PHP 5.0 Goes Final

PHP 5.0 went final today. Not that I would consider installing it until at least several months of solid use, I know DH have in the past considered PHP on the critical path list to upgrade.

I know it is early yet but I am interested in DH policy on PHP and if DH has plans to migrate up to 5.0 or more than happy to stay on 4.3.x

I guess I’ll take this one since I’d likely be the person actually doing the upgrade.

The timeline would depend on how busy we are and how badly 5.0 breaks existing scripts. Since PHP has literally never had a single release (including minor point releases) that didn’t break some scripts with nothing about the new feature or change in the Changelog, I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

It’s made all the more complicated by the fact that having two simultaneous versions of PHP installed is a lot harder than it is for “real” interpreters.


I’m sure it will only be a matter of time. Enhanced object handling, better XML support, and SQLite make PHP5 extremely attractive. Also, PHP5 has been more extensively tested than previous releases, so apart from undocumented backwards-compatibility issues, a move to PHP5 should be relatively painless.

Simon Jessey
Keystone Websites | si-blog

As someone who uses a metric ton of other people’s scripts, backwards compatibilty is a big deal and breaking scripts is A BIG DEAL. Breaking scripts can bring down several of my sites all at once, with NO CHANCE of me personally being able to fix them (since these are purchased or free open-source scripts that I have no ability to repair myself). Yes, they can be patched by the authors and usually are, but I can say I’m in no hurry to break my existing sites in order to enable new sites to come up with (admittedly desirable) new functionality. It would be swell if things like PHP5 could be phased in across servers so that those who knew enough and cared enough to insist on newer versions could put themselves (by support request?) onto those servers, while existing or older servers could be migrated at decent intervals (allowing script authors time to address backwards compatibility issues).

[quote]but I can say I’m in no hurry to break my existing sites in
order to enable new sites to come up with (admittedly
desirable) new functionality.


Yes. For those who want PHP v5 support, also consider that probably 99% of our customers never actually code themselves - they simply install pre-written scripts, most of which are written with PHP v4 in mind. A lot of the new features in v5, while nice from a programmer’s point of view, provide little significant value to anyone else until scripts begin requiring them (which will probably be a while).

That’s not to say that this will take forever, it won’t. I’m a big PHP advocate (and a coder myself), just ask Nate. However, our primary job is to provide a relatively stable platform for people to host their sites. While we completely empathize with those who want to be on the bleeding edge, our ultimate responsibility is to those who run production sites.

That said, we will be watching the general reaction to this upgrade carefully. The consensus seems to be that the PHP folks have tested this upgrade a lot more than previous ones, but the fact remains that it is a very major upgrade. So, we’re in wait and see mode. :>

  • Jeff @ DreamHost
  • DH Discussion Forum Admin

I’m delighted to read Nate’s and Josh’s comments. They show that they are serious about new releases of things running at DreamHost, but more importantly they also show a sense of what’s most important to most customers. I’m among those who wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell to fix a script, so I am happy about this approach. Of course new versions should be applied whenever relevant, and I’m all for being up to date. In this case, it would mostly mean being up to date with the majority of the users (and script providers).


Don’t get me wrong - I am pleased that DreamHost won’t be rushing into installing PHP5. The reason we are all hosted here is because we want a service that is carefully managed.

Nevertheless, I think PHP5 will be upon us sooner than you think, mostly because of SQLite. Imagine how easy it would be for forum developers to create message boards with PHP5, with its built-in database! I predict a rapid growth of self-contained PHP/SQLite scripts that handle things like site statistics, blogs, and image galleries.

Simon Jessey
Keystone Websites | si-blog

PHP is getting ran as CGI for most sites now. All new sites and older sites where people set it.

Wouldn’t it be feasiable to add an option next to the PHP CGI option to enable PHP5? For people that wish to have PHP5, but don’t want to take the space to compile it themselves.

I don’t see how this would be difficult given it didn’t seem much of a feat to add the PHP CGI option in the first place. For PHP5, it’s just the matter of pointing to a different binary.

I had hoped DH would take the path they are going to take but I opened this topic to make sure.

