Hypertext preprocessor. Does it sound familiar? You probably recognize its acronym - PHP. It is one of the most common pages on the web. Along with HTML and CSS, PHP is a vital part of the web we know, especially of WordPress, and is an integral part of Facebook, despite less used than when the social network started. Join us to see what is the future of PHP in 2021?

PHP in 2021

PHP is as strong as ever. According to fomdev, it is used in nearly 80% of the websites in 2021. In November 2020 PHP creators released its 8th version with some major updates that focus on PHP performance and make web development even smoother and simpler.

The facts behind WordPress

PHP is popular. Immensely popular, and has the facts to back it up. Its multiple pros make it widely popular, especially with WordPress gaining more and more popularity due to its simplicity and user-friendly interface.  

Siteefy issued statistics that WordPress has a 64.3% market share in the CMS market, while WordPress powers 14.7% of the world’s top websites, adding a good piece of credibility to its claim.

Websites such as Techjury, Optimonster, and Kinsta give us a wider perspective that complements the trend:

  • 500+ sites are built each day using WordPress while only 60-80 per day are built on platforms like Shopify and Squarespace
  • The WordPress Plugin Directory features 55,000+ plugins
  • WooCommerce powers 22% of the top 1 million e-commerce sites in the world

Popular sites using WordPress

We use WordPress sites every single day. Many of them represent global leaders in the respective industry, which increases the CMS’ credibility immensely. I’m sure you’ve encountered some of the names below.

  • Zoom.us
  • Microsoft.com
  • WordPress.com
  • Etsy.com
  • Freepik.com
  • Udemy.com
  • Tradingview.com
  • Zillow.com
  • Grammarly.com
  • Craigslist.org

Popular websites that use PHP

Here are the largest websites that use PHP. The sites selected below add up perfectly to the shortlist above. 

  • Facebook – 25.7B Monthly Estimated Visits
  • Wikipedia – 15B Monthly Estimated Visits
  • Yahoo – 4.8B Monthly Estimated Visits
  • Flickr – 65.44M Monthly Estimated Visits
  • Tumblr – 328.9M Monthly Estimated Visits

Characteristics of PHP

There are five important characteristics of PHP's nature, making it popular amongst beginners and pros. 

  • Simplicity
  • Efficiency
  • Security
  • Flexibility
  • Familiarity

The best PHP Frameworks in 2021

PHP has developed several frameworks that share the same goal. All of them aim to make coding in PHP even easier, without losing any quality. Here are some of the PHP frameworks’ main characteristics. Having so many frameworks in 2021 makes the future of PHP brighter. 

Do you want to learn PHP in 2021? Go for Laravel, Symphony, Yii, CodeIgniter, and Zend Framework.

Laravel

  • Launched: June 2011
  • Current version: 8, released on September 8th, 2020.
  • Technical requirements:
  • PHP: 7.2.5 (or use Laravel Homestead)
  • Composer installed
  • Database support for MySQL 5.6+, PostgreSQL 9.4+, SQLite 3.8.8+, SQL Server 2017+.

Symfony

  • Launched: October 2005
  • Current version: 5.1.4
  • Technical requirements:
  • PHP - 7.2.5
  • Composer installed

CodeIgniter

  • Launched: February 2006
  • Current version: 4.0.3
  • Technical requirements:
  • PHP - 7.2
  • Database support for MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite3

Zend Framework

  • Launched: March 2006
  • Current version: 3.0.0 (Zend) or 1.3.0 (Laminas)
  • Technical requirements:
  • PHP - 5.6 (Zend) or 7.3 for Laminas
  • Composer installed
  • Database support for MariaDB, MySQL, Oracle, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and Informix Dynamic Server.

Yii (Framework)

  • Launched: December 2008
  • Current version: 2.0.35
  • Technical requirements:
  • PHP - 5.4.0, 7+ recommended
  • Composer installed
  • Database support for SQLite, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL, or Oracle databases

Why should you try coding in PHP?

