What is PHP? A Comprehensive Explanation

Learn what is PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) programming language, definition, concepts, & best comprehensive guide & explanation to understand

By Claudio Pires
Updated on March 15, 2023
What is PHP? A Comprehensive Explanation

PHP is a server-side scripting language. That is used to develop Static websites or Dynamic websites or Web applications. This language stands for Hypertext Pre-processor, which earlier stood for Personal Home Pages. Learn what is PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) programming language, its definition, and concepts, in addition to the best comprehensive guide & explanation to understand this script.

Its scripts can only be out on a server that has it under installation. The client computers accessing the PHP scripts require a web browser only. A PHP file contains its tags and ends with the extension “.php.”

What Is PHP?

It is trendy for web development since it can easily embed into HTML pages. PHP-Codes itself uses start and end codes, making it easy for a Web Developer to switch into and out of it.


One of the main advantages of this language is its gentle learning curve so newcomers can quickly get to grips with the basics. But it’s also mighty.

As well as performing simple tasks such as collecting user data entered via an online form and creating dynamic pages, P.H.P. has more advanced features.

Typically P.H.P. is up for Server Side Scripting, Command Line Scripting, and even for creating desktop applications. Please keep reading to learn what is PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) programming language, its definition, and concepts, in addition to the best comprehensive guide & explanation to understand this script.

It’s compatible with all major Operating Systems, including Linux, Windows, and MAC OS. It is also compatible with the most popular Web Servers, such as Apache and LiteSpeed. P.H.P. can be up to create dynamic content such as PDFs, images, and videos and is compatible with the most popular types of database tools, such as MySQL.


It’s present to power some of the most popular software, such as blogging tools like WordPress and Joomla and Ecommerce Shopping carts like OpenCart and Prestashop, and Bulletin Board tools like PHPBB and vBulletin.

It can also add extra functionality to your website by integrating applications built for 3rd party websites such as Facebook or by creating PHPs-based mailing lists, or you can even create WordPress Plugins for commercial use.

As this language is OpenSource, it is under updates frequently, and you can find the most recent versions on the PHP Downloads page.

Useful Resources:

  • The PHP-Benchmark
  • PHP7

A Reason To Learn

Because WordPress is present on it. Every theme and plugin is up with this language. If you want to contribute to Core, you need to know PHP. PHP is a vital component for developing and/or customizing WordPress websites.

Learning this language, at least the barebones basics, will help you read the code. Recognize what is happening, and do your work faster and better.

What is the purpose of learning PHP?

Several of the most significant benefits of utilizing PHP include the following:

  • It’s an open-source language. This implies that PHP is free to download and use.
  • It’s a language that’s easy to learn. Since it’s essentially the same way HTML is written, it’s simple to comprehend and execute.
  • It’s highly compatible because it can be coupled with multiple programming languages, including HTML and JavaScript, and supports databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, etc.
  • It’s platform-independent, meaning PHP-created applications can run on any platform.
  • It has a large community of developers. Programming is all about being of assistance and being of service. As a result, a large community would lead to more help.
  • It’s frequently updated, so it works well with modern technology.

Let’s explore the differences between PHP and other server-side programming languages.

PHP and HTML: What’s the Distinction?

HTML and PHP are different in multiple ways. PHP is a server-operating language, while HTML is a client-operating language. Learn what is PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) programming language, its definition, and concepts, in addition to the best comprehensive guide & explanation to understand this script.

The two differ significantly in their function, as well: while both have a role in displaying web content to the user, they each accomplish this task differently. HTML is the foundation of a web page, but PHP adds dynamic capabilities to it.

  • HTML is responsible for creating the structure of a webpage and includes text, images, and the general method of page display.
  • PHP is primarily responsible for implementing these elements and allowing users to interact with them to accomplish goals.
  • PHP can be incorporated into HTML, instructing the client-server relationship from the client, while HTML cannot be incorporated into PHP.
  • Other languages can be used instead of PHP, but PHP cannot function without the language.

How can I Begin Programming in PHP?

Because of its simple syntax and intuitive commands, PHP is a language that is easy to learn and has a low barrier to entry for beginners. To begin using PHP, it is essential to understand HTML and server-side and client-side programming languages.

PHP is intuitive and straightforward to learn due to its open-source nature, extensive database support, and ability to run on virtually any server alongside operating systems like Windows, Unix, Linux, or Mac OS.

We hope you have found this helpful technote on what it is.

Thanks for reading, and leave your questions below to keep the conversation going.

Claudio Pires

Claudio Pires is the co-founder of Visualmodo, a renowned company in web development and design. With over 15 years of experience, Claudio has honed his skills in content creation, web development support, and senior web designer. A trilingual expert fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, he brings a global perspective to his work. Beyond his professional endeavors, Claudio is an active YouTuber, sharing his insights and expertise with a broader audience. Based in Brazil, Claudio continues to push the boundaries of web design and digital content, making him a pivotal figure in the industry.