What is PHP?

PHP is the acronym for “PHP Hypertext Preprocessor”. It is a server scripting language and is useful for making webpages more interactive and dynamic. A website is deemed to be dynamic if the user sees customized information every time he visits the web page. The information may be based on data that the customer has provided or from an external database source. Traditionally, producing these dynamic pages employs the help of CGI scripts. However, these are separate programs and gives the disadvantage that they typically become memory hogs as the load in the server increases

PHP gave a solution to this problem by becoming a part of the web server. It is extending the functionality of the server sot that it can process without having to perform extra processes. There are others that are extending the same kind of services but PHP offers tremendous connectivity to most of the databases.

Advantages of using PHP

PHP has increasing its popularity in the technology world. As a general-purpose scripting language, it is suited to server-side web development. Its credibility is unquestionable as the networking site, Facebook, and an organization like Harvard University are based both on PHP. PHP has the advantage in that it is easy to maintain and update.

Some of its advantages are listed below:

  • PHP is open source, which means that it is absolutely free.
  • PHP is easy to understand compared with other scripting languages which can be complicated.
  • PHP can run on various platforms and supports a wide range of databases.
  • PHP can create dynamic websites which can attract a lot of visitors in your website.
  • PHP can be easily embedded to HTML.
  • PHP offers speed and stability.
  • There is rapid feature development in PHP.

Disadvantages of PHP in web development

PHP has been acclaimed to be very widely useful but it is not exempted from drawbacks. Some of the major disadvantages are as follows:

  • It is not good to create desktop applications.
  • It may have known or unknown vulnerabilities which makes it susceptible to security flaws.

Functions of PHP

PHP’s greatest asset is in its wide range of built-in functions. These include:

  • Access to widespread databases
  • Manipulate arrays
  • Perform a wide range of mathematical functions and perform arbitrary precision mathematics
  • Capacity to display date and time in varied formats
  • Browse directory trees and perform network functions
  • Send mail and set cookies
  • Perform multiple operations on the server file system

What can PHP do for me?

As you design your website, PHP can do a lot of things for you. PHP can generate dynamic webpage content. It can enable you to create, open, read, write and close files on the server. It also can collect form data and send and receive cookies. With PHP, you can add, delete ad modify data in your database. You can also encrypt data using PHP and can restrict users to access some pages on your site.

Should you want to keep track of the number of people visiting your website, through PHP, you can create a page hit counter. And if you want visitors to login, you can also create an area in your webpage where users may register and you may gather quick facts about them. This information is stored in a database and is encrypted with passwords. You can also inform the users of the last time they visited your website through storing a cookie on the browser of the user. One of the most practical applications of the PHP is in creating web forums. You can create a forum or update or improve an existing one. MySQL database is the storage centre for forum information in PHP.