PHP has several more pluses, making it popular with beginner programmers. It is convenient, easy to learn, has many useful libraries, and detailed documentation. And what is very important — PHP has a huge community in 2021, with a trend to increase in the future

Popularity

PHP holds its supremacy as a programming language for web development! And it looks like it won't lose it too soon, judging by the fact that it powers the world's most popular software (Drupal, WordPress, and pretty much any major CMS) and some of the highest-trafficked sites like Facebook. This means that a huge share of the PHP market will not go overnight.

Versatility

 PHP runs on various platforms (Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, etc.) The standard PHP interpreter, powered by the Zend Engine, is free software released under the PHP License. PHP has been widely ported and can be deployed on most web servers on almost every operating system and platform, free of charge. A web application developed under PHP can be easily run on any platform and a web application integrated with other programming languages and databases so easily. This reduces development time and cost.

Why should you use PHP?

If the aforementioned facts are not enough, here are several more pluses for those that are still hesitant. So you wish to use PHP in 2021 know that you can use it ahead in the future, too! 

Faster Application Development

The biggest plus of every PHP framework is the built-in libraries. This makes every process considerably faster.

CakePHP framework can easily create any skeleton for your app with its command-line tool.

Testing your code is far easier with the built-in libraries and tools that some frameworks have.

Less Code to Write

The code and the structure in the frameworks, already have solutions to the most common troubles that means you can skip writing low-level code.

The very structure of the frameworks allows you to skip writing the low-level code. This is possible due to the built-in solutions that are capable of facing the most common problems that you can encounter.

Packages for Common Tasks

Developers have to deal with the most basic tasks like form validation, data sanitization, and CRUD operations (Create, Read, Update, and Delete).

More Secure Than Writing Your Own Apps

Many PHP frameworks have their own, built-in security defenses. This is required due to the PHP security threats including cross-site scripting, SQL injection attacks, and cross-site request forgery. Have in mind that using a PHP framework cannot replace writing secure code. However, it minimizes the chance of hacker exploits.

Better Teamwork

Giving some clarity for the developers on :

  • Documentation
  • Design decisions
  • Code standards
  • PHP frameworks are pretty easy to familiarize with due to the sets of basic rules for every project. This makes them easy for new developers.

Easier to Maintain

PHP Frameworks promote DRY development (Don’t Repeat Yourself). This means that you are encouraged to refactor your code. And this means leaner code with less maintaining.

Also, you don’t have to worry about maintaining the core framework. The creators do it for you!

Progressive Web Apps and Single Page Applications

PHP is used in the implementation of Progressive Web Apps and Single Page Applications, which are very popular in 2021, and would certainly be in the future. PHP is perfectly suited for creating the back-end of these apps.

Single Page Apps

SPAs are single-page designs that are exceptionally fast and responsive. Web application or website that interacts with the user by dynamically rewriting the current web page with new data from the webserver, instead of the default method of the browser loading entire new pages. As a result, such web applications work much faster than standard web applications, and their development employs less time.

Progressive Web Apps

PWAs is a great development solution that has the best web and mobile applications. They use a web browser and a set of APIs to run on any mobile platform. This means that PWAs look like native mobile apps. They are available on Android and iOS while having web components inside.PWA features narrow the gap between user experience in web-based and native applications.

Multiple companies build their web solutions as PWAs to benefit from this cross-platform availability. That way they can reach more potential buyers and providing an outstanding customer experience.

Chatbots

As a powerful programming language, PHP is used for developing many web apps, including chatbots.

Thanks to the aforementioned strengths of PHP, it is an easy, painless process. By connecting web apps to messenger platforms, PHP developers can create excellent chatbots.

Many companies use PHP for their chatbots for a couple of reasons. It is the cheapest and it is the most effective. PHP provides effective solutions that can be implemented much faster than in any other scripting language. The addition of libraries that can be accessed to work with API and various third-party applications turns PHP into an undoubted favorite.

