What is PHP?

Sometimes the original is the best. PHP remains one of the biggest programming languages in the world, and it’s used to power mega-sites including Slack and Spotify. While some of those always looking for the next best thing claim that “PHP is dead”, you can’t ignore the facts: PHP is still used by almost 80% of websites today!

I’m new here…tell me about PHP for beginners

PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. It’s a language used to programme websites and was originally created to make them more dynamic and interactive. PHP has been around since 1995, thanks to its creator Rasmus Lerdorf. Originally, it was called “Personal Home Page”, later changing its name but keeping its acronym.

PHP is a “server-side scripting language”. That means that any applications written by the language don’t rely on web browsers; they operate on web servers instead. As developers would say, they run on the back end of a website. So, users don’t see PHP in action, they only see the effects it has on the website they’re interacting with.

How do I recognise a PHP file?

HP files contain HTML and have the extension .php.

The HTML in a PHP file contains embedded code that makes some sort of change to a website’s look or functionality. This differs from other languages such as C, where lots of commands are needed to output HTML.

What are the benefits of PHP?

PHP is still a key player in the web development world and we can’t see that changing much anytime soon. Regular updates see the language evolving to meet modern needs, and developers can still easily add functionality to websites without the need for external data files.

  • It’s easy to learn and execute. Thanks to simple syntax and command functions that most developers can quickly pick up, the barrier to entry is relatively low.
  • PHP can be used across Windows, MacOS and Linux. It also supports most web browsers and servers, so can be rolled out across different systems.
  • Thanks to its widespread adoption, there’s plenty of tutorials, tools and experts ready to answer questions and improve the language.
  • Widgets are a part of the app and so compatibility is good across different OS versions.
  • Developers have more control compared to some other programming languages, since PHP allows for the addition and mixing of simple HTML tags, for straightforward, dynamic content. There’s also no set order for writing code.

A few simple lines over long, complex scripts? That sounds good to us, too!

What can we use PHP programming for?

PHP is praised by developers everywhere for its simplicity, but does that mean its applications are limited? Definitely not! PHP’s capabilities go beyond HTML and it can be used for a set of purposes that are key to modern web development.

  • Interactive websites – from images to flash video
  • Handling and processing form data
  • Server-side scripting
  • Sending and receiving cookies
  • Command-line scripting
  • Encrypting data
  • Desktop applications (for the advanced web developer)
  • Creating login and registration functionality on a website

Vocab check-in!


This involves developing the backend of a website (the part that users don’t see). The scripts are written here provide a customised response for the user (the “client”) depending on how they interact with the site.


Command line scripting involves writing functions in a plain text file. No HTML tags are used, because the output isn’t rendered in a web browser.

Can anyone learn PHP programming?

The beauty of PHP is that it offers ease-of-use to beginners, but also has advanced features on offer for more experienced programmers. Those that are already familiar with another type of development tech should find learning PHP simple. If not, it’s good to know there’s a strong ecosystem out there, and you won’t be short of educational resources or specialist help when you need it

On average, it takes around 3-6 months to learn PHP programming. And, because of the wide range of benefits to websites and their users, we at Double Yolk think it’s worth the time investment.

Start with mastering HTML and CSS, and go from there.

PHP is an open-source programming language, meaning it’s free to use. You won’t need to pay to purchase licensing or software, so cost rarely gets in the way when building a website with PHP.

Some of the major companies said to have PHP firmly in their tech stack:

  • ETSY
  • LYFT

Our Yolkers have this covered

From improving website loading speed to enhancing interactivity for an overall better user experience, PHP is a favourite in tech stacks everywhere. Developers love the language for its low-cost, flexibility, synergy with HTML and huge amount of educational reference materials available.

Our Yolkers are offshore PHP specialists. They have an advanced knowledge of PHP and can bring the wealth of benefits that come with this to your business.