How to Increase the PHP Memory Limit: A Practical Guide

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Table of Contents

Understanding the PHP memory exhaustion error

First of all, it is essential to understand the nature of thePHP memory exhaustion error and why it occurs. This error is one of the most common problems encountered when working with PHP, a powerful and versatile scripting language used in millions of websites worldwide.

The error occurs when a PHP script tries to use more memory than was allocated to it. In technical terms, the error manifests itself with a message saying "Allowed memory size of X bytes exhausted". This warning is essentially PHP's way of telling you that it cannot process any more information due to a lack of available memory space. This error is usually a sign that your script is trying to do too much in a single operation or that it has encountered a loop that keeps consuming memory without freeing it, as might happen in an infinite loop.

This type of problem can occur for various reasons. It can be caused by a PHP script that is performing a particularly memory-intensive operation, such as processing large amounts of data. Other times, it may be the result of poorly written or non-optimised code that uses more memory than is really necessary.

The most direct solution to the memory exhaustion error is to increase the memory limit allocated to PHP. However, it is worth noting that this is often a temporary solution and that, in some cases, it may be more beneficial to direct attention towards optimising the PHP script itself.

Overall, understanding the PHP memory exhaustion error is the first fundamental step in resolving it. Once the problem is understood, one can then take action to solve it, regardless of whether this involves increasing the memory limit or optimising the PHP code.

The role of the php.ini file

A central element in the resolution of the PHP memory exhaustion error is the php.ini. This file plays a key role in the configuration of the PHP environment on your server. You can think of php.ini as the heart of PHP's configuration: this is where you establish the global settings that PHP will follow when executing your scripts.

The file path php.ini may vary, depending on the operating system in use and the specific configuration of your server. It is important to note that if you are operating on a shared server, it may not be possible to access this file directly. In this case, you will need to contact your hosting provider and request a change of PHP settings. This may seem like an obstacle, but most hosting providers are very helpful in providing assistance in these situations.

If, on the other hand, you have SSH access to your server, you have direct control over the php.ini. You can locate the file using the php --ini in your server's shell. This command will return the exact location of the php.ini on your server, allowing you to access and modify it as required.

The role of the php.ini in resolving the PHP memory exhaustion error cannot be emphasised enough. Knowing and understanding how it works will give you much more control over how PHP works on your server and allow you to solve a number of common problems, including the memory exhaustion error.

Edit the memory_limit line in the php.ini file

The php.ini contains an important setting called memory_limit. This is the directive that controls the maximum amount of memory that a PHP script may consume. Changing this specific setting is the crucial step in dealing with the PHP memory exhaustion error.

To do so, you will have to open the php.ini with a text editor. You could use any text editor of your choice, as long as it allows you to edit and save text files. Once the file is open, look for the line beginning with memory_limit. This line represents the maximum amount of memory PHP can use.

At this point, you can change the set value to a higher number. For example, if you wish to increase the memory limit to 1GB, you would change the value to 1024M. It is important to emphasise that although increasing the memory limit may provide a quick solution to the memory exhaustion error, you should be cautious to avoid allocating too much memory to PHP to the point of exhausting all of your server's resources.

Once you have changed the memory_limitremember to save the file. This is an important step, as any changes made to the file php.ini will not take effect until the file is saved. With this change saved and implemented, you should be able to resolve the PHP memory exhaustion error and ensure smoother operation of your website or PHP application.

Restart the PHP service or your web server

After making and saving changes in the php.ini, an essential step is to restart the PHP service or your web server. This is necessary because PHP reads the settings from the php.ini only at start-up. Therefore, for the changes to take effect, the PHP service must be restarted.

The process for restarting the PHP service or web server depends on the system you are using. On many Linux systems, for instance, you can restart the PHP service using the command php-fpm service restart o systemctl restart php-fpmdepending on the version of your operating system. If you are using a web server such as Apache, it may be necessary to restart the entire web server, which can be done with similar commands such as service apache2 restart o systemctl restart apache2.

Restarting the PHP service or your web server is an essential step after any changes to the php.ini. Only then can you ensure that your changes are active and that PHP can operate with the new settings. Once you have restarted the service, you should check whether the PHP memory exhaustion error has been resolved. If the problem persists, you may need to explore further troubleshooting measures, such as optimising your PHP script.

Change the memory_limit setting via Plesk or cPanel

If you do not have direct access to the php.ini on your server, or if you prefer a more intuitive interface, you can make the same changes to PHP settings through server management tools such as Plesk or cPanel. These platforms make the process of changing PHP settings more accessible, especially for less technical users.

On Plesk, log in to your account and go to the "Websites & Domains" tab. From there, look for the "PHP Settings" option for the domain you wish to operate on. You will find an option called memory_limit in the PHP settings page. You can change the value of this setting directly from here. Remember to click 'Apply' or 'OK' to save your changes.

how to increase the php memory limit g tech group
how to increase the php memory limit g tech group

On cPanel, the process is similar. After logging in, look for the "Software" section and select "Select PHP Version". From there, select the "Switch to PHP Options" option. This will take you to a page with several PHP settings, including memory_limit. You can change the value directly from here. Again, be sure to save your changes by clicking 'Apply' or 'Save'.

Remember that after making changes, you may need to restart your server or PHP service to make them take effect, although in many cases Plesk or cPanel will handle this step for you. If the memory exhaustion error persists after increasing the memory_limit, you may need to recheck your code for optimisation or consult a PHP professional for further assistance.

What to do if the problem persists

Despite the increase in memory_limit, you may find that the PHP memory exhaustion error persists. This could indicate a deeper problem with your script or the application you are using, such as an infinite loop or non-optimised code that is consuming more memory than necessary.

In this case, it would be advisable to examine your code more closely. Optimising PHP code can be a challenge, especially if you are not an experienced PHP developer or if the application you are using is complex. You can try to identify and correct inefficiencies in your code or you may need to contact the developer or software vendor for assistance.

If you cannot solve the problem yourself or if you prefer assistance from professionals, we are here to help. You can contact our team of experts at GTech Group by opening a support ticket. To do so, send an email to with full details of your problem. Our team of technical support professionals is highly skilled in solving PHP-related problems and will be ready to assist you in finding and resolving the root cause of the PHP memory exhaustion error. Remember, you are not in this alone, we are here to help!


In conclusione, l’errore di esaurimento della memoria PHP è un problema comune che può affliggere qualsiasi sito web o applicazione che utilizza PHP. Tuttavia, è particolarmente frequente nei siti web basati su CMS come WordPress, dove l’utilizzo di template complessi o l’installazione di numerosi plugin può facilmente causare questo errore.

CMSs, while offering great flexibility and functionality, can require significant memory resources, especially when using feature-rich themes or a large number of plugins. While these resources add functionality and versatility to your site, they can also lead to saturation of the PHP memory limit, causing the memory exhaustion error.

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G Tech Group was born conceptually in 2011 and entrepreneurially in 2013 from an idea of Gianluca Gentile its founder.

The aim was to create the first Social Web Agency not a classic web agency that deals with social but an agency that shares its resources and ideas with other agencies and also connects different agencies, creating a real network.

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