Are you looking for the answer: what is PHP? Generally, it is an open-source server-side scripting language explicitly designed for web development and is used by many well-known organizations worldwide. Recent data shows that 76.5% of all websites rely on it for their remarkable success on the internet.

The PHP community also leverages several rich feature frameworks such as Codelgniter, Laravel, Symfony, FuelPHP,  etc. The same has aided companies of all sizes in shifting development time and helped improve code maintainability and scalability more than ever before.

Although this programming language focuses on server-side scripting, organizations looking to improve their daily business practices can do much more using the scripted language. If you want maximum benefits, continue to drill down and explore more interesting facts.

What is PHP? & What Does PHP Mean?

PHP stands for “Hypertext Preprocessor,” and earlier, it was known as “Personal Homepage.” The best part developers love is embedding the same into HTML, which is simple for newcomers and delivers programmers with many advanced features. It helps write concise code and develop more exemplary apps with improved RFCs (Request for Comment).

This scripted language’s upgraded version comes with specialized features that drive a seamless user experience.  The latest version, 8.3, is no exception; it was released on November 23, 2023. If you are still on the older version, such as 7.2, the release date is November 30, 2020, or 7.3, 2021. You must transition to the current version to double your productivity. 

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Is PHP Dying? Market share

According to current research by 6sense, the market share of PHP is 33.60%, and it has 7,959,66 customers. On the other hand, its alternatives have 2.48% with ECMAScript, 1.16% with NodeJS, and 59.50% with HTML. The shares are escalating rapidly, and this growing number makes PHP in web development, e-commerce, content management (CMS), social media platforms, and enterprise applications development stand out of the box.

Major PHP Versions to Date

PHP has been improving and adopting the evolving changes since its inception in 1994. Below, we have gotten you a close look at all its versions from start to end.

PHP VersionsDescription
PHP/FI (June 1995)Earlier, PHP was known as “Personal Home Page,” and PHP/FI used to utilize C-language as a PERL/CGI script tool.
1. Using the first version, users could define functions and cookies
2. Used to offer built-in support for DMB, mSQL, and Postgres95 databases.
PHP/FI 2 (November 1997)The second version became more valuable as it could embed HTML, handle forms, and assist in HTML tags for PHP code.
PHP 3 (June 1998)In the 3rd year, it introduced the upgraded version with top 3 features. These were API extension, object-oriented support, and Zend Engine introduction.
PHP 4 (May 2000)This version improved runtime execution, its web server abstraction layer, enhanced resource handling, introduced superglobals and assisted in object overloading and buffering support.
1. Introduced rewritten XML functionality.
2. Updated the Zend Engine II
3. Brough PDO extension for database connectivity.
PHP 5.0 (July 2004)With the evolving technology, it upgraded and introduced new features to assist developers and get top results to meet the market demand for implementing advanced technology.
PHP 5.1 (November 2005)Upon the arrival of version 6, users were ready to experience the new change to level up by utilizing bug fixing, enhanced data code handling, and new built-in functions.
1. Users could get help with improved time zone support.
2. Helping users with custom autoloading.
3. Fixed bugs more than 400.
4. Helped in improving performance.
5.2 (November 2006)This next version came with sound upgrades that helped improve memory management. Users could extend their default memory limit, and new extensions with JSON Zip and input filtering extensions were introduced. It also upgraded bundled SQLite and helped improve the error message concept.
5.3 (June 2009)Embarking on the 8 version 5.3 assisted in Namespaced, support, deprecation of call time pass by reference and secure mode, help with late static binding & jump labels including Nowdocs.
5.4 (March 2012)This new version helped users with various features, including support with traits, short array syntax, enhanced parse error messages, and the latest feature to aid with the binary number format and deprecation of mysql_list_dbs().
5.5 (June 2012)Every version is upgraded year by year and has helped users with advanced features. This 10th version introduced its users with features like generators, new password hashing API, Bundled Zend Optimizer, keywords, deprecation of ext/MySQL, intl, and encrypt functions.
5.6 (August 2014)In transitioning to this version, users could use constant expressions, interactive Phpdbg (debugger), enhanced character encoding, deprecation of calls from incompatible contexts, including specific encoding settings, and improved file upload capabilities.
7.0 (December 2015)To improve performance, the upgraded version helped with necessary enhanced scalar type declarations, assistance with return type declarations, spaceship, and null coalescing operator.
7.1 (December 2016)This PHP version introduced 06 features, which include void functions, class constant visibility, asynchronous signals handling, deprecation of eval options, and nullable types. The features made many practices easy to help in performance.
7.2 (November 2017)Using this 2017 version, users get an enhanced experience to leverage password hashing, method overriding, and a new object type, help in deprecating the autoload() method, and assist in creating_functions.
7.3 ( December 2018)Updates within the features made it compelling for users to continue with this highly used PHP language. This version helped in performance and met the growing market demand for the rich web application until 2018. This version helped with trailing commas, flexible heredoc & Nowdoc syntaxes, PCRE2 migration, and JSON_THROW_ON_ERROR.
7.4 (November 2019)Within this version, there were three updates, and this helped with updated features such as typed properties, minor improvements, and underscore numeric separators.
8.0 (November 2020)Now, there were some significant changes that this version brought with it. Users could use union types, name parameters, match syntax, JIT compilation, getting to have constructor property promotion. The features delivered a good experience compared to the previous version.
8.1 (November 2021)The latest features helped users with fiber, never return type, read-only properties, enums, and intersection types.
PHP 8.2 (December 2022)The features updated in version 8.2 made it more effective to let user deliver their visitors with enhanced experience. The latest features it introduced were read-only classes, DNF types, new random extensions, null, false, & true types, and sensitive parameter redaction support.
8.3 (December 2023)This newly released version will help all the users leverage the top features and double their productivity by assisting developers to create robust and efficient applications.

