I need to update PHP from 5.1.6 to 5.2.?? to install some application software on my Linux webserver

I have php 5.1.6 and need to update if possible and if it is safe. I am a novice and know nothing about the dangers of this? I have some limited skills with SSH and other tools. Currently my web site and server is working fine but I do need to add a few software tools that must work with php 5.2 +   My website is a Joomla 1.5.2 install if that helps.

I have PLESK 8.6 and do not know if once I update php do I need to update the PLESK or if that is irrelavant? I have been told that as soon as I update this PHP past 5.1.6 I loose all PLESK support from Parallels. Which is fine I have not needed them for 3 years anyway.

I have heard that YUM could do this and it might be simple. Does anyone know what I can do to get this done safely without messing up everything that is existing and working on my websites database. Please advise what I can do........ a bit worried !
Fletcher BurdineTableau Trainer & Consultant Sales Exec.Asked:
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psimationCommented:
If you use CentOs or other RH derivatives, then YUM is your safest way to upgrade. You will however need to add additional repositories to yum, since 5.1.6 is the latest "official" release covered by standard OS.

http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/PHP_5.1_To_5.2

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Ray PaseurCommented:
All the usual caveats - back everything up, etc.  That said, my hosting company made this change unannounced and it had zero effect on my applications.  However I do not use Plesk.  You might want to consider a parallel test environment?
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DrDamnitCommented:
I have used Plesk on and off for years. It is fragile. It is probably the most klduge of all the control panels, and this eventually forced me to move to another hosting provider who was using cPanel.

If you upgrade PHP, there is a very good chance that you will break Plesk. Ergo, Ray_paseur has given you execellent advice: backup the system.

when you do the upgrade, you have to make sure you don't just install PHP blindly. You have to maintain all the original paths and compile options or it will break plesk.

It is well worth your time to contact Plesk and ask them if the upgrade is OK to do. They might charge you to upgrade it for you, but that is WELL worth not having to deal with downtime or lost domains in Plesk, etc...

Proceed with caution.
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Steve BinkCommented:
Another warning about toying with Plesk.  Fragile is an understatement.  Without Plesk, upgrading PHP is extremely simple.  If you have the option, I highly recommend letting your host do this for you.
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DrDamnitCommented:
I highly recommend moving to cPanel if that's an option....
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Fletcher BurdineTableau Trainer & Consultant Sales Exec.Author Commented:
Good stuff. I use HostMySite.com now Hosting.com and literally last Thursday. I got the word that staff are no longer allowed to do any upgrades with PHP users who have PLESK.  I  am going to call Parallels and see what they would charge to gaurantee the work.

I really want to switch to cPanel but financially it will add another $1800 to my operating budget.

Hosting.com has some of the best support I have ever seen. You can call 24/7 and get a live body that can help.

Does anyone know of a ISP who is comparable in support but has good contracts with ISPs that might save me a bit. I am currently looking at a jump of $140 extra a month to get the lowest package at Hosting.com that gets me cPanel. I think I pay $65 per month currently. I do that as I am developing software and have not had much in extra revenue to play with.

http://www.hosting.com/services/platform-services/cloud/vps/linux

Any support is greatly appreciated and thank you for your always timely, always professional and exceptionally informative advice.
Rob Burdine
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DrDamnitCommented:
Bluehost.com. $7.95 / month unlimited bandwidth, unlimited space, 2000 databases, it's quite ridiculous. 24 / 7 support via chat. Never had a problem with them. I run a site that has 100,000+ unique visitors / month.
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Fletcher BurdineTableau Trainer & Consultant Sales Exec.Author Commented:
I am assuming that is a shared account only and not a VPS type account. I have linux and use Joomla 1.5.
I had a reason I had to go with the VPS. I cannot remember off the top of my head. Something about the VPS services I had to have vs the Shared account capabilities. I do not remember but I had to switch to VPS. I think it was due to the OS or something related to that?
I have heard of Bluehost.com and I hear they are fantastic for Joomla installations and offer great service. The one difference is I am still fairly new to the web development world and constantly need support where a phone call away can save me hours of explaining and emails back and forth. I will check them out anyway. To see what they offer as a solution.
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Fletcher BurdineTableau Trainer & Consultant Sales Exec.Author Commented:
Thanks for your help.
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