PHP Fatal error: Maximum execution time exceeded

  • Posted on: 18 December 2015
  • By: Michael

Problem: Your PHP max execution time was exceeded and PHP quits.

Solution: Extend PHP's Runtime Configuration max_execution_time.

For security reasons try changing max_execution_time to 60 seconds first, then longer if you need it.

* Also, you'll need to change the pathing I've used as appropriate for you site / system.

# Drupal Solution Details #

First we need to play, "Where's php.ini?"

:WHM (cPanel):

Goto: Service Configuration » PHP Configuration Editor
Edit: max_execution_time
Click: Save

cPanel makes life easy. You can skip the rest of this.


If you have Drush, go to your site's directory:

$ cd [YourDrupalInstallDir]
$ drush status

Look for the line "PHP configuration," which will tell you where your php.ini is. Here's a couple examples:

PHP configuration      :  /etc/php.ini
PHP configuration      :  /usr/local/lib/php.ini

:Command line:

If you don't have Drush, give these paths a shot:


or use:

$ locate php.ini


To be definitive add a phpinfo file to your webserver


and open it ( http://{}/somename.php ) and find the section "Loaded Configuration File."

Let's Edit

Yeah, finally . . .

$ grep execution /etc/php.ini
max_execution_time = 30

Switch to root, make a backup, edit, and you're good. Here's a command line example of how to do that:

$ su -
$ cd /etc
$ cp  php.ini  php.ini.[Today'sDate]
$ nano  php.ini
[Crtl W]
[Crtl K]
[Crtl U]
[Crtl U]
{comment out first line by adding ; to be beginning of the line}
{change second line to 60}
[Crtl X]

Your lines will look something like this before you save:

; Maximum execution time of each script, in seconds
; max_execution_time = 30
max_execution_time = 60

Can't edit your php.ini?

Alternatively if you can't edit your php.ini, add

ini_set('max_execution_time', 60);

to your settings.php

$ cd [YourDrupalInstallDir]/sites/default
$ chmod +r settings.php
$ nano settings.php
{add ini_set above, preferably to the bottom so other developers will see it}
[Crtl X]
$ chmod -r settings.php

Do you need to restart Apache after changing the php.ini file?

Maybe. Depends. What a cop our right?

It really does depend on how your system is setup, so to be safe, just restart Apace and you should be good.


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