 The latest version of PHP 8.3 has introduced typed class constants, dynamic class constant fetching, new #[\override attributes, deep-cloning of readonly properties, new json_validate() function, new randomizer::getBytesFromString() method, New Randomizer::getFloat () and Randomizer::nextFloat () methods, command-line linter supports multiple files, classes, interfaces, and functions, deprecations, and backward compatibility breaks.

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What Are the Uses Of PHP?

There are multiple uses of PHP that make it a strong scripting language option for web development. It operates over the web server and then processes all client requests into HTML files. Additionally, PHP is a general-purpose language; developers can use it to code for different applications.

Another good use of PHP is that it is compatible with different operating systems, like macOS, Windows, and Linux. Furthermore, it is possible to use PHP for varying web servers, e.g., OpenBSD, Nginx, and Apache. PHP is compatible with different cloud environments like Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Overall, PHP has a flexible structure and can general different types of formats, like PNG, JPEG, GIF, and PDFs.

Essentially, PHP can help with two applications:

  • Command-line scripting- You can use PHP script for the command-line scripting to conduct administrative work like PDF generation and email transfer.
  • Server-side scripting– Web developers can use PHP to develop dynamic web apps and websites.

Top 5 Practical Applications of PHP

PHP is gaining popularity in almost all industries, regardless of a company’s size or whether it is used for web or mobile application development. Below, we have discussed some of the top use cases of PHP: 

1. Web Development

PHP is identified as one of the finest solutions for developing websites for any purpose. Its simplicity and ease of use drive top user experience and seamless integration with HTML code, eliminating the barrier in generating dynamic content and helping build blocks for modern web apps.

2. Ecommerce Websites

PHP stands out when experiencing rich features, especially for online shopping platforms. You get help with easy language integration, payment gateway capabilities, databases such as MySQL, and shopping carts, which aid in secure and coherent transactions. If one is comfortable with popular frameworks of Magneto or WooCommerce. This will streamline your online store development with its pre-built modules that help retailers with product catalog management, order processing, and customer management. In addition, you make your practices easier by enabling real-time inventory management, delivering customers personalized shopping experiences, and further helping with user engagement and retention.

2. Content Management Systems

The world’s top CMS platforms, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, depend on PHP, which delivers the benefits of handling dynamic content, database integration, and user authentication. Further, using these CMS platforms, users have experienced creating, updating, and managing data consistently, including modifying the published content using web browsers and easy data-based integration.

