I have set up a user system on my website using flat files and each line of the flat file contains a different value (ie. username, email, password, etc.). My question is what is the best way to do this (best = fastest load times pretty much)? Would it be better to use one flat file for all users or keep it how I have it. Also is there any big advantage with using databases like mysql bc I don't like those a lot.
I would recommend to use RDB (MySQL for example), it's easier and more secure than to use flat files. Flat files is rather insecure solution, so I wouldn't use it if you want to protect your information.
Thanks for the info guys. I have done a lot to my flat files and think they are pretty secure. I cannot even think of a way people can get into them. Even if they do it is not that big of a deal - it is just for my users to login - no personal data or anything. The only reason I don't like databases like mysql is because I cannot as easily transfer them to anywhere I want and plus I need special programs to manually manipulate the files.
If you are expecting to have more users I would use MySQL. A flat file can become cumbersome when it gets big, even if you distribute it to a lot of small files, its still a pain to maintain. But if its just a small site, and security is not that much of a concern, a flat file is OK. MySql data is easily portable using export feature.
Okay thanks everyone. You've all convinced me. I will make a switch to sql during the weekend. Also, I will take Esch's idea of creating some php code to help me with the database. I hadn't thought of that before.