Lozen Liu | Jan 05, 2023

PHP is a general-purpose programming language you can use to to develop interactive websites. With a history spanning more than 25 years, PHP was one of the first scripting languages that could be embedded in HTML and provide functionality for pages without the need for external data files. The open-source language is still used today, but more modernized frameworks like Node.js and AngularJS have replaced PHP as a more streamlined way of creating functionality.

What Does PHP Stand For?

When PHP originated, it stood for personal home page tools, but now stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, a recursive acronym. PHP is open-source, general-purpose, easy to use and has a wide range of frameworks, making it a good choice to create dynamic web pages.


What Is PHP Used For?

PHP is a server-side programming language that’s often embedded within HTML. Its code enclosed in special start- and end-processing instructions to execute tasks on the server. The server generates HTML and sends the code back to the client, which means the user can then interact with the page. 

Despite its nearly three decades of existence, PHP is still widely used due to its relative ease and open-source code, which provides developers with a range of PHP frameworks you can use to control costs, boost performance and facilitate functionality.

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PHP and HTML: What’s the Difference?

HTML and PHP differ in many ways. Fundamentally, PHP is a server-side language while HTML operates client-side. The two differ greatly in their functionality as well; while both are responsible for displaying web content to the user, they each fulfill different tasks to do so. HTML provides the structure for a web page, but PHP makes those pages dynamic.

  • HTML is responsible for building the structure of a web page and includes text, images and the general layout of how the page will be displayed.
  • PHP is strictly responsible for bringing those elements to life and allows users to interact with them to accomplish tasks.
  • PHP can be embedded within HTML, sending instructions from the client to the server, while HTML cannot be embedded within PHP.
  • There are alternative languages that may be used instead of PHP, but in order for PHP to function, HTML is necessary.

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How Do I Start Programming in PHP?

Due to its simple syntax and easy-to-learn command functions, PHP is a beginner-friendly programming language with low barriers to entry. In order to start using PHP, it’s important to be familiar with HTML as well as server-side and client-side programming languages. PHP is accessible and easy to learn due to its open-source nature, its extensive database support, and its ability to run on nearly any server alongside operating systems like Windows, Unix, Linux or Mac OS.

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