PHP Programming Language: Which Is right For Your Next Website?


What is PHP?

Created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf in a bid to control and modify his landing page in a superior manner, PHP represents Hypertext Preprocessor.

According to W3Techs’ data, PHP is used by 79.2% of all the websites whose server-side programming language we know. PHP is a widely-used general-purpose language that can be embedded in HTML. It is used to manage dynamic web content, session tracking, databases, and even build entire ecommerce sites.

There are many reasons to use PHP Server Side Language to develop your site:

  • It can be integrated with a number of popular databases, including MySQL, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, PostgreSQL, and Microsoft SQL Server. In addition, PHP supports almost every major protocol such as IMAP, POP3, and LDAP.
  • The PHP scripts are executed much faster than other languages like Jakarta Server Pages and ASP.NET Programming language.
  • PHP uses its own memory, so the server workload and loading time are automatically reduced, which results in faster processing speed and good performance.
  • PHP is available for WINDOWS, LINUX & UNIX, MAC operating systems.
  • A PHP application developed in one Operating System can be efficiently executed in other OS also.
  • PHP involves the concept of object-oriented programming so you can create objects that can interact with other pages on the web.
  • PHP is also compatible with almost all local servers used today, including Apache, IIS, and many others.

How Do You Know Which PHP Hosting You Need?

With so many hosting options out there, it can be challenging to navigate all the features they offer. Here’s a list of important questions you can ask to evaluate the right cloud PHP hosting for yourself:

  • Is there a server uptime guarantee?
  • Do they have 24*7*365 customer support?
  • What add-ons and features do they have?
  • What are their technical specifications?
  • What are their upgrading or downgrading options?
  • Is their control panel and user interface easy to use?
  • What kind of customer reviews do they have?
  • Do they have free domain and hosting migration?
  • Where are their data centre locations?
  • Do they offer free SSL certificates?

Hosting providers like Cloudways offer a range of features to suit your specific needs.

How PHP Changed the Web

In the early days, web applications were created in text editors using raw HTML to create static web pages. By making use of PHP, websites become more dynamic, faster to develop, and more responsive. The developers of PHP can deliver premium quality PHP applications.

PHP facilitates web servers to gather form information, send and receive cookies, or generate the dynamic page content. It’s an ‘in the face’ response to all the complexities that developers face before its existence.

Different Versions of PHP:

Depending on the version you are looking at, each version has bugs, and each version supports different features, some of which may be removed soon. My best suggestion is to always keep up to date, or you’ll fall behind. There are tons of new features in 8 that many people should take advantage of.

The 5.6 security patch was dropped last year, so applications running on it would be prone to security vulnerabilities. ChangeLogs for previous major versions are also available if you hunt around the PHP official site a bit.

PHP 4:

PHP 4 was made available in 2000. Powered by Zend Engine, PHP 4 was a powerful version with limited OOP functionality. PHP 4 is no longer supported officially, and for any public coding, you should transition to version 8.

PHP 5:

Released in 2004, The Object Model was present in PHP 4, but it was reworked entirely in PHP 5. Introducing interfaces to help you design common APIs, it is a better approach for OOP. It also transformed performance with the introduction of PHP Zend Engine-II.

PHP 6:

Shortly after the release of PHP 5, there have been attempts at making a PHP 6 release as early as 2005, which would feature UTF8/Unicode support. But those efforts never succeeded. It spawned the features that are now part of the language in 5.x or 7.

PHP 7:

PHP 7 was released in December 2015. The features of PHP7 are more than enough for advanced web application development and making use of the latest resources to boost your development.

The performance of PHP 7 is much better than the previous version that uses Zend engines. It uses a brand new engine called PHPNG – the ‘NG’ stands for ‘Next Generation.’ The PHPNG engine improves the performance by doubling an optimized memory usage of your website.

PHP 8:

PHP 8.0.7 is the current version of PHP at the time of writing, and was first released on November 26, 2020.

Bottom Line:

 PHP is extremely easy to get started with. There’s no messy setting up of compilers. Almost every OS has some ready-made server environment like XAMP that a new programmer can download and get started with right away. It’s also extremely easy to intertwine HTML and

PHP code when you first start. PHP is the fastest way to go from idea to web page. It may not be the most sustainable long term, but it can grow if you plan it outright (proper coding practices, optimizations, database concerns, etc.). While experienced devs know this isn’t a great practice, it’s incredibly appealing to newer devs to work with what they know and sprinkles in some PHP.

PHP is a special purpose language — it is only useful for web server back end programming — making it perfect for the functional part of websites. Facebook is one of the many popular websites written in a PHP dialect.

There’s a lot to love about PHP. It scores high when it comes to web development due to the availability of frameworks written in it. For Example, Laravel, Symfony, Zend Framework, CakePHP, etc. You will find lots of frameworks that can make your life very easy. It is worth mentioning that WordPress, Drupal, and Magento have been written in PHP.

PHP is free, but you need to have a server to run it. If you don’t have a server, you can rent server space from DigitalOcean or a service provider like Cloudways.