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How Do I Choose the Best PHP Web Hosting?

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  • Written By: Benjamin Arie
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2016
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Hypertext Preprocessor, also called PHP web hosting is a service that enables applications written in this specific computer language to be stored on a remote server. Hosting allows users to access web sites from a home computer. Site owners should consider storage space, bandwidth, database features, and supported versions when selecting a PHP web hosting provider.

Storage space is a very important consideration. This is the amount of server disk space that a user is permitted to use for the files of a web site. Different sites do not all require the same amount of storage. Simple web sites composed of text and small images take up far less storage space than media-rich sites with graphics and videos. Choose a PHP web hosting package that offers enough space for the current web site, in addition to any planned additions to the site.

Some PHP web hosts advertise “unlimited” disk space. Be aware that this is not entirely accurate, and no storage location is truly unlimited. The terms and conditions of an unlimited web host typically permit only files that are part of a standard web site. This means that the hosting provider may prevent the storage of large media files, such as music archives or movies. “Unlimited” web hosting can be useful, but always read the user agreement and understand the limitations of these providers.

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Bandwidth is another important factor in choosing a PHP web host. This metric is used to measure how much data is transferred back and forth from the server. Choose an amount of bandwidth that matches the estimated level of use for the hosted site. Pages that will only be viewed by a limited number of people do not require much bandwidth, while popular sites call for a significant amount of data transfer.

As with storage space, some web hosting providers advertise “unlimited” bandwidth. Read the fine print. Often, hosting companies will limit bandwidth or even suspend a site if an abnormal increase in data transfer occurs. This can happen if a PHP application becomes popular and is accessed by many different users at the same time. Check with a hosting company to verify their bandwidth policies before launching a major web application.

Ensure that a PHP web hosting service offers the necessary databases for a planned web site. Databases are used to store raw data, such as customer information or product details. Verify that the correct type of database, such as MySQL, is supported by the host. Some hosting providers offer only a few databases, while others do not set a limit. Confirm these details if a PHP site will require multiple databases.

Not all web hosts offer the same version of PHP. Some providers keep the installed applications up-to-date on the server, while others may be slow to update to the latest version. Check which version of PHP is used by a host, as this can affect the functionality of web applications. As a general rule, the most recent version is usually best.

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