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What Is PHP Used for in Web Development?

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In 1994, Rasmus Lerdorf introduced the first version of PHP, which served as a small open source project. But as more people realized its importance, its popularity grew. Today, PHP is one of the most commonly used scripting languages in web and software development. This means that every professional web developer needs to be familiar with PHP. So, what is PHP used for in web development? In this article, we will discuss the importance of PHP in web development.

What Is PHP?

PHP is a server-side scripting language that is embedded in HTML. This language is used in the development of static and dynamic sites. It is also used to develop web applications. Previously, PHP stood for Personal Home Pages. Today, the initials stand for the acronym Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP scripts are only interpreted on servers that are running PHP. Furthermore, PHP files contain PHP tags and must end with a “.php” extension. 

The good thing about this scripting language is that any client computer accessing PHP scripts only requires a web browser.  

Role of PHP in Web Development

Since PHP is a server-side scripting language, all the processing of the language is done on the server. This means that the processing utilizes the resources of the server and not the client’s computer. Therefore, the clients will only receive the output. Another important role of PHP is to enable proper database interaction. This is especially important when developing a business website, because it allows you to create a website that has all the necessary features and ensures that they perfectly interact with the database. Unlike other scripting languages, PHP can exchange all kinds of information without a hassle.

Another important function of PHP in web development is to improve the overall speed of the site. The fact that PHP has its own memory space makes it one of the better options for web design and development, especially when it comes to speed. Moreover, PHP allows you to add, delete, and modify components within the database. This role is important because web developers require great flexibility so that they can create websites that meet industry standards and serve the intended purposes.

With the ability and flexibility to create different features and incorporate as many functions as possible into your website, you are assured that the site will perform optimally and serve its intended purpose. This also helps you to make the website friendly to the user.

PHP is also important for accessing and setting cookies. Cookies are normally used to categorize users. They are small files that the server embeds on your computer. Therefore, when you use the same computer to request a page with a browser, you will be given cookies too. So it’s important for any web developer you hire to know how to set up cookies using PHP. To set cookies in PHP, you have to use the “set cookie” function. But you need to install this function before the script generates any outcome. If this doesn’t happen, the cookies won’t be set.

You can also use PHP to limit the pages that are accessible to your users. This is particularly important when you have web pages with sensitive information. Normally, website users are required to verify themselves through the login form whenever they attempt to access restricted pages. With PHP, users will be redirected to the error page any time they try to access pages with sensitive information. This is possible because every web page with protected information has its own entry in the database that is linked to an integer key value defining the role of and status of users that are authorized to access that page.  

PHP can help you to encrypt and decrypt data, especially if your website contains sensitive information. For instance, if you have an e-commerce website that collects customers’ details such as names, addresses, credit card information, and other personal details, you need to find a way to protect this information. Otherwise, it might fall into the wrong hands and have serious consequences.

As a web developer, you need to be able to create and manage online forms. This is where PHP comes in handy. With PHP, you will be able to gather information from online files, save information on your server’s files, and send data or return it to the user through email. This makes your work easy because you can handle multiple files at once and that makes it easier for your users to share information with you through the forms.  

In Summary

PHP is an integral part of web development used by many companies, that makes the work of the website owner easier, safer, and more reliable. It also allows the web developer to create useful functions and features that make the site accessible and more user-friendly.

If you think you might need a PHP developer for your next project, check out our listings of available freelancers here on Guru.

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