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rather than doing more work then possibly needed with the password_hash function.

Urgh. This must be at least the third time I’ve said this on this forum. This perspective is just not acceptable. It’s unprofessional and could compromise your users. Take the time to do it right, use one of the many free options available, or pay someone to do it for you.

md5 without a salt is about as useful as storing plain text passwords. With a salt it’s not much better. Password hash and password verify do all the work for you and are trivial to implement.

If you’re struggling to work out how to use them, then please consider that you may not be the right person to be writing a login module for a production site. I realise this sounds aggressive, and I apologise for that, but you do need to work within your competence and avoid putting users at risk.