If you’re interested in setting up and running your own websites, sooner or later you’ll come across Fantastico.  The place you’re most likely to see it is as a feature of a webmaster’s control panel, such as cPanel.  In this article, we’ll look at what Fantastico is, and the benefits it has to offer for you and your websites.

Fantastico is an auto-installer that runs in conjunction with control panel servers.  More specifically, it’s a PHP web application service installer – it allows you to install any number of open source web programs into your hosting account.  Indeed, it’s often described as a commercial script library.
It’s rapidly gained in popularity, because it’s flexible and easy to use.  The developers claim that Fantastico is installed on more than ten thousand servers, with a million users worldwide, a figure that’s growing all the time.  Whatever the numbers, most hosting companies offer Fantastico as part of their hosting packages, so it’s something you should definitely become familiar with.

When I need to use Fantastico

Fantastico scripts are usually run when you create a new website, or when you add a new web application to an existing site.  This will work to install open source applications,  and some commercial, proprietary products as well.  The Fantastico script will run the relevant software, updating server configurations and database tables accordingly.  This allows you to get the programs up and running without having to worry about the technical background requirements.

Fantastico Hosting guarantees nearly 100% uptime, and is very hot on security.  It also prides itself on consistently excellent customer support, so you should be able to host your websites without worrying about security or technical issues.  In addition, it comes packaged with all the things you’d expect from a decent hosting plan – generous bandwidth and disk space, free domain names, unlimited databases and FTP accounts.

The auto-installer is very easy to set up and use, even if you’re a complete beginner.  Once activated, you’ll be able to start loading and running scripts at the touch of a button.  Fantastico works across all systems and servers.
Of course, the question that most webmasters will have about Fantastico hosting is what sort of things does it allow you to install?  There are currently more than 50 scripts you can run.  Some of the most popular include blogs, such as WordPress and Nucleus; portals and content management systems, such as Drupal, Joomla and PHP-Nuke; discussion boards, such as phpBB; and e-commerce applications, such as OS Commerce and Zen Cart.  You can also use Fantastico to add image galleries, polls and surveys, sitebuilders, wikis, and even customer support functions to your website.

In short, if you want to create modern, dynamic websites, then a few minutes spent finding your way around Fantastico hosting is an investment in time that will bring you enormous rewards.

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