If you are familiar with the world of web design and web programming, you must have these questions, what is PHP? What is the use of PHP? How to work with PHP? What does it mean that PHP is a server-side programming language? And many other questions. In this article and tutorial, we will fully answer these questions and learn everything we need to know about the PHP server-side programming language, and finally understand what PHP really is and why it is so popular. We also talk about the pros and cons of PHP and the most popular websites written in PHP. Stay with me until the end of this educational article.
Table of Contents
What is PHP? An overview
Here we want to have a very general introduction to PHP to begin with what is PHP?
- PHP stands for PHP Hypertext Preprocessor, in which PHP has a specific name.
- PHP is an open source programming or scripting language. This means that using PHP is completely free and you do not have to pay anything to work with it.
- PHP code must be executed on a server. This server can be a real server or a server on your computer (using software such as wamp or xampp)
- PHP is used in many major websites in the world and has a global application.
This was an introduction we needed to know about PHP to better understand this question. In the following, we want to answer this in more detail.
Before reading this article, we recommend to read our article about back-end programming in web design. It can also be very useful.
What exactly does PHP do?
Using PHP we can program powerful websites and applications. if we want to be more specific to our question and answer it, we have to say that PHP does the work behind the scenes on web pages.
What does behind the scenes mean?
This means that you can not change the appearance of the site using PHP. PHP is a programming language that does not directly affect the appearance of the site. Using PHP you can get different information from the database and show it to the user.
To be more precise, PHP is actually a programming language whose main power emerges when combined with a database. PHP can enter information into a database as well as read various information from it and show it to the user. You can use PHP to connect to a database and show your users information in that database, such as content, comments, and more.
In the world of server-side programming, PHP has never been alone and has always had tough competitors. One of PHP’s main competitors in recent years has been the ASP.NET programming language, and there has always been a great deal of controversy between PHP and ASP programmers, and both groups want to say that their programming language is better and more professional.
Also, if we want to mention other PHP competitors, we can also mention JSP, ColdFusion, Perl and… In the future, we want to have a full review on Orangency, is PHP better or ASP? And is it right to compare the two programming languages at all?
Benefits of PHP
To answer the main question, we want to talk about the benefits of PHP and what features and benefits PHP has as a server-side programming language:
- PHP can run on a variety of platforms such as Windows, Linux, Mac and … and that’s great!
- PHP is fully compatible with all servers used today (such as Apache and IIS).
- PHP can support and work with a variety of databases.
- PHP is completely free and open source and you can download it from its official website at php.net.
- PHP is easy to use and requires no basic settings to program with. All you need to do is have a server or server emulator to run your PHP code with it and enjoy the results.
What can PHP do?
Now that we’re answering this question, it’s good to talk a little bit about what PHP can do. You can use PHP to program and run different types of web pages and web applications.
- PHP can generate dynamic pages for you.
- PHP can send information to a database, read information from the database, and edit or delete information in the database.
- PHP can interact with your HTML forms and process user input information on the forms and do the things you want them to do.
- PHP lets you work with cookies and sessions.
- PHP has the ability to encrypt sensitive information, and this feature is also built into it.
- By using PHP you can generate and edit txt, pdf, jpg and other files, and this is a great opportunity that PHP gives you.
The ones mentioned above are the features that come with PHP by default. You can use different and insane possibilities using different PHP libraries that you can not believe that the same things can be done on the web!