What is PHP? PHP Introduction | An Ultimate Guide for Beginners



Today we are in the First Chapter of WHAT IS WHAT Series knowing everything about PHP. Don’t Forget to read till the end.By the end of this article i am sure you will definitely know many knowledgeable things about PHP,Let’s get into details.


  • PHP is a Open Source server side programming / scripting language, Where Open Source defines that it is free to use, There are no charges to download any version or any Framework of PHP.
  • PHP is used for web development and also a powerful tool for making dynamic and interactive webpages, Where Dynamic refers to changing of data timely without making any changes in code repeatedly.
  • We all know that the full form of PHP is Hypertext Preprocessor, But do you know its original name? Yes it do have another name Personal Home Page Which is its original name.
  • PHP First came into existence in the year 1994 by a Danish-Canadian programmer named Rasmus Lerdorf.
  • To save any file in PHP the file name should end with .php extension Eg: index.php, home.php, user.php.


PHP is free to download and can be downloaded from its official website www.php.net  and it is easy to learn and runs efficiently on server side.


PHP is compatible with almost all servers and browsers used these days like

  • Apache
  • IIS etc.
  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • Opera
  • Internet explorer and so on..

PHP runs on various platforms like Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac, Ubuntu etc, So that their will be no worry if you have different Operating system as it supports almost all platforms.


It  is a very good sign that PHP supports many different databases and it also have libraries to all the databases on how to connect with it. By default PHP comes with MySQL Database when you download PHP.

Some of the databases PHP supports are :

    • MySQL (Default)     
    • MongoDB
    • Oracle
    • Informix
    • Sybase
    • PostGreSQL
    • IBM-DB2
    • Cubrid
    • DB++
    • dBase
    • filePro
    • FireBird/InterBase
    • FrontBase
    • Ingres
    • MaxDB
    • mSQL
    • Ovrimos SQL
    • Paradox
    • SQLite
    • SQLite3
    • SQLSRV


  • With PHP you can create and generate dynamic page content.
  • It can Create, Write, Read, Delete and close files from server
  • Used to store form data.
  • Compatible for building e-commerce, online course Platforms.
  • With PHP we can also encrypt data and restrict some users accessing pages or visiting website.
  • Handle Cookies.


Do you know that many global websites are built in PHP and also used till date,

  1. Facebook
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Tumblr
  4. Slack
  5. MailChimp
  6. Etsy
  7. WordPress



The latest PHP Version is 8.0 which is released on 26 November 2020 which is a major version and has various changes as compared to previous versions. Let us take a look on the versions released.


  • Released on 8 June 1995 Which is officially called as Personal Home Page Tools and also the original name.
  • Currently there is no support for this version and no correct date when the support was closed.


  • Released on 1 November 1997 Which is officially called as PHP/FI 2.0.
  • This is the first release that  is characterised as PHP, being a standalone language with many features that have existence till date.
  • Currently there is no support for this version and no correct date when the support was closed.


  • Released on 6 June 1998.
  • Here the development moved from one person to multiple developers, who rewrote the base doe this version 
  • The support for this version was closed on 20 October 2000.


  • Released on 22 May 2000 and support was closed on 23 June 2001.
  • Added more advanced two-stage parse/execute tag-parsing system called the Zend engine.
    • VERSION 4.1
      • Released on 10 December 2001 and support was closed on 12 March 2002.
      • In this version SUPER GLOBALS were introduced ($_GET,$_POST,$_REQUEST,$_SESSION …)
    • VERSION 4.2
      • Released on 22 April 2002 and support was closed on 6 September 2002.
      • Disabled register_globals by default. Data received over the network is not inserted directly into the global namespace anymore, closing possible security holes in applications.
    • VERSION 4.3
      • Released on 27 December 2002 and support was closed on 31 March 2005.
      • Introduced the command-line interface (CLI), to supplement the CGI.
    • VERSION 4.4
      • Released on 11 July 2005 and support was closed on 7 August 2008.
      • Fixed a memory corruption bug, which required breaking binary compatibility with extensions compiled against PHP version 4.3.x 


  • Released on 13 July 2004 and support was closed on 5 September 2005.
    • VERSION 5.1,5.2,5.3
      • Performance improvements .
      • Added PHP Data Objects (PDO) as a consistent interface for accessing databases.
      • JSON support.
      • Namespace support, garbage collection,Improved windows support
      • SQL LITE 3
      • MySQLND
      • PHP archives
      • Support for all these versions are closed.Zend engine II was introduced with new object model.
    • VERSION 5.4,5,5,5,.6
      • Trait support, short array syntax support..
      • Removed some iitems
      • Performance improvements
      • Improvements to existing features
      • Reduced memory requirements
      • Support for all these versions are closed.


