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What is root access and why is it important?

Root access is the ability to manipulate any and all files in your computing environment.  Every operating system has a top-level directory, also known as “root”.

Most successful websites operate on dedicated or VPS servers.  Generally speaking, the more complicated and involved your website is, the more you need root access.

More specifically, such sites will need access to the php.ini and httpd.conf files.  Access to these files allows the webmaster to change important webserver settings.  Items such as maximum execution time, error logging, and memory buffer can be  tweaked to your particular needs.  In a typical shared server environment, these items are not accessible.

Why do I need access to these settings?

Let’s use the example of maximum execution time.  Most shared enviroments limit a script to 30 secends of run time.  If your scripts do not finish in that alloted time, your script will not finish and a “time out” error will result.  This becomes very important with dynamic sites, because they usually have processes that manipulate large amounts of data at any given time.  Try parsing a 20 MB file on a shared environment and you will quickly see the problem.

Here is one potential error that you may receive:

PHP Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate …..

This is an easy fix on a Virtual Private Server.  Simply edit your php.ini file and adjust your memory limit.  Shared hosts do NOT allow the customer to access the php.ini file.

This is why APACHE VPS offers root access on all of our packages.  We do this at the same cost as most shared servers.  Experience the difference ApacheVPS.com makes!

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