PHP is arguably the world’s most popular server-side programming language that’s been in the market for almost 25 years now! With more than 20 million high-traffic websites designed using PHP across the globe, it’s easy to judge its popularity.
Tech giants like Facebook & WordPress are a part of PHP’s 80% market share. Created in 1995 by Rasmus Lerdorf, PHP is considered one of the world’s most reliable & secure programming languages.
Furthermore, being an Open-source language makes PHP even more popular. Whether it’s websites or applications, PHP is the first choice of millions of developers across the globe.
But with the introduction of multiple new server-side programming languages, the monopoly of PHP is being threatened. So people ask a lot of questions like, is PHP going to die? What are the advantages & disadvantages of using PHP?
So I decided to answer all of these questions in a single shot. In this piece of information, I will be talking about What PHP is, What its uses are & what are the advantages & disadvantages of using PHP.
So without wasting much time, let’s dive deep into the world of PHP.
But, first of all, it’s time for some basics!
On this page
What is PHP?
PHP is an acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor. As mentioned above, it was created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1995. It’s a server-side programming language & it resembles a lot with #C. It is used to create applications & websites.
All the applications & websites written in PHP run on Web Servers. It was one of the first coding languages developers could embed with HTML. This system eliminated the need to attach an external file for running a website. It’s so versatile & robust that even after 25 years, it’s used to create powerful & dynamic websites & applications.
There are a lot of additional tools for PHP that is used to create highly efficient websites & applications.
But in recent times, the popularity of PHP has been on a steady decline. Although the decline is not steep, there is no doubt that other server-side coding languages are giving it a tough fight.
What is PHP used for?
PHP is so versatile & powerful that it enjoys multiple utilizations. It’s a general-purpose programming language with a lot of flexibility. Initially, it was created to design dynamic web pages. But it’s so powerful that developers started using PHP to create server-side web applications over time.
Moreover, it can design desktop applications, websites, online stores, server-based applications & much more. PHP has truly become generalized with the introduction of Object-Oriented Programming in version 5.
One major reason for the versatile nature of PHP is its compatibility with different programming languages. This compatibility allows the developers to extend its functionality. Therefore, there is no comparison between PHP and its peers in terms of functionality & scope.
On top of it, there are multiple PHP libraries available online. For e.g. Laravel & Symofony. Using these libraries, a developer can enhance PHP’s creation of more complex products.
That’s the reason why Facebook & WordPress are still using PHP. As a result, PHP is one of the most used CMS (Content Management Systems) globally.
Now let’s check out some important features of PHP.
What are the best features of PHP?
PHP is one of the most widely utilized server-side programming languages to create dynamic websites & web-based applications. PHP comes with many features that make it very popular among developers.
Here is the list of some primary ones:
- JIT(just-in-time) compiler
- OPcache extensions
- Static Return types
- Open Source
- Platform Independence
These features are just the tip of the iceberg that makes PHP popular. Apart from these, PHP comes with a load of features.
What are the applications of PHP?
As mentioned earlier, PHP is one of the most versatile programming languages. Its flexibility allows developers to tap into its real potential for various applications. Here is a list of a few:
- Web-based Applications
- Image Processing
- Content Management System
- Website Development
- E-commerce platforms
- Graphical Interface Design
- Image Processing.
Such a wide range of applications has ensured the popularity of PHP over the two decades. Now it’s time to explore some advantages & disadvantages of using PHP.
What are the advantages of PHP?
- Open-source Langauge: There are a few open-source programming languages that are as efficient as PHP. Moreover, PHP is free to all & can be used on any platform of the developer’s choice. This makes it a lot more popular, especially among aspiring coders & students, who can test their coding skills in real-time. So whether you are using Windows, Linux, or Unix, it doesn’t matter. PHP works like a charm on every one of them. On top of it, you get access to many PHP frameworks like Symfony & Laravel for free.
- Access to Massive Talent Pool: As I mentioned earlier, PHP is one of the most popular programming languages & it’s been around here for more than 20 years. So it’s obvious that it has given rise to a massive talent pool. As a result, you can easily find hundreds of top-quality PHP developers across the globe to get your job done. This competitiveness ensures you get a wide range of options & that too at competitive pricing. In short, when you choose PHP, you can save really big bucks on your development costs.
- A lot of tutorials & study material: As I said, PHP is widely popular globally. So there are hundreds of PHP communities on various platforms with massive study material & tutorials. So if your developer gets stuck somewhere, it’s easy for them to find out the solution using these resources. These resources also make the learning curve less steep for newbies trying to enter the market. Moreover, learning PHP is very easy, so even if someone junior in your development team doesn’t know PHP, it would take them just a few days to grasp the whole system.
- Flexibility & Customization: Every application & website needs to stand out in the crowd to impact today. It’s a tough job with millions of websites & apps, especially if you are not unique. And that’s where PHP comes to the rescue. It offers extensive customization & flexibility. You can easily connect it with multiple databases like MySQL, IBM DB2, ODBC & Inter Base. Best part? It runs equally well on multiple browsers, including Netscape, Microsoft IIS & Apache.
