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Web Hosting 04/01/2007
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PHP, the HTML-embedded scripting language, and MySQL, the leading open-source database, are the ideal combination for web hosting. They are both powerful platforms that allow you to develop virtually any web-based application. Both programs, when running under the Apache web server on a Unix-like operating system such as FreeBSD, are both stable and secure. Most web hosting providers offer at least PHP with their web hosting accounts, and may allow the user to create a limited number of MySQL databases on their account.

Like many other web hosting providers, we at offer PHP on all of our web hosting accounts. You can use it to build your own web-based applications, simplify content management on your site, or use one of the hundreds of pre-built PHP software programs.

Of course, the true potential for PHP can be realized when you begin serving content from, or adding content to, a MySQL database. In SQL terminology, a table contains rows of data and columns, or fields, to identify that data, similar to a single spreadsheet in Excel. A database is a collection of tables with their indexes, and it is stored physically on the hard drive as an individual folder.

Most of our basic Web Hosting accounts include at least one MySQL database, which works well if you are operating only one domain. However, when you begin to expand your site, or you begin servicing other sub-accounts under your main account, you will want to group database resources into distinct databases. This enables you to distribute access control and quota levels between users or projects. Many web hosting providers will increase the number of databases you are allowed to create, but very few can offer unlimited databases.

One of the most valuable features of the dedicated operating system used in our Virtual Dedicated and Root Server plans is the ability to create an unlimited number of databases. Most web hosting providers can only offer this on expensive dedicated servers.

Our Root Server takes the potential of PHP and MySQL one step further. Since both PHP and MySQL are open-source projects, development continues on each of them at a fairly consistent rate. PHP in particular boasts a wide array of functions that enable dynamic image generation, sophisticated encryption, and more. Not all of these functions are available in the standard distribution, and they must be installed and compiled directly into the PHP code. You must have root access to perform these updates, and our Root Server plans gives you that ability at a surprisingly affordable rate. You can also use root access to change ownership of the MySQL databases, which allows you to include the database size in one of your user's quotas. And, because you have exclusive access to your operating system, you can upgrade to the latest versions at any time, as long as you are prepared to reverse your changes or seek professional support if something unexpected occurs.