PHP is the most popular scripting language on the Internet for a reason. It's easy to learn and easy to implement, yet is powerful enough to suit almost every task. Unlike some other languages, PHP is not explicitly linked with any programming paradigms, allowing for more flexible development. HelioHost offers PHP 5.3 on all its hosting accounts. We are unique in that we offer PHP without safe mode, which is the more secure but less functional alternative that you'll find on most free hosts.


Stevie: PHP 5.3.8
Johnny: PHP 5.4.41
CGI w/ suPHP

Libraries, extensions, and configuration options


  • BC Math (Binary Calculator)
    A library for arbitrary precision calculations. Good for when accuracy is critical - not much use otherwise.
  • Calendar
    Allows for easy date manipulation.
  • cURL w/ SSL
    Allows a PHP script to behave like a pseudo-browser and interface with HTTP servers.
  • Exif
    Allows PHP to access image meta data.
  • FreeType
    Converts a string into an image. Usually used in conjunction with GD2 for CAPTCHA images.
  • FTP
    Allows a PHP script to behave like an FTP client and interface with FTP servers.
  • GD2
    A complex image manipulation library. Required for most modern CAPTCHA implementations.
  • gettext
    Helps translate text into multiple languages to encourage internationalization.
  • iconv
    Allows for easily converting text between different encodings and character sets.
  • ImageMagick
    An alternative to GD2, ImageMagick is an image manipulation library.
  • IMAP
    Allows a PHP script to behave like an IMAP email client and interface with IMAP servers.
  • Ioncube loaders
    Ioncube loaders enable execution of Ioncube-encoded PHP scripts. Developers often encode their source code to keep others from stealing it.
  • PHP Mail Header Patch
    Adds an identifier into mail headers sent from PHP script so we can easily catch spammers.
  • Multibyte String w/ Regex & Zend Multibyte
    Libraries for dealing with multi-byte character encodings such as Unicode.
  • Mcrypt
    Allows PHP to interface with the Mcrypt library for cryptology.
  • Mhash
    Allows PHP to interface with the Mhash library for hashing.
  • MIME Magic (AKA Mimetype)
    Helps figure out the content-type of a file.
  • Ming
    An experimental open-source library for creating Flash movies.
  • MySQL
    A procedural library that enables MySQL integration in PHP. Required for most PHP applications.

  • MySQLi
    A newer, more efficient object-oriented library for MySQL integration. Steadily replacing procedural library in most situations.
  • OpenSSL
    Allows PHP to generate and verify signatures for encryption and decryption of data.
  • PDO w/ MySQL
    An abstraction layer for data access between different database implementations.
  • PEAR
    An extension for enabling more extensions. You will be allowed to import components (PEAR extensions) through your account's cPanel.
  • PostgreSQL
    A procedural library that enables PostgreSQL integration in PHP.
  • Pspell
    A library for checking spelling. Dictionaries are kept in files, which are compared against for all checked words.
  • SOAP
    SOAP is a protocol for allowing communication between services through XML.
  • Sockets
    Allows a PHP script to interface with HTTP servers. Not as advanced as cURL, but still widely used.
  • SourceGuardian loaders
    SourceGuardian loaders enable execution of SourceGuardian-encoded PHP scripts. Developers often encode their source code to keep others from stealing it.
  • Tidy
    Tidy helps "clean up" bad HTML and debug issues with faulty HTML.
    A library that allows PHP to issue remote procedure calls to other services using XML and HTTP.
  • XSL
    Allows transformation of one XML file into another.
  • Zend Optimizer
    Zend Optimizer enable execution of Zend-encoded PHP scripts, as well as slightly increasing PHP performance. Developers often encode their source code to keep others from stealing it.
  • ZIP
    The ZIP library for PHP allows scripts to read and write to ZIP archives.
  • Zlib
    Allows PHP to read and write GZIP files. Used on some applications to compress files for bandwidth reduction and network optimization.


We can install most of these if you need them, but note that we aren't going to bend on POSIX and we probably aren't going to switch Magic Quotes on unless there is an overwhelming demand for it.
  • Bz2
    Allows PHP to read and write BZIP2 files. Not as widely adopted as GZIP, and therefore we really don't see a need for it. Let us know if you want it.
  • dBase
    A library for interfacing PHP for dBase-format databases. dBase databases aren't very popular, so again we don't see a need for this extension. Let us know if you want it.
  • Magic Quotes
    Automatically escapes strings inputted from the user for security. We don't use it, as it slows down scripts and can easily be duplicated by manually escaping strings.
  • MM
    We're not really sure what's up with this extension. Supposed to simplify memory sharing between different PHP processes, but we can't see the advantage in that.
    A library for interfacing with UNIX-like operating systems. Would mostly be disabled by our security measures listed below anyways, and presents a security risk on its own.
  • SNMP
    Allows PHP to manage and monitor network usage. No clue how this would be any use to a free hosting customer, but again: let us know if you want it.
  • WDDX
    Allow inter-platform web application communication. Never really heard about anybody that uses it. Let us know if you want it.
Security measures to note
  • Users aren't allowed to override php.ini. Why? This keeps users from overriding important security and stability settings.
  • We don't allow users to access files outside their allocated disk space. The security risk is pretty obvious here.
  • We disable functions that allow users to execute external programs through PHP. Namely, the functions we disable are exec(), shell_exec(), proc_open(), and system().
How do I use PHP?
Read the official PHP manual to learn how to program in PHP. PHP is one of the most basic scripting languages we offer, and as a result its implementation is quite simple. Our PHP parser will parse all code between <?php and ?> tags in .php, .php5, .php4, .php3, .php2, and .phtml files.

Server Status

Stevie Stevie's status
Charlie Charlie's status
- Cody Cody's status
- Johnny Johnny's status

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