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What Is PHP?

PHP, short for Hypertext Preprocessor believe it or not, is a server side programming language. The initials PHP are actually derived from the name of the very first version, which was Personal Home Page Tools. Webmasters and designers that want to offer a high level of interactivity and dynamic content to their pages typically use it. PHP content interacts with one or more databases to assist in creating what are essentially web based software applications. It is one of the most popular programming languages because of the level of interactivity it creates between web site and visitor. In fact, apart from HTML and C it is arguably the most commonly used web programming language.

What PHP Offers You And Your Visitors
PHP scripts are freely and readily available on numerous sites on the Internet meaning that with just a little amendment a script can be completely customized to match your needs and your site before being embedded into the HTML page or hosted directly on the server. Sites that use content management systems will typically find that they are created and powered by a PHP script. The same is also true of a great many different online web based applications.

The Most Important Aspect Of PHP Hosting

If you intend to use PHP within the pages of your site then you will need to ensure that you choose a hosting provider that offers PHP support. Not all servers will, although the majority of shared hosting services and dedicated hosting services do offer full support for PHP scripts. Free hosting does not tend to offer the same level of support in this area and, as a result, you may struggle to find a free PHP host. Also note that in the case of most PHP website applications or dynamic page content you will also require a MySQL database so ensure that your host offers one or more databases with the package you opt for.

MySQL Databases

Obviously, the first thing you should look for when deciding on the right PHP hosting account is to check that the server you intend to use supports PHP extensions. This should be easy to locate on the list of features. As mentioned above, you should probably check that the server also offers MySQL databases to allow for truly dynamic page content. If both are supported then the rest is really down to personal preference. As with any hosting account you should usually check that the network offers a reasonable uptime guarantee (99.9% is normal, and anything below this should be considered too unstable).

Other Features To Look For

Check that any other features you require are supported and offered. Obviously, one important factor is the cost. There are some really good inexpensive shared hosting accounts available but if you are looking for complete control over your online presence and you want to be sure that you have the kind of security and power that your site demands then you might want to consider a dedicated server plan. This essentially means you lease an entire server from your hosting company and while it does cost more than shared hosting, traffic or dynamic content heavy websites may require that little extra power.

The Typical Cost Of PHP Hosting

Shared PHP hosting accounts are available for $10 per month or less. These accounts generally offer enough for the small website or a website that is still in a growth stage. However, if you do intend to include a lot of dynamic content and you expect large amounts of traffic then you should expect to pay $100 or more for a dedicated hosting plan. It may seem expensive but it is still much cheaper than purchasing your own server when you consider all of the additional costs you will accrue.

Conclusion

PHP is a powerful programming language. It allows you to create dynamic content that draws visitors into your site and persuade them to remain there and continue to visit. Sites that use content management systems or other applications are very likely to use PHP to do so. If your site includes PHP scripts or you plan to add them in the future then you should ensure that the hosting account you choose offers PHP support as well as the provision of one or more MySQL databases. Costs can vary from under $10 per month to over $100 per month depending on exactly what you require.