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How to downgrade PHP 5.3 on CentOS 5.x/6.x

Article ID: 115733, created on Mar 15, 2013, last review on May 11, 2014

  • Parallels Plesk 11.x for Linux
  • Parallels Plesk 10.x for Linux


Some PHP applications running on websites are not compatible with PHP 5.3 and it may be necessary to downgrade PHP on the server.


On CentOS 5: PHP 5.3.x is provided by Parallels, while PHP 5.1.x is available from the OS vendor's repositories.

The steps to downgrade are as follows:

  1. Since PHP 5.3 packages have the name "php53" or "php53-mysql," they cannot be replaced by the vendor's PHP packages and should be removed, ignoring dependencies:

    rpm -qa | grep php53 | xargs rpm -e --nodeps

  2. Install PHP from the vendor's repositories:

    yum install php php-pdo php-gd php-imap php-mbstring php-mysql php-xml php-cli

  3. Download the Plesk psa-php5-configurator package appropriate for your Plesk version and server CPU architecture:

  4. Install the Plesk PHP configurator package:

    rpm -Uhv psa-php5-configurator-1.6.2-cos5.build110120608.16.x86_64.rpm

On CentOS 6: CentOS 6 shipped with PHP 5.3 from the beginning and there are no earlier versions available in the OS vendor's repositories. A third-party software repository can be used. For example, PHP 5.2.17 is available from the Atomic repository. However, to downgrade PHP and keep it, automatic Parallels Plesk Panel updates should be disabled. Micro-Updates should be installed as recommended in KB #9294.

Steps to downgrade PHP on CentOS 6:

  1. Add Atomic repository:

    wget -qq -O - | /bin/bash

  2. Downgrade all PHP packages:

    yum downgrade $(rpm -qa --qf "%{NAME}\n" | grep -v ioncube | grep ^php | awk '{print $1"-5.2.17"}')

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