What Does PHP Stand For?

What does PHP stand for?

The acronym PHP has of 48 different variations of the abbreviation, as noted on the Acronym Finder website. Obviously, I am talking about the website development scripting language PHP.

PHP originally was an acronym for Personal Home Page, but has since been changed.  Now PHP stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor

I know, not too interesting : )

The most interesting part is that it is a recursive acronym (An acronym that refers to itself. The “P” stands for PHP.)


Php Logo


PHP is a server side scripting language that is embedded with HTML to build dynamic web pages.  By server side I mean that PHP code is parsed on the web server. Then the result of this is delivered to the web browser, building the web page.  You do not see the PHP source code on a web page, but the result of the processing (HTML).

Some other highlights:

  • Rasmus Lerdorf created the scripting language in 1994.
  • PHP can be installed on different operating systems – Linux, Unix, Windows , Max OS and run on different web servers (Apache, IIS…)
  • PHP can be written as procedural programming and object oriented programming.
  • PHP can “talk” to many types of databases by using database extensions, abstraction layers or ODBC.

You can learn more about PHP here.

Server side programming turns a static site into a dynamic website. By this I mean rather than just looking at text and images on a page that does not change, users can interact with the page to do something and get a result.

Benefits of PHP

The main benefit of PHP in web development is that you can build in functionality that you can not do with HTML alone. Connecting PHP to a web database opens the door to build web applications rather than just “web pages” of text and images.

Related Post:   What is Backend Web Development?

With PHP programming, you can do things like.

  • search information in a database
  • send email
  • submit a contact form
  • manage data stored in a database.

To sum it up, what PHP stands for is trivial, but the benefits of PHP are significant. You can code just about any functionality into a website, it’s an affordable option for web development, and it’s not difficult to learn.

  • PHP is open source – which means it is free to use. Because of this, there is a huge amount of websites built using PHP and there are a huge amount of web developers that use PHP
  • PHP is not difficult learn. Again, because it is easy to learn, there is a large amount of people to use it. This means, a large user community and much documentation on the subject.
  • PHP is highly customizable.

I have been a freelance PHP developer for over 20 years. View examples of websites I have built with PHP or if you need to hire a PHP developer, contact me.



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