In the context of website development, choosing the right kind of scripting language would determine the quality of the web solution. PHP is a well-known option for web development, with almost 80% of websites running on this framework.

As a company looking to create an intuitive and dynamic site with fast and straightforward functionality, you should opt for the right web development service providers. The expert developers at the top web development companies are trained in using this simple, secure, and flexible server-side programming language.

However, if you are still wondering why you should opt for PHP development in the first place, read ahead. We cover various aspects of this programming element, focusing on functions, HTML compatibility, and more.

What is PHP? & What Does PHP Mean?

PHP is a type of open-source general-purpose scripting language fit for server-side programming. It is a popular choice in web development in creating dynamic pages and applications.

The acronym used to stand for ‘Personal Home Page’. But, now, PHP is known as Hypertext Preprocessor. This scripting language became operational in 1994 and came into the market a year later. Formed by Rasmus Lerdorf, there are multiple versions available till the current period. The most recent version is PHP 8.1.2, launched on 21st Jan 2022.

For a more concise review, here are some essential points to note about PHP:

  • This is a type of interpreted language; no compilation is necessary.
  • It works for server-side development.
  • PHP works faster companies to other scripting languages like JSP and ASP.
  • It is an object-oriented open-source scripting language.
  • It is possible to embed PHP into HTML.
  • Developers, beginner-level and experienced, can learn PHP quickly.

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.

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 has an open-source nature. Anyone can adapt it and build upon the code further.
  • Supportive broad developer community– Get access to 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 different 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 a 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 very simple 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.

Who Uses PHP?

Top-notch companies, startups, and tech leaders utilize PHP scripts for their server-level programming with noticeable benefits. Here are some examples.

  • 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.
  • Content Management Systems (CMSs)– Different types of CMS platforms work with PHP server programming in their structure, like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and Shopify.
  • Web Hosting Platforms– Different hosting platforms like SiteGround and BlueHost utilize PHP on the server-side.
  • Wikipedia– This database site runs on PHP.

Is PHP Dying? Market share

While it is notable that PHP is used in different levels of web development, there is doubt in the market about the relevance of this scripting language in the current industry. Newer and more advanced languages are available and are famous for server-side development, like Python and JavaScript (NodeJS).

Programming language software share breakdown worldwide in 2021
Source: Statista

In reality, PHP is nowhere near extinction or at a decline. Statistics show that around 78.1% of websites currently use PHP, with 70.4% using version 7. In a plainer explanation, if ten websites are operating, you would find 8 using PHP script. Around 20 million and more applications and websites run on this scripting language.

PHP developers have a higher ranking as well. Some of the top PHP sites include WordPress, Opencart, Magento, Facebook, and more. On average, PHP developers earn around $86,000 each year in the US.

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:
<?php
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:
<?php
$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.

HTMLPHP
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.
Extensions.php/.php3/.php4/.php7.htm/.html
InterrelationHTML is embeddable in PHP files.PHP is not possible to embed within HTML files.

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.

Overall, if you have further concerns about PHP or want expert-level processing with this scripting language for your web solution, rely on top-notch developers for the task.

Author

I am an eCommerce consultant, a member of the Forbes technology council with a decade of experience in the ecommerce development segment. My expertise can make your business overcome any obstacles while you are dealing with the Magento ecommerce platform!