PHP Hosting - Server Side Scripting Language

Nearly every web host on line offers PHP hosting.  PHP is a common server side scripting language.  The acronym PHP is a recursive acronym that stands for hypertext pre-processor.  And, as the name hyper text pre-processor implies, PHP is used to process hyper text markup language (HTML) before it is presented to the viewer in its final state.  As such, PHP can be used to generate dynamic content on a website; which is essential to any solid website, especially with the advent of Web 2.0.

PHP is not proprietary, that is, free to use by all.  Because of this, many web hosts employ a PHP server as standard issue for any hosting package.  To cut costs, web hosts will often use the open source apache server software as well.  Apache, PHP, MySQL work well together as the on line community of programmers contribute to projects such as phpMyAdmin.  To give you an idea of how important PHP is to the web, it is unlikely that the world of web development could be as egalitarian as it is today; were it not for PHP.  With this perspective, you can bet nearly any web host on line will also offer PHP hosting.

The version of PHP is the only difference between PHP web hosts.  Many web hosts will not offer the latest version of PHP standard with the purchase of a server.  Although you often get a slightly outdated version of PHP, nearly all web hosts will upgrade your server to have the latest version of PHP upon your request.  It is wise to investigate if upgrading or downgrading (in the event you have old scripts no longer compatible with the latest version of PHP) will cost you anything.  Some web hosts keep this somewhat hidden, and use it as another way to get a few bucks from you.  But do not worry too much, typically this is not the case and you will be able to modify your server's PHP configuration without any extra cost.  Aside from a setup fee or a fee to change the default version of PHP your server comes standard with, PHP hosting should be totally free.  If your web host charges you extra for using PHP, you may want to consider moving your content to a web host that does not charge you for PHP.   

If you are serious PHP programmer, you may need to investigate if you can modify the code library's that already exist on your a present or potential server.  One library you may need is the GD library's, standing for "graphic design" library.  The GD library is essential for great free-ware programs like phpThumb to be successfully installed and used for your website.  I take advantage of the power of phpThumb regularly in my job as a freelance web developer.  Without phpThumb, many of the pages I design would need resized images and hours of Photoshop work to load as smoothly as they do.  The GD library often comes standard with every installation of PHP, but you may need to implement a library with code to simplify the process of creating content in portable document format (pdf), or carry out some other complex task.

Before you invest your money in a web host offering PHP hosting, you should check to see if various PHP free-ware applications such as phpBB are included in the PHP hosting package.  These free PHP applications can save you a great deal of time and effort, and are standard issue with the majority of web hosts offering PHP hosting.  Investigating the presence or absence of these critical PHP driven applications is essential to determining the quality of the PHP hosting offered by the various web hosts on line.  However, if your website will not require any bulletin board or blog software, analyzing a PHP hosting package for these extras is extraneous and unnecessary.  It is good idea to shop around with some forethought, as your website may grow, or you may want to utilize a PHP based software to enhance your website in the future.