- Minimal Load time: Every website or application build using PHP is extremely lightweight. This means it takes minimal time to load these applications & websites. PHP is almost 3 to 4 times as fast as its nearest competitor Python. Such a low load speed ensures your users don’t bounce off your website & application, offering a pleasant user experience. Moreover, load speed is a critical ranking factor for any website on a Search Engine. The slower your website loads, the lower it will rank. Thankfully, with PHP, you can easily minimize your load time by default & can rank better on Search Engines.
- User-friendly: Ultimately, the users will decide the success of your applications & websites. If they don’t like what you built, your project will fail. Thankfully, PHP is one of the most user-friendly development languages available in the market. It’s extremely efficient & more flexible than languages like ASP, C & C++. So if your goal is to design a website or an application that is highly functional yet user-friendly, there is no better option than PHP. That’s the reason why so many developers love PHP for developing even a highly complex app or website.
- Cloud Compatibility: Cloud computing is dominating the tech world right now. Businesses use an array of Cloud services to establish, Run & Manage their daily operations. So you need a programming language that can build applications that are cloud-compatible. Enter PHP! You can easily run your PHP applications on the cloud without any hiccups. You’ll get excellent results & scalability with PHP compared to other Programming Languages for Cloud computing.
- Compatibility with HTML: PHP is designed to sync with HTML flawlessly. Moreover, the compatibility between HTML & PHP is so excellent that their combination delivers mind-blowing results. E.g., if you have an HTML-based webpage, you can easily integrate PHP coding without disturbing the existing HTML script of the webpage. And the same thing goes the other way around. So if you are working with HTML, PHP should be your first choice of programming.
- Extensive Library: PHP comes with highly functional modules or libraries. So when you use PHP Hypertext Preprocessor, the development becomes very easy. These libraries ensure you do not have to develop each & every component from scratch. The ready-to-use modules can shorten your development cycle & minimize the spending of resources. The best part is you can modify or alter these modules as per your specific project needs. So the final product you get is customized for your specific needs.
What are the disadvantages of PHP?
Just like every other Programming Language, PHP also suffers from some drawbacks. Here is the list of some major ones
- Security Concerns: Today security has become a major concern for all Businesses. Unfortunately, this is where PHP losses the ground. Due to its Open-source licensing, it’s considered vulnerable to cyber attacks. Although the team at PHP constantly works to eliminate these threats, sometimes the threats are identified after they have done serious damage. Major security issues are Session Hacking, Source Code Revelation, & Injection.
- Lack of Good debugging tool: Debugging is a process that helps the developers identify & rectify any errors in the code. Unfortunately, PHP is notorious for not having quality debugging tools to help developers. This causes a major issue for developers, especially during the maintenance period.
- Falling Popularity: Although PHP still holds a massive market share, its popularity is falling. The reason is the emergence of multiple simple & easy to learn web-app programming languages. E.g., the new batch of developers entering the market is choosing simple languages like Python over PHP. So the talent pool is shrinking, albeit very slowly, but it is shrinking. So in the long term, it won’t be easy to find specialists who can handle PHP websites & applications.
- Lack of Performance: PHP does have a wide range of features. But when you try to use them all at once, it hangs. PHP is notorious for having poor performance & lack of smooth functioning of multiple features when you try to use them all simultaneously.
- Inability to cope with modern needs: PHP has compatibility issues with a wide range of modern technologies. E.g., Pyhton delivers much more efficacy while handling current trends like Machine Learning. Although PHP does have dedicated libraries, they are not as efficient. This inability to cope with modern tech needs will result in the gradual decline of PHP.
- Not suitable for Big Content-Based Web apps: PHP is not a highly modular language. So if you are planning to build a Big Content-based web application, the coding will become too complex. And even if you create one, it will become nearly impossible to maintain its efficiency.
PHP is a time-tested Programming language that has stood firmly in multiple headwinds. Its simplicity, flat learning curve & flexibility has made it extremely popular. Although it faces stiff competition from modern peers, it’s safe to say that PHP is not going anywhere right now.
Is its popularity decreasing? Yes, But will it disappear tomorrow? I don’t think so. Not every business needs highly complex & ultra-modern features lacking in PHP. And there are millions of PHP developers across the globe who will keep the wheels turning for this Language. Everything else, only time will tell!
I hope this detailed guide on PHP & its advantages/disadvantages has answered many of your questions. However, please check out my website here if you still need more information. My website will surely quench your thirst for knowledge.
Why is PHP so important?
PHP is one of the oldest & most versatile server-side programming languages in the world right now. It’s highly flexible & efficient, and that’s why it is so important.
What can we do with PHP?
PHP is a highly versatile language that can design websites, web applications, E-commerce stores & much more.