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What is PHP?

From the PHP Web site (www.php.net):

"PHP is a server-side, cross-platform, HTML embedded scripting language."

That's a mouthful, but if we break the definition down into smaller pieces, it is easier to understand.

  • server-side: This means that PHP scripts execute on the Web server, not within the browser on your local machine.

  • cross-platform: Cross-platform means that PHP scripts can run on many different operating systems and Web servers. PHP is available for the two most popular Web server configurations (IIS running on Windows NT and Apache running on UNIX).

  • HTML embedded scripting language: This means that PHP statements and commands are actually embedded in your HTML documents. When the Web server sees the PHP statements in the Web page, the server executes the statements and sends the resulting output along with the rest of the HTML. PHP commands are parsed by the server much like Active Server Pages or Cold Fusion tags.

  Updated 2005 August 1
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