mysql or mysqli


I have a domain that uses vBulletin forum software. The config.php file asks for the server type:
// ****** DATABASE TYPE ******
// This is the type of the database server on which your vBulletin database will be located.
// Valid options are mysql and mysqli, for slave support add _slave.  Try to use mysqli if you are using PHP 5 and MySQL 4.1+
// for slave options just append _slave to your preferred database type.
$config['Database']['dbtype'] = 'mysql';
Since I was under the assumption that I was using PHP 5.x and MySQL 4.1.x, I tried to set the type to 'mysqli'. I got a fatal error when I uploaded the file, so I had to switch back to 'mysql'.

I am unfamiliar with this setting/feature, but I would like to have every advantage available. Can someone explain mysqli and tell me if I can have the setting? If I can, can you tell me how?


I don't understand why vBulletin would suggest using mysqli for those of us using their software on servers running PHP 5 and MySQL 4.1+. It should be obvious that the great majority of forum operators are not programming, but perhaps the forum script itself benefits from it more than standard mysql.

Thanks for your reply,

It's possible that they could be taking advantage of some newish feature that 4.1 introduced, but given the fact that it's just forum software and continues to run fine without it, it's far more likely that they just want to encourage people to switch so they can stop maintaining two separate source bases.

Either way, you'll have to recompile PHP if you want it enabled.
If it meant an increase in security or speed, I would consider it, but it doesn't appear to offer anything substantial in either regard.