PHP is a simple scripting language with which you can do lots of things. Unlike JavaScript and jQuery, PHP was never meant to be used in the browser — it’s a server-side language. This means that it works on the back-end of your website.

You’ve almost certainly interacted with PHP in your web browsing experience without knowing it, and many web developers work entirely with PHP. In this article, we’ll dive into what exactly PHP is and what you can do with it.

History of PHP

PHP is the acronym for an open source, server-side, general purpose scripting language that was originally created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. PHP is a recursive acronym for “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.”

PHP was originally an abbreviation for Personal Home Page, but it now stands for the recursive backronym PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP code may be embedded into HTML code, or it can be used in combination with various web template systems, web content management systems, and web frameworks.

PHP code is usually processed by a PHP interpreter implemented as a module in the web server or as a Common Gateway Interface (CGI) executable. The web server combines the results of the interpreted and executed PHP code, which may be any type of data, including images, with the generated web page. PHP code may also be executed with a command-line interface (CLI) and can be used to implement standalone graphical applications.

Applications of PHP

PHP is used to develop a variety of applications. In the past, it was primarily used for developing web pages, but it is now used for developing mobile and desktop applications too.

Web Applications

PHP has been adopted by many big companies for web development. Examples are Yahoo, Wikipedia and Facebook. Facebook uses PHP to develop its front end.

Mobile Applications

PHP is not only a good language for server-side programming, but also useful for client-side programming on mobile devices. It helps in accessing native device functions like camera, GPS and accelerometer.

There are frameworks like PhoneGap that can be used to build cross-platform mobile applications using PHP as the front-end language with HTML5 and CSS3.

Desktop Applications

PHP can be used to develop all kinds of desktop applications by using tools like Qt with PHP bindings or Delphi with PHP support via RemObjects Hydra framework.

Even Adobe Dreamweaver CS 5 supports using PHP in building desktop widgets that run on Adobe AIR environment.


PHP has become so popular that it has been installed on over three hundred million websites around the world. It’s a language that has stood the test of time, and continues to be used to this day.

Even WordPress, the most widely-used content management system you’re likely to come across today is created in PHP.