PHP is a scripting language widely used to develop static or dynamic websites and web applications. But is this the only purpose of this language? Learn more about why we use PHP for web development and see why you should consider using it in your next project.
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PHP definition in a nutshell
The first version of PHP was created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf and has been regularly updated with new features and improvements to functionality from the very beginning. (The latest version of PHP — 8.1.6 was released in May 2022.)
The language kept on growing in popularity and now it’s used by a wide variety of websites, including the most popular content management systems such as WordPress or Drupal. It’s also the choice of PrestaShop, an open-source e-commerce platform, Facebook, Wikipedia, and Yahoo.
PHP is commonly used to create websites, online stores, and dedicated IT systems, but you’re not limited to output HTML. PHP also enables building CRM solutions, APIs, PDF files, as well as generating XML, XLS, or CSV files.
As the language is backed up by web frameworks, it simplifies and speeds up PHP web application development.
The most popular PHP frameworks are Symfony, Laravel, or CodeIgniter.
PHP benefits — 5 reasons why we use PHP for web development
The popularity of the language is mirrored in stats — 79% of all web services are written in PHP. Wondering why PHP is chosen so often? Let’s dig deeper into its major advantages and learn why we use PHP for web development and choose it widely in our best projects.
- Cost-effective choice. Using PHP for web application development reduces the costs of creating apps and websites as it’s open-source, so most frameworks and libraries are available for free. There’s also a large international community behind it, so the language is constantly upgraded.
- Security. PHP is considered one of the safest programming languages, as it comes with built-in security features which better protect websites from viruses, malware, and common security threats.
- Performance. Compared to other programming languages, PHP scripts execute much faster, so PHP-based websites or web apps come with a faster loading speed and enhanced response time. Plus, it can be easily integrated with other languages and a wide range of databases and works on any platform and web browser.
- PHP for web development. The language can be embedded into HTML, so it’s a perfect choice if you plan to introduce a web application to the market. But, as a mature and flexible language, it can be used for other purposes too.
- Ease of use. It’s no surprise that PHP is that popular among developers — it’s easy to get started with, as the language is clear and well organized. Developers who code in other languages easily understand the command PHP functions. So, the language is simple for a newcomer, but a variety of advanced features makes professional programmers more confident — they can join the team in the middle of a project without getting lost.
Keep PHP up to date
The life cycle of each PHP version is about three years, with active support lasting almost two years, after which time only support for critical security issues is available. Once a PHP version ends, it is no longer updated, so it is unsafe to use after that time.
In contrast, regularly updating your site’s PHP version guarantees a high level of performance. If you are using outdated code and not supported in a newer PHP version, your site will contain errors and may stop working altogether.
Here are the main benefits of upgrading your sites to the latest version of PHP:
- Security: Older versions of PHP may be more vulnerable to cyber attacks due to outdated code. Each successive version increases the usage of the application because the authors are gradually getting rid of elements that can cause problems and outdated code is no longer supported.
- Improved Performance: A new version of PHP can reduce loading times due to improvements in internal code and reduced memory consumption. Accelerated instruction execution applies to virtually any PHP-based site. It could be WordPress, PrestaShop, Joomla!, Drupal, or Magento. It is essential for search engines that index sites and check their crawling speed. The faster they are, the better, which affects the possibility of achieving a higher position in search results.
- Support: The latest versions of PHP have active support, with regular bug fixes and security patches. They also have regular updates for new features and improvements.
Is PHP your choice for the next web development project?
The popularity of the PHP language made it suitable for the development of IT projects of any type. So, you can not only develop feature-rich websites and web apps but also large marketplaces or enterprise projects.
With PHP, you have the freedom of choosing an operating system and a web server. When you combine it with simplicity, speed of development, and high performance, it might become your language of choice.
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