Some PHP statistics and brief history.
In 1994 Rasmus Lerdorf wrote logic to track his online resume which he called PHP Tools. In 1995 he released the source code for these tools to the public to use and improve it. The next year Rasmus added new logic to that started to show some features that we see in today’s version of PHP. Again another year later, additional features like database interaction and cookie support was included. It’s popularity grew and by Spring 1998 there were 60,000 domains identified with PHP headers. At the time, this was about 1% of the Internet. (PHP.net)
W3Techs provides some interesting PHP statistics that are updated daily. As of January 2021 the following were noted:
- 79.0% of websites that use a server side programming language use PHP.
- Only 60.7% of these websites are running the current version PHP 7
- 39.0% are using PHP 5 (Mostly 5.6)
PHP 7 was released in Dec 2015. It has been slow for users to convert over to it though because it has a bunch of depreciated features that will require older code to be modified to work on PHP 7. The biggest being the MySQL extension no longer works. So all database queries would need rewritten if it has not yet been done. (This has been depreciated since ver. 5.5.) You can see other depreciated features in PHP 7 and backward incompatibilities here.
If you aren’t running PHP 7, you should think about upgrading for security and speed. (PHP has huge performance gains over PHP 5. Especially with WordPress.)
PHP is free to use. It is open source code so anyone can download and modify if they choose.
The PHP mascot is an elephant. Created by Vincent Pontier. You can read an interview from Vincent of how it came about.