What Is PHP Hosting and How Does it Work?

Julia Raznik

Written by Web Hosting Expert

Reviewed by Technical Editor

Updated July 6, 2022
What Is PHP Hosting and How Does it Work?

PHP stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor and is a type of scripting language that’s incredibly well suited to creating dynamic websites. In fact, all of WordPress is written with PHP, as well as other popular content management systems like Joomla, and Drupal. Choosing a host that’s PHP-friendly will allow you to quickly and efficiently make changes and updates to your website, and get the support you need.

What Is PHP?


PHP is an open-source programming and scripting language. Created by Danish-Canadian programmer Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, PHP is usually used with the HTML coding language to create functions, applications, and commands on your site.

An example of how PHP and HTML work together is when someone visits your website. Their browser sends a request to your server to display the web page. Your server will then send the data to the web browser to be displayed for the visitor.

The problem is web browsers only read HTML, not PHP.

So in order for your website, which is created with PHP, to be read, your PHP code will have to generate an HTML page to be sent to the web browser.

What Is PHP Hosting?


What is PHP Hosting?

PHP is a server side language which means that it operates on your web hosting server.

By choosing a data host that supports websites built with PHP, you’ll have access to a range of benefits ensuring better performance. You’ll be able to create highly interactive websites, achieve incredibly fast loading speeds, and have access to a team of experts to help you out.

Why Use PHP?


Fast development
Fast development

Setting up a PHP framework for a website can be done relatively quickly. Plus, many templates for basic websites are available

Easier maintenance
Easier maintenance

PHP scripts are generally easy to maintain, read, test, and develop. There are also no on going costs for maintenance or updates.

Strong online community
Strong online community

PHP is open-source, so you’ll have access to a large community of developers. This helps with bug fixes and security issues

Fast development
Fast development

Setting up a PHP framework for a website can be done relatively quickly. Plus, many templates for basic websites are available

Easier maintenance
Easier maintenance

PHP scripts are generally easy to maintain, read, test, and develop. There are also no on going costs for maintenance or updates.

Strong online community
Strong online community

PHP is open-source, so you’ll have access to a large community of developers. This helps with bug fixes and security issues

How Do You Know if You Need PHP Hosting?


You need flexible features
You need flexible features

If your website isn’t quite doing everything you want it to, there’s a good chance that PHP could add those extra features you need

You have speed issues
You have speed issues

If your server speeds are a little sluggish you might need PHP hosting. The tool puts very little strain on resources, speeding up sites significantly

Custom development
Custom development

Some organizations have very specific website needs, which is where the custom development options offered by PHP can step in

You need flexible features
You need flexible features

If your website isn’t quite doing everything you want it to, there’s a good chance that PHP could add those extra features you need

You have speed issues
You have speed issues

If your server speeds are a little sluggish you might need PHP hosting. The tool puts very little strain on resources, speeding up sites significantly

Custom development
Custom development

Some organizations have very specific website needs, which is where the custom development options offered by PHP can step in

Benefits of PHP Hosting


Benefits of PHP Hosting

1. Compatibility

The PHP scripting language is almost universally compatible with just about every operating system. This means it’ll work seamlessly on almost any mobile device, desktop, and tablet. Plus, it’s optimized to fit different screen sizes and resolutions so your website users will have the best possible experience

2. Simple to use

PHP can be incorporated into HTML documents meaning you can easily add sections of code to a website. In fact, anyone with even a basic familiarity with HTML can make the leap to PHP and the two can often be used interchangeably. As such a widely used tool, beginners will have access to a wealth of tutorials and guides to help them out too

3. Incredibly fast

Since PHP puts very little strain on server resources, and is compatible with so many different operating systems and databases, it’s an incredibly fast tool. Sites that don’t use PHP, and haven’t been optimized, could see sluggish performance

4. Easily integrates with databases

PHP is compatible with many of the most popular databases like MySQL, Oracle, and Sybase. This makes it incredibly versatile and able to build websites across multiple platforms. Since it’s so widely used, you’ll find a wealth of information on issues and fixes across online forums too

5. Pricing

PHP is completely free to download and the open-source technology means anyone is able to add to the code. This leads to lots of interesting upgrades and new features being added all of the time. Plus, you’ll find plenty of developer blogs online discussing the latest features and how to get the most out of the platform

6. Interactive features

While highly compatible with HTML, PHP actually takes things a step further in terms of interactivity. You can create elaborate, multi-feature shopping carts for an online store, build interactive forums, and create private messaging systems on your website to name a few of the functions you can take advantage of

Cons of PHP Hosting


Cons of PHP Hosting

1. It can take time to learn

While relatively simple, it can take some time to learn the PHP frameworks required to use the tool effectively. Programmers don’t necessarily need to be proficient in PHP coding, but knowing the different frameworks used to build and develop web applications still takes some skill

