I am doing a lot of work with local clients lately providing SEO Services, Internet Consulting, and other related services. One recent project included to move a static website to WordPress. The client was hosting her website with Lunarpages and so I did not anticipate problems in regards to the environment. Lunarpages has a decent reputation. The first warning came when I noticed that cpanel was not outdated, but was configured running a fairly old skin/theme and many functions were locked down or not available.
I setup a test blog on my own web hosting and migrated the site over and set it all up so that the client could test and sign off on it. After having customer approval I attempted to move the website over into their web hosting account at Lunarpages. I tried to install WordPress, but was greeted by an error message that the server was running PHP 4.4.9 and that WordPress required WordPress PHP 5.2.4. I was shocked because PHP 4.4.9 is out of support for a long time already.
I notified the client to request a PHP upgrade on the server and called it a day for that project. While doing other work I remembered that many web hosts were running PHP 4 and PHP 5 in parallel back then to allow customers to transition their website scripts to PHP 5. But all web hosts I have used over the years ended up making PHP 5 default and to eventually uninstall PHP 4 from their servers. Well, Lunarpages apparently does not belong to that club.
I checked on the hosting account and discovered that PHP 5 was indeed installed. Not the latest version, but good enough for WordPress 3.2.1 to work on. Now I had to find the easiest way to get it to work with WordPress. A quick 2 Minute Google search lead me to find the correct code that I would need to add to my .htaccess file. A quick PHPInfo check and I was in business. I moved the old site into an archive folder and deployed the ready to go WordPress version. Life’s good, customer was very happy.
So, I am kind of shocked that Lunarpages has not updated all their servers. I understand that there are limitations, but if you deploy web hosting on a large scale you need to keep track of your environment. It takes only one unsecure server for the shit to hit the fan. Version 4.4.9, while being the last 4.x version of PHP, was released in summer of 2008. So, please – Lunarpages – update your servers or at least (as a minimum) make PHP 5 the default selection on your web servers.