In case you wonder whether 000webhost.com does offer PHP 5.3.10 or later for their free accounts then wonder no longer. They don’t. And neither are there plans to upgrade the current version of PHP they use which is PHP 5.2.17.
While PHP 5.2.17 is perfectly fine if you plan on hosting a WordPress blog you will inevitably encounter problems when trying to install latest versions of Joomla for example. And over time all major scripts like Joomla, WordPress, vBulletin, Invision Power Board, XenForo, Prestashop, osCommerce and many more will drop support for PHP versions <5.3.
PHP 5.2.17 was EOL like 3.5 years ago, i think support for it was stopped somewhere early 2011 or so. And it didn’t take too long for the discussion about 000webhost.com upgrading their PHP version to come up over at their forums. As you can see the discussion is going on for pretty much the same amount of time (3.5 years) with 000webhost.com still not giving any information on whether they are going to upgrade their servers or not. I don’t think that they ever will upgrade their free hosting servers to a more recent version of PHP and the reason for that imho is that an update would break all the addons/features they offer like integration of the site builders and stuff. If it wouldn’t then i think they already would have upgraded the PHP version.
Another explanation maybe is that they want to make the 000webhost.com users move over to their newest baby, hostinger.com. Hostinger.com offers free and premium accounts, featurewise hostinger.com has a few more things to offer plus a way nicer control panel. Also do they support recent PHP versions (you also get to switch the PHP version in your control panel).
I have been using Hostinger myself for a few weeks, just to run it through its paces and, exactly as i expected, it’s the same guys behind it and hosting your site there can get you in the same trouble you can get in with 000webhost.com. For example i mirrored one of the XenForo based forums there, seeing how it performs in terms of speed. After copying the files and importing the database i left the board alone for a week or so and when i logged back into the account i found the account suspended for “having hundreds of thousands of records in the database”. Frankly, that was far away from being the truth really. The database at that time had a total of maybe around 50k records, give or a take a few thousands. So what i expected became true, and they also seem to run the same detection scripts at hostinger.com that they run at 000webhost.com too.
So if you have a website that uses a database and has loads of records in it then you might not necessarily consider hosting it with hostinger.com, neither with 000webhost.com as it can get suspended quite easily by their automated script that is running every now and then. Same goes for scripts like vBulletin, Invision Power Board or Xenforo. There also seem to be scripts running that crawl the databases for typical table names as well as your files for file names related to those scripts. Of course the script does not (and cannot) check if it is a legal version of the script or a nulled one, it just detects it and then suspends the account. No questions asked hehe.