@SteveWh - I don't say this all too often, but I agree 100% with Stephan (Felgall) here.
PHP 4 is long gone. Register globals are LONG gone - any host with Register Globals on by default evidently don't know what they're doing.
I use shared hosting all the time and I have never come across hosting with Register Globals on by default - though I have seen one which gives an optional "upgrade" (i.e. downgrade) to register globals.
1) Most shared webhosts jump on the latest upgrades as soon as they are announced. They do not. They want stability and happy customers. They wait until new versions are time-tested, to avoid instability. They upgrade when they must, because upgrades often produce confused or unhappy customers.
They shouldn't upgrade with every minor release that comes out, that would be silly. But considering PHP 6 is in the making, PHP4 is simply unacceptable. These 'customers' sound pretty incompetent.
Webmasters keep up with the latest vulnerabilities and configuration recommendations and implement them as soon as they know they should. Neither is even close to being true.
Webmasters SHOULD keep up with the latest vulnerabilities. It's like a fashion designer who doesn't keep up with the current trends, or a newspaper editor who doesn't know what's going on.
Who is a webmaster? Well, in the 90s it was anyone who can use frontpage and liked the title.
That is why we have forums and sites such as sitepoint. You need to keep up otherwise you'll find yourself FAR behind the rest of the world.
If a customer isn't, in my terms, a webmaster then I'd rather not have them as a customer, to be honest. I wouldn't want to wait around for people who don't take their job seriously - I'd rather get my servers up to date. If a programmer then experiences problems, I can offer to downgrade their PHP engine but it certainly wouldn't be default.
Sure, you may take my definition of a webmaster to be a harsh one. It certainly cuts most web developers out of the equation - but, in the end, the term is webmaster, not webhobbyist.