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What is Yii Hosting?

Yii is an oddly named PHP framework designed for rapid development of Web 2.0 applications. Yii stands for "simple and evolutionary" in Chinese, but at the same time it's an acronym for "yes it is."

Yii is a relatively new framework - version 1.1 was released in August 2013, while version 2.0 is still in beta, although it is available for download. The framework is released under the terms of the Berkely Software Distribution (BSD) license, which means it is free but there are some redistribution limitations.

As a generic Web programming framework, Yii can be used to develop various types of applications using PHP. It features a component-based structure, making it scalable and suitable for the development of large-scale applications. Yii relies on object-oriented programming (OOP).

Yii 1.1 and 2.0 are currently the most popular versions of the framework.

Yii 1.x and 2.0 server requirements

The Yii framework was designed to work on Apache servers, in Windows and Linux operating systems. However, it should work with other servers and platforms with support for PHP 5 or later versions.

Yii 1.x officially supports PHP 5.1.0 or above, while Yii 2.0, which is a complete rewrite of Yii 1.1, requires PHP 5.4.0 or above. Some developers may need to use legacy Yii 1.1 code with modern Yii 2.0 code, which involves a bit more planning.

Since Yii is a PHP framework, it does not have any special hosting requirements. Yii is ready to work with a default Apache web server configuration, but depending on your needs you may need to use mod_rewrite instructions to change the configuration on virtual hosts.

You can also use Yii with Nginx and PHP with FPM SAPI and you can find the necessary documentation on the Yii Framework website.

Yii is built on top of the PHP Data Objects (PDO) extension and can use a variety of database management systems including MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite.

Yii installation

The installation process is straightforward. Get the latest copy of the Yii release file and unpack it to /wwwroot/yii. You should end up with the following directoy: /wwwroot/yii/framework.

The framework can be installed anywhere, as the /framework directory contains all framework code and is the only directory needed when deploying applications. Multiple Yii applications can use the same installation of the framework.

Also, since Yii does not necessarily have to be installed in a Web accessible directory, only the entry script needs to be exposed to web users. This is good news from a security perspective, as it restricts access to PHP scripts that could be used as an attack vector.

Yii provides extensive support for database programming and since Yii Data Access Objects (DAO) is built on top of PDO, it enables access to different database management systems. Applications developed using the Yii DAO can easily be switched to a different database management system without having to modify the code. This makes Yii more flexible than many other frameworks in a wide range of situations.

As far as the skill-set is concerned, developers with experience in object-oriented programming should have an easier time getting to grips with Yii, as it is a pure OOP framework.

Yii hosting services

Although Yii is a relatively new framework, many hosts are offering packages designed for Yii users. Since Yii does not have many exotic requirements and can run on a wide variety of platforms and databases, these plans usually don't differ from hosting plans marketed for other frameworks.

Many hosts offer free Yii installation and timely framework upgrades. Hosts also offer the ability to extend Yii framework functionality with additional compatible modules and this is usually a 1-click affair.

Due to Yii's advanced caching abilities, which make it suited for the development of big Web 2.0 sites, many hosts are keen to offer additional RAM or SSD upgrades, thus making the most of Yii's caching prowess and boosting performance in the process.

Since Yii is a good choice for large scale Web 2.0 projects, many hosts offer scalable and dedicated Yii hosting, with daily backups, premium support and other perks. However, individuals and smaller businesses also have a lot of choice, whether they opt for VPS hosting or cloud hosting. These packages usually come at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated Yii server, yet they tend to offer good value for money and plenty of scalability.

Yii Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Yii and what does it stand for? Is it an acronym?

    Yii is an object-oriented PHP web application framework and yes, it is an acronym – in fact, Yii stands for “Yes it is”. Yii is a relatively new framework. It was released in late 2008, but it has already managed to gain a following in several niches.

  • How popular is Yii? How many people use it?

    Exact figures are hard to come by, but anecdotal evidence and Google Trends data indicate Yii is overtaking some frameworks like CakePHP and Symfony, and even Zend. Yii is particularly popular in some niches such as e-commerce. It is estimated that several hundred thousand developers use Yii, but we must not there are no exact figures.

