Introduction to PHP

Introduction to PHP

PHP, short for Hypertext Preprocessor, is a server-side scripting language widely used for web development. Its inception dates back to 1994 when Rasmus Lerdorf created it for managing his website’s tasks. Since then, PHP has grown into a robust language, empowering developers to generate dynamic content and interact with databases seamlessly. The following example illustrates introduction to PHP and a basic PHP script to greet users based on the time of the day:

$hour = date(‘H’);

if ($hour < 12) {
echo “Good morning!”;
} elseif ($hour < 18) {
echo “Good afternoon!”;
} else {
echo “Good evening!”;

Server-side scripting vs. client-side scripting

Understanding the difference between server-side scripting and client-side scripting is essential to grasp PHP’s significance in web development.

Client-side scripting:

Client-side scripting involves code executed on the user’s web browser. JavaScript is a popular client-side language. For example, the following JavaScript snippet alerts a user when they click a button:

function showAlert() {
alert(“Button clicked!”);

<button onclick=”showAlert()”>Click me</button>

Server-side scripting:

Server-side scripting, handled by PHP, processes data on the web server before sending the final web page to the user’s browser. Consider this PHP example that fetches data from a database and displays it on a web page:

// Assuming a database connection is established
$query = “SELECT * FROM products”;
$result = mysqli_query($connection, $query);

while ($row = mysqli_fetch_assoc($result)) {
echo “<p>{$row[‘product_name’]}</p>”;

Setting up PHP environment

To start coding in PHP, you need a development environment. Here are three common setups:

  • XAMPP:

A cross-platform solution that includes PHP, Apache, MySQL, and more. It offers an easy installation process and simplifies local development.

  • WAMP:

Similar to XAMPP but designed specifically for Windows systems. WAMP sets up PHP, Apache, and MySQL effortlessly.

  • Web hosting:

Many web hosting providers support PHP, allowing you to upload PHP files to their servers and run dynamic web applications online.

PHP’s role in web development

PHP’s versatility makes it a key player in web development, enabling various functionalities such as:

  • User Authentication:

Creating secure login systems to protect user data.

  • Form Handling:

Processing form data submitted by users.

  • Content Management Systems (CMS):

Building user-friendly platforms like WordPress to manage website content efficiently.

  • E-commerce:

Developing online stores with shopping carts and secure payment gateways.


In conclusion, PHP’s server-side scripting capabilities are the backbone of dynamic web development. By setting up a PHP environment and exploring its vast possibilities, developers can craft engaging web experiences that cater to users’ needs and preferences. So, dive into PHP and unlock a world of endless possibilities in web development!

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