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Is PHP Still Relevant? Quick Facts and Alternatives for 2023

PHP has been around for close to 3 decades now. It has made its mark as the most used programming language for back-end web development. But is PHP still relevant today?

Despite the emergence of new programming languages and frameworks, PHP remains an important tool for web developers. In fact, it still powers a vast portion of the web, from content management systems to eCommerce websites. As a developer, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll encounter PHP at some point in your career, whether working on legacy projects or new APIs.

It’s true that opinions on PHP’s relevance in 2023 may vary, but there are strong arguments in favor of its continued use. With a large community, an extensive library of resources, and a relatively easy learning curve, PHP is not only alive and well, but also constantly adapting to new web development trends. So, as you explore the world of PHP, keep in mind that it remains a valuable skill for any web developer.

What Is PHP?

You might have heard of the term PHP, especially if you’re into website development. So, what exactly is PHP? It’s a server-side scripting language, which stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. Although it’s been around for quite some time, it remains widely relevant in the web development world.

When PHP was first released back in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf, it started as a simple set of Common Gateway Interface (CGI) binaries written in C. Now, PHP has grown into a full-fledged scripting language, empowering numerous content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and even popular frameworks like Laravel.

The primary purpose of PHP is to help you create dynamic web pages. When a user requests a web page, your server processes the PHP code and sends the final output to the user’s browser. This process enables you to create customized and interactive web experiences for your visitors.

Your PHP skills can be used in various applications, from CMS and customer rights management systems to eCommerce platforms. Moreover, PHP is often leveraged for designing API endpoints, making it an essential tool for seamlessly connecting mobile applications and web services.

Is PHP Still Relevant in 2023?

So, let’s talk about PHP’s relevance in website development today.

First of all, PHP isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it’s currently ranked 8th on the TIOBE Index, up from 10th place last year. Pretty impressive, right? It just goes to show that PHP is still widely used and both developers and companies continue to find value in it.

Now, let’s explore some reasons why PHP is sticking around and still relevant in 2023:

  1. Popularity: Yeah, popularity matters. PHP remains one of the most popular server-side scripting languages and is used by millions of websites worldwide. Its popularity means an extensive community of developers, which translates to invaluable support, resources, and tools.
  2. Ease of use: PHP’s syntax is simple to learn and use, making it a popular choice for beginners and experienced developers alike. This easy learning curve keeps new developers coming into the PHP world and seasoned developers sticking around.
  3. Performance: With the introduction of PHP 7 and beyond, performance has significantly improved, making it faster and more efficient for web development tasks. These enhancements ensure PHP stays competitive with other languages in terms of speed and resource management.

What’s more, there are a few trends that show promises for PHP’s future:

  • AI and Machine Learning: In the coming years, it’s expected that more PHP developers will integrate AI and machine learning into their web projects, further expanding PHP’s versatility and applications.
  • Progressive Web Applications (PWAs): PHP can be used to develop PWAs, which provide a mobile app-like experience on the web. As PWAs gain traction, PHP’s influence and utility in this area will likely grow as well.

PHP is certainly staying strong going forward. Its popularity, ease of use, performance improvements, and emerging trends are keeping PHP alive and kicking. So, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, it’s clear that PHP remains a solid choice for web development.

Why Is PHP Considered Outdated by Many?

Despite its popularity and widespread use in web development, PHP has garnered a reputation of being considered outdated by many. One of the reasons for this notion is the emergence of alternatives like Node for JavaScript that have been widely adopted by developers in recent years.

A major factor contributing to this perception is PHP’s history. Developed over 25 years ago, the language has evolved a lot since then. Unfortunately, many of the older versions with outdated practices and poor coding standards continue to be used, casting a shadow over PHP’s more modern, efficient, and improved offerings.

Additionally, PHP often gets criticized for its lack of strict typing, which can lead to potential security risks and code maintenance issues. Although recent versions of PHP have introduced better typing support, languages such as TypeScript and Python offer robust type systems that numerous developers find appealing.

Here are some more reasons PHP might be considered outdated:

  • PHP is often seen as slow compared to more modern languages, although its performance has improved significantly in recent versions.
  • Some argue that PHP frameworks like Laravel and Symfony, while powerful, can be more complex than alternative frameworks in other languages.
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But remember, while some people view PHP as outdated, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t still a relevant and useful language for many web development projects. The language continues to be updated, with regular releases offering performance improvements and new features to help you build robust applications.

