to connect Nginx with PHP-FPM. Create a conf.d dir within docker/nginx. This is the directory where we will put our site config.

If you don’t have one here is how to create a dummy one: add a your-great-monolith-com.conf with this content

server {
    index index.php index.html;
    error_log  /var/log/nginx/your-great-monolith-com-error.log;
    access_log /var/log/nginx/your-great-monolith-com-access.log;
    root /var/www/public;

    location ~ \.php$ {
        try_files $uri =404;
        fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
        fastcgi_pass php:9000;
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        include fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
        fastcgi_param PATH_INFO $fastcgi_path_info;

This config is inspired from a site.conf from this post. Let’s see some important stuff from the config: here is the server_name:


you will need to add this line to your /etc/hosts file:

in order to make this test work. Error and access logs:

error_log  /var/log/nginx/your-great-monolith-com-error.log;
access_log /var/log/nginx/your-great-monolith-com-access.log;

it’s a good practice to personalize file names or path with the name of your site. And finally the document root, that it’s where Nginx will redirect user requests to:

root /var/www/public;

Modify Nginx Dockerfile

We’re almost done. We need to add Nginx configurations within the Docker container, adding the entire docker/nginx dir to Nginx container. The Nginx Dockerfile should now be something like this:

FROM nginx:1.13-alpine

ADD ./docker/nginx/ /etc/nginx/

Create public directory

Create a public dir in the project root, and create a index.php file with this content:


This directory will be our monolith public dir.

Add php service to docker-compose

It’s time to add php service to docker-compose.yml file and some other stuff. Here is how docker-compose.yml should look like:

version: '3'

      context: ./
      dockerfile: ./docker/nginx/Dockerfile
      - 80:80
      - ./:/var/www/
      - php

      context: ./
      dockerfile: ./docker/php/Dockerfile
      - ./:/var/www/

As you can see we are now mounting the whole project within the /var/www directory, in both php and nginx containers. Furthermore, we are not saying to Nginx service, to depend on php one.

Project structure

After all changes done, this should be the current project dir structure:

├── docker
│   ├── mariadb
│   ├── nginx
│   │   ├── Dockerfile
│   │   └── conf.d
│   │       └── your-great-monolith-com.conf
│   ├── php
│   │   └── Dockerfile
│   ├── redis
│   └── sphinx
├── docker-compose.yml
└── public
    └── index.php

Build & run with Docker compose

The same as we did in the previous chapter, let’s build & run containers using Docker compose:

docker-compose up --build

Open your browser and go to and if you have followed all steps correctly, you should see: php info for php-5.6 fpm

Homer Simpson woho

In future chapters, we will see how to add a personalised php.ini, php extensions, xdebug…etc

Part four

Next part will be about create a Redis container and link it with Nginx and PHP-FPM.