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Why does mysql_* work on free hosting?

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One of my users moved from free hosting to another server and the website broke immediately. The reason for this was that the script was built on the outdated ext/mysql library for PHP, rather than the superior mysqli or PDO libraries. The new server ran PHP 7.0, for which the mysql_* functions have been removed.

However, when I checked, the free account was using PHP 7.0 too. How is that possible? mysql_* is not supposed to work on PHP 7.0! So why do they?

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