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What is CakePHP hosting?

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 Frequently Asked Questions

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