PHP also has some performance improvements but for PHPBB boards which a LOT of the customers are using, you need to turn on specific configuration that PHP 5 turns off by default…

No doubt more issues like these will come up over the next few months, thus DH wait and see is an excellent approach to take…

I’m not saying turn it on by default for people, I’m just suggesting to give people the option to have it on. Run as CGI, PHP4 or PHP5–default to PHP4 (all new accounts already default to CGI based PHP now). This way people that want to use PHP5 can do so. If they need more options, then they can compile PHP5 for themselves.

And yes I know, the option to compile PHP5 ourselves is there, too. It just takes up diskspace. :stuck_out_tongue:

It would not only be a good way for people to work on upgrading to PHP5, but it would also be a good way for DH to get stats on it. Performance, etc.

I completely argee with guice, allowing users to choose between the CGI version of PHP4 and PHP5 would be excellent.

On a few of my domains, where I write new code, I’d like to use PHP5 without installing it myself. It would also allow me to test my 3rd party forum PHP software on a PHP5 subdomain without interrupting the live site which would continue to run on PHP4.

I also think providing the option between CGI PHP4 and CGI PHP5 would be an attractive selling point to prospects who write their own code.

Any chance we could get that functionality? I love DreamHost and would love them even more if I could start writing scripts with PHP5 and SQLLite.

I broke down and tried to install it myself, but got libxml2 version errors. :frowning:

Appears the version of libxml2 on the servers isn’t recent enough for PHP5. I’m not even sure if I can, or if I should, install libxml2 version 2.5.0 (or greater) so that I can get PHP5 to install.

So am I correct in assuming that the PHP 5.0 upgrade was made today? Scripts broke all over the place on all of my sites.

Any sort of upgrade like that would be announced well in advance.

Thanks. Actually, I’m just discovering now that all of a sudden scripts included in all of my parsed html pages aren’t accepting parameters from the url. This just started happening on all of the sites I have hosted at DH sometime this afternoon.

The one I’m most freaked out about is Artists’ Television Access’ site, since we have a bunch of shows coming up, including the one I’m curating this Saturday night, and none of the pages from the calendar are loading. This just started happening for no reason.

Whew. So it was an Apache upgrade! I just got a mass email message from support.

But what I’m wondering now is if there’s a work around? Something I can throw in a .htaccess file to get parameters from the URL to work with my SSI?

For adventurous users, the choice between PHP 4 and 5 can even be made on a per-directory basis.

The “compiling your own custom PHP” knowledge base article describes how to specify a different version of PHP by adding a few lines to an .htaccess file. You’d normally put this .htaccess file in your web site’s root directory, but if you put it in a subdirectory, it will only affect scripts running in that subdirectory.

This trick could help make the transition easier for people with older scripts.

Herecast: Location-aware services with Wi-Fi

Yeah, you have to compile and install libxml2 for the PHP5 compile to work. I did it on my account and it seems to be working fine. Although, I just registered another domain, and now I can’t get the PHP scripts to use it. It’s working on my initial domain (which was not running PHP as CGI). The new one was set to run PHP as CGI, but I turned it off thinking it was conflicting with the .htaccess file for that domain.

I guess I wait for an hour or so for the changes to set in for that domain?

** Update **
Oh, that’s AddHandler NOT AddType :\

Operator error.

Pardon the ~bump~ but I just got here 1/2 a month ago and came across this thread :D.

The post I actually replied to has the idea I’d really like to see, this can also be a ‘beta test’ if they’d really like.

Have sites that want to, moved to a new server that has the latest libxml2 and PHP5. I would REALLY like to have PHP5 working on a live server. My computer isn’t enough to pull the traffic that I anticipate coming.

As compatibility grows (i.e. phpnuke, oscommerce/zen/cube/etc. cart, phpBB, IPB/vB, etc. etc.) PHP5 can become an option for any user in the Domain Manager.

Since it’s been… 5 months? Could I do a ~bump~ and see what DreamHost can do at this time?

While I don’t mean to be repetitive, I’d REALLY like to see an awesome host start the PHP5 migration for the customers that really want it.

Could I get an update from the DHers? :slight_smile:

You can always vote for PHP5 on the Suggestions page of your panel.
And I’ve heard there is an article in the knowledge base to install your own version of PHP. Try looking there.