Anyone looking to build a website, especially using the most popular content management system WordPress, will benefit from understanding what PHP is (regardless of what version).   

However, for those that are looking to dive deep into web development, knowing what PHP 5 is and why it is beneficial to site creation is even more crucial to your success as a web developer.

That’s why today we will briefly look at what the PHP 5 programming language is and why it’s so important to building and operating a successful website.

What is PHP?

PHP is the server-side script language sitting at the core of the most popular blogging platform to date – WordPress

PHP files are a combination of text, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP code, all of which contain the necessary data to display your website to site visitors when they click on your URL. 

When someone visits your website, their browser immediately begins searching for your server.  This server is responsible for storing, processing, and displaying your site’s content.

After finding the server, your website then contacts your hosting provider, and using specialized PHP code, finds your site’s data in the main database. 

From there, it compiles your site’s data into one readable file, and delivers whatever written text and imagery you have on your website to site visitors on their computer.

Why Learning PHP 5 is Important

If you are a web developer looking to get behind the advanced workings of websites, you must learn PHP 5.  This is especially true if you plan to use WordPress as your CMS.

Here’s why:

  • User-Friendly.  Unlike other scripting languages, PHP 5 is easy to learn, even without a lot of technical skills.
  • Increased Control.  PHP 5 offers the same functionality of other popular scripting languages, while using fewer lines of code. 
  • Cost Efficiency.  PHP 5 is open-source, meaning anyone can use it for free.  There is also an incredible community of people using PHP 5 for when you need help.
  • Scalable.  Since it requires very few lines of code to make your website look and function a certain way, scaling your website is a cinch.
  • Versatile.  Whether you use Windows, MacOS, Linus, or UNIX, PHP 5 will support it.
  • Speed and Performance.  Especially with the newest PHP 7 releases, PHP code is quick and efficient giving your site visitors the ultimate user experience. 
  • Secure.  PHP code is highly secure so that your website does not become vulnerable to malicious attack.  In fact, it has a built-in security layer protecting your website data from viruses and other threats.

Lastly, PHP in general is trusted by millions and has been in use for over two decades.  Plus, improvements are always being made, making it faster, more secure, and better than ever. 

And, since WordPress continues to dominate the online world, powering nearly 29% of all websites worldwide, it’s a good idea to brush up on your PHP 5 skills if you plan to get into web development using WordPress.

That said, there are some really great and comprehensive PHP 5 tutorials you can take online to educate yourself about the fundamentals of the PHP scripting language that will better prepare you once you make the jump to the newer, improved, PHP 7 version.