How to Build a CodeIgniter Web App on PHPFog

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is a cloud hosting solution for PHP applications. It offers a free shared cloud that includes access to a MySQL database, and the ability to add 3 apps to your account. The main idea behind PHPFog, is that it looks after all the server requirements for you, leaving you free to design and write your application. In this article, I will explain how to create an account with PHPFog, and set up your first CodeIgniter application. I’ll explain how this is done with the source code for your application being managed through the Git Source Code Management System.

Creating an Account

To get started, all you need to do is sign up for an account. This takes seconds to do, and will give access to to the app console. signing for an account on PHPFog Once your account has been registered, you will be presented with the ‘Create your app’ screen. This comes in 2 sections: either a predefined application such as WordPress, or a framework:

Create an Application

create an app on PHPFog

Create an App with a Framework Installation

create a framework installation on PHPFog

Create an App

For this article, I am going to guide you though how to create a skeleton app using the CodeIgniter framework. So in the lower half of the window, click the CodeIgniter icon: CodeIgniter on PHPFog Your app will be created straight away, and you will see a screen like this: app being deployed on PHPFog Notice that you can launch phpMyAdmin from here, and that the database connection information you need will be presented to you too. Once the app has finished deploying, you can click the ‘View live site’ button at the top right of the app console. You should be presented with the default CodeIgniter welcome page in a new browser tab: CodeIgniter up and running on PHPFog

Create an SSH Key

It might be that you have created a public/private key pair on your computer already. But if you haven’t you will need to create one. PHPFog have a very useful guide that explains how to do that. It covers Mac and Windows; the procedure for Linux is much the same as for a Mac. You need the ssh keys, so that the PHPFog server can communicate securely with your computer. From the account window, click on SSH Keys. Here, you can add the public part of the key you just created: add your public key on PHPFog Once your key has been successfully loaded, you will see the success message: add your public key on PHPFog

Cloning the App to your Computer

Now the fun really starts. I’m going to assume that you already have Git installed on your computer. If you don’t have it you can find it here. You can use Git to clone the repository PHPFog created for you. If you look at the top right of the app console window, you will see the Git clone url that you need to use: Git url on PHPFog Obviously, the url will reflect the domain/account name you have chosen. Now, you can open a terminal window, change into the directory where you want to store the source code, and then type the clone command:
git clone your-project-name
You will see Git download the code from your PHPFog app into the directory you named at the end of the clone command. Now you can open the code as a project in your favourite IDE/text editor. Next we’ll make some adjustments to the configuration of the framework, and push the changes back to the PHPFog repository.

Working with the Source Code

The first thing we will do, so that we can use pretty url’s in our CodeIgniter web app, is add a .htaccess file. That will serve as a good quick test of pushing code back to the PHPFog repository too. Here is a .htaccess file you can use with CodeIgniter:
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^system.*
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /index.php?/$1 [L]

    #Checks to see if the user is attempting to access a valid file,
    #such as an image or css document, if this isn't true it sends the
    #request to index.php
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /index.php?/$1 [L]

<IfModule !mod_rewrite.c>
    # If we don't have mod_rewrite installed, all 404's
    # can be sent to index.php, and everything works as normal.
    # Submitted by: ElliotHaughin

    ErrorDocument 404 /index.php
Add this to a .htaccess file in the root directory of the project. Now, back in your terminal window, you can run:
git status
And the reply will show you the newly added file. Do a:
git add .
to stage the file, and then commit the changes:
git commit -am 'add a .htaccess file for pretty url's'
Finally, to send this file to the server, you can push:
git push origin master

Updating the Framework Config

You have just updated the source code on the PHPFog server in the last step. You can’t really see this change yet though. Also, although you have the database configuration information, you still need to add it to the framework so it knows how to talk the the MySQL database.

Update the Database Config

Open the file application/config/database.php and add the database configuration options PHPFog created for you:
$db['default']['hostname'] = '';
$db['default']['username'] = 'your username';
$db['default']['password'] = 'your password';
$db['default']['database'] = 'your database name';
$db['default']['dbdriver'] = 'mysql';
Commit your changes, and push up to the PHPFog server again. Refresh the site in your browser, and the CodeIgniter default page should appear. You might think nothing has happened, but if the refresh worked without error, in means CodeIgniter is now connecting to your database.

Update the Site Config

Next, we will add the correct site url and remove the index.php file from our url’s since we are using a .htaccess file. Open application/config/config.php:
$config['base_url'] = '';
$config['index_page'] = '';
While we are at it, we will autoload a couple of resources that will be useful. Open application/config/autoload.php, and update the libraries and helpers sections:
$autoload['libraries'] = array('database');
$autoload['helper'] = array('url');
Commit and push your changes.

