What is PHP?

What is PHP?

PHP is a general-purpose programming language that can read almost any data type. This hypertext preprocessor-based language is one of the most popular scripting languages for website development. Developers designed this scripting language to deploy from the server side and deliver dynamic content to client-side applications and websites.

Rasmus Lerdorf and the PHP Group developed PHP and released it in 1995. 

The PHP framework is flexible enough to build robust interactive websites while multitasking. It can also process large volumes of data while running applications.

A dynamic website is a site that can change or grow based on current activity. The site content, design, functionality, and features automatically update as users interact with their favorite websites.

Dynamic websites create more engaging experiences for visitors by adapting to their needs and interests in real-time. 

Developers can build a variety of interactive websites and blogs with PHP programming. For example, PHP-based projects include a website that sells e-commerce products, an information site that offers referral services, and even a personal blog.

PHP Programming Languages

Developers based PHP on the “Perl” programming language. They developed it as a successor to this now obsolete computer-based language.

Perl is a well-known, high-level programming language used for scripting and development.

PHP is a scripting language used on the web built in the popular C programming language. Developers released it as free software under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

It includes some features specific to the web, such as dynamic extension loads and interaction with HTTP headers.

Software developers use PHP to create dynamic web pages and applications that embed into HTML or load as a standalone program.

PHP is relatively easy to learn for new developers interested in learning this dynamic programming language.

Its syntax resembles many common programming languages, making it easier to start. Various helpful resources are available online, including tutorials and forums.

PHP Versions

We can use PHP on Linux, Unix, and Windows. In Linux, we can install PHP with the package manager; Ubuntu users can install it with apt-get. For other distros, you may need to compile from the source. PHP can create simple websites or more complex applications.

There are many versions of PHP, with each release adding new features and bug fixes. The following versions of the software are available as of October 2018.

PHP version 5.6 – Released in July 2017.

PHP version 7.0 – major release of the PHP programming language in October 2013. It features many new features, enhancements, and bug fixes over the previous version 6. x series of PHP.

PHP version 7.1 – major revision of the PHP programming language released in July 2017. It includes many new features and improvements over previous versions, including support for object-oriented programming, more robust performance management mechanisms, and improved security protection.

PHP 8.2.11 0 – a security release from the PHP development team that fixes several vulnerabilities in the scripting language.

PHP can be difficult to use for new software developers and website designers, but learning how to use PHP is a valuable and in-demand skill. It has an active community and a variety of resources online for developers who love a challenge!

How to Get Started with PHP

PHP is a popular programming language that enables software developers to create websites and web applications.

To get started with PHP, follow these steps:

Download the latest version of PHP from php.net.

If you are using a desktop computer, download the Windows installer or the Linux/BSD installer, depending on your operating system. For Macintosh users, there is an online installer available at phpmentor.net/mac/.

PHP Alternatives

PHP alternatives include the following.

  • Ruby on Rails – web application framework written in Ruby.
  • Node.JS – a runtime environment for building fast, scalable network applications with JavaScript.
  • Express.js – a Node.js module for building web applications, inspired by Hapi. Express is simple, fast, and flexible enough for any web application.

PHP Extensions

PHP comes with a built-in web server for development. There are many extensions available to extend the functionality and capabilities of PHP. These include libraries for content management systems (CMSs), email servers, data analysis tools, and storage.

PHP Applications

PHP powers an enormous variety of devices and server-side applications. Some popular ones include the following.

  • WordPress: A popular content management system that helps you create a website or blog from scratch, or to improve an existing one.
  • Shopify: An e-commerce platform that lets you set up your online store and make money by selling products online.
  • Facebook: The biggest social networking site with over 2 billion monthly active users.
  • Instagram: A photo-sharing app with over 1 billion active users worldwide.

Features of PHP

PHP, like many languages, provides a variety of features that can make web development more efficient. These include the use of object-oriented programming and error-handling techniques. Experienced programmers widely acknowledge PHP for its ability to accept standard URLs and handle forms correctly.


While PHP is a widely used language for website development, and we assume that most websites built on its framework are secure, there are no guarantees that any site built in PHP is 100% secure.


According to recent surveys, PHP remains one of the most popular programming languages among web developers and continues to be a powerful tool for building websites. Many features of PHP make it popular, such as its ability to process large chunks of data quickly and easily, making it ideal for creating online applications.

PHP is popular with developers, individual users, and enterprise-sized businesses. Its flexibility and capability of reading almost every data type make it the ideal choice for website development. 

How to Learn PHP

There are many methods to learn PHP. One is reading online resources, such as the php.net website, or books like Learning PHP by Rasmus Lerdorf and ThinkPHP by Michael Hartl. Another way is to attend a local meetup or coding boot camp. Find more information on how to learn PHP and PHP documentation on the developer’s website.

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