More extensions for PHP

I’ve noticed that DreamHost’s PHP support doesn’t include the zlib and gd extensions, preventing the use of the gzip and image creation functions.

To the DreamHost people who monitor these forums: could these extensions be added? I would really like to see these to supported because some of the projects I’ve been tinkering with need them. Thank you!


I would like to use ImageCreate and IMAP too! DreamHost should consider adding these.

We don’t add PHP modules because they all require weird and different libraries to compile, and if anything is missing or the wrong version, Apache (our web server software) won’t start!

We’d have to keep up with all the crazy extensions on each and every server and stay on top of every new and funky PHP module that comes out… it’s just too much effort for not enough reward.

Especially because if you are on sweet dreams or above, you can download the source to PHP, any weird libraries you want, and compile your own custom CGI version of PHP that will do whatever you want right there in your home directory. It requires no special help from us at all! has the info on how to do it!

That’s an understandable problem, of having to add and upgrade to and keep up with the latest and greatest on a fairly regular basis.

However, what if a lot of people find particular features useful? Wouldn’t it be worth the trouble? I find the list of available extensions provided in PHP a bit skimp, although I can live with it. What about some kind of poll to see what people want add and try to focus on just that?

The Sweet Dreams option is tempting, although I’m not sure if I would want to go through that trouble on my shoe-string college budget (yes I’m being picky, but I can’t help it when I live almost entire on financial aid and a part-time job!).


Hi Gerbil -

The problem isn’t so much the added administrative time as it is the resource consumption and instability we’ve found comes with compiling a bunch of extra stuff into Apache. Even if we throw lots of money at the problem, no matter how many admins we have watching the servers it still affects other customers. And if a web server goes down, we have a lot of people who are (understandably) upset.

Trust me - I’m a big PHP4 nut myself - but this can definitely be problematic for DH customers if it takes down web servers under heavy load (this is also one of the reasons why we haven’t jumped at supporting mod_perl on our shared hosting boxen, btw).

That said, I’m quite aware of the benefits all the extras you can get with PHP can provide. I’ll bring it up to our admin team again, but they’ll probably shoot me down unless there’s an easy way to make it available to non-CGI customers without compromising the stability of the server - but hey, it’s worth a shot, no? :>

(For the fellow geeks out there: This is oddly similar to the origins of the long standing debate between those who support micro-kernels and those who prefer monolithic kernels. There are benefits to both.)

  • Jeff @ DreamHost
  • DH Discussion Forum Admin