What is PHP?

by Dillon -

PHP is easy to learn

PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is an open-source, general-purpose, and server-side scripting language widely used in web development. PHP is used to manage databases, dynamic content, session tracking, and much more.

Let’s answer the question “What is PHP?”.

What is PHP used for?

Since its first release in 1995, PHP has been seen used in many different types of websites and applications.

The most popular use for PHP is web development, specifically blogs and websites, including e-commerce websites.

Did you know: PHP powers around 77.6% of the entire World Wide Web Learn More

In recent years, and with the growth of popular PHP frameworks like Laravel, PHP has surged in popularity for building more complex applications.

PHP had a tricky past, with the language being the butt of jokes in the development community due to the language’s stagnation. The same can’t be said for PHP in recent years.

The popularity of PHP has began to grow again, thanks in part to the latest versions of the language introducing things such as the Enumerated type and increased speed and security.

Why is PHP still important?

PHP is an older language competing in the ever-changing world of web development. Though the updates to the language now come every winter, some developers as why it’s still important in the 2020’s.

5 Reasons PHP is still important in the 2020’s

PHP is a versatile language

PHP is platform-independent, meaning it can be used almost anywhere. It can be installed on macOS, Linux, and Windows making the barriers to learning and coding minimal.

PHP also supports all major web servers, meaning its deployment on different systems is easier and ultimately the costs are low.

PHP connects with databases well

When it comes to connecting with a database, PHP has you covered. It can connect with almost any kind of database, giving developers the freedom to choose the best database for their projects as well as being a great language to connect with legacy database systems.

Strong Community

As the language has been around for nearly 30 years, the PHP community is huge and filled with veteran developers.

Since the release of Laravel, the community surrounding both the framework and language has only become stronger.

PHP is easy to learn and easy to use

One of the major driving forces behind the popularity of PHP is that it’s easy to learn.

The barriers between knowing nothing about PHP and writing a simple web page in a single file are so low, that those with little to no web development knowledge can get a single page created relatively quickly.

PHP is relatively easy at its core. The syntax is simple and the built-in functions are easy to learn.

Its open source

Developers love open source. Not only can developers get started with the language at zero cost, but companies prefer the language as there aren’t any licensing fee’s.

What websites use PHP?

Facebook

Facebook was first built in 2004, and it was entirely written in PHP. Mark Zuckerberg first chose PHP because its syntax closely resembled C++, a language he was very familiar with.

Mark Zuckerberg once mentioned he had asked his roommate to spend a weekend learning PHP so he could help with the development of Facebook. His roommate accidentally spent the weekend learning Perl, a completely different language but was able to help out in the early days because PHP was so easy to learn.

Facebook still uses PHP a lot, though not for the entirety of Facebook.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia was launched in 2001 and first built in Perl. However, early on the entire site was re-written in PHP, because it works so well.

Wikipedia still runs on PHP.

WordPress

WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS (content management system). The entirety of WordPress is built in PHP, and developers hoping to build their own WordPress themes or plugins need to write them in PHP.

PHP is at the core of WordPress, and PHP was chosen because of its great interaction with databases to fetch data. Fetching data from the database and displaying the data in HTML is the core of any good content management system.

Conclusion

PHP is a great language to learn as a new web developer of experienced. PHP is used all over the web for many different types of websites and applications.

Dillon Smart

šŸ‘‹ Hey, I'm Dillon!

Iā€™m a Full-Stack developer in the UK, building websites and applications for around 12 years, landing my first full-time job as a developer in 2015.

Feel free to reach out on Twitter!

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