While it’s essential to be aware of the criticisms, it’s also worth considering PHP’s enduring popularity and vast ecosystem when deciding if it’s right for your project.

macbook pro beside white ceramic mug on brown wooden table with PHP code on the screen
Photo by Nathan da Silva @ Unsplash

Is PHP Being Continuously Updated?

Good news, PHP is still actively developed and updated! In fact, the latest version of PHP, version 8.2, was released in December 2022. And guess what? PHP 8.3 is already on the horizon, slated for release in 2023. So, rest assured that PHP is far from being a stale language.

When it comes to frameworks, new ones pop up all the time, giving you an array of options to choose from. These frameworks simplify and speed up development processes, making it even more enjoyable for you to work with PHP. Some popular PHP frameworks include:

  • Laravel: Ideal for web applications, Laravel offers a clean and elegant syntax, making it a favorite among developers.
  • Symfony: Used for both large and small projects, Symfony provides reusable components that help increase your productivity.
  • CodeIgniter: Known for its lightweight and easy-to-learn nature, CodeIgniter is great for beginners while still offering robust features for experienced developers.

Feel free to explore other PHP frameworks as well; you’ll discover many that cater to different project requirements and preferences. With continuous updates and new frameworks popping up, PHP remains a relevant, powerful, and versatile language for web development.

What Do Statistics Say about PHP?

Being a technically-inclined person, you surely might want to get an objective view on how prevalent the use of PHP is in today’s development scene. Well, the numbers speak for themselves. Here is a dive into some interesting statistics to give you a better perspective on the state of PHP today.

First, it’s important to know that PHP powers a significant percentage of all websites on the internet. According to W3Techs’ data, PHP was the server-side language for 78.9% of websites back in November 2018. While that number may have slightly declined over the years, it’s still a substantial portion of the online world.

Additionally, PHP’s popularity is reflected in its developer community. Many developers continue to learn and use PHP in their projects.

If you’re still doubting PHP’s relevance, consider that the recent release of PHP 8 has shown significant improvements in terms of performance. In fact, benchmarks indicate PHP 8 is more than three times faster than PHP 5.6.

Here are some more interesting facts about PHP:

  • It’s used by popular content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla
  • Major eCommerce platforms, including Magento and WooCommerce, rely heavily on PHP
  • PHP is a common choice for building APIs and various web applications
  • It’s estimated that there are millions of PHP developers worldwide

In summary, statistics show that PHP still holds a prominent spot in the web development landscape. As a developer, it’s safe to say that having PHP in your toolbox is a valuable asset. So don’t hesitate to explore and integrate PHP into your projects, as many others in the industry still rely on it.

What Prominent Companies Still Use PHP?

Despite the popularity of other programming languages, many prominent companies continue to rely on PHP for their web development needs. Let’s take a look at some of these major players and how they use PHP to power their websites.

  • Facebook: Yes, the social media giant you spend countless hours browsing utilizes PHP! Facebook has developed an open-source performance improvement for PHP called HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine) to speed up their operations. Their commitment to PHP remains strong as they continue to evolve their infrastructure.
  • WordPress: It’s no secret that WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) out there. Did you know that it’s built on PHP? That’s right, your blog or website that runs on WordPress owes its existence to PHP, and the platform still shows no signs of dropping PHP anytime soon.
  • MailChimp: If you’ve ever sent a newsletter or email campaign, chances are you’ve used MailChimp. This widely-used email marketing platform is another excellent example of a company that harnesses the power of PHP to provide its services.
  • Adobe Stock: You might have heard of the leading stock photography marketplace Adobe Stock. Interestingly, it still uses PHP in its core development. Adobe Stock showcases how versatile PHP can be and demonstrates its suitability for even the most demanding projects.

These examples give you a glimpse of how PHP is still relevant in today’s tech landscape. These prominent companies trust PHP for their web development needs, proving that PHP has a lot to offer and is not to be underestimated. So next time you’re considering which programming language to learn next or choose for your new project, remember that PHP is still very much in the game!

Do New Companies Use PHP as Well?

Yes, new companies still use PHP for their web development projects. While it may not be the trendiest programming language, PHP remains reliable and offers a cost-effective solution for small to medium-sized businesses. Thanks to the release of PHP 8.2 and modern PHP frameworks like Laravel and Symfony, PHP development has come a long way from the infamous spaghetti code of its early days.

As you start your journey into the world of PHP, you’ll find that it’s an approachable language that offers plenty of advantages. For instance, nearly 78.9% of websites today use PHP, meaning there’s an abundance of resources and a strong PHP community to support you in your development projects. And with companies like WordPress and Facebook using PHP, it’s evident that learning this language can open up many career opportunities for you.

