Why is PHP still Popular in 2022?

Why is PHP still Popular

Why is PHP still Popular in 2022?

“PHP is dead” articles are around for almost a decade and, ironically, PHP still continues to thrive in the web development market. According to the recent data from W3Techs, PHP is still being used by 78% of the websites on the internet.

To give you some idea, here’s a list of some popular websites that use PHP and that we often visit are:

  • Wikipedia
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Zoom
  • WordPress
  • CoinMarketCap, etc.

But before we dive into the reasons why the language is still popular, let’s know a bit about the history of PHP.

PHP was created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. Originally, it was called “Personal Home Page” but soon after it was renamed to the recursive acronym “Hypertext Preprocessor”. However, it was never intended to be used as a programming language until June 1995 when PHP/FI 1.0 got released publicly. Before that, it was just a set of CGI binaries written by Rasmus in his spare time.

PHP stats
The market position of PHP in terms of popularity and traffic compared to the most popular server-side programming languages. [Source]

The latest version (in 2022) of PHP is 8.0.

PHP was created in 1994 but it is still widely used today and here are some reasons to justify that:

1. Cheaper to use

The cost of hiring a PHP developer is much lower than the cost of hiring a Python or Ruby developer. According to GBHSoft, a PHP developer charges $35 per hour whereas a Node.js developer charges $50 per hour (not to mention, with the same expertise level).

PHP vs NodeJS Developer
The average hourly cost of hiring a PHP and a Node.js developer [Data Source]

But why?

Because PHP is being used for web development for a long time, it has a lower entry-level. There are a lot of great developers in the saturated space, which ultimately brings down the development cost for a project.

2. Faster and easier

The recent versions of PHP are faster and easier to use than other server-side programming languages like C++, Java, Python, Ruby, or Perl. According to KissDigital, PHP v7.0 performed much better than the popular Python or Ruby.

Also, PHP can be used to build standalone programs as well as the code snippets can be embedded into any existing HTML files directly. And this makes everything very easy, programmers can add extra functionality to existing websites without doing everything again from the scratch.

3. Regular improvements

Since the early days of PHP 5, it has come a long way, its performance is regularly improving and now it’s possible to build high-performance web applications.

PHP has been continuously pushing out great updates to the programming language, making it very difficult for the developers to think about leaving it. According to the recent Kinsta PHP benchmark report, PHP 8.0 is 88.95% faster than PHP 5.6 and 18.47% faster than PHP 7.4.

Modern PHP frameworks like Laminas take enterprise-level web development to the next level.

4. Versatile and stable

PHP is the most popular open-source general-purpose programming language. You can write almost all sorts of programs in the language.

PHP is the “jack of all trades”.

The language is free to use, with various amazing frameworks available to help you create industry-grade applications.

With over two decades of testing and regular updates, PHP has become one of the most reliable and stable programming languages in the world.

5. Many database options

PHP supports many database options and gives you the freedom to choose the one that works the best for you. Some of the supported databases are:

  • MySQL
  • MariaDB
  • SQLite
  • PostgreSQL
  • Oracle
  • dBase
  • Firebird/InterBase
  • IBM DB2
  • MongoDB, etc.

6. Detailed documentation

For anyone starting to learn, PHP probably has the most detailed documentation covering almost everything that you need to know. There are tons of tutorials, manuals, and other reference materials available on the internet.

And for this reason alone, it’s much easier to learn for beginners than even Python.

7. Huge community

Apart from the plentiful documentation, PHP has a huge community of developers who help each other out.

Yes, troubleshooting the language can be difficult at first, but because PHP is open-source, there’s a large community of developers and most probably, you will find answers in the various online forums and groups.

Because PHP is decades old, it is being improved every year and there are various amazing PHP frameworks and solutions like Laravel, Laminas, Symfony, Code Igniter, Cake, etc.

Also, it’s a lot easier to find a good PHP developer than the dev of any other programming language.

8. Future-ready

PHP is still popular among developers due to its high level of flexibility, easy deployment options, and quick development time. And, it’s here to stay.

Some of the interesting features of PHP that ensure its easy scalability and great future:

  • secure, performant, and stable
  • quick and easy API development possibilities
  • offers great image processing tools and libraries
  • offers great caching features
  • highly flexible and fast development speed
  • easy integration with 3rd part SDKs, etc.

Final words

PHP still remains one of the most widely-used programming languages in existence, which is quite an accomplishment!

With countless open source projects on Github, you can bet that there are countless developers out there who feel at home with the language. And the best thing is, conferences like ZendCon continue to keep the PHP community alive and engaged.

PHP is not going away anytime soon. It will be around for a long time to come, and web developers will continue to use it for building websites.

If you have a related query, feel free to let us know in the comments.

Also, kindly share the article with your developer friends who you think might be interested in reading it.

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