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Coen Jacobs:
Updating PHP is everyone's responsibility
March 11, 2015 @ 10:06:46

In his latest post Coen Jacons suggests that updating PHP is everyone's responsibility - that keeping the PHP installation on your systems up to date is important for everyone, not just the system administrators.

The number one remark I heard when I launched WPupdatePHP, is that users shouldn't be bothered with this. In an ideal world, this is true, but in reality this isn't going to stand for long. [...] I know the WordPress core team is working really hard to get webhosting companies to update their PHP versions and I agree up to a certain level that this is the best way. It's not the only way though. [...] This will help lower the percentage of PHP 5.2 and 5.3 users out there. There still will be people on older PHP versions who are caught out and without them knowing what is going on, nothing will change for them.

He talks about the efforts the WordPress core team is doing to try to convince hosting providers to update, but points out that while WordPress aims to run on those old versions, staying on them is a mistake. He also mentions that an effort like this is a constant thing, always changing as the PHP versions released change. He ends the post with a "call to arms" for users out there, encouraging them to get talking to their hosting provider and get those PHP versions updated.

Don't understand me wrong, I like what WordPress is doing to get these requirements bumped, but I think it's not enough. I disagree on the fact that users shouldn't be involved in this. It's easy enough for users to request their hosting platform to be upgraded. If their request isn't heard, they should find a better webhosting company. [...] It's been long enough, I choose to act now.
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Link: http://coenjacobs.me/updating-php-everyones-responsibility/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Introducing Pagoda Box - a PaaS just for PHP
February 10, 2015 @ 11:56:01

In the most recent post to the SitePoint PHP blog Aleksander Koko has written up a summary of using Pagoda Box for PHP applications. Pagoda Box is a platform-as-a-service hosting provider that makes automated deployment and hosting much simpler.

In this article, we'll take a look at Pagoda Box, another PaaS (Platform as a Service). If you have used other PaaS in previous projects, Pagoda Box is similar to Heroku. Pagoda Box is PHP only (for now) and has a well defined architecture to start developing with PHP. Everything in PB is a component. The database is a component, the webservers, workers, cron jobs and the caching. Having such an architecture doesn't only give you ease in development but also a control over money usage. This post will be a quick overview of this platform. We will set up a framework and look at a list of pros and cons, comparing it to Heroku.

He starts with a quick overview of the service and the features it offers (including databases, caching and the already mentioned cron and worker handling). He then gets into the creation of a sample application (using Slim) and the full deployment process. He introduces the concept of the "boxfile" before getting into his "pro" and "con" list as compared to Heroku.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/introducing-pagoda-box-paas-just-php/

Anthony Ferrara:
On PHP Version Requirements
December 22, 2014 @ 10:13:59

In his latest post Anthony Ferrara talks about PHP version requirements and how it's a bit of "chicken and egg" problem. If hosting providers are slow adopting even PHP 5.4, can we realistically bump up the minimum to PHP 5.4+ and potentially shun users not at that level yet?

Most people agreed with me [saying new software with a PHP requirement <= 5.2 is beyond irresponsible, it's negligent], saying that not targeting 5.4 or higher is bad. But some disagreed. Some disagreed strongly. So, I want to talk about that.

[...] Now, these are pretty interesting arguments. It boils down to making the logical argument that if hosts don't support 5.4+, then moving to require 5.4+ would leave the users who use those hosts abandoned. And some projects don't want to abandon users. It's a warm and logical idea; Open your arms to everyone, and include them all. Don't leave anyone behind. Really, it's a good argument. The problem is, is it based on a flawed premise...?

He suggests that it sounds somewhat like an appeal to emotion and that by enforcing a bump up like this would be "abandoning the users". He gets into some of the statistics he worked up regarding PHP versions, WordPress usage and how, because of these large numbers, hosting companies would make the move if only for business reasons. He talks about the "Go PHP5" initiative and the impact it made on versions supported across the board. He also looks at some of the reasons why keeping up with these versions is good for the hosting companies too: security, education of users and the new features that come with later versions.

So I put this to you, WordPress, CodeIgniter and every other CMS and Framework still supporting PHP 5.2 and 5.3 (and earlier versions): Step up and lead. Step up and be the change you want to see. Don't follow and react, lead and be proactive. After all, if we can move forward together, we can all benefit. But if we walk separate paths, we build walls and we all lose...
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Link: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2014/12/on-php-version-requirements.html

NetTuts.com:
Securing Your Server Login
October 22, 2014 @ 10:43:27

While PHP developers usually pay more attention to the code level of things, it's good to know something about managing the servers their applications live on too. In this most recent tutorial from NetTuts.com they introduce you to some of the basic things you can do to help secure your server against potential attacks, more specifically around the logins.

Thanks to the growing abundance of useful self-hosted apps such as WordPress and the affordable growth of cloud hosting providers, running your own server is becoming increasingly compelling to a broader audience. But securing these servers properly requires a fairly broad knowledge of Linux system administration; this task is not always suitable for newbies.

They provide a list of seven things to look at (not a comprehensive list, but good none the less) to protect your system logins:

  • Update Your System Components
  • Change Your SSH Port From the Default
  • Activate a Firewall
  • Change Your Root Login Name
  • Activate Google Two-Factor Authentication
  • Switch to Using SSH Keys for Login
  • Manage Your Application Security

Each item includes a summary of the "why" and commands or links to other resources with more information.

