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  1. #1
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    Should clients pay for server upgrades?

    I am a host reseller and the parent company is upgrading their servers to PHP5. This may break some of my clients' sites (OSCommerce, Zen). Should we fix those sites for free or should my clients pay for the upgrade? I'm torn!

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot clarnp49's Avatar
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    I think you should upgrade the servers with PHP5 but leave PHP4 around so that it doesn't break the sites you host. I use a host that upgraded to PHP5 right after it came out and we all got the option to use both. That is my two cents, leave the PHP4 and add the PHP5 and tell the clients that they need to make some upgrades to use the new features in PHP5. That way you don't have alot of work, your clients don't have to pay for it, and it doesn't really take up anymore space.
    If it works don't fix it. If it's broke fix it.
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  3. #3
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    Provide both

    I run my own servers and have

    *PHP5
    *PHP4
    *Perl
    *Ruby
    *.Net

    all available thru lighttpd and few simple fast-cgi settings on the same ip and same port depending on extensions

    (.net support on linux is thanks to the mono project )


    so a script ending in .php will end up with php5, .php4 with php4, .aspx with mono backends and so on



    I still dont understand why all these hosts are dragging their feet with php5 adoption, seems to be sheer laziness on the behalf of some hosts, its their loss at the end of the day for not remaining competitive!

    i stopped coding in php4 over 2 years ago and now reaping alot of benefits

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    I'd agree with clarnp49 to leave both options, which still means you have to rename the file extensions I think. However, your clients will not appreciate you charging them for this. It's the responsibility of the webhost to keep things updated.
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  5. #5
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    What you should have done is warned your customers about the PHP4 EOL when it was announced and making it clear PHP5 would become standard at some point in 2008. If you did this then charging them to fix things would be logical in this case if they're not going to fix things as websites do require maintenance from time to time.

    A dual PHP install right now is great but PHP4 now lacks support and everyone is dropping it. So you're just going to delay the inevitable and if at the point PHP4 is completely dropped things still not work then there is a big problem. So it's only a matter of time and these customers are going to have nowhere to put their web applications. I'd provide them with some options now opposed to when PHP4 is not offered anywhere. Also most commercial scripts support PHP5 fine in their newer versions. We've had almost 0 customers with issues with PHP5 as scripts were updated over a year ago to be compatible.
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru hifigrafix's Avatar
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    To me it depends on how long the apps have been around. If these are developments from a year or two ago.. yea tell the client they are in need of some minor adjustments and give them a quote. If you offer up the benefits of upgrading to PHP 5 (security, performance, etc..) they will almost always be willing to pay a reasonable fee. It's a cost of doing business.

    I have a loose warranty that works well for me and my clients whereas I'll make a judgement call if it's a fairly recent development and they need some type of upgrade I don't nickel and dime them.

    Of course I'm looking at this purely as a developer that offers up space on his dedicated server to clients - I'm not in the business of reselling hosting.

    Good luck and please let us know how it pans out. I think we've all been in this situation.

    jw

  7. #7
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    I tell me clients early on that every 2-3 years the can expect to do some major overhauls to their site. Most likely the shopping cart software they are using will need to be upgraded every 3 years (at least) too.

  8. #8
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Not only that but you shoudn't just "mess around" (as they may see it) with your clients' sites and applications without their consent anyway - especially when billing. It's always best to politely inform them in cases like this that your hosting provider will be upgrading the servers to PHP 5, but that you'd like to keep PHP 4 around (for another year anyway) for those who don't want to upgrade and give them a choice of upgrading or staying where they're at for one more year (but politely inform them that they WILL have to upgrade after the year is up due to whatever reasons you conjure up).

    Then tender a quote for those who do express an interest in upgrading. Be sure to give them some kind of a "discount" or something to "sweeten the deal" and show the clients that you not only value them, their businesses and their relationship with you, but that you want to keep them happy (and yours) for a long time to come if they choose to upgrade now.

