What Is PHP

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PHP is an acronym for Pre Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP is code run server-side that outputs HTML, but can also be used to output other formats such as CSS, JavaScript and many more.

A PHP file can also contain several different data types, such as data structures, arrays, strings, or number fields.

PHP is a server-side scripting language

PHP is a popular server and scripting language used for web development and the development of web applications. PHP is often used to write dynamically generated web pages and is one of the most popular and widely used world wide web scripting languages in the world.

The worlds most popular content management system, WordPress, is developed in PHP.

Besides building interactive Web pages, PHP can also be embedded in web applications such as mobile apps.

PHP is used to create web pages, store and send e-mails and respond to e-mails and files you upload or download. The output of a PHP script is HTML, which is then rendered by the web browser.

PHP scripts are server-side scripts, meaning the code is executed on the server, and the results are sent to the web browser in pure HTML. The HTML is then rendered in the browser and the user is shown the website.

PHP is a server side scripting language that runs code on the server to output HTML which is sent to the users browser. Usually PHP is hosted on a web hosting service, but can run on a number of services from dedicated hosting, cloud hosting, managed WordPress hosting and virtual private servers.

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PHP can be directly added to HTML

HTML can also be used to develop static websites, while PHP can be used to create components that make your website dynamic.

PHP can be used to embed forms into a web page. When the form is submitted, PHP code is executed that will send you an e-mail to notify you of the form's submission and the contents.

While many programming languages can be used to create web applications, PHP is one of the few languages designed specifically for the web. Consider the ability to easily connect to MySQL, Oracle, and other databases, as well as the ease of installation on a web server.

One of PHP's nice features is its you can insert parts of your code into the HTML of a page. You can insert PHP into HTML code, save it as .php and run it using Nginx or Apache.

When the web page is visited, PHP processes the code and sends the web browser the HTML output, which is then rendered by your web browser.

Therefore, scripting in PHP can be as simple as programming HTML manually or as complex as is needed in your website development.


PHP is often used with a SQL database system such as MySQL or MariaDB. With a database, data such as users login details, previous orders and more can be stored. PHP has in built support for a number of database systems, and can be quickly setup to connect to a database and retrieve and store data. 

Without MySQL popular content management systems such as WordPress would not be possible.

Optimising PHP Performance

PHP performance can be increased with a number of web cache solutions offered by NGINX. NGINX can have custom profiles to save the output of a PHP file into a static file. This static file can be checked against a live version, have an expiry date and can be deleted to be regenerated. This takes the pressure of a web server as the static html causes no CPU or ram usage when rendering for the user.

PHP performance can also be boosted with opcache in a similar way to how NGINX handles caching. PHP outputs are saved, and if the output does not match the query, a new query is run and then cached.

Optimising PHP for performance is an important step in running a website, a faster loading website gives better search engine optimisation benefits.

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