1. Introduction to PHP Programming

PHP introduction tutorial comprises detailed information about PHP programming for beginners. This basic PHP tutorial is also helpful for advanced users and covers advanced PHP topics and is based on latest version PHP 7. Basically, PHP is a server-side language and runs on the backend of a website or web application. Also, PHP can be used separately or within an HTML markup to obtain the results. The extensive usage of PHP in web applications make it quite popular among developers and has a wide developer community.
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Tutorial Contents:

  1. Intro to PHP, A Brief Overview
  2. What are Scripting Languages?
  3. Differences from OTHER Languages
  4. Ultimate Guide to PHP Basics For Beginners

1.1. What is PHP Programming Language?

  • First of all, PHP is a recursive backronym and stands for Hypertext PreProcessor
  • The most stable release of PHP is PHP 7.4.6 in 2020
  • Secondly, PHP is one of the widely used programming languages and has its popularity over the years
  • Also, there is no cost in using PHP and it is free
  • Moreover, PHP runs over popular databases like MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, etc.
  • Furthermore, PHP gives output to the user in the form of HTML markup
  • Therefore, PHP is a handful tool in developing dynamic web pages
  • Importantly, PHP is a powerful scripting language that runs on the server-side


Initially, PHP was the acronym for Personal Home Page.

1.2. What are PHP Filename Extensions?

Normally, when a PHP file is saved, it is given an extension to make it executable by the interpreter/compiler. There are many filename extensions of PHP, that can be used for a file to make it executable by the interpreter. Plus, the most used PHP filename extension is .php. These PHP filename extensions are listed below:

.php .phtml
.php3 .php4
.php5 .php7
.phps .php-s
.pht .phar

1.3. What is PHP-GTK?

PHP-GTK is a helpful PHP extension as it is useful in language binding implementation. Language binding is referred to as linking the two existing languages. Here, PHP-GTK enables the developers to write PHP code in an object-oriented interface.
In simple words, PHP-GTK is the enhancement of PHP that empower the developers to write cross-platform applications with Graphical User Interface. Also, PHP-GTK is available for both windows and linux users.

What is Scripting Language? Let’s have a brief look at it.

2. Scripting Language

Sometimes, a scripting language is considered a very high-level language for a high level of abstraction. This section will cover the information about the scripting language, usage of scripting language, and some of the most popular scripting languages.

2.1. What is a Scripting Language?

Because the world has turned in a global village and technology is advancing rapidly in almost every task of life. Hence, there is a necessity for automation, to perform certain jobs, to reduce the workload. Therefore, a scripting language plays its role, to automate a runtime-system. Consequently, the workload is shifted to the machine thereafter.
Importantly, a scripting language is interpreted rather than compiled to save time and boost performance.

Consider This:

Do you know that a runtime-system is a runtime-environment, that undergo the implementation of scripting language
to shift some responsibility to the machines, namely computers.

2.2. What are the types of Scripting Languages?

Basically, there are two types of scripting languages:

a. Server Side Scripting Language

  • These type of scripting languages use the resources of a server
  • These scripts are compiled on a server and display only plain text in HTML form
  • These type of scripts are helpful for clients/browsers
  • Node.Js, PHP, Java, Python, Ruby, etc. are the examples

b. Client Side Scripting Language

  • These scrpting languages runs on client side i.e. a browser
  • Client side scripting language solely rely on browser and there is no server involved
  • Initially, the script is downloaded in browser and then executed
  • Client side scripts are added to improve web pages functionality
  • Javascript, AJAX, Jquery, etc. are the examples

3. PHP Differences From OTHER Languages

3.1. What is the Difference Between PHP and HTML?


HTML is a web markup language and the acronym HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. Whereas, PHP is a programming language that runs often on the server-side. The subsequent table summarizes the comparison between PHP and HTML.