  9. #9
    I Never Give Up roosevelt's Avatar
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    Well if Zend completely stops supporting PHP4 then you can tell your clients that PHP4 is unstable and has lots of security issues. So PHP5 is required to be installed and the client must upgrade his scripts.

    If you have one or two customers you can fix their site but if we are talking 100s then it's not worth the time. Besides clients have different scripts and editing each of them will take time.

    My host gives the option to switch between PHP4 and PHP5 from the control panel, so I don't have any problem with that. Perhaps you can offer a similar solution.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Stormrider's Avatar
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    So your hosts say that they are upgrading to php5... are they fixing your sites for free? Your clients are in the same situation with you as you are with your hosts. Your hosts tell you about the upgrade and then the problem is in your hands... so you can tell them about the upgrade, and the problem is in their hands. Either they pay for the upgrade, or the script breaks...

    Just tell them what has happened - PHP4 is no longer supported on the server, so upgrading is required. Let them know their options - pay for an upgrade, upgrade themselves, or their script will break. Present it as a benefit to them (which after all it is), with the extra security, faster script execution etc...

  11. #11
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    All web hosts should now be offering PHP 5 as the default for new accounts with PHP 4 only there for backwards compatibility for existing sites that were already there before PHP 5 was introduced. Giving the clients the ability to switch from PHP 4 to PHP 5 when they are ready is a useful option. Advising clients now (if you haven't already) that PHP 4 will be turned off in a few months time is an absolute necessity as not turning it off when support for it completely ends will create a security risk for the entire server and not giving your clients several months notice so they can upgrade their scripts is a good way to get them extremely annoyed. Not all web hosting clients have seen the announcement that PHP 4 is now officially dead with only a few months of minor security changes to go before it is completely abandoned allowing the crackers to do their worst knowing that any holes they do find to explit will never be patched.

    If you support the actual scripts that your clients are running then presumably your contract specifies what the situation is regarding upgrading their scripts to the latest version every time patches are released as to whether you charge for that or not. Assuming that you do keep your clients scripts up to date in that situation (and the scripts themselves are a security risk if you are not) then they should already be running scripts designed to run on PHP 5. If you are not supporting the scripts for them and just supplying the environment where they can run the scripts of their choice then it is their responsibility to upgrade their scripts and you are only responsible for making sure that they have a migration path to PHP 5 available.
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    <input name="html5" type="text" required pattern="^$">

  12. #12
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    Our Windows hosting Control Panel (DotNetPanel) has the option to let the client choose which version of PHP they want to use (Defaulting to php5), clients like to have the ability to run some applications that don't function correctly on Windows.

    It is also useful for providing alternate PHP configs E.g although oscommerce runs fine on php5 it requires register globals to be on (Out of the box), however many newer applications require that register globals is turned off. To allow both we make php4 RG on and php5 RG off and everyone is happy.

  13. #13
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ServWise.com View Post
    E.g although oscommerce runs fine on php5 it requires register globals to be on (Out of the box), however many newer applications require that register globals is turned off.
    And the default for register_globals was changed from on to off for a reason all the way back in PHP 4.2. Any script that still requires register globals on now is an antique script since the changes to not require it should have been made many years ago. PHP 6 does not even have a register globals option since it is now assumed that all properly written applications work with it off. It only takes a couple of lines of code to fix any script for that so if the authors are too lazy to add those couple of lines imagine how many other security holes such scripts must contain by now.
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  14. #14
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    Agree with what InFloW said, you should have warned them about this when the news was out that php 4 support will be dropped in 2008. Anyway, offer minor software updates for free and charge a fee for major updates.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    And the default for register_globals was changed from on to off for a reason all the way back in PHP 4.2. Any script that still requires register globals on now is an antique script since the changes to not require it should have been made many years ago. PHP 6 does not even have a register globals option since it is now assumed that all properly written applications work with it off. It only takes a couple of lines of code to fix any script for that so if the authors are too lazy to add those couple of lines imagine how many other security holes such scripts must contain by now.
    Correct, unfortunately there are still a lot of people using applications like oscommerce that need it on, you need to offer a compromise solution or loose these types of customer altogether.

