PHP can't see something in its include_path

Michael Murphy asked:

I’m trying to run PHPMailer on my server, but I’m having trouble getting PHP webpages to find it.

If I run php -f send_mail.php, it runs just fine, but when I curl example.myserver.com/send_mail.php, I get the following error:

Warning: require(PHPMailer/src/Exception.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /var/www/html/send_mail.php on line 10

Fatal error: require(): Failed opening required 'PHPMailer/src/Exception.php' (include_path='.:/usr/share/pear:/usr/share/php') in /var/www/html/send_mail.php on line 10

I note in the above error that the include path looks to be '.:/usr/share/pear:/usr/share/php', even though in /etc/php.ini, I have the line include_path = ".:/usr/share/pear:/usr/share/php:/php/includes". I also ran phpinfo() to verify that /etc/php.ini was being read by the interpreter, and all seems fine there.

In any case, the PHPMailer folder is in the include_path quoted in the error, so it should be seeing it anyway.

[[email protected] ~]$ ls /usr/share/php/PHPMailer/
changelog.md  composer.json  examples             language  phpdoc.dist.xml  SECURITY.md  test                     UPGRADING.md
COMMITMENT    docs           get_oauth_token.php  LICENSE   README.md        src          travis.phpunit.xml.dist  VERSION

Any ideas what I might be missing to get PHPMailer visible to my PHP webpages?

EDIT: I’ve also seen this question already, but the problem here seems to be related to a leading backslash in the path given to require, which isn’t my issue.

EDIT 2: I’ve added my Apache configuration below. I’m not overly familiar with web servers, so I’m not sure if that covers @TeroKilkanen’s question of "What is your web server configuration?". Let me know if it doesn’t and I’ll try to find more.

#
# This is the main Apache HTTP server configuration file.  It contains the
# configuration directives that give the server its instructions.
# See <URL:http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/> for detailed information.
# In particular, see 
# <URL:http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/mod/directives.html>
# for a discussion of each configuration directive.
#
# See the httpd.conf(5) man page for more information on this configuration,
# and httpd.service(8) on using and configuring the httpd service.
#
# Do NOT simply read the instructions in here without understanding
# what they do.  They're here only as hints or reminders.  If you are unsure
# consult the online docs. You have been warned.  
#
# Configuration and logfile names: If the filenames you specify for many
# of the server's control files begin with "/" (or "drive:/" for Win32), the
# server will use that explicit path.  If the filenames do *not* begin
# with "/", the value of ServerRoot is prepended -- so 'log/access_log'
# with ServerRoot set to '/www' will be interpreted by the
# server as '/www/log/access_log', where as '/log/access_log' will be
# interpreted as '/log/access_log'.

#
# ServerRoot: The top of the directory tree under which the server's
# configuration, error, and log files are kept.
#
# Do not add a slash at the end of the directory path.  If you point
# ServerRoot at a non-local disk, be sure to specify a local disk on the
# Mutex directive, if file-based mutexes are used.  If you wish to share the
# same ServerRoot for multiple httpd daemons, you will need to change at
# least PidFile.
#
ServerRoot "/etc/httpd"

#
# Listen: Allows you to bind Apache to specific IP addresses and/or
# ports, instead of the default. See also the <VirtualHost>
# directive.
#
# Change this to Listen on specific IP addresses as shown below to 
# prevent Apache from glomming onto all bound IP addresses.
#
#Listen 12.34.56.78:80
Listen 80

#
# Dynamic Shared Object (DSO) Support
#
# To be able to use the functionality of a module which was built as a DSO you
# have to place corresponding `LoadModule' lines at this location so the
# directives contained in it are actually available _before_ they are used.
# Statically compiled modules (those listed by `httpd -l') do not need
# to be loaded here.
#
# Example:
# LoadModule foo_module modules/mod_foo.so
#
Include conf.modules.d/*.conf

#
# If you wish httpd to run as a different user or group, you must run
# httpd as root initially and it will switch.  
#
# User/Group: The name (or #number) of the user/group to run httpd as.
# It is usually good practice to create a dedicated user and group for
# running httpd, as with most system services.
#
User apache
Group apache

# 'Main' server configuration
#
# The directives in this section set up the values used by the 'main'
# server, which responds to any requests that aren't handled by a
# <VirtualHost> definition.  These values also provide defaults for
# any <VirtualHost> containers you may define later in the file.
#
# All of these directives may appear inside <VirtualHost> containers,
# in which case these default settings will be overridden for the
# virtual host being defined.
#

#
# ServerAdmin: Your address, where problems with the server should be
# e-mailed.  This address appears on some server-generated pages, such
# as error documents.  e.g. [email protected]
#
ServerAdmin [email protected]

#
# ServerName gives the name and port that the server uses to identify itself.
# This can often be determined automatically, but we recommend you specify
# it explicitly to prevent problems during startup.
#
# If your host doesn't have a registered DNS name, enter its IP address here.
#
#ServerName www.example.com:80

