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What Is CakePHP?

The CakePHP framework offers robust and free base for anyone looking to build websites and blogs from the ground up. The framework follows model view controller (MVC) architecture, which makes it easy to customise.

The framework provides a basic organisational structure designed to keep your application consistent and logical, thus streamlining the development process. CakePHP also supports application scaffolding, templating, flexible access control list (ACL) and a range of other features.

While it is supposed to make development easier, basic PHP knowledge is required and experience in object-oriented programming also helps.

CakePHP Server Requirements

In order to create a CakePHP site you will need to install the framework, create and configure a database and of course proceed to create a workable application logic.

CakePHP is usually deployed on Apache, but it will work on other hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) servers as well. The server needs to support PHP 5.x and the current spec recommends PHP 5.4.16 or greater. CakePHP also requires mbstring, mcrypt and intl extensions.

The framework also requires a database engine, so you will need a database server running MySQL 5.1.10 or greater. SQLite 3, PostgreSQL and Microsoft SQL Server (2008 or higher) are supported as well and there is a "wrapper" for ADOdb too.

Any server that has all the required libraries should have no trouble coping with CakePHP.

CakePHP is open source and is licensed under the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) license. This means you can change, share, distribute and include CakePHP in other applications.

CakePHP Hosting Options

Since CakePHP is designed to streamline development and help novices (although PHP skills are necessary), many hosts tend to offer entry-level hosting packages tailored for CakePHP. Free, but fairly limited, packages are also available and they may be suitable for testing, but not actual deployment.

Many entry level CakePHP packages tend to offer 1-click setup, but they are limited on other fronts, e.g. the number of processes and connections, storage and so on. It is usually just a matter of scaling, as you are likely to get a fully configured installation of CakePHP and expand the package according to your needs by adding more core storage, traffic, bandwidth or database storage.

Professionals may be interested in dedicated MySQL packages, offering more memory and storage, including fast solid state storage in some packages. However, many independent developers and small businesses tend to choose more affordable, shared packages.

CakePHP is usually deployed on Linux, Apache, PHP and MySQL (LAMP) servers, but the framework also works on Microsoft IIS, nginx and LightHTTPD.

Installing CakePHP on Your Own

In case you already have a server and see no need to get another package with preinstalled CakePHP, you can choose to install it yourself. CakePHP uses PHP 5.3+ dependency management tool Composer as the officially supported method for installation. While Composer may automate much of the process, some developers may require more control and decide to do it the old-fashioned way.

The most recent stable version of CakePHP code is readily available at CakeForge, but some developers may decide to use "nightly" versions which tend to include the latest bug fixes between stable releases.

Regardless of which download you choose, the compressed installation package should be placed on the webroot and unpacked. Two different setup options are available - a less secure development setup that should be used in safe environments and a production setup, used to deploy the finished product. Production setup requires you to have the rights to change the DocumentRoot on your server, so keep that in mind.

There are also a number of advanced setup alternatives for power users, allowing them to place CakePHP directories on different places on the disk. This can be done to allow several applications access to the same CakePHP libraries, but it is also a way of getting around certain shared host restrictions.

Certain tweaks to Apache may be necessary to allow mod_rewrite functionality. These problems usually manifest themselves on the CakePHP welcome page and if you spot missing images or CSS styles, chances are you will need to address this problem. Luckily there is a lot of documentation that should help you identify and fix these issues.

CakePHP Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is CakePHP?

    CakePHP is a rapid-development framework for PHP that follows the model-view-controller (MVC) architecture, making maintenance of code eaiser.

  • Is CakePHP easy to learn and use?

    Most people find that getting started with CakePHP is simple. However, some knowledge is required. For example, PHP knowledge and experience is a must.

  • What are the server requirements for CakePHP?

    If you want to create a website using CakePHP, the framework must be installed on your server. You should check with your hosting company, but in general, you will need to be running an Apache server with PHP and a compatible database system.

  • Is CakePHP open-source?

    Yes. For this reason, you can share, distribute, and make any changes necessary to CakePHP. It is available under the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) license.

  • Do all hosting companies provide the CakePHP framework?

    Many hosting companies offer packages built for CakePHP use. Those that do typically have one-click setup, allowing you to get started without delay. You should ask your hosting company.

  • What are the best hosting companies for CakePHP?

    There are hundreds to consider. Use our hosting compare tool to narrow your choices to hosts that offer Linux, PHP, and MySQL. From there, you can see if they support CakePHP.

  • How do I get started using CakePHP?

    There are many guides and documentation available with CakePHP, making it easy to code your website. In particular, check out the documentation of the Official CakePHP website.

  • What is the cost of development with CakePHP?

    Since the framework is open-source, you don't have to pay any money to use CakePHP. This keeps web development costs to a minimum, especially if you are doing the work yourself. All the settings you require to get started are included with the framework. While you may have to pay for hosting, this is your only direct cost. The only other thing you need is the time to learn and use CakePHP.

  • What are the biggest benefits of using CakePHP?

    In addition to being open-source, it is compatible with earlier versions of PHP and the MVC architecture. Also, it is able to manage both themes and content while also making it simple to customize templates and fields.

  • Does CakePHP have special configuration requirements?

    Thanks to auto-detect, developers don't have to specify the URL of the site or the location of the library. They only need to worry about the database connection settings. Once these are correct, everything else takes care of itself.

  • How big is the CakePHP community?

    It is hard to put an exact number on the size of the community, but it is safe to assume there are tens of thousands of developers using the CakePHP framework to build websites and applications. For those who like what the framework has to offer, but don't want to do the work on their own, there is a robust developer community to hire from.

  • Can you install CakePHP on your own?

    If your server does not come pre-installed with CakePHP, you may have the option of installing it on your own. Before doing so, check with your hosting company to ensure that your server has the capability of handling the framework.

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