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Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/securing-your-server-login--cms-22001

Lorna Mitchell:
How to Choose PHP Hosting
October 10, 2014 @ 09:15:36

Lorna Mitchell has a new post today sharing some helpful hints to help you pick a good PHP hosting provider for your next application or website.

I've been thinking a lot about the state of hosting in PHP lately, mostly as a result of working with a few different clients on their setups (including one that bought brand new hosting a month ago and got a PHP 5.3.3 platform), and also being at DrupalCon and meeting a community who is about to make a big change to their minimum requirements. With that in mind, here are my thoughts and tips on choosing hosting.

She starts off with one of the bigger criteria she looks for in a host: the minimum PHP version available (some might have more than one, especially some PaaS). She suggests that even things like PHP 5.3 should be considered too old and should be passed over in favor of newer releases like 5.5 or even 5.6. She then talks about some of the benefits that come from using a newer platform and the current levels of adoption and performance by PHP version. Finally, she includes an unofficial list of hosts that have set themselves out as good, solid PHP-friendly providers, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

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Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2014/how-to-choose-php-hosting

A
July 03, 2014 @ 09:35:42

Joshua Thijssen has shared his toolbox for less than $100/month that includes a complete set of development and project tools "on the cheap" but still good.

There are a lot of tools out there which can help you as a developer / self-employed contractor. And even though most of these tools are free (as in beer), I don't mind spending a certain amount of money on tools that help me do my business. So with all the tools out there, all the paid plans, the freemiums and the trial periods, what can a crispy 100 dollar bill every month buy?

His list includes hosting (ServerGrove), issue tracking (Jira), team communication (HipChat) and online storage (Dropbox). His list is made up of eight services with almost all of them having a small cost. The online collaboration (Basecamp) and hosting (from ServerGrove) are the highest costs at $20USD/month.

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Link: https://www.adayinthelifeof.nl/2014/07/01/a-toolbox-for-less-than-100-month/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Managing Gettext Translations on Shared Hosting
February 11, 2014 @ 13:09:19

On the SitePoint PHP blog today Aurelio De Rosa makes some recommendations about handing gettext translations on shared hosting. The problem with shared hosting is the need to reset the web server (Apache) to get it to read the updated translation files. His workarounds uses an external script that can dynamically pull in the latest translations without the restart.`

For serious translations we can use Gettext. This approach enables us to have different files for every targeted language which helps in maintaining separation between the business logic, the presentation layer, and the translations (which we can see as an add-on of the presentation layer). With Gettext, we can parallelize the process because while we're working on some features of the website, translators can still work on translations using software like gettext functionality to set the current language and extract a "HELLO_WORLD" string. He then moves on to the use of the Audero Shared Gettext library. This library creates a "mirror" of the translation file requested and forces those updates into the current domain. Code examples of its use are included showing a basic pull and merge process.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/managing-gettext-translations-shared-hosting

Lorna Mitchell:
PHP Version Adoption
June 04, 2013 @ 10:15:58

In this new post to her blog Lorna Mitchell takes a look at some of the current statistics around PHP version adoption - all the way from the ancient 5.0 through the shiny new (upcoming) 5.5 releases.

PHP runs over 75% of all websites whose technologies are known (source: w3techs), which makes for a really REALLY long tail of users who once installed wordpress, phpmyadmin, or some other open source project that helped their business needs at the time. What they don't do is upgrade. PHP's current usage statistics look like this (source and raw numbers are if you want them):

She points out that around half of the results show that sites are running on unsupported versions of PHP (<=5.2) but notes that it's not always their choice. There's lots of factors that play into upgrading these versions that are not always in the user's control (like the speed of distro updates). She covers some of the things that came around in the newer versions of PHP 5.2 and 5.3 including some large performance jumps, especially in 5.4.

In truth, the future is already here for those people on PHP 5.4 and beyond. Keeping PHP upgraded is just part of our regular maintenance workflow, and the language is progressing in regular and manageable steps. If you've been left behind then I strongly recommend that you start making plans for upgrading your platform, or moving to a newer one.
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Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2013/php-version-adoption

Fortrabbit.com:
PHP-Focused PaaS Launched!
October 05, 2012 @ 10:45:17

The folks over at Fortrabbit.com have officially announced the opening of their cloud-based, PHP-focused hosting platform:

We do managed hosting for over 5 years - a business where reliability is one of the core values. And Platform as a Service is just a label for a modern approach of scalable hassle-free hosting solutions. This PaaS market is very young and still a changing category in the wide field of cloud hosting. Listening to customers and their needs will influence the way current services work.

They offer a "Bootstrap" service if you'd like to try it out. It supports PHP 5.4, APC, MySQL, Git integration, Composer support, SSH/SFTP access and DNS management. You can also add on memcache and SSL support if desired.

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Fortrabbit.com:
Cloudscapes - Comparing PHP Cloud Hosting Platforms
July 11, 2012 @ 11:27:07

On the Fortrabbit.com blog there's a new post that does a quick overview and comparison of 11 of the more popular cloud-based hosting platforms out there that are PHP friendly.

We are currently building yet another PHP Cloud Platform ourselves. Of course we looked around to see what the others are up to. This is my (Franks) personal point of view of the current market situation showcasing my favorite services. I try not to judge, neither i will compare features nor prices.

Services on his list include:

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