Requirements for Perch & Perch Runway

To use Perch you need certain things available on your server, you also need to have some basic skills.

Skills required to use Perch

We have designed Perch so that it can be installed and used by someone who has no PHP experience, we have a video tutorial to help if you have never installed something like this before; we are happy to give advice in support.

As Perch is designed for web designers and developers we assume that you are able to build a site using HTML and CSS. As we don’t want you to buy a product that doesn’t meet your needs we would suggest that a base level of knowledge would be:

  • being able to handcode HTML and CSS (rather than being reliant on a WYSIWYG editor) as our documentation assumes familiarity with this
  • being able to upload a site to your server
  • understanding how to link to pages, images, CSS and JavaScript files, and how to troubleshoot and fix a basic 404 message
  • knowing (or being able to ask your host) how to create a MySQL database on your server – you’ll need that information to run the compatibility test below

For Perch Runway users, it is expected that you’re building larger sites and therefore have a greater experience level. Runway is geared towards the more experienced, more technical developer. You should be comfortable writing a small amount of PHP, setting up server rewrite rules, configuring cron jobs and so on.

Server requirements

Perch has a very simple set of requirements common to most PHP webhosts. The minimum requirements for existing installations are:

For Perch

  • PHP 5.3 (5.4 soon!) or newer with PDO or mysqli and JSON
  • MySQL version 5.0 or greater
  • Either the GD or ImageMagick libraries in PHP (for resizing images)

To check your server you can run our Perch compatibility test. There is also a video showing how the test works and how to troubleshoot common issues.

For Perch Runway

  • A web server with URL rewriting capability, such as Apache with mod_rewrite
  • MySQL 5.0 or greater
  • PHP 5.4 or greater with:
    • PDO for database connections
    • JSON libraries
    • GD or ImageMagick for resizing images
    • 64 bit integers for Dropbox functionality
  • Cron or similar system task scheduling capability

To check your server you can run our Perch Runway compatibility test.

Perch and Perch Runway will run on both Linux and Windows servers, and also on development environments such as Mamp or XAMPP for developing on your own computer before moving to the live server.

A note on PHP versions

PHP 5.3 is now end-of-lifed by the PHP project meaning it no longer gets security updates. If you are building a new site ask your hosting to upgrade you to at least PHP 5.4. This ensures the security of your site and will also make your site faster as newer PHP versions are faster. If the host cannot do this it is a strong indication that this is not a good company to entrust your site to!

Depending on your hosting you may need to configure PHP Sessions in your account before installing Perch.

Recommended requirements

The above are minimum requirements. All things being equal Linux hosting tends to be preferable to Windows hosting for PHP and if you have a choice we would suggest opting for Linux.

If you want to upload large images and files via the admin

While Perch will happily run on almost any webhosting, if you are intending to upload and process large images then you need to ensure you have enough memory available on your server, and upload limits configured high enough to allow you to do this. As a rule of thumb very cheap hosting will have these limits set very low.