I'm in the stages of building a beauty site that will include about 3,500 listings of salons & their services in my metro area. Since contact & service information changes consistently, I've considered a database driven website. In addition, I would like the search to pull results based upon either neighborhood, zip code, salon name, & service types.

I've been reading information about databases & PHP, but I'm still at a loss as to what is what. Currently, I have these salons listed in an excel spreadsheet. I need help figuring out the additional tools that I need to employ in this task.

So far, I know that I want to use PHP scripting (light). As for databases, I'm not sure. I saw that My Sql was mentioned as free in many articles, but I'm not sure if it is. So, all in all, I have an excel spreadsheet with 3500 listings, want to use PHP scripting, just need to know what type of database software is necessary/generic cost?

Btw, I have also ran across web-based databases. Are they any good? Also,can you use those with the PHP scripting? (odd question)

Thanks so much in advance!! Hopefully I learn more soon so I can contribute to users as well!

I use MySQL. It is free and is very easy to learn, there is a lot of documentation that comes with it and online. And i would also say that if you have that many listings it is important to use a database. But what to use depends on what server is hosting your website or if you are hosting it on your own server. If another company is hosting your website, like GoDaddy.com, than MySQL is already installed and setup.