PHP is a scripting language for dynamic websites

PHP is a scripting language that dynamic websites and web applications are written in. The abbreviation originally meant ‘personal home page’, but PHP’s capabilities later changed, and so did the abbreviation: nowadays it stands for ‘hypertext preprocessor. The scripting language has a syntax similar to C and Perl. PHP is the most popular among the server-side languages – these are the languages that can only perform actions on the server. PHP can connect to a database or delete files on the server, which means that PHP handles data before it migrates to the client’s browser – usually in HTML.

It is possible to convert a file written in HTML to PHP. For this, it’s necessary to save the HTML file under .php. The official PHP website refers to PHP as an “HTML embedded scripting language”, and the word embedded makes it clear how the HTML and PHP code work together. In contrast to various other programming languages which run client-side, meaning on the user’s computer, PHP runs server-side, meanings directly from the server. The results of the processing are then displayed in the browser.

PHP is not a programming language and runs on the server

PHP is cross-platform: it runs on all popular Linux and Windows versions and also works with Macintosh and OS/2. If necessary, the scripts can be adapted to other platforms without much effort, unlike most other programming languages. PHP can be used to process user input – such as for building a contact form on a website. This would be impossible with HTML alone. PHP then allows you to check and see if all the fields have been filled in and will send a mail when once it is successful. In addition, anyone who wants to retrieve content from a database can use PHP.

Another feature of PHP is that PHP is a scripting language and not a programming language, in the strict sense of the word. This means that PHP is only active when an event occurs, such as if a website is called up or if a form is filled in and sent off by a user on a website. In comparison, other programming languages act as a stand-alone and operate by themselves. JavaScript is also a scripting language and works in a similar way to PHP.

You can find more information on PHP on Wikipedia: or on the official PHP website:

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