I designed a web page that lets user define some criteria using drop-boxes etc. and php collects the relevant data from the database according to that criteria.

What I intend to do is modeling a least squares trend line over that data using R and displaying coefficients and plot etc.

But I'm unable to run R, though it's installed in the server and works as expected when invoked within the server. I guess there are some security issues.

Can anyone lead me to a solution. My hosting company says it's impossible to run a exec() command to invoke R within PHP because of security reasons.

Thanks so much, jan

  • 1
    Sounds like your hosting company sucks.
    – Rook
    Jun 29, 2010 at 15:48

4 Answers 4


I wrote a trending class in pure PHP as part of PHPExcel, to provides the functions for calculating coefficients and plot. It should provide everything that R can provide. As an alternative to running R itself, you can find it on the PHPExcel site at codeplex. If you can't find an exec() solution, you're welcome to pillage that code to provide a pure PHP solution, though I'd appreciate any feedback/bugfixes/etc

  • 1
    Actually I'm thinking of developing the project so that it is capable of doing more complex calculations, like neural-network estimations. Besides, I've written a ready-to-use model in R. But your project seems like my next stop if getting R to work fails, at least as a start. Indeed, it looks like excellent for other but similar purposes! Good work & thanks!
    – Jan Sahin
    Jun 29, 2010 at 10:02
  • Only suggested as a fallback alternative. R is a far better and more efficient tool for the job if you can get it working with PHP
    – Mark Baker
    Jun 29, 2010 at 10:22

There is a post about configuring R right here on SO. Not all the answers are using exec().

  • I've seen that post but in that post Brendon says he found better answers in other forums. Actually, I was trying to ask this question directly to Brandon but I found myself here and edited the question as a general question :$
    – Jan Sahin
    Jun 29, 2010 at 9:52

I was looking for an answer to your question also, and by now all that I have read said that you will need more privileges on your server (which you won't get on shared hosting).

Potentially going do a virtual dedicated server would work for you, but I don't know yet of someone saying that he did it and that it works.

I wrote about projects to get R online on my blog here (like ggplot2 web interface and R-node), If you find good solutions, please let me (us) know.



  • Hi Tal, In fact, this man (Matthew Jockers) here seems to achieve exactly what I wanted. I followed his instructions step by step with no luck, but it may be useful for you and your blog: stanford.edu/~mjockers/cgi-bin/drupal/node/25 I guess, it's mostly about privileges on the server, as you said. I have a virtual dedicated server in my hands but and I'm dealing with my provider ATM. Thanks, jan
    – Jan Sahin
    Jun 29, 2010 at 22:42
  • Thank you for the link Jan - very interesting ! Best, Tal
    – Tal Galili
    Jun 30, 2010 at 7:56

You may check this site: http://cran.r-project.org/doc/FAQ/R-FAQ.html#R-Web-Interfaces
On the other hand, some time ago I was making something similar and I used a named pipe through which PHP was sending commands to a constantly running R instance, which was then putting its output directly to the database. In this solution the pipe served as a queue, so it could survive multiple clients at one time.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .