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Programming Basics: An Introduction To PHP & PHP Scripts

Programming Basics: An Introduction To PHP & PHP Scripts

Learn what PHP is. And understand how to write PHP scripts. This guide will teach you the fundamentals of writing PHP scripts without prior knowledge. Let’s go!

What is PHP?

PHP is a general-purpose server-side scripting and programming language. PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor and was first introduced by Rasmus Lerdorf. It is open-source, so primarily used in the web development industry.

PHP is used by 77.6% of all the websites whose server-side programming language we know.


In this article, we will go over the basics of PHP and PHP scripts in a simple and easy to understand way.

PHP is a relatively easy language to start. Even without extensive knowledge anyone can polish their entry-level coding skills. PHP runs on all major operating systems, such as Windows, UNIX, Linux, and macOS. It also supports different databases like MySQL, Microsoft Access, and Oracle. Plus, web servers including Apache and IIS.

Despite its simplicity, it has excellent online support and documentation.   

Versions of PHP

Version 4Version 5Version 7.1Version 7.2
Version 7.3Version 7.4Version 8.0Version 8.1

#Fact- “PHP Version 7 is used by 67.8% of all the websites that use PHP.”

#Info-  PHP’s latest version is 8.2, released on November 24, 2022

What is a PHP Script?

A PHP script is a set of instructions written in the PHP programming language. These scripts can be used to create dynamic web pages, perform tasks on a web server, and communicate with databases. They are widely used by developers to power websites and enable them to display complex information quickly and easily.

Applications of PHP Scripts

Server-Side Scripting

The primary purpose of PHP is server-side scripting. To begin working on a desktop computer with PHP, you need a PHP parser, a web server (such as Apache), and a web browser like Google Chrome.

Command Line Scripting

If you wish to utilize PHP programming on Linux or task scheduling on Windows, you don’t require a web server; rather, a PHP Parser is all that’s necessary. This is referred to as “command line scripting”.

Desktop Applications

Although PHP is not ideal for creating desktop applications, it offers additional features, like the PHP-GTK extension. PHP-GTK offers an object-oriented user interface, allowing the user to customize their experience.

Benefits of PHP Scripts

  • Easy to use: 
    One of the most significant advantages of PHP scripts is that it’s relatively easy to learn (compared to other coding languages) and use, with most of its syntax drawing on other popular programming languages. 
    As a result, almost anyone can start writing and using PHP scripts for their website or application without prior experience.
  • Scalability: 
    PHP is considered a scalable programming language due to its flexibility in demand, performance, and user requirements. It allows developers to continually add new features and functions as they are needed while providing stability during any changes. 
    This advantage makes it ideal for websites hosting extensive data or requiring significant customization over time.
  • Universal Compatibility: 
    Due to its universal compatibility, developers can write code in PHP that will work across multiple platforms like Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Unix – even if users have an older version of the OS than everyone else is running. 
  • Object Oriented Programming: 
    With the newer version of PHP 5, developers can write object-oriented code. OPP’s four principles – Abstraction, Encapsulation, Inheritance, and Polymorphism – allow more efficient web development with fewer bugs. This makes them easier to solve when they arise.
  • Wide Range Of CMS: 
    Many popular content management systems (CMS), including WordPress, were built using PHP.
    CMS enables the rapid development of web applications. It doesn’t matter if you need a dynamic website or an advanced online store. These CMSs provide adequate solutions.  
  • Cost Effective:
    Most customers/developers can develop online applications to reduce development costs.
    PHP scripts offer solutions that deliver the same functionality but at a lower cost than alternative solutions built in other languages.
  • High Performance & Security: 
    When optimized correctly, leveraging high-performance backend architecture strategies such as caching techniques (storing output HTML versus generating logic every request), developing security patches & scheduling maintenance routines accordingly. 
    There’s no reason why PHP applications can’t meet your desired performance level.

Getting Started with PHP Scripts

To get started with PHP, you’ll need three things:

(i) An installed PHP version.

(ii) XAMPP.

(iii) A code editor for writing PHP code.

(i) An installed PHP version.

The official PHP website ( has installation instructions for PHP:

(ii) XAMPP.

To get started with PHP, you’ll need to download and install a web server like Apache, as well as a database such as MySQL. For working locally on your computer you can easily download XAMPP from the Apache Friends website. 

(iii) A code editor for writing PHP code.

These 10 Best Free PHP Editors provide excellent code editing functionality.

  1. Visual Studio Code
  2. Atom
  3. Brackets
  4. GNU Emacs
  5. Vim
  6. Bluefish
  7. jEdit
  8. Notepad++
  9. RJ TextEd
  10. TextMate

Once everything is configured, you’re ready to start programming with PHP!

Writing First PHP Script

PHP script follows the format below:


$txt = "My first PHP Script.";

echo "Hi, this is $txt";


As a result, the output of this PHP file looks like the below:

Hi, this is My first PHP Script.

Note That:-

  • All PHP scripts will follow the format that begins with <?php and ends with ?> after the instruction.
  • PHP tags are case sensitive.

Reading is recommended 😀  Career in Web Based Application Development using PHP Scripts

Selling PHP Scripts

PHP developers can create best PHP scripts such as content management systems, e-commerce systems, and other web-based applications. They can offer their scripts as a service to clients. Furthermore, they can also become a seller on Codentheme, a digital marketplace for readymade PHP scripts.

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