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What is PHP and what does it do?

Are you curious to know what PHP is and what it does? Today, web design has become one the most lucrative jobs in the world. If you decide to step into this big world with its training, it may confuses you like most programmers in the first days of entering this field.

You may have various questions in your mind and you will constantly have doubts about the path ahead. including:

If you want to choose PHP programming language with full confidence and knowledge, stay with us until the end of this article. we assure you at the end you will receive answers to your questions about it.

history of PHP language programming and its versions

It all started when Rasmus Lerdorf of Denmark wrote a number of scripts in 1994 to manage a series of tasks on his personal site in the Perl programming language. Lerdorf used these scripts, which were based on the common gateway interface script, to calculate and store the number of people reading his resume. In doing so, he attracted a lot of people to his scripts and asked him to send the scripts to them as well. So Lerdorf decided to name his scripts PHP, which stands for Personal Home Page.

PHP 2 and PHP 3

Lerdorf upgraded the PHP language to version 2 in 1997 and was able to attract the attention of many developers. The rewrite of PHP processing engine was completed in 1998 and was released as the third version of it. Of course, this year they decided to give a new meaning to the word PHP. They decided that the middle two letters of the word PHP should no longer be the phrase Home Page and should be an abbreviation of the phrase Hypertext Preprocessor.

These two letters simply mean that the PHP language processes the information before displaying it to the user in HTML and then displays it to the user in HTML format. It has long been possible to use an image, table, etc. which is actually file that the user views in the form of web pages.


Gradually, the number of early PHP developers increased and expend other parts of the language, and PHP became an open source project. In 2000, Zeev Suraski and his colleague Andi Gutmans decided to start a company called Zend. At that company, the core PHP language was again under the razor blade of the developers and rewritten. In this rewrite, many changes happened to it, the core of which was Zend Engine, and it was the fourth version of this language.


There was an update in 2004. In this update, we have seen many changes and developments in this language, the most important changes of which are the support of object-oriented coding and better communication with the database. Therefore, the fifth version of it was a turning point in the language pf programming, because in this update, many features and capabilities came into this programming language, which made coding with this language more enjoyable for programmers.


After version 5.6, the seventh version of PHP came. Because the PHP language development team decided in the sixth version, to add Unicode support to this language to be able to support characters in all language of the world. But they did not implement this feature well, so they decided to stop developing this version of PHP.


In 2015, with the releases of the seventh version of PHP, this lovely language passed its youth and entered its maturity. In other words, this version of PHP became one of the biggest and best updates of a programming language. Important changes in this version include improved performance, reduced memory usage by up to 50% and a dramatic increase in speed (approximately doubled). PHP owes this increase in speed and performance to the use of the third version of Zend Engine.

What is the PHP programming language?

Now that we have reviewed the history of the PHP programming language and understood how the versions are and how it has undergone changes to date, it is time to return to our first question to know what PHP is and a complete and comprehensive definition of it.

PHP is an interpreted language based on the design and creation of dynamic web pages. In other words, those who code the site will be able to design interactive web applications using PHP. Interactive means the existence of features such as different access levels for users, the ability to register on the site, user panel, store user information and many other features that we see in all sites today.

One of the strengths of this language is the existence of very powerful and popular frameworks such as Laravel and symphony, having more than 80% of the web market share, being open source and free, a large community and good support. PHP, on the hand, has established itself as one of the most popular programming languages in the field of web design.

What is the difference between server-side and user-side languages?

Client-side languages that are in the user’s browser. For example, JavaScript runs in the user’s browser, so it is one of the user side languages. Because these types of programming languages, user’s system process them. The hardware and type of user’s system can affect their execution speed.

But languages like PHP are on the server (related to the site) and finally its output is sent to the user. That’s why we call it languages like PHP Server-Side. Because the server runs on the server side, it needs software called a web server to communicate between the user and the server.


A server is a hardware system on which a website runs, but a web server is software that manages requests and information in this hardware system. The term App Server also means software or website written by us.

In this article, we reviewed what PHP is and what it has gone through to date to be one the best programming languages. We also looked at the differences between this language and other programming languages. Then we got acquainted with the concepts needed to enter the web world in simple language. What do you think about PHP?