  • What made Yii so popular? How does it compare to Zend?

    Yii is easier to master than Zend. It can be used for more types of projects, and developers often claim it is better documented than Zend. It features close integration and a good view system. Since the Yii community is growing, many developers are betting on its popularity and choosing it over alternative platforms for long-term projects.

  • What about system requirements? What does my server need to handle Yii?

    You should have no trouble using Yii in the vast majority of modern development environments. Shared hosting plans could be an issue in some cases, but usually it is possible to tweak a few settings and run Yii 2.0 on shared hosting as well. Your server has to support PHP 5.4 or later. It is possible to check the requirements beforehand, and this should be straightforward because Yii is well documented.

  • Does Yii 1.x have different server requirements?

    Yes, it does. With Yii 1.x you can get away with PHP 5.1.0. Yii 2.0 is a complete rewrite of Yii 1.1 and if you need to use legacy Yii 1.1 code along with Yii 2.0 code, you should do some research first. Yii 1.x and 2.x do not have any special hosting requirements and basically all you need is an Apache configuration and PHP support.

  • How do I install Yii? Is it complicated?

    The installation process is well documented and straightforward. The official Yii framework website offers a number of useful guides and it’s the best place to start. Yii does not have to be installed in a web-accessible directory. Like we already said, some shared hosting plans may be limited and create a few issues, but in most cases you won’t have much trouble installing and running Yii on shared hosting.

  • Are there any security issues I should be aware of?

    Not really. Yii is frequently updated and the fact that you can install it in a directory that is not accessible from the web (only exposing the entry script to visitors), should offer an added level of security. This makes PHP scripts that could be exploited by an attacker more difficult to access and tamper with.

  • Will my hosting provider have Yii ready to go? Is it available on many packages?

    Due to its rapid growth, the framework has caught the eye of many hosting companies, so you should have no trouble finding Yii hosting packages. Bear in mind that there is nothing too special about Yii’s requirements, so you don’t need a tailor made hosting plan. Many hosts will allow you to install and upgrade Yii with relative ease. In most cases, you should have no trouble installing additional Yii modules, either.

  • What about updates? Will my host upgrade Yii on a regular basis?

    It all depends on the host and package you choose. Obviously, packages specifically designed for Yii developers tend to get regular updates and you should have no trouble in this department. In case you are a professional working on big Yii projects, scalable dedicated Yii hosting plans are available as well, with professional support, daily backups and other features designed for your needs.

  • Do I need to think about caching when working on serious Yii projects? What sort of server should I choose?

    Yii features very advanced caching capabilities, so if you are a professional developer, or if you intend to commission an elaborate, high-traffic Yii project, you should definitely consult a few experts. Depending on the number of visitors and the amount of bandwidth, you could benefit from more RAM, or faster SSD storage in various RAID configurations.

  • How does Yii compare to CodeIgniter?

    The hosting requirements are similar, although CodeIgniter is somewhat leaner. It’s easy to learn and the installation process is even simpler than with Yii. It lacks a few features found in Yii, such as full ORM support and unit tests for source codes.

  • What about Cake PHP? My team used it on a few projects, is it time to switch to Yii?

    That’s ultimately your call, although Yii is currently getting a lot more traction than Cake PHP in the dev community. Cake PHP has a lot of built-in functionality and is closely integrated. However, it’s not as good as Yii for big projects, it’s not as well documented, and it’s losing popularity rather than gaining it.

  • Under which license is Yii published?

    Yii is published under the 3-clause New BSD License. It can be used to develop free or proprietary web applications.

  • Is Yii 1.1 still supported? Is Yii 2.0 more future-proof?

    Yii 1.0 is no longer officially supported, but Yii 1.1 still is. Yii 2.0 is just coming out of Beta, so it’s still relatively new and it may be a while before it phases out older versions, so you should be in the clear even if you choose to stick with Yii 1.1.

  • I’ve heard about the pros of using Yii, what about the cons?

    While Yii is often touted as accessible and easy to learn, it still contains a number of pitfalls for inexperienced or poorly organized developers. Developers also complain about the lack of extensions for certain applications. Also, developers still have to deal with a lot of old PHP projects that predate Yii.

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