Language: PHP HTML
Developed By: Zend Technologies W3C
Type of Language: Programming Language Markup Language
Usage: Server-side Front-end
Code Type: Dynamic Static
Ease of Learning: Relatively easy to learn Relatively hard to learn, includes logic
Browser Compatibility: Compatible with all browsers Compatible with all browsers
Initially Released: 1995 1991
Latest Stable Release: 2020 2017
Latest Version: 7.4 5.2
Open Source: Yes Yes
Cross-Platform: Yes Yes
Filename Extension: .php .html

3.2. What is the Difference Between PHP and ASP.NET?


The acronym ASP stands for Active Server Pages. Moreover, ASP is a .NET framework and is developed by Microsoft.
Let’s examine what is the difference between PHP and ASP.NET? The below table summarizes the comparison of PHP with ASP.NET.

Language: PHP ASP.NET
Developed By: Zend Technologies Microsoft Corporation
Initially Released: 1995 2002
Latest Stable Release: 2020 2019
Latest Version: 7.4 4.8
Hosting Support: All Hosting Servers Support PHP Need Dedicated Server for ASP.NET
License: PHP License Apache License 2.0
Open Source: Yes No
HTML Integration: Easy Complex
Extension to Other Language: Yes No

4. PHP Basics For Beginners

4.1. Starting With PHP

Due to the reputation of the PHP programming language, it has become the developer’s prime choice over the past years. As a noob developer, there is a necessity to have some know-how of fundamental web languages before commencing with PHP. These include the following:

However, HTML and CSS are also sufficient for starting programming with PHP.

4.2. Why is PHP So Popular?

Considering PHP is so popular among developers, there is a reason for that. Beneath are some of the features of PHP that make it so much popular.

  • Easy to use
  • Efficient in execution
  • More reliable security at server-side
  • Too much flexibility
  • Similarity with other languages

Popular PHP Applications

Following are some popular PHP applications that give it so much fame:

  • Facebook: The largest social media website is coded in PHP makes it most compelling
  • WordPress: Approximately 30% of the websites on the internet are hosted by popular CMS WordPress, which is primarily a PHP framework

4.3. What are Uses of PHP?

Due to the robust programming methodologies, PHP is not confined to producing HTML solely. Preferably, it can display images, videos, pdf files, etc. Following are certain PHP benefits that are adequate to take PHP as programmer’s primary choice:

  • Nearly, all the web servers, operating systems, databases can run the PHP
  • When executed on the server-side, it generates dynamic content
  • PHP gives many varieties of output like text, HTML, JSON, image, binary data, JSON, etc.
  • It can perform several operations on the server like create, open, write, read, delete files
  • PHP has its repute due to data collection of forms
  • It can encrypt data to make it secure and safe
  • Cookies can be sent and received using PHP script
  • PHP can add, delete, edit the database
  • It supports both the Command-line interface (CLI) and the Graphical User Interface (GUI)
  • Too many frameworks of PHP are available in the market to help the developers in Rapid Application Development (RAD)

4.4. Write First “Hello World” PHP Program

It is important to know that, there are two methods to integrate PHP and HTML. One way is to write PHP in HTML markup. The other way is to write HTML within the PHP script. Examine the subsequent “Hello World PHP Program” in two different ways to understand more vividly.


In this example, PHP is included inside HTML markup.
<!Doctype HTML>
	<title>PHP Introduction</title>
	<h4><?php echo “Hello, World!”;?></h4>


In this example, HTML is inserted inside PHP code.
<!Doctype HTML>
	<title>PHP Introduction</title>
	<?php echo “<h4>Hello, World!</h4>”;?>

4.5. Output of “Hello World” PHP Program

Both of the above examples will produce the same result on the screen. The server process the PHP code and returns only HTML markup to the browser. The output of this hello world PHP program is as follows:


Hello, World!

4.6. An Advanced PHP Program

The following example is another PHP program. It will check the browser of the user and display it on the screen.



4.7. Output of Advanced PHP Program

The above line of PHP code will display the output on the screen similar to the following output.


Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)

4.8. What’s Next?

Hopefully, this introduction to the PHP tutorial covered all the areas for beginners as well as advanced users. Navigate to the next tutorials to enhance your PHP skills and gain in-depth cognition.

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