3. Social Media Platforms

Online community forums deal with massive user interactions, content management, and data processing. So, this scripted language assists in real-time data processing, including rich media content processing, and aids in sessions and cookies, making it one of the top options for developing social media applications.

4. Enterprise Applications

PHP is a treasure for building enterprise-level applications. It efficiently contributes to and manages their data, user roles, and permissions, making it one of the best options for customer relationship management (CRM), human resources portals, and inventory management platforms. Further, enterprises can also leverage populist frameworks like Lavavel and Symfony that provide them with significant tools to develop robust apps for whatever unique requirements businesses seek to fulfill. 

Advantages of PHP/PHP Features

To understand PHP, it is vital to address its features. There are multiple notable ones available:

  • Cross-Platform– PHP can efficiently work on different operating systems, like Linux, Windows, and Mac.
  • Simple to Grasp– Another benefit of this language is that even beginners can quickly adapt to PHP programming. It is one of the more accessible languages to pick up.
  • Open-Source– Anyone can use PHP for their web development requirements since the original code is open-source. Anyone can adapt it and build upon the code further.
  • Supportive Broad Developer Community– Access PHP’s vibrant online community, with up-to-date tutorials, documentation, and FAQs available for all developers.
  • Multi-Database Syncing– You can connect this scripting language to non-rational and rational databases, like MongoDB, Postgress, and MySQL.
  • High-Quality Performance– PHP operates faster than other scripts like ASP and JSP since it uses personalized memory. Therefore, the loading time and workload are relatively shorter.
  • Embedded– Developers can embed PHP scripts with HTML scripts and tags.
  • Loosely-Typed Language– Developers can use a variable without declaring the datatype during scripting and is automatically used during execution depending on the data type containing the related valuation.
  • Syntax Familiarity– The syntax of PHP is straightforward to understand and is suitable for different web development needs.
  • Error Reporting– There are pre-defined error reporting constants available under PHP. It can produce real-time error warnings, like E_WARNING, E_PARSE, and E_STRICT.
  • Better Control Quality– There is no need for excess or long codes or scripts with PHP. It has higher control on web solutions; developers can make changes without extra coding.
  • High-Security– Among the different scripting language types available, PHP is one of the most secure options with multiple security levels in place. The multi-layered structure safeguards against hacking attempts, malware, etc.
  • Compatible with The Cloud- cloud computing is at its apex, eliminating managing, patching, and scaling clunky servers. PHP applications are deployed on cloud servers, and they assist in achieving excellent scalability as they support different cloud services.
  • Cost-Effective- being an open source makes it completely free. It can work with databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Apache, reducing the costs of creating a website with PHP.

Who Uses PHP?

1. Tumblr


The platform succeeds in generating 325 million blogs with more than 555 million monthly visitors. Tumblr’s transition to PHP7 helped dramatically enhance performance and quickly implemented new language features.

2. Etsy

Etsy has gained massive popularity as one of the top ten popular retailer websites with PHP, attracting more than 45.7 million buyers. Now, it is one of the most populist marketplaces powered by PHP to help utilize HHVM for its performance improvement.

3. Slack


PHP has driven top results to maximize workflow efficiency faster and speed up website requests by running their code quickly and efficiently.

4. MailChimp

The industry leader in mail marketing utilizes this scalable database in their backend, making it practical to send +400 million emails to registered subscribers with no barriers.

5. Facebook


This social media and tech giant runs on PHP. The company has provided a custom implementation module called Hip Hop, accessible under the PHP community.

6. Wikipedia


MediaWiki, a software that powers Wikipedia and other large-scale websites, is a PHP-based wiki system that saves all textual data in a database. It is designed to manage high volumes of traffic and content efficiently. Lee Daniel Crocker developed MediaWiki using PHP 7.

