One thing that one has to like with Entreprise distribution is the same stable api/abi during the distro lifetime. If you have one application that works, you'll know that it will continue to work.

But in parallel, one can't always decide the application to run on that distro, with the built-in components. I was personally faced with this recently, when I was in a need to migrate our Bug Tracker to a new version. Let's so use that example to see how we can use "newer" php pkgs distributed through the distro itself.

The application that we use for is MantisBT, and by reading their requirements list it was clear than a CentOS 7 default setup would not work : as a reminder the default php pkg for .el7 is 5.4.16 , so not supported anymore by "modern" application[s].

That's where SCLs come to the rescue ! With such "collections", one can install those, without overwriting the base pkgs, and so can even run multiple parallel instances of such "stack", based on configuration.

Let's just start simple with our MantisBT example : forget about the traditional php-* packages (including "php" which provides the mod_php for Apache) : it's up to you to let those installed if you need it, but on my case, I'll default to php 7.1.x for the whole vhost, and also worth knowing that I wanted to integrate php with the default httpd from the distro (to ease the configuration management side, to expect finding the .conf files at $usual_place)

The good news is that those collections are built and so then tested and released through our CentOS Infra, so you don't have to care about anything else ! (kudos to the SCLo SIG ! ). You can see the available collections here

So, how do we proceed ? easy ! First let's add the repository :

yum install centos-release-scl

And from that point, you can just install what you need. For our case, MantisBT needs php, php-xml, php-mbstring, php-gd (for the captcha, if you want to use it), and a DB driver, so php-mysql (if you targets mysql of course). You just have to "translate" that into SCLs pkgs : in our case, php becomes rh-php71 (meta pkg), php-xml becomes rh-php71-php-xml and so on (one remark though, php-mysql became rh-php71-php-mysqlnd !)

So here we go :

yum install httpd rh-php71 rh-php71-php-xml rh-php71-php-mbstring rh-php71-php-gd rh-php71-php-soap rh-php71-php-mysqlnd rh-php71-php-fpm

As said earlier, we'll target the default httpd pkg from the distro , so we just have to "link" php and httpd. Remember that mod_php isn't available anymore, but instead we'll use the php-fpm pkg (see rh-php71-php-fpm) for this (so all requests are sent to that FastCGI Process Manager daemon)

Let's do this :

systemctl enable httpd --now
systemctl enable rh-php71-php-fpm --now
cat > /etc/httpd/conf.d/php-fpm.conf << EOF
AddType text/html .php 
DirectoryIndex index.php
<FilesMatch \.php$>
      SetHandler "proxy:fcgi://"
systemctl restart httpd

And from this point, it's all basic, and application is now using php 7.1.x stack. That's a basic "howto" but you can also run multiple versions in parallel, and also tune php-fpm itself. If you're interested, I'll let you read Remi Collet's blog post about this (Thank you again Remi !)

Hope this helps, as strangely I couldn't easily find a simple howto for this, as "scl enable rh-php71 bash" wouldn't help a lot with httpd (which is probably the most used scenario)