2. It can be overkill for small websites

Most PHP frameworks come packed with features and tools designed to run large and impressive websites. While there’s nothing stopping you from using it for a small site, you might be better off opting for something a little easier to use if you’re only running a small blog or eCommerce store

3. Fewer debugging tools

PHP has fewer debugging options when compared to other platforms, meaning it’s not as efficient at picking up errors and warnings. Luckily, the most common bugs have been well covered by the online developer community, and it usually won’t take long to find an answer to your problems. Plus, the longer you use the tool the more proficient you’ll get at spotting common issues

What to Look for in PHP Hosting Plans


Usage allowance

This refers to how much bandwidth you’ll have to operate your website. If you expect a lot of site traffic we recommend finding a plan that offers unlimited bandwidth to cover visitor spikes.

Usage allowance
Uptime

Uptime

Anything less than a 99.99% uptime guarantee should be a red flag for any hosting plan. Any lower than this and you can expect to see significant dips in your website uptime and performance

Ease of upgrade

Upgrading or downgrading plans should be a seamless experience. Verpex understands how important it is for organizations to be able to quickly scale up operations in line with business growth. All you should need to do is make a quick call to the Verpex customer service team and you’ll be upgraded near-instantly

Ease of upgrade
Website migration service

Website migration service

Websites built using PHP are usually very easy to migrate between providers. At Verpex, we’ll offer to migrate your site free of charge when you switch over. Plus, we’ll offer free setup guidance to make sure there’s no disruption in service and our support team will iron out any kinks

Support channels

Your website can run into issues any time of the day or night, which is why it’s important to have a hosting plan that has 24/7 support. Most users will utilize a live chat option, but you’ll commonly find a helpline to call and an email ticketing service for more complex issues. Luckily, Verpex has all of these and more and has experts based all over the globe ready to answer any queries

Support channels

PHP Versions Support


You should be aware that each time a new version of PHP is released, it’ll receive varying levels of support for the first few years only.

  • 0 - 2 years
    For two full years following the initial stable release all bug fixes and security issues will be patched by the developers.
  • 2 - 3 years
    Only critical fixes will be applied
  • 3+ years
    After the third year, that version of PHP will no longer be supported.

Currently, all versions of PHP above 7.3 are in support.

Linux Hosting Vs. Cloud Hosting for PHP


Linux Hosting Vs. Cloud Hosting

Linux is an open source operating system.

Linux hosting is hosting that runs on a Linux based server.

Cloud Linux hosting is cloud hosting on a Linux based server.

Since PHP was initially intended for Linux there is an advantage to using both together. Using Cloud Linux hosting for PHP will provide even more benefits:

  • Increased security - Cloud hosting offers protection on a virtual level as your website is completely isolated from other residents of the server. This is in addition to physical security measures in the data center, plus security measures on the server itself.
  • Visibility and transparency - One great benefit of using Cloud Linux hosting is that users can see incredibly detailed breakdowns of the exact resource usage of every website, which is something that those using standard Linux hosting just can’t access.
  • Scalability - Cloud hosting is by far the easiest way to scale up the size of your website. Since you’re able to draw on servers across a whole data center, you can easily, and quickly, scale up your website to meet increased traffic demands. This has the added benefit of making your website faster and more efficient.
  • Management options - Users opting for a fully managed cloud hosting experience will be able to draw on the expertise of a knowledgeable customer service team to deal with any technical issues. Those choosing simple Linux hosting only will need a lot more technical expertise

Overall, it’s easy to see why choosing a cloud hosting package is better for your website in the long run. It’s easier to use, more transparent, provides greater security, and takes a lot of the stress out of hosting.

Summary


PHP might just be the most versatile coding script out there. It’s used by the major content management systems and has become increasingly popular among web developers. Not only is it simple and free, it’s also easily scalable, and has a large number of third-party add-ons.

You’ll need some developer skills to get the most use out of the tool. Although it’s not something complete beginners can just jump into, there are plenty of learning materials and resources online and among the developer community to help you along the way.

Choosing the right hosting plan that supports PHP and matches your bandwidth needs will optimize your web performance. Consider a managed service if you need more help.

Frequently Asked Questions


Who is responsible for PHP bugs and security issues?

Any fixes will primarily be covered by the PHP developers, and regular updates are pushed out. Under a managed hosting solution, Verpex will make sure any updates are applied to your site as soon as they’re ready.

Can I contact the PHP developers?

Not directly, however, over on PHP.net you’ll find an extensive range of patch update information, forums, and articles that will answer the majority of your technical questions.

How secure is PHP?

PHP has an excellent security reputation and the developers are constantly making updates. Plus, you’ll benefit from additional security measures for your site by opting for a managed hosting package.

What content management sytems use PHP?

All of the most popular content management systems are compatible with PHP including, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Magento

Julia Raznik
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Julia Raznik
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