Almost every host offers MySQL. I would see if their host offers a comparable package with the db you need.
As the developer, you should be picking out the hosting package required.
Thanks for the reply, maximillianos. This website was started before I was given the chance to rebuild it, and the plan was picked as one of the free hosting packages. That basically means that I cannot change the current plan.
Scratch that, folks. I just found they're using a "free" package that contains neither MySQL nor PHP. So it looks like I'm back to square one.
There are a number of hosts that offer packages with MySQL for like $3/month.
If the client requires a database, then I would recommend to them to buck up for the $3/month for the cheapest MySQL package you can find.
If you still want to stick with the free hosting package, then you can always re-write your code to use a file-based dbs. It may not even require too much rework:
[edited by: phranque at 2:26 am (utc) on Dec. 26, 2008]
[edit reason] hosting specifics [/edit]
Just my cynical nature, but if they do not want to spend $5 or so for a real host, is it really worth even fooling with?
Check out what the disc space and bandwidth limitations are for this "free" account. Compare that with their traffic forecasts and see if they will be off-line for the last few days of each month. That should be a good incentive to upgrade.
if, and this is a really big if....
If the database for the site that you are creating is not going to be update often, could you render static copies of the dynamic pages on your test machine and then upload the static copies to the free host?
My instinct has always lead me away from using free hosting account. On the web, just like the real world you get what you pay for. When you take on a paid hosting account you can expect some level of service.
When picking a host, don't just look for the best price. Look at what you are getting for your money, read reviews if you can find any, and read recomendations. The web host you go with is basicaly the foundation to your entire web presence, don't settle for low quality.
Confession: cash being in short supply, I have been thinking about using a "free" host. I therefore ran a search for the words "free PHP web hosting" on a social bookmarking site.
One website thus found offered a summary of facilities on offer from five free hosts. Available was adequate storage and transfer, as well as the other expected essentials. These included mysql without exception.
I browsed the five free hosts very quickly, and not in detail. They had the look and feel of "pay for" web hosts, and their free packages looked much the same as "pay for" entry level hosting packages.
In one case only I noticed that POP3 email did not form part of the free package, and that was a bit of a disappointment. An experienced webmaster might have noticed more problems.
At least one free host offered swift conversion to $minimal hosting if free hosting proved inadequate. That made me wonder if their free hosting was pure protein, or just nasty bait. I guess I'll try an experimental site for a few months on a few of them before committing.