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Popular PHP Frameworks

Find out which framework will work for your business and how to leverage the top one for a successful project compilation. Below, you can find the most used PHP frameworks currently:

a) Laravel


It stands tall when it comes to the PHP framework for web artisans. It has built-in features, a templating engine, and an advanced RESTful routing system. Additionally, you can get benefits of elegant, rich features, blade templating engine, automated repetitive tasks that include simplified database migrations with artisan, improved monitoring with its Horizon & Telescope, and intuitive database manipulation with Eloquent ORM; these advantages make it one of the best option. 

b) Symfony


Its most significant community of 300,000 developers highly recommends it for its advanced features and user-friendly environment. The framework helps reuse PHP libraries, simplifies form creation object configuration, templating, and routing authentication, and aids in advance to be highly flexible to customize, has excellent documentation, and is scalable to meet the high demand to develop enterprise-level applications. 

c) CodeIgniter


Get rapid project development by leveraging a user-friendly library intuitive structure to mitigate the excessive coding tasks. If you want a PHP framework that helps minimize your coding, built-in security, multiple requirements, and exceptional performance. Codelgniter can assist you with the top option you are seeking. Digging deeper, you will find that this is lightweight, fast, beginner-friendly, follows the MVS (model view controller) pattern, efficiently handles HTTP requests, and is flexible for the developer’s preferred coding style and component sections.

d) Yii


If you are looking for fast results with emphasis on rapid development. Embarking to utilize Yii will help you leverage the advanced features such as robust caching support, quick execution, and low overhead, built-in security that improves the application security and eliminates the need for repetitive SQL queries.

e) Zend Framework

Zend Framework

Zend Framework or Laminas is known for the top advantages it is delivering to develop websites or applications. Website or mobile app developers looking for advanced features can use this PHP framework. Thanks to the advanced features it provides, web and mobile apps deliver a remarkable experience. Its best features include modular and customizable components, extensive database support, a strong focus on security, developers can reduce the components, and comprehensive documentation.

How to Write Your First Hello World Program in PHP?

PHP File Extensions:

After getting an overview of PHP and its uses, you should be able to start coding your first Hello World Program. Here, we shall help you.

First, make sure that you have installed PHP into the local machine. Install WAMP (Windows-Apache-MySQL-PHP) or XAMP (Cross-Platform-Apache-MySQL-PHP) server. WAMP is specific to Windows, while XAMP is compatible with different OS types.

  • Step 1: Access your XAMP/WAMP server and keep all services running. Under WAMP, the primary logo would appear in green on the taskbar.
  • Step 2: Access the “C” driver and search the WAMP server installation directory.
  • Step 3: Open your directory, and access the “www” folder. You have to create another folder, rename it, and then access it using your code editor software.
  • Step 4: Develop the “index.php” file and paste the “Hello Word” text in the variable form. Or, paste this code:
echo "Hello World";

Utilize the echo system to show it within your browser.

  • Step 5: Declare the variable using PHP’s ($) sign. Use the semi-colon to terminate your statements besides the last one:
$greeting = "Hello World";
echo $greeting;
  • Step 6: Open your browser and run the code within. Type in “localhost/the-folder-of-your-php-file/php-file.php” in the address.

Press “Enter” after making sure your XAMP/WAMP server is active.

What Is the Difference Between PHP and HTML?

HTML and PHP are used concerning each other often in web development, but both are not similar. Here are the main points of difference worth noting.

Founder/Developer Tim Berners-LeeRasmus Lerdorf
Type of codeHTML scripts have static code.PHP scripts have dynamic code.
Web DevelopmentHTML is suitable for building web pages.PHP works to create dynamic develop websites/applications.
Functions It is used for specifications related to alignment, formatting, color, text, etc.PHP works in server-side programming that operates alongside databases, acquiring data, transferring emails, storing information, and supplying HTML pages content.
ServerHTML works for front-end development.PHP is suitable for backend/server-side development.
AdaptabilityHTML is simpler to learn than PHP.It is easy to understand and learn.
InterrelationHTML is embeddable in PHP files.PHP is not possible to embed within HTML files.
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How Does PHP Work with HTML?

PHP can work with HTML in the following manner.

  • The browser sends client requests for .php ending web pages to the server.
  • In case the server cannot find or retrieve the page, it sends an error report back. But it if it can detent the page, it sees how the file extension ends- .php or .html.
  • For pages ending with .html, the server returns the page to the browser while sending the pages ending with .php to the PHP processor. This scans the web page and prepares a processed HTML page type.
  • After finding HTML, the processor uses that as a section of the HTML page (processed) in development. If it sees PHP scripts, the processor might output HTML or refuse to do so.
  • After the PHP processor stops its function, the processed page goes to the web server, which transfers it to the browser.