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It’s worth mentioning that the industry continues to evolve, and other languages like JavaScript and Python might be more popular in some niches. Nevertheless, PHP remains a practical choice for many web development projects, thanks to its accessibility and compatibility with popular content management systems (CMS) like WordPress.

people sitting down near table with assorted laptop computers
Photo by Marvin Meyer@ Unsplash

Are PHP Developers Getting Hired Easily?

As an aspiring, or perhaps experienced, PHP developer, you may be wondering if finding work in your field is relatively easy or increasingly challenging. Rest assured, there are still opportunities for those who specialize in this programming language, despite the emerging popularity of other languages.

In fact, there are over 6 million software developers skilled in PHP around the world, showing that the demand is still present. PHP developers are getting hired, but just like any other profession, you need to stay relevant and up to date with the latest trends and technologies.

These days, being proficient in PHP often goes hand-in-hand with having a holistic approach to web development. To boost your employment prospects, consider branching out and gaining experience in other languages and tools, which can make your profile even more attractive to potential employers.

For instance, having a solid understanding of databases and modern frameworks could put you in a better position in the job market.

To further enhance your career prospects, don’t forget to showcase your portfolio and involvement in previous projects. Providing contacts of former employers or clients for references can also support your credibility as a PHP developer. This extra effort will not only help you stand out among the competition but can also save potential employers some time during their selection process.

In summary, as long as you maintain a diverse skill set and continue to learn new technologies, you can rest easy knowing that PHP developers like yourself are still in demand.

Will PHP Still Be Relevant in the Future?

You might be wondering if PHP will still be a relevant programming language in the future. It’s a valid concern, especially with all the buzz around newer languages and frameworks. However, rest assured that PHP is definitely here to stay.

Firstly, PHP powers many content management systems, eCommerce platforms, and APIs that feed mobile applications. These content management systems and platforms, like WordPress, have been around for decades and continue to dominate the website space on the internet, which means PHP will remain active for years to come. (Did you know that WordPress powers more than 40% of the internet?)

Moreover, W3Techs reported that PHP is still used in 78.9% of websites where the server technology can be detected. Even though newer tech like Node.js may be gaining popularity, PHP continues to maintain its strong position in the web.

Another reason to believe in the future of PHP is its evolution and growth. The language is constantly getting better, with new features and improvements being introduced regularly. By using modern frameworks, you can enjoy the benefits of cleaner, more effective code, and better development practices.

Now, let’s not forget that PHP is an in-demand skill. According to LinkedIn, PHP development services are still sought after in 2023 and beyond. So, by investing time in learning and mastering PHP, you’ll be adding a valuable asset to your skillset.

To sum it up, while there are many programming languages and new technologies emerging, PHP remains a cornerstone of web development. As long as you stay updated with the latest advancements and best practices, you’ll find PHP worthy of your time and effort.

Why You Should Learn PHP over Other Technologies?

One reason to learn PHP is its ease of learning, especially if you’re already familiar with HTML. PHP code can be embedded within HTML, which reduces the learning curve and allows you to reuse code blocks more efficiently.

Another advantage PHP offers is its compatibility with a wide range of web development frameworks. Some popular options include Symfony, Laravel, CodeIgniter, Zend, FuelPHP, and Phalcon. By learning PHP, you gain the ability to work with these frameworks, which can lead to faster development times and fewer errors.

PHP is also known for its flexibility and maintenance balance, making it a comfortable choice for building server-side web applications. The language evolves continuously, adapting to modern web development needs and improving its performance over time.

To give you a better picture of why PHP is a superior choice, here are some benefits you stand to gain:

  • Open-source: PHP is free to use, allowing you to develop applications without incurring additional costs.
  • Rich library support: PHP boasts extensive built-in functions, making it easier to manage tasks such as manipulating HTML, working with files, and handling sessions.
  • Easy database integration: PHP works seamlessly with various database management systems, like MySQL, easing the process of storing and retrieving data for your web application.
  • Large community: PHP has a vast and active community that contributes to its development, offers support, and continuously updates documentation.

With all these advantages, it’s not surprising that PHP is well worth learning despite the appearance of other technologies. So, give it a try – and who knows? You may just fall in love with PHP as your go-to web development language.

silver imac on brown wooden desk with PHP code
Photo by Andy Holmes @ Unsplash

Is PHP Difficult to Learn?

