How to increase maximum execution time limit of PHP scripts

PHP will timeout and exit with the following error once it reaches the maximum allowed time for it to execute your scripts;

Fatal error: Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded in yourscript.php

30 seconds is the default timeout, if not specifically configured.

You can avoid this error by increasing the maximum execution time for PHP. This can be set globally or from within your PHP scripts via any of these options;

Configure max_execution_time in php.ini

This approach will affect all the PHP scripts running in your system. It's the best solution if you're running content management system or framework like Wordpress or Drupal as you don't need to configure the option manually to all the affected scripts.

Set the max_execution_time in your PHP configuration file to the number of seconds that want to allow your PHP scripts to execute.

The following example will set the maximum execution time to 5 minutes (300 seconds).

; Maximum execution time of each script, in seconds
; Note: This directive is hardcoded to 0 for the CLI SAPI
max_execution_time = 300

Setting it to 0 will impose no time limit whatsoever to the execution of your PHP scripts.

This is not a recommended solution especially in production systems as misbehaved scripts could bring the whole system down.

Make sure to restart your web server for the changes to take effect.

Call ini_set() in scripts

This is basically the same as the previous solution, but it's actually a function that you call from your PHP script. It's a general function to override any configuration options set in your PHP's configuration file and will only affect the execution of the scripts that call the function.

When placed at the start of your PHP script, the following function call will allow it to run for 300 seconds (5 minutes).

ini_set('max_execution_time', 300)

For CMS and frameworks, it should be placed in shared files such as the configuration files. For Wordpress it's wp-settings.php.

Call set_time_limit() in scripts

This is PHP's built-in function specifically to set the maximum execution time limit of your PHP scripts. It's to be called from your PHP script as in the previous method and the following example is to also set the limit to 300 seconds (5 minutes).

set_time_limit ( 300 )

Configure max_execution_time in htaccess file

This is the best option if you don't have administrator access to your system but still want to set the option to all your scripts in your project folder.

Add the following lines to .htaccess file within your PHP project folder and this will be applied to all the scripts within that folder.

<IfModule mod_php7.c>
php_value max_execution_time 300

Use mod_php5.c if you're hosting on PHP 5.

htaccess is an Apache-specific solution.