Jason Gilmore gets "back to basics" in a new tutorial with a look at managing configuration in your ini file to tune it to just what you need.
While PHP's configuration capabilities are indeed powerful, the sheer breadth and different ways in which these configuration directives can be set are often confusing and downright intimidating to newcomers. So in this article it worth meandering from the typically intermediate-level discussion and instead offer some insight into PHP's configuration-specific infrastructure.
He starts by mentioning the phpinfo function that generates the complete list of current settings for your installation. With that in hand and an idea of what settings are out there, he starts going through some of the basics of working with ini settings - updating the php.ini, setting values via a .htaccess file and chancing them directly in the executing script.