PHP bulk inserting records into multiple tables from a scheduled task/cron job

I have a pure php page that is set up to run about  a 100 transactions where I am adding and updating to several tables and making a call to a payment processor.  Everything is working nicely.

I have done this many times on the asp/vb side.  What do I need to do in order to make sure the page does not time out.  Just the set time limit?  http://php.net/manual/en/function.set-time-limit.php. I  would prefer to make this change in the scripting than an ini setting.

This is something that is going to be scheduled to run every night so I don't really expect any more than 100 transactions and it will probably be a lot less and I don't have to worry about this. But if I want to make sure I could run more.  Any tips and gotchas to know.

This is on windows and my plan is to have scheduled task hit a vbs script that will post to the php page.   Would it be best to just use CLI?  Instead of hitting the vbs, just run http://php.net/manual/en/install.windows.commandline.php C:\PHP5\php.exe -f "C:\PHP Scripts\script.php" -- -arg1 -arg2 -arg3
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorAsked:
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Brian TaoSenior Business Solutions ConsultantCommented:
1) yes, just add the following line to your script
set_time_limit(0);

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2) I've been using a .bat file to run my PHP script for quite a long time.  The batch file should be similar to the following:
REM usage: php.exe -q processEmpData.php Instance ArchivedAfterLoad
REM valid values for Instance: PROD, STAGING, DEV
REM valid values for ArchivedAfterLoad: true, false;
php.exe -q processEmpData.php PROD true

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Note: The lines start with "REM" are just comments in Windows batch file.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Command line PHP doesn't have a timeout.  More info here: http://us1.php.net/manual/en/info.configuration.php#ini.max-execution-time
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Brian TaoSenior Business Solutions ConsultantCommented:
@Dave Baldwin,
Command line PHP does have a timeout.  It's just default to 0.  It's specified in the link you provided.
When running PHP from the command line the default setting is 0.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
'0' means no time out.  Another reference here: http://us1.php.net/manual/en/features.commandline.differences.php
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Ray PaseurCommented:
I don't know all the answers here, especially not on Windows, but I can tell you what has worked for me most of the time (in a shared hosting environment on Linux).  With each transaction I do two things:

1. set_time_limit(10) (not zero)
2. create browser output, perhaps echo the SQL query string.

Using this strategy I've often been able to run several thousand queries over an hour or more without interruption.  Another piece of the strategy might appear if you know what should happen with each query.  You might set up an internal "checklist" for each query and check it off as it is run successfully.  Then at the end, if there is anything left undone, send yourself and email message.

With a zero timeout your script can run forever.  You definitely do not want that; you want an interruption if you've got a loop or a hung external process.  And 10 seconds is long enough for just about anything.  So for each query or transaction or other unit-of-work, I just set the time limit over and over again.  This extends the effective time limit of the script without the risk of an endless loop.
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorAuthor Commented:
Ray, are you flushing the output?
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Ray PaseurCommented:
That's a whole different question with a lot of moving parts.  You probably can't go wrong with flush() in the script, but there are a lot of ways that PHP, initialization settings, your server and the client's browser can interact to frustrate your efforts.  Some of this is described on the flush() man page.
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorAuthor Commented:
For some reason, I couldn't use  the format suggested and it must have something to do with plesk.  I tried many variations and nothing worked.   It's even outlined in the plesk KB.  http://kb.sp.parallels.com/en/115292.  My web host support suggested to use the powershell version and that's what I did.

Path to executable file: C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe
    Arguments: -c "(new-object system.net.webclient).downloadstring('http://domain.test/folder/page.php')"

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