Is it possible to somehow view another websites php files/codes?
Or to rephrase the question, Can my php codes be viewed by anybody except for those who have access to the file?
If so, how can I best prevent this?
Ps: Server OS is Ubuntu 9.10 and PHP version is 5+ (Apache2)
A bug or security vulnerability in the server (either Apache or the PHP engine), or your own PHP code, might allow an attacker to obtain access to your code.
For instance if you have a PHP script to allow people to download files, and an attacker can trick this script into download some of your PHP files, then your code can be leaked.
Since it’s impossible to eliminate all bugs from the software you’re using, if someone really wants to steal your code, and they have enough resources, there’s a reasonable chance they’ll be able to.
However, as long as you keep your server up-to-date, someone with casual interest is not able to see the PHP source unless there are some obvious security vulnerabilities in your code.
Read the Security section of the PHP manual as a starting point to keeping your code safe.
By using exploits or on badly configured servers it could be possible to download your PHP source. You could however either obfuscate and/or encrypt your code (using Zend Guard, Ioncube or a similar app) if you want to make sure your source will not be readable (to be accurate, obfuscation by itself could be reversed given enough time/resources, but I haven’t found an IonCube or Zend Guard decryptor yet…).
Noone cand read the file except for those who have access to the file. You must make the code readable (but not writable) by the web server. If the php code handler is running properly you can’t read it by requesting by name from the web server.
If someone compromises your server you are at risk. Ensure that the web server can only write to locations it absolutely needs to. There are a few locations under /var which should be properly configured by your distribution. They should not be accessible over the web. /var/www should not be writable, but may contain subdirectories written to by the web server for dynamic content. Code handlers should be disabled for these.
Ensure you don’t do anything in your php code which can lead to code injection. The other risk is directory traversal using paths containing .. or begining with /. Apache should already be patched to prevent this when it is handling paths. However, when it runs code, including php, it does not control the paths. Avoid anything that allows the web client to pass a file path.