How to Activate PHP 5.3 on HostGator and GoDaddy

Originally released in June 2009, PHP 5.3 has been around for over two years. In this time, many applications have been written for PHP 5.3 and the need to upgrade from PHP 5.2 has become increasingly important. Fortunately, if your website is hosted with HostGator or GoDaddy, you can easily enable PHP 5.3 using an .htaccess file.1

HostGator & GoDaddy Customers Can Enable PHP 5.3 Using .htaccess Files

PHP 5.3 can be enabled for a website by adding the following lines to an .htaccess file and uploading the file to the root directory.

.htaccess Rules for HostGator

Action application/x-hg-php53 /cgi-sys/php53
AddHandler application/x-hg-php53 .php

If you are on a VPS or Dedicated Server, you will need to contact support directly so that they can enable it.

.htaccess Rules for GoDaddy 4GH Hosting

AddHandler x-httpd-php5-3 .php

Why Have Some Web Hosts Refused To Upgrade PHP?

Some web hosts have refused to install PHP 5.3 on their shared hosting servers because of stability and security concerns, as well as proven incompatibility with existing scripts, frameworks, and open source software packages. Additionally, official support for PHP 5.2 has only recently been dropped.

If your host has not installed PHP 5.3, they will probably be installing it in the near future. However, if you need it right away, consider moving to a new host or upgrading to a VPS or Dedicated Server.

  1. Other shared web hosts, such as Bluehost, Dreamhost, Imhosted and Site5, also support PHP 5.3, or allow you to manually install it yourself. If you are on your own VPS or Dedicated Server, regardless of the web host, you can also install PHP 5.3 yourself. []
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