How to run composer.phar on Dreamhost

Dreamhost’s shared hosting offers up some challenges to get Composer’s composer.phar running.

  1. Even if your websites are setup to use PHP 5.3 or 5.4, the CLI version of php might be PHP 5.2, which is too old and doesn’t include phar. You can check this by logging into your account with a terminal via SSH and the command
    php --version
  2. Since this is a shared hosting environment, you can’t change things the way you would in own Vagrant Ubuntu box or local dev environment.

You’ll have to get through these to run Laravel 4 and other applications that rely on Composer.

GitHub user Braunson has the best walkthrough on setting up composer.phar on DreamHost that I have found. These instructions worked on my account. I did have to do the extra step of putting phprc into a 5.4 folder. After logging out of SSH and logging back in, the phar extension worked, and I could use composer.

Another way to check if phar is available is to run

php -i | grep phar

, which will pull out phar-related config info. A server with phar enabled will look like this:

Configure Command =>  './configure'  '--prefix=/usr/local/php54' '--datadir=/usr/local/php54/share' '--localstatedir=/usr/local/php54/var' '--without-pear' '--with-config-file-path=/etc/php54' '--with-config-file-scan-dir=/etc/php54/conf.d' '--with-zend-vm=GOTO' '--enable-cgi' '--enable-fpm' '--enable-libxml=shared' '--enable-bcmath=shared' '--enable-calendar=shared' '--enable-ctype=shared' '--enable-dom=shared' '--enable-exif=shared' '--enable-fileinfo=shared' '--enable-filter=shared' '--enable-ftp=shared' '--enable-hash=shared' '--enable-intl=shared' '--enable-json=shared' '--enable-mbstring' '--enable-mbregex' '--enable-mbregex-backtrack' '--enable-pcntl=shared' '--enable-pdo' '--enable-phar=shared' '--enable-posix=shared' '--enable-session=shared' '--enable-shmop=shared' '--enable-simplexml=shared' '--enable-soap=shared' '--enable-sockets=shared' '--enable-sysvmsg=shared' '--enable-sysvsem=shared' '--enable-sysvshm=shared' '--enable-tokenizer
=shared' '--enable-wddx=shared' '--enable-xml=shared' '--enable-xmlreader=shared' '--enable-xmlwriter=shared' '--enable-zip=shared' '--with-openssl=shared' '--with-kerberos' '--with-pcre-regex' '--with-sqlite3' '--with-zlib=shared' '--with-bz2=shared' '--with-curl=shared' '--with-gd=shared' '--with-jpeg-dir=/usr' '--with-png-dir=/usr' '--with-zlib-dir=/usr' '--with-xpm-dir=/usr' '--with-freetype-dir=/usr' '--with-gettext=shared' '--with-gmp=shared' '--with-mhash=shared' '--with-iconv=shared' '--with-imap=shared' '--with-imap-ssl' '--with-ldap=shared' '--with-mcrypt=shared' '--with-msql=shared' '--with-mysql=shared,mysqlnd' '--with-mysql-sock=/No-MySQL-hostname-was-specified' '--with-mysqli=shared,mysqlnd' '--with-pdo-mysql=shared,mysqlnd' '--with-pdo-pgsql=shared' '--with-pdo-sqlite' '--with-pgsql=shared' '--with-pspell=shared' '--with-readline=shared' '--with-tidy=shared' '--with-xmlrpc=shared' '--with-xsl=shared'
Registered PHP Streams => compress.bzip2, php, file, glob, data, http, ftp, http
s, ftps, zip, compress.zlib, phar
Phar-based phar archives => enabled
Tar-based phar archives => enabled
ZIP-based phar archives => enabled
phar.cache_list => no value => no value
phar.readonly => On => On
phar.require_hash => On => On

Notice all the lines towards the bottom that show phar is available.