PHP is a server-side scripting language used for the development of web applications, dynamic websites and static websites. PHP was originally an abbreviation for “personal home pages” but has since been changed to “hypertext pre-processor.”
In this guide, we’ll cover more about what is PHP and the basics of PHP. Let’s dive in.
Basics of PHP & Server-Side Scripting
In order to interpret PHP scripts, PHP must be installed on your server. As a server-side language, you use PHP for local website activity on your computer through your web browser.
Your web server uses hardware or software to send requests to the server. Your request will generate HTML code processed by your browser prior to appearing as content on your screen.
Your web servers stores your content as:
- Website pages
- Other assets
The difference is your communication with the server is not entirely completed within your browser. The key difference with a scripting language is tasks are automated using the content available within your web browser. You use PHP for requesting content with your website database or server. Your content will be both accessible and visible.
Website efficiency is maintained by consistently storing your local assets on web pages including storage capacity and loading speed. You can use PHP script to ensure your three most current blog posts automatically appear on the front page of your website. Your posts will be stored by your server, then retrieved when occupying any of your three most currently published slots.
The idea is to eliminate the necessity of preloading your posts and loading and updating your posts every time you publish new content. You can also use PHP for directing conditional statements to add content or change your display by using your web server whenever necessary. You can select specific actions such as using an x field to upload video links.
PHP File Extension
PHP files include PHP tags concluding with the .php extension.
When browsing your website’s files, you’ll see PHP files in the list.
What is PHP Good For?
You will discover many different uses for PHP. Some of the most important and frequently used reasons to use PHP are working with cookies, performing calculations, collecting user details,
Working With Cookies
Cookies are essential for identifying your users and storing their preferences on your website. This will ensure your users do not need to enter their information every time they visit your website. A cookie is a tiny file embedded on the computers of your users. PHP allows you to delete, modify create and retrieve cookies.
Performing Calculations with PHP
PHP allows you to perform all kinds of calculations including mathematical equations, or to determine which day a specific date falls on. In PHP, operands and operators are used for math expressions including:
- Basic math
The core of PHP includes the majority of math functions. There are no installations required to use any of the mathematical functions.
Collecting User Details with PHP
PHP enables direct interactions between your users and the script. This might be simple such as the conversion of a temperature value from Fahrenheit to Celsius. PHP can also be used for more extensive interactions including survey participation, posting on a forum or adding details to an address book.
Creating Graphics with a GD Library and PHP
PHP includes a GD library ideal for editing your existing graphics and the creation of simple graphics. You have the ability to transform your images into grayscale or thumbnails, rotate images and resize them. You can use the practical applications for generating CAPTCHA verifications or to edit your avatars. Dynamic and constantly changing graphics can be created including dynamic signatures for Twitter.
What is the Difference Between HTML and PHP?
If you are new to website development and web design, you are most likely overwhelmed by the development approaches and numerous languages available.
Here a few key differences between HTML & PHP:
- HTML is classified as a markup language and PHP is a scripting language.
- The general content and structure of your web page are determined by HTML.
- PHP uses scripts to provide dynamic content.
- HTML is a client-side language abd PHP is usually a server-side.
Both HTML and PHP are extremely common. If you are working with one, the chances are good you will eventually need to work with the other. HTML and PHP are becoming practical requirements for creating all different types of websites. Understanding conversations generated by HTML and PHP code are important for the development of smooth and modern websites.
According to BitDegree’s PHP vs HTML tutorial, HTML is classified as a markup language. This means HTML is responsible for the basic fundamentals of your web pages. The body of your site is formed through HTML files. Websites created with just HTML are both static and fairly unattractive. When you use CSS and HTML, the result is dynamic and colorful pages. Your page foundation requires HTML, with the appearance dependent on CSS.
When HTML Should Be Used
As a client-side language HTML should be used for altering the appearance of your website to the users. HTML is very effective for developing the front end and changing the appearance and text format. HTML is frequently used by web developers with other languages.
When PHP Should be Used
PHP is essential for assisting with server control. This server-side language enables your server to perform specific tasks and data retrieval from the back end. PHP is the ideal language for building apps for server functions including apps on the actual server or within your web pages. Due to the extensive capabilities of PHP language, a lot of servers use PHP for primary back-end functions.
PHP offers you excellent support and security for all different types of protocols including all of the following.
This makes PHP the ideal language for both database and system administrators in numerous different areas and industries. If you require a web page capable of controlling server returns and functions with returned HTML output, you should seriously consider PHP.
What is PHP and MySQL Databases?
PHP is excellent for interactions with MySQL databases, enabling a wide range of possibilities. You gain the ability to retrieve or submit information from your database. You can then use your database information for the creation of new pages.
Complicated tasks can be performed including storing your inventory and product catalog online or setting up a search feature or login system for your website. Automated picture galleries can be set up with PHP and MySQL for showcasing your products.
What is PHP for WordPress?
The functionality of PHP is extremely important for WordPress development.
- PHP drives customized WordPress plugins and themes.
- PHP is an essential scripting language for creating customized WordPress features.
- PHP is also necessary for communicating with your WordPress server, requesting actions, and the content appearing on your screen.
Technically, it is possible for WordPress sites to be built with no PHP knowledge. Even if you build your WordPress website with plugins and template themes, PHP will be implemented passively. You must understand PHP and develop your skills for changing the default actions of WordPress and the creation of your own plugins and themes. As a content management system, WordPress gives you the ability to publish and create your own online digital content.
The reason WordPress is so attractive for web developers is that beginners can learn by relying on default templates and menu options. Advanced users benefit by using PHP for the creation of a customized experience. Once you have learned the basics of WordPress, you gain the ability to charge for developer work. PHP is essential for becoming qualified as a WordPress developer and enables you to create a niche of your own.
Despite WordPress not allowing you to run your PHP code for a page or post, it is far from impossible. You can use WordPress plugins to easily add a wide range of PHP functions to your pages or posts.
Wrapping Up: What is PHP?
In this post, we hope you learned more about PHP for beginners, including basic concepts and implementation.
Kristen has been writing tutorials to help WordPress users since 2011. You can usually find her working on new articles for the iThemes blog or developing resources for #WPprosper. Outside of work, Kristen enjoys journaling (she’s written two books!), hiking and camping, cooking, and daily adventures with her family, hoping to live a more present life.