okay, well ive managed to do nothing besides break my website or have no effects take effect whatsoever.
first, i installed the cgi-bin folder in my domain folder with the script in the wiki. when that didn't work (after changing the settings in php.ini), i did it manually as per the wiki (multi-domain), which despite my double checking for any errors simply caused my site to stop working entirely, so i removed that and got my server rebooted, and im back at the drawing board.
ive edited php.ini before with no problems on other servers, so im not sure what the problem is. do i need to reboot after editing php.ini? ive tried killing fastcgi and restarting the fastcgi cache (as per the wiki) with no effect.
im using a vps on dreamhost, and i have wordpress installed in the root and vbulletin installed in /community ...both have seperate .htaccess files, so im not sure if need to edit both to reference the php.ini in the home cgi-bin folder? either way im not seeing any kind of changes when i put a phpinfo.php file in either the root directory of the domain or /community.
thanks for the help so far, if anyone else could chime in on this id appreciate it.