With many programming languages out there, it can be challenging to decide which ones to avoid and which ones to use. PHP is a fairly old language, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of date. Keep reading to learn more about PHP and how it’s used.

What Is PHP?

PHP is an open-source, object-oriented scripting language that executes on the server-side, which is one of the leading PHP advantages. This language is over 25 years old, having been created in 1994 and released in 1995 during the dot com bubble. PHP was and still is widely used for web development. That’s the definition of PHP in a nutshell.

 Once upon a time, the acronym “PHP” stood for “Personal Homepage.” But its meaning has changed to “Hypertext Preprocessor” instead. You might notice that it doesn’t follow the rules of a typical acronym (Like CIA or FBI).

This is because it’s a recursive acronym. A recursive acronym is an acronym that refers to itself. 

Considering the applications of PHP, it was intended to be a general-purpose language. This means that it can be used to make software across many different domains. This is one of the strongest benefits of PHP there is. This is unlike particular languages like SQL, which can only be used with databases and nothing else. Being general-purpose makes it more versatile than specialized languages.

There’s another thing to add to the list of PHP advantages. It’s an interpreted language. So what is PHP’s advantage in being an interpreted language? This means that you don’t need to compile it to make applications run. And since it’s a server-side language, you can use it to manage any dynamic content on your website. 

Who Uses PHP?

Millions of people use PHP all over the world. Lots of tech giants use PHP simply because it’s exciting to work with.

If you’ve ever used PayPal, Facebook, Wikipedia, or WordPress, then you know what PHP is capable of. These are some great applications of PHP. All these websites were developed in PHP because of its strong security features, capacity for tolerating high traffic, and ability to load quickly.

One of the best uses of PHP is making content management websites. Think of WordPress, Joomla, Magento, and Drupal. 

Few other languages are capable of handling enormous volumes and traffic without problems. If a tech giant like PayPal uses PHP, you know they’re using it because it’s secure, powerful, and responsive. It has to be if PayPal is to respond to millions of users simultaneously and keep everyone’s money safe in the process.

Let’s look at the features of PHP and what it is used for.

Uses of PHP

PHP is easy to use. If you need a website, there’s no better language to get started with than PHP. You don’t need an understanding of programming concepts before diving into it, and the syntax is straightforward to learn. 

PHP is popular because of its low barrier of entry, which allows beginners to learn it from anywhere in the world with ease. 

That’s what’s basic about PHP. 

It’s open-source. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small-time developer or a huge business with branches in different countries. Money is important. What is PHP’s classification as open-source software? That means it’s free to download and free to use. This is a massive advantage, since web development costs aren’t cheap, with things like server costs and design consuming many people’s budgets. PHP’s open-source nature allows you to save a lot of money so you can spend it where you really need it. This is another one of those PHP benefits.

It’s versatile. You can download it and use it on Linux, Windows, or Mac OS without any problems. It also supports nearly every web server out there, and it’s no trouble at all to create and deploy a project that is compatible with most systems and runs out of the box.

It has great database connectivity. As long as a database exists, PHP can probably connect to it. This includes Access, Firebird, Oracle, iBase, and MySQL. Its compatibility and cross-platform abilities are some of the most important features of PHP.

It’s fast and secure. PHP happens to run on its own memory bank. If PHP wasn’t secure and reliable, it wouldn’t be used by content management systems like WordPress or payment processors like PayPal. Even if there’s an issue, PHP’s active and vibrant developer base is quick to identify and fix vulnerabilities to make sure you’re safe from cyber-attacks.

PHP was released in 1994. It’s been a long time since then. There are veteran PHP programmers all over the world, and you often see them online, helping out beginners and helping people troubleshoot problems. Many of them have gone on to make YouTube videos to help you learn PHP or write books that teach it in a simple way. You can find tons of free resources online if you’re a beginner looking to get started with PHP.

It’s tried and tested. The longer a programming language is in use, the safer and more stress-tested it is. Think of all the bugs, flaws, vulnerabilities, and problems that come to light once a language is released and starts being used. Since PHP has been in use since 1995, you can be confident that it’s undergone a ton of revisions and changes since then to make it stronger, faster, more efficient, and more reliable. It’s been stress-tested by hackers, corporations, and time. The fact that we’re still talking about PHP is a testament to how functional and reliable it is.

There’s tons of legacy code. Think of all the companies that have already created applications and servers in PHP. All of these websites and applications will continue to need updates and bug fixes for years to come. This includes tech companies like Facebook and Wikipedia, which use PHP. All of these companies will need people talented at PHP to help them maintain and improve their websites, and you can be sure many of the existing PHP frameworks aren’t going away any time soon.

This doesn’t make PHP completely future-proof, but we can be certain of the demand for PHP developers for the foreseeable future. Legacy code cements the importance of PHP in the job market.

PHP is easy to learn. With PHP, you can build a working, dynamic website in a matter of days—one that’s fully functional and has all the bells and whistles to make anyone happy. PHP code from decades ago is still reliable today.

While lots of other languages and tools have since become extinct over time, PHP still remains. The fundamentals are unchanged, even though it’s undergone some improvements. 

PHP has a great future. The massive communities that have supported PHP for decades are still alive. They’ve grown bigger and stronger. Every year, we see new updates and fixes to PHP. The yearly updates contribute to the longevity of PHP and bring the community together. For instance, PHP was said to have suffered from speed issues in the past. But the community voiced their problems, and the developers listened. PHP 7 was released, and things were faster than ever. 

PHP is only going to improve in the upcoming versions. Each update brings a vast amount of libraries, packages, products, services, plugins, and integrations.

PHP remains a highly relevant and popular scripting language to this day. Since its release in 1994, it’s undergone tons of changes that have made it more powerful, flexible, efficient, quick, and reliable. The next iterations promise to follow previous trends and be great as well.

PHP is a general-purpose language that’s easy to learn, has great database connectivity, and is proven to withstand the passage of time. PHP developers will continue to earn a good living from working with the language, and this doesn’t show any signs of changing.

If you’d like to learn more about PHP, read more articles on the BYJU’S FutureSchool blog. You can also sign your child up for a FREE trial class in coding, math, or music to see what BYJU’S FutureSchool is all about.

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