  • Released on 3 December 2015 and support was closed on 10 January 2019
  • Many functions, data types & scalar types were introduced
    • VERSION 7.1,7.2
      • void return type, class constant visibility modifiers
      • Object parameter and return type declaration
      • abstract method overriding
    • VERSION 7.3
      • Released on 6 December 2018 
      • Performance improvements
      • Some syntax were introduced
      • Performance was increased as compared to previous versions.
      • Support will be closed on 6 December 2021
    • VERSION 7.4
      • Released on 28 November 2019 
      • Performance improvements
      • Improvements in old features.
      • Need to add ISSET() while checking any array or value
      • Need to use INT datatype for integer values.
      • Support will be closed on 28 November 2022


  • Released on 26 November 2020
  • Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation
    • is a way of executing computer code that involves compilation during execution of a program rather than before execution.
  • Arrays starting with a negative index.
  • Mixed type
  • String return type.
  • Support will be closed on 26 November 2023

If you are using PHP for your website then i recommend you to install PHP 8.0 which is the latest version and start working on it as it is the major release and have many changes compared to previous versions.


  • Cross Platform
    • Can run on many platforms including windows, Linux, and Mac which means if you developed a website in Windows and if you try to run it in other platforms like Linux or mac, It will run without any issue.
    • It is easy for users to find hosting server providers.
  • Easy database Connection
    • You can connect to database easily using PHP
  • Easy to use
    • PHP is very simple and easy to use and you can learn PHP fastly if you have a good knowledge on C language as it uses C like syntax.
  • Open Source
    • It is developed and maintained by large group of PHP developers, This will help in creating a support community.
  • Performance
    • As the version of PHP is increasing there is a good development in PHP performance
    • Scripts written in PHP runs faster then those written in other scripting languages.
  • Stable
    • Since it is maintained by many developers , when bugs are found, it can be fixed quickly
  • Library Support
    • You can easily find libraries or modules such as PDF,Graph etc.
  • Reuse of Files
    • In PHP you use the same file multiple time without writing it n every page
    • You can reuse them by including the file.
    • This saves the time and in future if any changes occur you can change in single file.
  • Security
    • As it is Open source, Every one can see the source code 
  • Not sutiable to large applications
  • Using more features of PHP framework and tools cause poor performance of online applications
  • Tough to manage.


PHP usually starts and ends with <?php ?> syntax  where <?php is the opening tag and ?> is the closing tag.You can write your code inside your syntax.

Every execution of the code should end with semicolon (;)

Lets see how to Print “Hello World”

     echo "Hello world";



There are more than 40 Frameworks in PHP.This says that how big is PHP, Let us see the list of Frameworks

  • Laravel
  • Symfony
  • CodeIgniter
  • Yii Framework
  • Cake PHP
  • Phalcon
  • Zend
  • Aura
  • Fuel PHP
  • PHPixie
  • Kohana
  • Slim
  • Flight
  • Medoo
  • Simple MVC
  • Nette
  • Fat-free
  • PHP Mini
  • Zikula
  • Silex
  • Agavi
  • Typo 3 Flow
  • Prado
  • Cappuccino
  • Limonade
  • Webasyst
  • Guzzle PHP
  • YAF
  • Akelos PHP framework
  • Qcodo
  • evoCore
  • Stratus
  • Seagull
  • Maintainable
  • Limb
  • Phocoa
  • AjaxAC
  • Zoop
  • BlueShoes
  • Recess
  • PHPDevShell

Uff, finally listed the frameworks, Yes PHP has these many frameworks and most of them haven’t heard about some of the frameworks, Actually not some they are more.

Let us know more about each Frameworks in the next Chapter, Stay Tuned. 

So as i said did you learn or know something about PHP? I learnt a lot while writing this article. Comment down your views on how did you feel about this post and let me know if you want me to write an article on any other programming language.

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