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What is PHP4 Hosting?

Still using PHP 4? Many hosts have upgraded to PHP 5 and no longer provide support for PHP 4. You may still be able to find a host that supports it. You just need to do a little legwork.

If you have a website that runs on PHP 4, you’ll need to look for a web hosting provider that still supports that generation of PHP. If you’re unable to upgrade your website to PHP 5, there are still hosts who support earlier versions.

PHP 4 vs. PHP 5

Did you know that PHP was originally an abbreviation for Personal Home Page? The scripting language hearkens back to the early days of the Internet, when people weren't yet building entire websites, but home pages, where they would share photos, maybe family news, or whatever other tidbits of information that were important to them.

Websites have come a long way since then, and so has PHP, which now stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. (Yes, the first P in PHP now stands for PHP, making it a recursive acronym. It must be that developer sense of humor at work.)

PHP is a server-side scripting language designed specifically for web development. It’s used to run a lot of well-known software, including the top four CMSs: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and TYPO3, plus a host of applications including Facebook.

PHP has seen numerous versions and iterations since it was first released in 1995. PHP 4 was released in 2000, and soon saw widespread adoption. PHP 5, the current generation of PHP, was first released in 2004, but took a little longer to catch on.

Then in 2008, many open-source projects chose to band together to transition to PHP 5 and drop their support of PHP 4, forcing web hosting servers to upgrade to PHP 5 to stay competitive. That same year, development of PHP 4 was officially halted, and no further patches or updates have been released since then.

But there are still some websites and software out there that run on PHP 4. And finding a web hosting provider that supports PHP 4 may be an easier, cheaper, and faster solution for you than upgrading your entire to PHP 5.

Finding a PHP 4 Host

Many web hosts have now moved on to PHP 5, and no longer support PHP 4, so trying to find a compatible host for your website might be a bit tricky. It’s technically possible for a host to support PHP 4 and 5, but it might require some workarounds in your software in order to access the right version.

Before you sign up with a hosting provider, double check with them to see whether they're still supporting PHP 4. If you can’t find a suitable host that supports PHP 4, you may need to consider upgrading your site to PHP 5. It may not be as much work as you think: PHP 5 was designed to still be backwards-compatible with PHP 4, so your website may still work with very few or no changes. If you have the resources to update to PHP 5, there are plenty of benefits including active development and improved security features.

If you're adamant about continuing to use PHP 4, check around. You may find a host that plans to continue to support it. Or you may at least be able to find one that supports it with plans to phase it out, which will give you a little more time to make the necessary changes to your site without any downtime.

PHP 4 Frequently Asked Questions

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