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Using Ubuntu and Debian To Run Shell Commands With PHP Scripts

Linux has many great packages that you can install use with some command line knowledge. However, there may come a time when you run to use a package and execute the commands from a web browser.

Typically, PHP functions like exec() and shell_exec() can be used to run basic commands that can navigate folders and read files.

But, what if you want to use a package and run a command within the browser? To do this, you will need to allow www-data to become sudoer user and allow it to use the package without a password. This article will explain how to do that.

By default, Apache will run with the user www-data. So, open up that /etc/sudoers file and give Apache permission to use the desired service(s). For this example, we will use the service httrack.

 www-data ALL=NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/httrack 

Now, we can run the exec() and shell_exec() functions to use httrack.The sample code would copy the files in root folder and skip the rest of the stuff since it only goes 1 folder deep.

 <?php shell_exec('sudo httrack "" -O "/websites/" -v -s0  --depth=1');