Bluehost Finally Offering PHP 5.3

Bluehost has finally started offering PHP 5.3 on a per-request basis. Even though PHP 5.4 is on the horizon, compatibility issues for many customers prevented large shared hosting companies like Bluehost from making the move to 5.3 earlier. By working with tech support in the early hours this morning, I successfully completed the migration to a 5.3 box. 🙂

If you’re interested in making the move, contact Bluehost’s support service and backup your files before the migration.

Bluehost is offering more module options (like Memcache) with this release too. 🙂

For those out there, PHP 5.3 offers “namespaces” – an elegant way to encapsulate different groups of related data (functions, constants, classes, etc.) I’m looking forward to writing much cleaner code in the future, but as with any new release of software, I’ll initially spend the first few days looking through error reports for glitches.

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  1. Thanks for the information! I’ve never fiddled around with my PHP so this may be my first PHP upgrade.
    I’m currently on PHP 5.2.17. If I make the jump to 5.3 and if things don’t go so well, could I ‘downgrade’ back to where I was?

    Also with respect to ‘backing up’, I’m on the Bluehost Pro backup plan and they supposedly automatically back everything up on the server – would I have to download a separate copy prior to upgrading?


    • I’m pretty sure you can easily downgrade as 5.2 is still listed as an option (see the first image in the post). As far as the backup, Bluehost automatically migrates your entire account to the new box. Thanks for the inquiry. Also, your gravatar gave me a great idea for… breakfast. 😉

      • Thank you Rishi! I spoke with a Bluehost Support staff about the 5.3 upgrade and he told me to simply add a PHP 5.3-enabling code at the beginning of the .htaccess file. Adding this would apparently make my site run on PHP 5.3 and removing it would put me back to 5.2.17.

        Also I’m still a bit confused being that I had 2 different chat sessions with the same representative, to which he told me that Memcache is supported with Bluehost; however users would need root access to configure/install Memcache and…well obviously Bluehost doesn’t give out root access.

        Anyway thank you for your reply! 🙂

        • Added the following to the .htaccess file and it switched, thanks!

          AddHandler application/x-httpd-php53 .php .php5 .php4 .php3

        • The only thing to note is, your account needs to already have PHP 5.3 support ‘available’ in order for the .htaccess code to work apparently. I spoke with another Bluehost rep yesterday and he told me that since my account hasn’t made the jump, the code is useless and suggested that I put in a ticket to enable PHP 5.3 for my account.

  2. Absolutely flawless migration.

    Can’t get memcache working though. phpinfo shows the module is loaded, but it doesn’t seem to be listening on localhost:11211

  3. Yay, Bluehost! Strangely, I wonder why they don’t send out emails notifying customers of the availability of upgrades…

    I do love their support though. I had a MAJOR website crash with a customer who was doing their own updates for some time, and no backups… after digging through several corrupt backups, Bluehost was able to recover a good one and restored the site for me. Really unbelievable support for a shared web host.

    Thanks for posting, I am going to upgrade a few of my sites today.

    • They really do have fantastic service at Bluehost! Hope the PHP 5.3 migration goes smoothly. I had to redo one of my scripts, but some online forums helped me troubleshoot with ease. 🙂


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