When it comes to learning PHP, you might be wondering how difficult it is to pick up, especially compared to other programming languages. The good news is that PHP is generally considered an accessible and beginner-friendly language.

One reason PHP is easy to grasp is its comprehensive official documentation, which covers a wide range of modules with clear explanations of syntaxes. Coupled with an abundance of tutorials available across the web, you’ll have plenty of resources to learn from.

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As a server-side programming language, PHP shares some similarities with other languages like Python, which are known for their ease of use. Both languages require a basic understanding of programming concepts, but you won’t feel too overwhelmed as you dive into PHP.

Here are a few reasons why PHP might be easier for you to learn:

  • Syntax: PHP syntax is relatively straightforward and shares some similarities with other C-based programming languages. If you have experience with languages like C++ or JavaScript, you will see familiar elements as you learn PHP.
  • Resources: As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of tutorials and online resources available for PHP. This makes it easy for you to progress in your learning journey at your own pace.
  • Community: PHP has been around for quite some time, which means there is a large community of developers who are more than happy to help newcomers. You can find support and guidance on platforms like Reddit and Stack Overflow.

Remember, learning any language requires dedication and persistence. PHP might be relatively easier to learn, but it will still take time and effort to become proficient. So, keep practicing and experimenting with PHP projects, and you’ll find yourself making progress in no time.

What Are Some Alternatives to PHP?

As a developer, you might wonder what other options are available for server-side development.

There are numerous alternatives to PHP, each with its unique benefits. In this section, we’ll explore some of these alternatives and highlight their differences from PHP.

Ruby

Ruby is an object-oriented programming language known for its elegant and clean syntax. Ruby on Rails, a popular web application framework, is built on Ruby and emphasizes convention over configuration. This approach can save you time and make your development process smoother. Unlike PHP, Ruby is often seen as more enjoyable to work with due to its readability and expressiveness.

Node.js

Node.js is a server-side JavaScript runtime built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine. It enables you to use JavaScript for server-side development, making it an excellent option if you’re already familiar with client-side JavaScript. While PHP is traditionally synchronous, Node.js uses an asynchronous, event-driven model for handling requests, making it particularly well-suited for scalable and high-performance applications.

Python

Python is another strong alternative to PHP. Known for its simplicity and readability, Python is a versatile programming language widely used in web development, data science, and more. With popular web frameworks like Django and Flask, you can quickly build robust web applications. Python’s extensive standard library and vast ecosystem make it a powerful choice for web development.

Java

Java is a popular, object-oriented programming language and an alternative to PHP for building web applications. It’s known for its platform independence and can run on any device that has a Java Virtual Machine (JVM). With robust frameworks like Spring and JavaServer Faces, you can create large-scale, enterprise-level applications. Java tends to be more verbose than PHP, but it excels in performance and scalability.

Go

Go, also known as Golang, is a statically typed, compiled language developed by Google. It’s designed to be simple, efficient, and easy to use. Go’s concurrency model, called goroutines, sets it apart from PHP by making it easier to write high-performance, concurrent web applications. While it’s still relatively new compared to other languages, Go is quickly gaining popularity for its speed and simplicity.

Rust

Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, concurrency, and performance. Although Rust’s use cases may differ from PHP, it is still a viable alternative for web development, offering impressive execution speeds and memory safety features. The Rust ecosystem, while still growing, includes web frameworks like Rocket and Actix, which enable the creation of fast and secure web applications.

These are some of the most popular alternatives to PHP, each with their unique strengths and differences. It’s essential to explore these options and find the language or framework that best suits your needs and preferences.

Conclusion

In today’s fast-paced digital world, it’s natural for you to wonder if PHP is still relevant for web development and whether it’s a good choice of a programming language. Indeed, PHP remains an essential and widely-used language in web development. Despite some mockery and debate on its value, PHP developers continue to make a good living working with the language.

So, what does this mean for you? It’s worth investing time and effort into learning or sharpening your PHP skills. The language isn’t going anywhere yet, and it can be a valuable asset to your web development toolkit.

As you explore PHP further, you’ll discover its benefits, such as its compatibility with numerous platforms and its flexibility. Keep in mind that alternatives like Rust, Python, and JavaScript exist for back-end development, but there’s still a place for PHP in the web development landscape.

If you choose to work with PHP, make sure to stay up-to-date on the latest updates and frameworks. By doing this, you’ll be better equipped to make the most of your PHP development projects and secure a bright future in the world of web development.