Getting my TODO list down

Andy Wardley abw at
Thu Sep 4 15:33:44 BST 2008

Peter Corlett wrote:
> If a business idea can't justify spending a tenner or so a month on a
> virtual server, it's surely not worth pursuing?

Sure, but not all web sites are businesses, and not all business have people
who are comfortable using a command line, or even configuring a server using
a fancy web interface.

Installing a PHP script is as simple as uploading it to your server (or your
ISP's server).  It is precisely no harder than uploading an HTML page.  That
is why it's so widely used (I hesitate to use the word "popular").

HTML has virtually no barriers to entry.  Anyone who can use a text editor (or 
WYSIWIG editor) can write an HTML page.  Lots of people who aren't already
designers or programmers do this all the time.  Once they've got HTML cracked,
PHP is no harder than changing the file extension and adding some new tags to
the soup. Lots of people progress from HTML to PHP just this way.  When it
comes to installing a PHP library, they already know how to do it- just upload
it to the server and it's installed!  Changing the configuration is as simple
as.... editing a web page!  Hey this is easy!

Before you know it, those people are calling themselves web designers and web
developers and going off to work for companies who build real web sites for
other companies.  And of course, they use PHP, because it's what they already

Sure, the programmers typically use better languages because a) they know that
better languages exist and b) they're prepared to put the effort in to get the
reward back, so they don't mind installing stuff, changing Apache configs, and
so on.  But most web designers and web developers aren't real programmers.  No
disrespect or snobbery intended, but to them programming PHP isn't much
different to "programming" HTML or CSS.

So it's not that they can't justify spending the extra money for a virtual
server,  It's more the case that they wouldn't know what to do with it.


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