Keep in mind that PHP does not take the place of HTML- this markup is necessary for web page representation. So, you cannot expect a total web page in return for requesting the PHP file. The PHP script would then develop an HTML markup as a response.

The Future of PHP Development

The upcoming advanced PHP trends can benefit you in several ways. Therefore, below, we have discussed some future trends for the same. Let us see how these will help you add more value to your daily business practices.

a) Embracing Modern Coding Practices

The upcoming update will help with more powerful and developer-friendly PHP capabilities. Developers will experience Enums, first-class callable syntax, and one more feature you can experience is to have pattern matching.

As these upcoming changes in PHP are added in the latest version, this will improve the PHP code readability, maintain the same in the best way, and aid in expressiveness.

b) Integration with Cloud Technologies

The latest update helps you with serverless practice to complete the project, which allows you to focus on brilliant code. On the other hand, the cloud manages the server effectively. It has a fast development process where the developer can deploy and update the code immediately, iterate with lightning speed as serverless replaces the friction, and build and launch their cloud apps as you require. 

c) Enhanced Support for Asynchronous Programming

Asynchronous processing enables the management and assists in performing multiple tasks simultaneously. So, utilizing the same, developers can dramatically double PHP performance by using asynchronous instead of synchronous PHP.

Why Hire PHP Developers From EmizenTech?

EmizenTech is an emerging PHP Development Company that assists all sizes of businesses in completing processes from start to end, whether you are looking for web or mobile app development. Our certified developers have completed several projects. It has helped us gain years of experience understanding businesses’ unique requirements like yours.

Key highlights:

  • Right technical skills & expertise
  • Better flexibility
  • A cost-effective process with high-quality work
  • Access to business-oriented strategies
  • Improved ROI
  • Implement the agile app and web development practices

If you are looking to hire a PHP developer to meet the current demand in the market and get ahead of your competitors. We can help you leverage the latest technology, including all the current features you need.

Final Thoughts

Being one of the populist scripting languages after web and mobile application development. It has continuously upgraded to fulfill the high demand of ever-evolving technology. Significant updates, like integration with cloud technologies and the enhancement of asynchronous programming support, make it one of the best options for all industries. Existing users have developed to improve their performance, and startups are leveraging this growing programming language to work effectively and continue enhancing their productivity.

Need a reliable partner to start with your PHP project? EmizenTech will be the top choice for completing your imaginative project successfully. Connect with one of our experts right now to help you get started.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on What Is PHP

Can You Build a Website with PHP?

Yes, PHP is one of the best options that help build websites by utilizing its top features. Some benefits include easy database interaction, handling user input, etc, making it the best option. 

How Long Does It Take to Make a PHP Website? (12-14 Weeks)

Developing a PHP website may take 12 to 14 weeks. However, it depends upon the project’s unique requirements, such as the features you want to add and how complex your project will be.

Can Php Build Mobile Apps?

Yes, choosing this scripted language for web development has aided businesses to get the top benefits to improve their personal and deliver a memorable user experience to their business customers; as the platform is scaling, more and more companies are choosing to have PHP for their mobile applications.

How Much Does a PHP Developer Charge?

If we discuss the overall charges of a PHP developer, it may range from $25 to $50 per hour. However, the costs of hiring a developer may increase if the project is complex or requires some additional features. 

Where Can I Find the Best PHP Developers to Hire?

Reliability, expertise, and costs matter most when hiring a PHP developer. At EmizenTech, we have certified developers who will help you with everything from development to consulting you to achieve success in your project.

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CTO at Emizentech and a member of the Forbes technology council, Amit Samsukha, is acknowledged by the Indian tech world as an innovator and community builder. He has a well-established vocation with 12+ years of progressive experience in the technology industry. He directs all product initiatives, worldwide sales and marketing, and business enablement. He has spearheaded the journey in the e-commerce landscape for various businesses in India and the U.S.