PHP overview

PHP is a free scripting language that is usually combined with HTML to create dynamic and interactive websites. PHP can add the following functionality to a website:

  • Create and manipulate files on the server
  • Save contact form data
  • Connect a website to a database
  • Encrypt data

This article explains how PHP is configured at DreamHost along with details of an extended support plan available.

PHP requires a server

Where HTML can run on any computer, PHP needs a web server to run. This means you must either purchase a hosting plan and upload your PHP code to the server, or create a local server on your home computer to run it.

PHP is installed on all DreamHost servers by default.

Popular language for site builders

Many popular site builder applications are written in PHP. For example:

  • WordPress
  • MediaWiki
  • Joomla
  • Drupal

PHP versions

PHP versions at DreamHost

The following article lists PHP versions available at DreamHost.

The following articles explain how to view and upgrade your site's PHP version.


PHP is continually being updated by its developers. At any time, there are versions that are officially supported by PHP's development team, and versions that are no longer being maintained.

It's very important to make sure the version your site is using is currently supported by PHP's developers. The benefits of staying updated include:

  • New features/functionality
  • Security improvements
  • Stability and speed improvements
  • Bug fixes

Supported / Outdated versions

As newer versions are released, older versions are retired. When an old version of PHP is no longer supported by its developers, it has reached its End of Life (EOL) status. A list of current PHP versions and their EOL schedule can be found at the following link:

DreamHost extended support

DreamHost requires PHP Extended Support in order to continue using older PHP versions that have been EOLd by This gives you extra time to upgrade the version of PHP after it's no longer officially supported. View the following article for further details:

DreamHost PHP configurations

PHP server configuration

DreamHost currently allows the following PHP configuration:

  • PHP 8 running as a FastCGI application

mod_php is not supported on managed hosting plans. These include:

  • Shared
  • VPS
  • DreamPress
  • Dedicated (without an admin user)

However, you are able to install this manually on a Dedicated Server or DreamCompute as those plans allow sudo access.

Adjusting the default PHP settings

PHP is installed with default settings. You can adjust many of these by creating or editing a file named php.ini. Any settings you add into this file override the server's default PHP settings.

The standard term for this file is php.ini, however, DreamHost uses the term phprc file instead. This acts the same way – only the name is different. View the following article for more information:

More information

DreamHost articles

PHP mail articles

External links

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