phpSuExec or suPHP
PHPsuExec (pronounced sue-eksek) is a more secure environment for executable files. SuPHP is the same idea, but a more recent product specifically for PHP. All of our shared and dedicated servers have both PHPsuExec and suPHP. Only dedicated has the option to remove these.
This secure environment makes 777 file permissions unacceptable, and makes php.ini necessary.
To verify your server is using suPHP, create a simple 'php info' script.
Create a file named 'phpinfo.php' in the public_html folder of your site and insert the following code:
Load the file in your browser and in the top section find the line 'Server API'.
If it shows 'CGI' then your account is on a server with suPHP.
If it shows 'apache' then you are NOT on a suPHP server.
You also know our servers normally have PHP running as CGI (not Apache).