PHP Web Hosting

PHP (PHP: Hypertext Processor) is an open source scripting language that borrows from the likes of C, Java, and Perl, and can be HTML-embedded. The goal in the creation of PHP (and consequently, PHP hosting) was to streamline the process of creating dynamic web pages and expediting their publication online.

PHP is a server-side language meaning it can be run on any platform (Unix, Linux, Windows) because your PHP hosting server, and NOT the client's computer, is the one reading and interpreting the code. The PHP hosting server merely inserts the results of the PHP code into the HTML file sent to the client.

PHP pages are treated by your PHP web hosting server just as any other HTML encoded pages are treated. It is highly recommended that, if you plan to use PHP in your web design, you use a PHP hosting provider that has activated support for all files with the extension ".php" at the end. A PHP hosting provider's server can recognize PHP code embedded in HTML by its start tag ""

If your web host is not PHP web hosting enabled, your site's visitors will not be able view the results of any PHP code embedded in your HTML, and therefore, your pages will not load properly and will have serious, gaping holes in its functionality.

PHP and PHP web hosting is simple enough for a newbie to learn yet expansive enough to handle a staggering array of professionals' needs. Among the more advanced tasks one can perform is webcrawling, GIS mapping, and database crawling.

PHP can be used to connect with over 19 different types of databases, including Microsoft Access and Oracle. The most popular database used with PHP, however, is MySQL (see our article on MySQL hosting). PHP has support for MySQL built in, and any PHP hosting provider will most likely also be MySQL hosting enabled.

If you have PHP hosting, you can use PHP to set up cookies which is a fantastic way to personalize your relationship with each of your site visitors. Using cookies on your site saves your visitors from having to re-enter the same information into your various forms and fields over and over again. With PHP Sessions, you can store data generated during one period of access for retrieval during future accesses. This allows you to offer users an even more customized, personal experience at your site.

To use PHP, you will need to install a PHP "parser" (CGI or server module), a PHP-enabled web server (such as a PHP hosting provider), and a web browser (who doesn't have one of these?) Then you can peruse the web's wealth of free information on how to use this prolific tool.

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