PHP is an open-source, server-side programming language used across industries to develop dynamic websites and pages. Some of the common tasks PHP is used for are gathering information on leads, processing sales from a website, sending and receiving cookies, and more.
The ease of use and popularity of PHP makes it an obvious choice for programmers who want to find jobs in cybersecurity, development, and IT. Also, it's a programming language that’s used by entry-level and advanced developers, so there’s no right or wrong time to learn PHP.
Below, we go over what PHP is used for and why it’s so popular to help you decide if learning this versatile language is the right step for you and your career.
What is PHP used for?
PHP is one of the oldest programming languages still in use. It was invented in the late '90s, and its many uses have kept it relevant to this day. By creating a back-end architecture that supports commerce, publication, and more — while also keeping the data provided to the client secure — PHP powers some of the most popular and frequently used websites.
PHP provides the basis for many popular websites and functionalities. Also, frameworks for many widely used applications are available in PHP, which eliminates the need to start from scratch each time you want to customize a new project. There are many shortcuts that can exist within the embedded functions making PHP a time-saving solution for programmers who need to create something new in a limited amount of time or with a limited budget.
PHP is often used to create customer relationship management (CRM) systems, which are used to manage customer-facing websites. (A few CRMs you might be familiar with are Salesforce, HubSpot, and Monday.com.) This makes it easy for users who aren’t technically savvy to add content and make changes to the site without the help of a designer or developer.
E-commerce websites are often based in PHP, making it easier for small businesses to create an online storefront without paying for custom development. And thanks to the HTML embedded within PHP pages, it's much easier to add or edit content pages or modules of an established website or delete them.
Advantages of learning PHP
Whether you’re interested in learning PHP as your main programming language or adding it to your toolbox of skills along with other languages, there are many reasons to consider learning it, including:
Ease of learning
PHP can be easier to learn than other programming languages, thanks to its similarities with HTML, as well as the embedded HTML in code, built-in functions that are present, and the ability to reuse the blocks of code you build. There are also extensions available to help make creating new sites in PHP simpler, including authentication, location services, and encryption. Once you’ve mastered PHP and its functions, you can use these skills to build almost anything quickly and effectively.
Popularity and universality
PHP is a popular back-end programming language that’s used worldwide, and data shows it’s present in almost 80% of websites built in a server-side scripting language. It’s compatible with all operating systems and many databases, making it a great choice for large enterprises with offices in different locations. Large corporations like WordPress and HubSpot use PHP across locations, regardless of the equipment used in a particular office, thanks to the universal nature of the data produced.
Potential industry uses
PHP is often used with HTML and databases to create dynamic applications for use on the web. It can also be used to run a server or create command-line scripts to complete tasks without the need for a browser.
Malicious attacks aimed at PHP-based sites are easier to identify and block when you are familiar with the language. PHP is used in cybersecurity by managing secure data sharing between servers and users, increasing the level of security when transferring data. The end-user gets the HTML output from a server, but they don’t see the full PHP code, offering the originator of the PHP pages a level of confidentiality greater than other programming languages. This provides a basic level of security against malicious actors looking to hack your website.
Diversity of output
Along with creating HTML, PHP allows you to create PDF, Flash, and simple text files without having to learn any new languages. PHP can create forms that collect data from visitors, offer dynamic page content based on the visitor's location or interests, or send cookies that help identify returning visitors to the site and launch remarketing efforts.
Depending on your current skillset and where you want your career to go, learning PHP can really pay off in the short and long run. If you plan to have a long career in development or back-end engineering, adding to your PHP knowledge will only benefit you over time and open the possibilities of what you can accomplish. Get started learning PHP today with our courses.