In this section, we introduce how to connect to a MySQL database with PHP. It's quite simple, and we'll begin shortly with examples, but we should talk briefly about what actually happens. When you try connecting to a MySQL database, the MySQL server authenticates you based on your username and password. PHP handles connecting to the database for you and allows you to immediately start performing queries and gathering data.
As in Chapter 8, we'll need the same pieces of information to connect to the database:
The IP address of the database server
The name of the database
If you're not sure what to use for these values, consult Chapter 7. And, before moving on, make sure you can log into your database using the mysql command-line client.
Figure 9-1 shows how the steps of the database interaction relate to the two types of resources. Building the SELECT statement happens before the third function call but is not shown. It's done with plain PHP code, not a MySQL-specific PHP function.