  16. #16
    Floridiot joebert's Avatar
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    Look at your records, offer support for grade A clients & use the situation to drive off any problem clients you have by charging them for an upgrade.

  17. #17
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    You can ask your hosting provider to have both the versions of PHP on the server considering the convenience of the customers running there websites on PHP4, I hope every hosting provider think for there clients ease.
    Also, you should update your clients regarding the upgradation and in case they got any errors on the website they can contact support team to get it sorted
    I don't think in case of upgrading applications, a host should charge their clients.

    Thank you.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Host.co.in View Post
    You can ask your hosting provider to have both the versions of PHP on the server considering the convenience of the customers running there websites on PHP4, I hope every hosting provider think for there clients ease.
    Also, you should update your clients regarding the upgradation and in case they got any errors on the website they can contact support team to get it sorted
    I don't think in case of upgrading applications, a host should charge their clients.

    Thank you.
    This is great for a few months but on August 8th 2008 PHP is not going to release any new versions no matter what. So if a huge security hole comes up after that point well you're going to need to find a solution on your own. There is a reason hosts are dropping the support now as there isn't even a guarantee PHP will patch security issues now if they come up with PHP4.
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  19. #19
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ServWise.com View Post
    Correct, unfortunately there are still a lot of people using applications like oscommerce that need it on, you need to offer a compromise solution or loose these types of customer altogether.
    All it needs to fix OsCommerce (and other insecure scripts that require register globals) is to add a few lines to the sart of each script page to load the variables from the equivalent $_GET and/or $_POST fields. That change is so trivial that the writers of OSCommerce must really be intending to hack into all their users sites or they would have fixed it.

    See http://www.felgall.com/htmlt59.htm for an example of code that could be added to all the scripts to avoid the need to enable register globals. That could be set up as an include and added to all the pages in order to bypass the need for register globals. There is also a link at the bottom of the page to a variant on the code that would make it more secure.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    All it needs to fix OsCommerce (and other insecure scripts that require register globals) is to add a few lines to the sart of each script page to load the variables from the equivalent $_GET and/or $_POST fields. That change is so trivial that the writers of OSCommerce must really be intending to hack into all their users sites or they would have fixed it.

    See http://www.felgall.com/htmlt59.htm for an example of code that could be added to all the scripts to avoid the need to enable register globals. That could be set up as an include and added to all the pages in order to bypass the need for register globals. There is also a link at the bottom of the page to a variant on the code that would make it more secure.

    That isn't really a complete answer for most situations and in the case of oscommerce wouldn't work, yes it can be done by changing some code, one part being the code that actually gives you an error if you have register globals off. .

    There is in fact an oscommerce contribution that give instructions on how to do this, it does require editing a number of files in a number of places but a good coder can do this in maybe half an hour. It may be the option we choose soon and offer an FAQ on how to fix oscommerce instead of offering a compromise.

  21. #21
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    WE host with HOstGAtor reselling as well. We've chosen to opt out of the upgrade to ensure our site continues to function properly.

  22. #22
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webnet View Post
    WE host with HOstGAtor reselling as well. We've chosen to opt out of the upgrade to ensure our site continues to function properly.
    Are you testing to see if your site will work after the upgrade or are you just go8ing to wait and see what happens in a few months time when all the hosting companies turn off the unsupported PHP 4?
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webnet View Post
    WE host with HOstGAtor reselling as well. We've chosen to opt out of the upgrade to ensure our site continues to function properly.
    But how long can you continue to opt out of upgrade, within next few months i am sure you'd have to upgrade as well, might as well do it now with some time still left.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Stormrider's Avatar
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    Anyone who didn't begin migrating to PHP5 when the announcement was made of dropping PHP4 has basically shot themselves in the foot. They now have less time to do it before PHP4 is dropped altogether, and no hosting company in their right mind is going to continue offering PHP4 when there are no security fixes for it.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Zealot impunjabians's Avatar
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    this time you must upgarde , but next time , while making customer's deal, make sure you mention to customer about the upgrade service's charges, whether you upgrade for free or charge some handsome amount


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