Changing php settings without .htaccess or php.ini

1 minute read

I’m doing a little developing in PHP as a hobby, and I got some task involving free hosting in
Since I’m just starting to learn PHP 5, I have a lot of errors. All kinds of them. And it took me a while to understand that errors aren’t being displayed onscreen because the display_errors flag was off.
Google told me that I should change this flag using the .htaccess file, if it’s an Apache module, or the php.ini file, if it’s a FastCGI implementation (which it is).

The Problem

Since it’s a free hosting package, I can’t access the php.ini file or change the php-wrapper file, that tells the server where to find php.ini.

The Solution

I was beginning to think that I’ll have to deal with having no errors on screen at all, until I found ini_set. It’s a function that sets a PHP flag for the duration of the script. So now I’ve added to my base.php (the PHP file I include in every page) the following command:

<? ini_set('display_errors', 1); ?>

As long I set it before every page (even before my phpinfo page), everything turns out OK!

One Last Thing

For those just starting with PHP, you can find out a lot about your environment (flags, libraries, PHP version…) by creating a page that only contains this instruction (except ini_set, of course!):

<? phpinfo(); ?>

You’ll get a detailed report of your php environment. Remember to take it off once the site becomes production.

Happy PHPing!