It's been my experience with open sourced apps (about 12+ years now) to stick pretty much with recommended software requirements rather than look for 'work-arounds' that might come back to haunt you later. Uhhh, been there ... done that ... it hurt! :|
From answers.yahoo.com ...
"In relation to PHP programming language, MySQL is the old database driver, and MySQLi is the Improved driver. MySQLi takes advantage of the newer features of MySQL 5. Lifted verbatim from the php.net site:
- Object-oriented interface
- Support for Prepared Statements
- Support for Multiple Statements
- Support for Transactions
- Enhanced debugging capabilities
- Embedded server support
Might have to enage in more discussion with current provider (get off shared hosting and onto VPS where one is IN control - for a price) or seek another provider.
My 2 cents ...
'spirit of sharing', Ken