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Secure Your PHP Applications: Enabling mcrypt and Transitioning to OpenSSL

Enabling the mcrypt extension: What you need to know

Are you seeing the error message “Fatal error: Call to undefined function mcrypt_encrypt()” when trying to use PHP on your server? This error occurs when the mcrypt extension is not enabled in your PHP configuration.

In this article, we’ll explain how to enable the mcrypt extension and provide some important information on its usage. Enabling the mcrypt extension from the php.ini file

The php.ini file is a configuration file used by PHP to set global settings for the server.

To enable the mcrypt extension from this configuration file, you must first find where the file is located. The location of the php.ini file depends on the server environment you are using.

Once you locate the php.ini file, follow these steps:

1. Open the php.ini file using a text editor.

2. Search for the line “;extension=php_mcrypt.dll”.

3. Remove the semicolon at the start of the line to uncomment it.

4. Save the file.

Restarting the server to apply changes

Now that you’ve enabled the mcrypt extension, you need to restart the server to apply the changes. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can contact your server administrator or hosting provider for assistance.

Once the server has been restarted, you should no longer see the error message and be able to use the mcrypt extension in your PHP scripts.

Static connection of mcrypt extension with PHP binaries

If you’re using PHP 5.6 or PHP 7, you can enable mcrypt statically. This means that you don’t need to enable it using the php.ini file.

Simply add the following line of code at the end of the php.ini file:


Once again, don’t forget to restart your server to apply the changes.

Deprecation and removal of mcrypt extension in later PHP versions

It’s worth noting that mcrypt has been deprecated since PHP 7.1. As of PHP 7.2, the extension has been completely removed. This means that if you’re using a version of PHP above 7.1, you won’t be able to enable the mcrypt extension using any of the methods mentioned in this article.

Instead, you should consider using an alternative cryptography library, such as OpenSSL or Sodium. These libraries provide more secure encryption algorithms and are actively maintained.

In conclusion

Enabling the mcrypt extension is a simple process, but it’s important to understand its limitations and eventual removal from later versions of PHP. By following the instructions in this article, you can ensure that your PHP scripts are able to use the mcrypt extension while it’s still available.

If you’re using a newer version of PHP, it’s essential to switch to an alternative cryptography library to maintain the security of your PHP application.

Upgrading software and using OpenSSL instead of mcrypt

The mcrypt extension has been a popular cryptography library for PHP developers for many years. However, as we discussed in the previous section, mcrypt has been deprecated since PHP 7.1 and removed completely from PHP 7.2. This means that newer versions of PHP do not support the mcrypt extension, leading to potential security vulnerabilities and compatibility issues.

Fortunately, there are alternative cryptography libraries available that can be used as a replacement for mcrypt. One such library is OpenSSL, which provides a more secure encryption algorithm.

phpMyAdmin and Laravel not requiring mcrypt in their latest versions

In the latest versions of phpMyAdmin and Laravel, mcrypt is no longer required. This is because both software packages have been updated to use OpenSSL instead.

If you’re using an older version of these software packages that still requires mcrypt, it’s recommended that you upgrade to the latest version. This will ensure that your software remains compatible with the latest version of PHP and is less vulnerable to security risks.

Refactoring code to use OpenSSL for future compatibility and security

If you’re using code that relies on the mcrypt extension, it’s important to refactor your code to use OpenSSL instead. Not only will it make your code compatible with newer versions of PHP, but it will also provide better security.

Fortunately, the process of refactoring your code to use OpenSSL is relatively straightforward. Here’s how you can do it:


Replace all instances of mcrypt_encrypt() and mcrypt_decrypt() with openssl_encrypt() and openssl_decrypt(). The syntax for these functions is almost identical, so this should be a simple search-and-replace operation.

2. Modify any functions that use the mcrypt_create_iv() function to use the openssl_random_pseudo_bytes() function instead.

This function generates a cryptographically secure pseudo-random string of bytes. 3.

If you’re using mcrypt_get_iv_size() or mcrypt_enc_get_iv_size() to determine the size of the initialization vector used by mcrypt, replace it with the OPENSSL_RAW_DATA constant. 4.

Remove any code that relates to the mcrypt extension, including the extension itself, from your PHP configuration file. By following these steps, you can ensure that your code is compatible with newer versions of PHP and is using a more secure encryption algorithm.

In conclusion… Upgrading your software and refactoring your code to use OpenSSL instead of mcrypt is a crucial step in maintaining the security of your PHP applications.

With the deprecation and removal of mcrypt from newer versions of PHP, it’s essential to adapt your applications to use alternative cryptography libraries. By doing so, you can ensure that your applications remain compatible with the latest version of PHP and protect yourself and your users from potential security risks.

In conclusion, ensuring the mcrypt extension is enabled and transitioning to OpenSSL is essential for maintaining the security and future compatibility of your PHP applications. While mcrypt has been deprecated and removed from newer versions of PHP, phpMyAdmin and Laravel have updated to use OpenSSL instead, making the transition easier.

Refactoring code to use OpenSSL is straightforward and provides better security for your applications. As such, it is important to be aware of these changes and take proactive steps to update and secure your PHP applications.

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