#
# Deny access to the entirety of your server's filesystem. You must
# explicitly permit access to web content directories in other 
# <Directory> blocks below.
#
<Directory />
    AllowOverride none
    Require all denied
</Directory>

#
# Note that from this point forward you must specifically allow
# particular features to be enabled - so if something's not working as
# you might expect, make sure that you have specifically enabled it
# below.
#

#
# DocumentRoot: The directory out of which you will serve your
# documents. By default, all requests are taken from this directory, but
# symbolic links and aliases may be used to point to other locations.
#
DocumentRoot "/var/www/html"

#
# Relax access to content within /var/www.
#
<Directory "/var/www">
    AllowOverride None
    # Allow open access:
    Require all granted
</Directory>

# Further relax access to the default document root:
<Directory "/var/www/html">
    #
    # Possible values for the Options directive are "None", "All",
    # or any combination of:
    #   Indexes Includes FollowSymLinks SymLinksifOwnerMatch ExecCGI MultiViews
    #
    # Note that "MultiViews" must be named *explicitly* --- "Options All"
    # doesn't give it to you.
    #
    # The Options directive is both complicated and important.  Please see
    # http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/mod/core.html#options
    # for more information.
    #
    Options FollowSymLinks

    #
    # AllowOverride controls what directives may be placed in .htaccess files.
    # It can be "All", "None", or any combination of the keywords:
    #   Options FileInfo AuthConfig Limit
    #
    AllowOverride None

    #
    # Controls who can get stuff from this server.
    #
    Require all granted
</Directory>

#
# DirectoryIndex: sets the file that Apache will serve if a directory
# is requested.
#
<IfModule dir_module>
    DirectoryIndex index.html
</IfModule>

#
# The following lines prevent .htaccess and .htpasswd files from being 
# viewed by Web clients. 
#
<Files ".ht*">
    Require all denied
</Files>

#
# ErrorLog: The location of the error log file.
# If you do not specify an ErrorLog directive within a <VirtualHost>
# container, error messages relating to that virtual host will be
# logged here.  If you *do* define an error logfile for a <VirtualHost>
# container, that host's errors will be logged there and not here.
#
ErrorLog "logs/error_log"

#
# LogLevel: Control the number of messages logged to the error_log.
# Possible values include: debug, info, notice, warn, error, crit,
# alert, emerg.
#
LogLevel warn

<IfModule log_config_module>
    #
    # The following directives define some format nicknames for use with
    # a CustomLog directive (see below).
    #
    LogFormat "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-Agent}i\"" combined
    LogFormat "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b" common

    <IfModule logio_module>
      # You need to enable mod_logio.c to use %I and %O
      LogFormat "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-Agent}i\" %I %O" combinedio
    </IfModule>

    #
    # The location and format of the access logfile (Common Logfile Format).
    # If you do not define any access logfiles within a <VirtualHost>
    # container, they will be logged here.  Contrariwise, if you *do*
    # define per-<VirtualHost> access logfiles, transactions will be
    # logged therein and *not* in this file.
    #
    #CustomLog "logs/access_log" common

    #
    # If you prefer a logfile with access, agent, and referer information
    # (Combined Logfile Format) you can use the following directive.
    #
    CustomLog "logs/access_log" combined
</IfModule>

<IfModule alias_module>
    #
    # Redirect: Allows you to tell clients about documents that used to 
    # exist in your server's namespace, but do not anymore. The client 
    # will make a new request for the document at its new location.
    # Example:
    # Redirect permanent /foo http://www.example.com/bar

    #
    # Alias: Maps web paths into filesystem paths and is used to
    # access content that does not live under the DocumentRoot.
    # Example:
    # Alias /webpath /full/filesystem/path
    #
    # If you include a trailing / on /webpath then the server will
    # require it to be present in the URL.  You will also likely
    # need to provide a <Directory> section to allow access to
    # the filesystem path.

    #
    # ScriptAlias: This controls which directories contain server scripts. 
    # ScriptAliases are essentially the same as Aliases, except that
    # documents in the target directory are treated as applications and
    # run by the server when requested rather than as documents sent to the
    # client.  The same rules about trailing "/" apply to ScriptAlias
    # directives as to Alias.
    #
    ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ "/var/www/cgi-bin/"

</IfModule>

#
# "/var/www/cgi-bin" should be changed to whatever your ScriptAliased
# CGI directory exists, if you have that configured.
#
<Directory "/var/www/cgi-bin">
    AllowOverride None
    Options None
    Require all granted
</Directory>

<IfModule mime_module>
    #
    # TypesConfig points to the file containing the list of mappings from
    # filename extension to MIME-type.
    #
    TypesConfig /etc/mime.types

    #
    # AddType allows you to add to or override the MIME configuration
    # file specified in TypesConfig for specific file types.
    #
    #AddType application/x-gzip .tgz
    #
    # AddEncoding allows you to have certain browsers uncompress
    # information on the fly. Note: Not all browsers support this.
    #
    #AddEncoding x-compress .Z
    #AddEncoding x-gzip .gz .tgz
    #
    # If the AddEncoding directives above are commented-out, then you
    # probably should define those extensions to indicate media types:
    #
    AddType application/x-compress .Z
    AddType application/x-gzip .gz .tgz

