The term PHP is an acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP is a server-side scripting language designed specifically for web development.
- Websites like www.facebook.com, www.yahoo.com are also built on PHP.
- One of the main reason behind this is that PHP can be easily embedded in HTML files and HTML codes can also be written in a PHP file.
- The thing that differentiates PHP with client-side language like HTML is, PHP codes are executed on server whereas HTML codes are directly rendered on the browser. PHP codes are first executed on the server and then the result is returned to the browser.
Why should we use PHP?
PHP can actually do anything related to server-side scripting or more popularly known as the backend of a website. For example, PHP can receive data from forms, generate dynamic page content, can work with databases, create sessions, send and receive cookies, send emails etc. There are also many hash functions available in PHP to encrypt user’s data that makes PHP secure and reliable to be used as a server-side scripting language. So these are some of the abilities of PHP that makes it suitable to be used as server-side scripting language. You will get to know more of these abilities in further tutorials.
Even if you are not convinced by the above abilities of PHP, there are some more features of PHP. PHP can run on all major operating systems like Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X etc. Almost all of the major servers available today like Apache supports PHP. PHP allows using wide range of databases. And the most important factor is that it is free to use and download and anyone can download PHP from its official source : www.php.net.