Create ZPKs the Easy Way

Zend Server provides the ability to deploy applications to a single server or cluster of servers via the ZPK package format. We have offered zf-deploy for creating these packages from Zend Framework and Apigility applications, but how can you create these for Expressive, or, really, any PHP application?


To create the ZPK, you need a few things:

  • The zip binary. ZPKs are ZIP files with specific artifacts.
  • The composer binary, so you can install dependencies.
  • An .htaccess file, if your Zend Server installation is using Apache.
  • A deployment.xml file.


If you are using Apache, you'll want to make sure that you setup things like rewrite rules for your application. While this can be done when defining the vhost in the Zend Server admin UI, using an .htaccess file makes it easier to make changes to the rules between deployments.

The following .htaccess file will work for many (most?) PHP projects. Place it relative to your projects front controller script; in the case of Expressive, Zend Framework, and Apigility, that would mean public/index.php, and thus public/.htaccess.

RewriteEngine On
# The following rule tells Apache that if the requested filename
# exists, simply serve it.
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -s [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -l [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
RewriteRule ^.*$ - [NC,L]

# The following rewrites all other queries to index.php. The
# condition ensures that if you are using Apache aliases to do
# mass virtual hosting, the base path will be prepended to
# allow proper resolution of the index.php file; it will work
# in non-aliased environments as well, providing a safe, one-size
# fits all solution.
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI}::$1 ^(/.+)(.+)::\2$
RewriteRule ^(.*) - [E=BASE:%1]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ %{ENV:BASE}index.php [NC,L]


The deployment.xml tells Zend Server about the application you are deploying. What is listed below will work for Expressive, Zend Framework, and Apigility applications, and likely a number of other PHP applications. The main things to pay attention to are:

  • The name should typically match the application name you've setup in Zend Server.
  • The version.release value should be updated for each release; this allows you to use rollback features.
  • The appdir value is the project root. An empty value indicates the same directory as the deployment.xml lives in.
  • The docroot value is the directory from which the vhost will serve files.

So, as an example:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<package version="2.0" xmlns="">
	<summary>API for all the things!</summary>

Installing dependencies

When you're ready to build a package, you should install your dependencies. However, don't install them any old way; install them in a production-ready way. This means:

  • Specifying that composer optimize the autoloader (--optimize-autoloader).
  • Use production dependencies only (--no-dev).
  • Prefer distribution packages (versus source installs) (--prefer-dist).


$ composer install --no-dev --prefer-dist --optimize-autoloader

Create the ZPK

Finally, we can now create the ZPK, using the zip command:

$ zip -r api-1.0.0.zpk . -x api-1.0.0.zpk -x '*.git/*'

This creates the file api-1.0.0.zpk with all contents of the current directory minus the .git directory and the ZPK itself (these are excluded via the -x flags). (You may want/need to specify additional exclusions; the above are typical, however.)

You can then upload the ZPK to the web interface, or use the Zend Server SDK.

Simple example: single-directory PoC

Let's say you want to do a proof-of-concept, and will be creating an index.php in the project root to test out an idea. You would use the above .htaccess, but keep it in the project root. Your deployment.xml would look the same, except that the docroot value would be empty:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<package version="2.0" xmlns="">
	<summary>Proof-of-concept of a very cool idea</summary>

You'd then run:

$ zip -r poc-0.1.0.zpk . -x poc-0.1.0.zpk



ZPKs make creating and staging deployment packages fairly easy — once you know how to create the packages. We hope that this post helps demystify the first steps in creating a ZPK for your application.

Visit the Zend Server documentation For more information on ZPK structure.



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