This is a very particular question, but I'm working on establishing a criteria at my company for when we bring new web clients aboard. Our sales team is looking for an effective way to determine whether or not we can install certain software on a client's web server before we sell the client on that service.

We help optimize a lot of our client's sites by installing blogs and CMSes to their existing site, but in order to install these blogs we need to be able to create MySQL databases through the client's hosting backend.

Of course many big name hosts like GoDaddy and Dreamhost give the user complete access to tools like phpMyAdmin that allow me to create a Wordpress database, for example, so that I can get Wordpress working on their site.

Many of our clients however are Ecommerce sites and get their hosting through more locked-down companies that don't offer the ability to utilize SQL databases or other features necessary to complete some of these tasks for clients.

It's an odd question, but is there a simple way to determine if a certain web server or hosting company has the ability to use SQL databases with their customers? Finding out the name of the hosting company and then checking if the company offers SQL databases would be one way to do it, but I want to know if there is another solution or web tool or chart on the internet that could help us determine this information.

  • Any host that gives normal shared hosting users access to the CREATE DATABASE command are completely irresponsible, in my opinion. MySQL's logging and record keeping isn't fine-grained enough to actually trace back ownership of a database to a particular user. Database creation is a responsibility that belongs entirely to the host, or their web hosting automation control panel software, if any, which can enforce naming rules and can be logged and restricted.
    – Charles
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 20:04

2 Answers 2

Finding out the name of the hosting company and then checking if the company offers SQL databases would be one way to do it

Honestly, I'd personally just let this be the way to to it. Unless you can provide some more reason why it shouldn't be.

I think your question is overly limiting. Sure, you might come away with knowing how to check if you're allowed to create databases, but there are plenty of other things you might also need to know, like what version of PHP(or some other language) is installed, whether those languages have whatever extension available, whether there's a usable mail server in place, and so on. Why collect a bunch of little abstract tests like this rather than just asking "Who's your host?" and then finding out what you need?

You say that these clients may not even know who their host is, but if you're setting client criteria this just shouldn't be acceptable. Follow it through: what if something goes wrong? You're going to wait until then to figure out who needs to be talked to? Make them figure this out up front, so that at least you know.


I'd just have them send you the result of issuing this command on their database server:

create database temp;
  • Yeah that's the thing, many of the clients we work with and many of our sales staff are not knowledgeable about these more technical aspects of their site. I'd be surprised if most of the clients can name their web hosting company. I have a feeling I will need to create a tool that scrapes this webhost information from a whois or nameserver query. Scraping the nameserver domain won't always guarantee we get the name of the actual web host company though. Hmmmmm
    – dmschulman
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 23:48

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