PHP Web Development

David Ugale, Author
Written by David Ugale

What is PHP?

PHP (a recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a general purpose server-side scripting language. It is often used to create a website with dynamic and interactive web pages. PHP website development usually involves working with a database. It is ideally suited to work as a web development programming language because it can be embedded directly in HTML to create a web page:

HTML
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
    <head>
        <title>Embedding PHP Example</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        <?php echo "This is embedded PHP"; ?>
    </body>
</html>

PHP code executes on the server. The executed code generates HTML. Then, the web server sends the HTML code to the client via the web server.

Popularity of PHP Development

PHP is an extremely popular web development language. It is widely supported by developers around the world. It works on all web servers and is used by approximately 80% of all websites.

Websites that use PHP

Some of the most well-known websites and frameworks use PHP. This includes Facebook, Wikipedia, WordPress, MailChimp, Etsy, and Slack. In addition, Content Management Systems (CMS) such as Joomla and Drupal are also written in PHP.

Databases

PHP is frequently used in combination with a database, especially MySQL, to create dynamic web-based content. It easily connects with a large number of databases, including:

  • MySQL
  • Oracle
  • PostgreSQL
  • MongoDB
  • mSQL
  • SQLite

PHP Frameworks

A PHP framework is a platform for creating PHP web applications. There are many PHP frameworks, including:

  • Laravel
  • Symfony
  • CakePHP
  • CodeIgniter
  • Yii

Open Source

PHP is an open source language, which means it is free and easily installed. As a result, this helps lower development costs. PHP is platform independent. It works on all major operating systems.

PHP has a large base of developer and community support. Consequently, the size of the community can make it easier to find a PHP developer. In addition, there are countless tutorials, documentation, and answers online.

Advantages of using PHP

PHP is quick to develop and fast to learn. You can easily incorporate some basic PHP functionality into your website in a short period of time, even without an extensive background in web development.

PHP code runs fast and performs better than Pythons and other languages. PHP uses its own memory, which optimizes performance.

PHP scales well as evidenced by some of the largest sites being powered by PHP. You can extend PHP to work with just about any 3rd party library, SDK, or API.

Other Web Development Languages

Besides PHP, there are other web development languages that might be suitable for your situation. Python (see Django) and Ruby (see Ruby on Rails) are great options.

However, they lack some of the advantages of PHP. They do not have as large a developer community as PHP, are harder to learn, and they usually take longer to develop a web application.

Consequently, costs will usually be higher. This, along with the other reasons listed above, are why many companies choose PHP to build their website.

Originally published February 23rd, 2022, updated May 4th, 2022