PHP supports libcurl, a library created by Daniel Stenberg, that allows you to connect and communicate to many different types of servers with many different types of protocols. libcurl currently supports the http, https, ftp, gopher, telnet, dict, file, and ldap protocols. libcurl also supports HTTPS certificates, HTTP POST, HTTP PUT, FTP uploading (this can also be done with PHP's ftp extension), HTTP form based upload, proxies, cookies, and user+password authentication.
These functions have been added in PHP 4.0.2.
In order to use PHP's CURL functions you need to install the libcurl package. PHP requires that you use libcurl 7.0.2-beta or higher. In PHP 4.2.3, you will need libcurl version 7.9.0 or higher. From PHP 4.3.0, you will need a libcurl version that's 7.9.8 or higher. PHP 5.0.0 requires a libcurl version 7.10.5 or greater.