What Is PHP Used For?

PHP Benefits and Why PHP Is Used

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PHP is a popular server-side scripting language for the web. It's used all over the internet and is mentioned in lots of web page tutorials and programming guides.

Generally speaking, PHP is used to add a functionality to websites that HTML alone can't achieve, but what does that really mean? Why is PHP used so often and what benefits could you get out of using PHP?

Note: If you're new to PHP, ​hopefully everything we discuss below gives you a taste of the types of features this dynamic language can bring to your website.

If you want to learn PHP, start with a beginners tutorial.

PHP Performs Calculations

PHP can perform all types of calculations, from figuring out what day it is or what day of the week March 18, 2046, falls on, to performing all types of mathematical equations.

In PHP, math expressions are made up of operators and operands. Basic math addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are done using mathematical operators.

The large number of math functions are part of the PHP core. No installation is required to use them.

PHP Collects User Information

PHP also lets users interact directly with the script.

This can be something really simple, like collecting a temperature value that the user wants to convert from degrees to another format. Or, it can be much more extensive, like adding their information to an address book, letting them post on a forum, or participate in a survey. 

PHP Interacts With MySQL Databases

PHP is particularly good at interacting with MySQL databases, which opens endless possibilities.

You can write user-submitted information to a database as well as retrieve information from the database. This allows you to create pages on the fly using the contents of the database. 

You can even perform complex tasks like setting up a login system, create a website search feature, or keep your store's product catalog and inventory online.

You can also use PHP and MySQL to set up an automated picture gallery to showcase products. 

PHP and GD Library Create Graphics

Use the GD Library that comes bundled with PHP to create simple graphics on the fly or to edit existing graphics.

You might want to resize images, rotate them, change them to grayscale, or make thumbnails of them. Practical applications allow users to edit their avatars or generate CAPTCHA verifications. You can also create dynamic graphics that are always changing, such as dynamic Twitter signatures.

PHP Works With Cookies

Cookies are used to identify a user and store the user's preferences as given on the site so the information doesn't have to be re-entered each time the user visits the site. The cookie is a small file embedded on the user's computer.

PHP lets you create, modify, and delete cookies as well as retrieve cookie values.

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Bradley, Angela. "What Is PHP Used For?" ThoughtCo, Apr. 10, 2018, thoughtco.com/what-is-php-used-for-2694011. Bradley, Angela. (2018, April 10). What Is PHP Used For? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-php-used-for-2694011 Bradley, Angela. "What Is PHP Used For?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-php-used-for-2694011 (accessed April 19, 2018).