Why do you use PHP?

A little while back I asked this question on Twitter. I was interested in how other people’s first experiences with PHP compared with my own. I got some great responses – from funny to completely honest. Here’s the list:

  • Skoop: I didn’t choose PHP, PHP chose me (nice, very zen.)
  • Andriess: low entry barrier, and the AWESOME community
  • Felixdv: great community, open-source spirit and low barrier but powerful if needed (as of PHP5 πŸ˜‰ )
  • DragonBe: in PHP I found my likings, where as Perl left me hanging about..
  • Rmehner: Mainly because of deployment issues in the beginning. PHP was everywhere available. (In the beginning I had often web projects)
  • lvtrll: The options at the time were PHP or ASP… which would you choose? =P
  • ijansch: it was the logical choice (or, to be more precise: it gets the thing done, and quickly.)
  • njames: its “FREE” no need for mucking about with licences for VS or IIS or W2K or MSSQLSRVR etc etc #php
  • weierophinney: out of necessity.
  • padraicb: At the time (1999) PHP happened to coincide with the activities of friends online – seemed natural I’d help them cut and paste πŸ˜‰
  • iephp: I used to do Java and Perl and a friend of mind told me PHP was easy and fun. I tried it out, turned out well πŸ˜‰
  • akrabat: Wasn’t that much choice back in PHP3 days. Perl / CGI didn’t appeal and the only other choice on my host was PHP…
  • jlleblanc: someone suggested it in college and it was easy/inexpensive to get into.
  • sweatje: My Unix admin pointed me towards LAMP when I was looking for a free alternative to IIS/ASP for a home business accounting system
  • chartjes: My first job out of college needed a web site and had no money to pay for licenses for Windows server (this is 1998)
  • ramsey: Switched from ASP to PHP b/c I didn’t want to learn ASP.NET, Tomcat was a bitch, & PHP had everything we needed built in (& more)
  • calevans: because upgrading from NT to Server 2000 was going to cost me $15,000 + hardware.

I think I got them all, but if you didn’t get to contribute, definitely leave a comment with your first introductions to this great language of ours!



  1. Interesting. It seems a lot of the answers are similar, as is mine. I used Java and just found that Tomcat was a real pain to keep around for smaller web sites. PHP was more widely available and hosting was cheaper, so I learned it, and as I used it discovered that it made many of the things I was doing in Java a lot easier. It’s definitely more web-friendly, so if you’re a web-centric developer it’s great.
    I’m branching out, though, to include Python and Ruby in my language arsenal, both of which serve the web-centric developer well.


  2. Well, when I started there was mostly Perl, and I used it for very simple stuff. Then came PHP, and I’ve found out that what I wrote in Perl in a couple of weeks I could rewrite in PHP in 3 days… πŸ™‚

    This is why I started – the reason I stayed was because PHP seemed to “grow along” with me – both in terms of functionality (serving more and more complex needs) and in terms of programming maturity (move to OOP, clean code separation, modularity etc.)


  3. I learned PHP on the job. The previous job had me in a Microsoft environment using classical ASP. Compared to that, PHP was utopia. There was so much functionality already there in PHP that I didn’t have to build myself or purchase third-party add-ons for. It was easy to learn, difficult to master (I’m still trying), and I always love a good challenge. πŸ™‚


  4. when i started coding website, i was using C & Perl as CGI (in 96).
    then i discovered PHP 2/FI, the revelation πŸ˜€
    Now, i learned many other languages (Java, Ruby, ASP…), but i still prefer using PHP for most of my projects πŸ™‚


  5. I first introduced to PHP when I was doing my project training. and I was told to choose from python and PHP for a web App related to HR.
    I studied both and found out that PHP is especially meant for Web Development.


  6. What were / are the alternatives?

    Perl rivals PHP by community, but not simplicity. Newer alternatives, Ruby, Python, etc.. don’t have as large of a community, but are arguably simpler / more elegant. Community defined by both use, development and open source libraries available. How many different frameworks are available for each language?

    Then there’s the M$ .net and Java alternatives. Most choosing PHP, Ruby, Perl, Python do so because they prefer the openness of the platform.

    PHP is also easier to staff than the other open web languages. Just look on job boards… M$, PHP and Java are clearly the most prevalent.


  7. Because it was the first web language I found for a project in college… after that – just kinda fell into it with my first job… so mostly on accident.


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