Proving Things Work

We are now ready to do some coding that will actually affect the web site in a way that we can see. Open application/views/welcome_message.php and copy the contents into a new file called page2.php in the views folder. Then open application/controllers/welcome.php, and create a new method:
public function page2()
Then, you can make a minor change to application/views/welcome_message.php:
<div id="body">
    <p><?=anchor(base_url() . 'welcome/page2', 'Go to page 2')?></p>
We are using CodeIgniters’ url helper here. You can do something similar in application/views/page2.php:
<div id="body">
    <p><?=anchor(base_url() . 'welcome', 'Go to the home page')?></p>
Commit and push your changes, then try it out in your browser: CodeIgniter with code updates on PHPFog CodeIgniter with code updates on PHPFog Here, we can see that our simple code updates got pushed to the server, and we can also see that our pretty urls are working.

Testing the database

I created a simple table called ‘notes’ via the phpMyAdmin installation provided by PHPFog. I added the following fields: id, title, note. Then I created a couple of test notes. Back in your editor, create a new file in application/models called ‘notes_model.php’. Then add a method for retrieving all the notes:
class Notes_model extends CI_Model
    public function __construct()
        parent:: __construct();

    public function get_notes()
        $data = array();
        $sql = "SELECT * FROM notes";
        $q = $this->db->query($sql);
        if($q->num_rows() > 0)
            foreach($q->result() as $row)
                $data[] = $row;

            return $data;
            return 0;
Now we need to hook up the model to a method in the controller (application/controllers/welcome.php):
public function page2()
    $data['notes'] = $this->notes_model->get_notes();
Here, you can see that we are loading our notes model, calling the ‘get_notes()’ method, and assigning the results to an array ($data) that can be passed to the view. In application/views/page2.php add the following code:
<div id="body">
    <p><?=anchor(base_url() . 'welcome', 'Go to the home page')?></p>
    <?php if($notes > 0):?>
    <?php foreach($notes as $n):?>
            <?=$n->title?><br />
    <?php endforeach;?>
    <?php else:?>
        No notes found.
    <?php endif?>
Add, commit, and push your changes, then check the results in your browser: CodeIgniter with MySQL on PHPFog


PHPFog makes it really easy to set up and deploy PHP web apps to the cloud. You don’t have to worry about the server set up, or databases, or any updating. It is all done for you. Coding on the cloud also makes it possible to streamline your own development tool chain too, since all you really need, is a text editor and Git. No more FTP pain! Ignition of match with smoke via Shutterstock

Frequently Asked Questions about Building a CodeIgniter Web App on PHPFog

What is PHPFog and how does it relate to CodeIgniter?

PHPFog is a cloud-based hosting platform specifically designed for PHP applications. It provides a robust and scalable environment for running PHP applications, including those built with CodeIgniter, a powerful PHP framework. PHPFog simplifies the deployment and management of PHP applications, allowing developers to focus on coding rather than server management.

How do I start building a CodeIgniter web app on PHPFog?

To start building a CodeIgniter web app on PHPFog, you first need to create an account on PHPFog. Once your account is set up, you can create a new app and choose CodeIgniter as your framework. From there, you can start building your app using CodeIgniter’s MVC architecture and PHPFog’s cloud-based hosting environment.

What are the benefits of using PHPFog for hosting my CodeIgniter web app?

PHPFog offers several benefits for hosting CodeIgniter web apps. It provides a scalable and robust hosting environment, automatic backups, and easy deployment of your app. It also offers a dedicated MySQL database for each app, and the ability to easily scale your app to handle increased traffic.

Can I migrate my existing CodeIgniter web app to PHPFog?

Yes, you can migrate your existing CodeIgniter web app to PHPFog. PHPFog provides detailed documentation on how to migrate your app, including how to transfer your database and files.

What happened to PHPFog? Is it still available?

PHPFog was a popular cloud-based hosting platform for PHP applications. However, it has since been discontinued and is no longer available. If you’re looking for a similar service, there are several other cloud-based hosting platforms available that support PHP applications, including Heroku, AWS, and Google Cloud.

What are some alternatives to PHPFog for hosting my CodeIgniter web app?

There are several alternatives to PHPFog for hosting your CodeIgniter web app. These include Heroku, AWS, Google Cloud, and DigitalOcean. Each of these platforms offers robust and scalable hosting environments for PHP applications.

How do I deploy my CodeIgniter web app on PHPFog?

To deploy your CodeIgniter web app on PHPFog, you first need to push your code to a Git repository. Once your code is in the repository, you can use PHPFog’s deployment tools to deploy your app to the cloud.

Can I use PHPFog to host other types of PHP applications?

While PHPFog was specifically designed for PHP applications, it was not limited to any particular framework. This means you could use it to host any type of PHP application, not just those built with CodeIgniter.

How does PHPFog handle database management for my CodeIgniter web app?

PHPFog provided a dedicated MySQL database for each app. This allowed for easy database management and scaling as your app grows.

What are the system requirements for running a CodeIgniter web app on PHPFog?

To run a CodeIgniter web app on PHPFog, you needed a PHPFog account, a Git client for deploying your code, and a CodeIgniter web app. PHPFog supported PHP 5.3 and above, and MySQL 5.1 and above.

Andy HawthorneAndy Hawthorne
View Author

Andy Hawthorne is from Coventry in the UK. He is a senior PHP developer by day, and a freelance writer by night, although lately that is sometimes the other way around.

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