PHP will improve in 2021, as well as in the future

Some programming languages decline in quality over time. With PHP it’s the opposite since the demand is constantly on the rise. New challenges demand improvements. So, annual updates deliver the required upgrades.

Backend done with PHP today is not just a database, but an addition to your front-end development. Much more diverse tasks like data gathering, redirection, integration with mobile, etc. can be done with PHP.

Database Supports

PHP supports many database options, from MSSQL and IBM to DB2 and Oracle OC18. With more database options it is easier to handle your data and redirects it. Faster speed allows fluent and fast work of all embedded systems.

  • MySQL (open-source)
  • PostGreSQL
  • SYBASE
  • IBM-DB2
  • Oracle DB
  • Cubrid
  • DB++
  • dBase
  • filePro
  • FireBird/InterBase
  • FrontBase
  • Informix
  • Ingres
  • MaxDB
  • Mongo
  • mSQL
  • Obrimos SQL
  • Paradox
  • SQLite / SQLite3
  • SQLSRV
  • Tokyo Tyrant

Compatibility with cloud services

Many modern products use cloud computing for various purposes. A good example is Amazon Web Services. Cloud services like AWS Lambda support PHP apps, so such apps can be deployed on a cloud server and achieve excellent scalability and other positive effects. Even more, the area of cloud computing is not monopolized by other coding languages, so PHP has taken its place in such implementations.

It’s Easy to Find PHP Developers

You can easily find PHP developers due to the language’s huge popularity – from young up-starts to experienced veterans. It is hard to find developers, especially experienced ones, for some of the newer frameworks.

Note for WordPress

WordPress is the easiest and most powerful blogging and website builder in existence today. Or, as a tech geek would put it, WordPress is a free, open-source website creation platform. On a more technical level, WordPress is a content management system (CMS) written in PHP that uses a MySQL database.

Another statistic states that WordPress is used by 64.3% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 40.0% of all websites.

Should I choose PHP for my business website?

The main business pros of PHP are cost-efficiency, scalability, compatibility, simplicity, and user-friendliness. Combine with other technologies, PHP is suitable for the development of IT projects of any type: from common websites to CRM solutions and large marketplaces.

The growth of PHP and its frameworks in recent years has been amazing. Its popularity in the industry is still growing.

PHP allows launching different modules of the software progressively and making necessary changes during development. With PHP, it is possible to develop and support scalable IT projects, while continuously generating multiple pages with various settings.

PHP’s versatility makes it a popular web hosting option amongst hosting providers. All reliable hosting providers support PHP in their website hosting services.

Code reusability

One of its huge pros is code reusability. Reusable PHP components save much time and effort while developing. There are lots of PHP frameworks, like Symfony, CodeIgniter, Laravel, Joomla, WordPress, etc. Each of them has its own functionality and offers fast and secure development in different fields. PHP was purposely optimized for making various web apps very quickly. It has such built-in functions as accessing the GET and POST and working with HTML and URLs. For businesses, it means that the time and money that are spent on the development decreases, and the IT product or service built on PHP can start bringing ROI earlier.

To Wrap it Up

PHP is a proven coding language that manages to keep its leading positions in web development in 2021.

According to betterprogramming.pub, approximately 75 percent of all web pages are powered by PHP. A lot of big content and shop management systems are using PHP, which will keep it important and relevant. 

Since the release of PHP 7 has given us new features and some updates. The two biggest improvements are increased speed and better memory usage. This means that websites that use PHP 7+ will load faster than websites that use an older version of PHP and can handle more users at the same time.

Since 75 percent of the web is powered by PHP there will obviously be a lot of jobs involving some sort of PHP coding. All these websites need to be maintained and there are PHP developers needed for that. The enormous market share of PHP won’t be gone overnight, so jobs involving PHP will be around in the future as close as 2021.

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