Before you learn PHP, you must have a basic understanding of the following:

PHP Hypertext Preprocessor, or PHP, is a server-side scripting language (meaning that scripts are executed on the server). It is powerful enough to be the primary component of the biggest blogging system on the Internet (WordPress), deep enough to run the largest social network (Facebook), and is more widely-used, free to download and use, and efficient alternative to competitors such as Microsoft's Active Server Pages .NET (ASPX).

A Preview of What You're Dealing With

echo "My first PHP script!";

What Defines a PHP File?

A PHP file has the .php extension, can contain plain text, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP code, and is executed on the server and returned to the browser as plain HTML.

What Can PHP Do?

PHP is able to:

  • generate dynamic page content
  • create. open, read, write, delete, and close files on a server
  • collect form data
  • send and receive cookies
  • add, delete, and modify data in a database
  • restrict users to access some pages on a website
  • encrypt data
  • and much more

There are no limits to what you can output. Not only can you output HTML, you can output images, PDF files, and Flash movies. You can also output XML and XHTML.

Why Should I Use PHP?

PHP is multi-platform (meaning it can run on macOS, Windows, Linux, Unix, and other platforms), and PHP is compatible with nearly all servers used today such as IIS and Apache. PHP also supports a wide range of databases and is free to download and use. In fact, it can be downloaded from the official website. PHP is very easy to learn and runs very efficiently on the server.