Runtime Configuration

The behaviour of these functions is affected by settings in php.ini.

The zlib extension offers the option to transparently compress your pages on-the-fly, if the requesting browser supports this. Therefore there are three options in the configuration file php.ini.

Zlib Configuration Options
Name Default Changeable Changelog
zlib.output_compression "0" PHP_INI_ALL Available since PHP 4.0.5.
zlib.output_compression_level "-1" PHP_INI_ALL Available since PHP 4.3.0.
zlib.output_handler "" PHP_INI_ALL Available since PHP 4.3.0.
For further details and definitions of the PHP_INI_* modes, see the Where a configuration setting may be set.

Here's a short explanation of the configuration directives.

zlib.output_compression boolean/integer

Whether to transparently compress pages. If this option is set to "On" in php.ini or the Apache configuration, pages are compressed if the browser sends an "Accept-Encoding: gzip" or "deflate" header. "Content-Encoding: gzip" (respectively "deflate") and "Vary: Accept-Encoding" headers are added to the output. In runtime, it can be set only before sending any output.

This option also accepts integer values instead of boolean "On"/"Off", using this you can set the output buffer size (default is 4KB).


output_handler must be empty if this is set 'On' ! Instead you must use zlib.output_handler.

zlib.output_compression_level integer

Compression level used for transparent output compression. Specify a value between 0 (no compression) to 9 (most compression). The default value, -1, lets the server decide which level to use.

zlib.output_handler string

You cannot specify additional output handlers if zlib.output_compression is activated here. This setting does the same as output_handler but in a different order.

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User Contributed Notes 2 notes

scott at pawprint dot net
2 years ago
In the hopes this will help others - a hard to spot gotcha when implementing zlib.output_compression. if you use flush() anywhere in your script (even right at the end) the compression won't work - you need to let that happen automatically or it ends up being sent uncompressed.
2 years ago
Apparently, there is a bug in certain versions of PHP with setting zlib.output_compression to "On" via ini_set:

("zlib.output_compression", "On");

In some cases, it does not send the Content-type header and browsers won't know to decompress the contents before displaying. Instead, you can set it to the buffer size, which sends the correct header:

("zlib.output_compression", 4096);
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