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PHP is a popular, open-source scripting language that is designed almost exclusively for web development. You can read more about PHP at its official web site.

Any file on your web site which ends with .php will be treated as a PHP script. Its contents will not be displayed to web users, but instead will be executed. To download your script using WebDav, please see this page.

Your PHP scripts have read and write access to any file on your web site, but not files on other web sites. Conversely, other webmasters have no file access to your site with their PHP scripts.


Many PHP scripts rely on a MySQL database to hold information. The Central Web Server can provide MySQL databases for your web site. You can obtain a MySQL database from the Web Development Lab. Please see the Contact page for information on how to contact them.

When you obtain your MySQL database you will receive a database name, a user name and a password. The database name and the user name will both be set to your site name. Your password will be set to a string of random characters. In addition to these three items, you will also need to know the database server hostname, which is always set to mysql.

Here is an example of a PHP command which connects to a database using these four pieces of information:

You can only connect to your database from scripts running on the web server. You cannot connect to the database using a script on any other computer.

You can find more information on MySQL at the MySQL web site. Our current version is MySQL version 5.1.49.


To help you manage your database, phpMyAdmin is provided. You can access phpMyAdmin from this link (NetID login required) or from the link on the Online Webmaster Utility.

You need your database name (same as your site name) and database password to log into phpMyAdmin. Your NetID/password will not work.