Prerequisites

CodeIgniter is very flexible. It will work equally well with PHP 4.3.2 and above, or PHP 5. Since the majority of ISPs still don't support PHP 5, this is useful, and keeps down the hosting costs.

You will also need a database. CI's online user guide says: "Supported databases are MySQL, MySQLi, MS SQL, Postgre, Oracle, SQLite, and ODBC."

In order to develop and test a dynamic website, you need a web server. Normally, you would develop and test your site on a local server, i.e., one that runs on your own machine (with the loopback address 127.0.0.1 or localhost) rather than on a remote site on the Internet.

If you aren't familiar with the process of setting up a web server, it's easiest to install a package such as Xampplite, which installs Apache, PHP, and MySQL on to a Windows machine with minimum configuration by you. Xampplite is free, comes with comprehensive instructions, and is almost always easy to install. Alternatively, some versions of Windows come with their own web server.

It also helps to have a good PHP editor on your system. You can do it all on a text editor, but I find that the syntax highlighting feature of a good editor saves me from making lots of simple mistakes with unclosed brackets or mismatched quotation marks.

Once you've reached this far, I estimate it will take you two minutes to have CI running on your system.

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