    #
    # AddHandler allows you to map certain file extensions to "handlers":
    # actions unrelated to filetype. These can be either built into the server
    # or added with the Action directive (see below)
    #
    # To use CGI scripts outside of ScriptAliased directories:
    # (You will also need to add "ExecCGI" to the "Options" directive.)
    #
    #AddHandler cgi-script .cgi

    # For type maps (negotiated resources):
    #AddHandler type-map var

    #
    # Filters allow you to process content before it is sent to the client.
    #
    # To parse .shtml files for server-side includes (SSI):
    # (You will also need to add "Includes" to the "Options" directive.)
    #
    AddType text/html .shtml
    AddOutputFilter INCLUDES .shtml
</IfModule>

#
# Specify a default charset for all content served; this enables
# interpretation of all content as UTF-8 by default.  To use the 
# default browser choice (ISO-8859-1), or to allow the META tags
# in HTML content to override this choice, comment out this
# directive:
#
AddDefaultCharset UTF-8

<IfModule mime_magic_module>
    #
    # The mod_mime_magic module allows the server to use various hints from the
    # contents of the file itself to determine its type.  The MIMEMagicFile
    # directive tells the module where the hint definitions are located.
    #
    MIMEMagicFile conf/magic
</IfModule>

#
# Customizable error responses come in three flavors:
# 1) plain text 2) local redirects 3) external redirects
#
# Some examples:
#ErrorDocument 500 "The server made a boo boo."
#ErrorDocument 404 /missing.html
#ErrorDocument 404 "/cgi-bin/missing_handler.pl"
#ErrorDocument 402 http://www.example.com/subscription_info.html
#

#
# EnableMMAP and EnableSendfile: On systems that support it, 
# memory-mapping or the sendfile syscall may be used to deliver
# files.  This usually improves server performance, but must
# be turned off when serving from networked-mounted 
# filesystems or if support for these functions is otherwise
# broken on your system.
# Defaults if commented: EnableMMAP On, EnableSendfile Off
#
#EnableMMAP off
EnableSendfile on

# Supplemental configuration
#
# Load config files in the "/etc/httpd/conf.d" directory, if any.
IncludeOptional conf.d/*.conf

EDIT 3: Per @MichaelHampton’s suggestion, I delved into the server’s audit log, and found these lines when I made a call to the webpage.

time->Thu Sep 10 14:31:52 2020
type=PROCTITLE msg=audit(1599744712.267:53948): proctitle=7068702D66706D3A20706F6F6C20777777
type=SYSCALL msg=audit(1599744712.267:53948): arch=c000003e syscall=6 success=no exit=-13 a0=7ffd8d989100 a1=7ffd8d988fe0 a2=7ffd8d988fe0 a3=0 items=0 ppid=1140 pid=30211 auid=4294967295 uid=48 gid=48 euid=48 suid=48 fsuid=48 egid=48 sgid=48 fsgid=48 tty=(none) ses=4294967295 comm="php-fpm" exe="/usr/sbin/php-fpm" subj=system_u:system_r:httpd_t:s0 key=(null)
type=AVC msg=audit(1599744712.267:53948): avc:  denied  { getattr } for  pid=30211 comm="php-fpm" path="/usr/share/php/PHPMailer/src/Exception.php" dev="xvda2" ino=5655957 scontext=system_u:system_r:httpd_t:s0 tcontext=unconfined_u:object_r:default_t:s0 tclass=file permissive=0

Seems to suggest permission errors, which I’d suspected, but couldn’t figure out how to fix. I tried to use the instructions in this question. Now I’m getting nothing in the audit log, but I’m still seeing the error.

My answer:


SELinux has blocked PHP from loading some files in /usr/share/php directory because they have the wrong contexts. Most likely they were moved from a directory with no default SELinux context, as the type was default_t. (You should always copy files on an SELinux enabled system and remove the originals, or use mv -Z.)

You can fix the problem by setting the correct file contexts to allow the web server to read the files.

restorecon -rv /usr/share/php

In future, remember to copy files and remove the originals, or use mv -Z to make sure that SELinux contexts are set correctly.


Interpreting the audit log:

  • PROCTITLE gives the name of the process involved. Note that it is in hexadecimal and needs to be decoded. In this case it decodes to php-fpm: pool www.
  • SYSCALL gives a variety of information, including the system call that was attempted, whether it succeeded, the process name, uid/gid, and more. In this case a call to lstat() (6) returned errno 13, Permission denied.
  • AVC gives information on the SELinux denial, including what was denied and the process name, filename and contexts involved. Here we see that the permission getattr which is needed to call lstat() was denied. The source context is that of the program, php-fpm, which was httpd_t. It tried to access a file with the type default_t, which isn’t allowed. And it shows that SELinux is in enforcing mode, not permissive mode.

View the full question and any other answers on Server Fault.

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