Senior full stack developer and CTO at Ideamotive.
The world of the Internet is like the universe - there may be an end somewhere, but we do not see it. Thousands of new websites are launched every day and the trend does not seem to stop. But have you ever wondered how these sites are created?
When it comes to choosing a programming language, the choice can be difficult. There are so many options available on the market that you can feel like a kid in a candy store.
However, programmers are used to choosing one or two languages to focus on. In truth, being an expert in one technology is better than knowing several, but at a beginner's level. PHP is one such pervasive technology that developers prefer to focus on, and you might ask, "Why PHP?" or "Isn’t PHP out of date?" and even “What are the most appealing PHP examples?” And with this article, we will definitely answer the question.
Starting as a small open source project back in 1994, Rasmus Lerdorf introduced PHP as an intuitive server-side scripting language.
Fun fact: PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page. PHP is now widely known and considered a hypertext preprocessor.
Here's a quick and sweet rundown of PHP:
Like any other mainstream scripting language, PHP allows web developers to directly integrate logic into the creation of web page content and efficiently manage the data returned from the web browser.
PHP also contains many out-of-the-box extensions that make it easier for software engineers to interact with databases.
The language is intuitively designed to extract relevant data for display on a web page, storing any relevant information entered by a website visitor into an appropriate database defined by its script.
In general, PHP consists of two simple moving parts:
Web developers and PHP developers can use scripts to define the server-side behavior and logic they need in a web application.
These scripts can be conveniently embedded in HTML markup documents that are served on the front-end of the webserver.
The interpreter behaves like an internal module that integrates into the webserver.
It actively translates scripts into explicit commands that the computer executes to achieve the results defined in the script by the web developer.
PHP is known as the most commonly used programming language. According to W3Techs, 78.7% of all websites use PHP on their server-side.
So what are the main benefits of turning to PHP web development?
The first thing you need to know about PHP is that this technology is free in every sense. The most important attribute of open source technologies is a large community of developers working with them. They not only use PHP every day, but they constantly discuss it, think about edits and, in fact, make new positive changes and improvements.
Programmers can learn faster and implement cutting-edge solutions in no time. Moreover, unlike many other programming languages, PHP has its own support. All these factors lead to the emergence of new frameworks, components, and other tools that make PHP even better.
When building a website or web application, creators are probably looking forward to the growth of projects. Therefore, scalability is very important as the website needs to grow and be able to handle the increasing traffic. Websites built with PHP can be easily extended by adding additional servers as needed. More users = more servers. Voila!
Since PHP uses its own memory, both workload and load times are reduced. As a result, the processing speed is quite high, which is an advantage not only for developers but also for their customers, who get the product faster. Loading speed is also critical to SEO, so don't discount this factor if you want to use your site for marketing and sales purposes.
Some argue that PHP is not secure enough because it is open source. But the truth is that any programming language is predisposed and vulnerable, it all depends on how they are used. The level of security depends on the experience of the developers and their practice. For example, software testing is one way to avoid security breaches.
By the way, this is an important milestone in every project carried out by our team of vetted experts.
Since PHP is open source, no additional expensive software is required to work with it. You don't have to pay for any additional licenses or licensing fees, and there are no restrictions. With its many integration options, PHP is free to use, which reduces overall development costs.
Many tech giants and companies from different fields and niches use PHP as their main server-side language. We've categorized these companies according to their domains. Some of these companies use PHP in part, while others rely entirely on this language.
Social media platforms have their own websites where users access their social media accounts to interact with other platform users. This requires the best loading times and speeds that PHP provides by making fast database queries.
According to Similarweb, Facebook is visited over 22 billion times a month.
Facebook has taken advantage of PHP's ability to generate dynamic content in seconds since its founding in 2004.
By design, all of the main Facebook application code was written in PHP by Zuckerberg and Moskowitz. This has led to a domino effect, and now a large number of modern technology companies are using PHP as well.
Facebook introduced HipHop for PHP (HPHPc) in 2010, a transpiler or compiler that translates source code into another language's source code.
In HipHop for PHP, the injected PHP code is translated into C++ and then compiled into a binary file for execution.
While PHP has a reputation for being difficult to scale as a dynamic scripting language, Facebook has chosen to scale its PHP monolith rather than breaking it down into a distributed microservice architecture.
Eventually, HipHop for PHP was discontinued and replaced by the HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) in 2013. Scaling PHP with the timely Hip Hop Virtual Machine (HHVM) compiler allowed Facebook to continue to grow rapidly without undergoing painful refactorings that would slow down the entire company.
PHP 8 gets a lot of functionality from Facebook's Hack language, which Facebook created as a dialect of PHP.
Flickr is a photo-sharing platform hosting over ten million groups and billions of photos. They also use the LAMP model to support their site, with PHP being their main server-side language, while MySQL is used for databases and Memcached is used as a caching layer.
As per Highscalability Flickr architecture owns the following:
Millions of people use Tumblr to share ideas, images, and blogs to connect with others on the platform. Officially, the platform used PHP as its main server-side language. However, they also used Scala in part for performance reasons.
The Tumblr team shared on their blog how new PHP features can make life a little easier for developers at Tumblr:
Many web portals provide their users with useful information and news. These portals are often PHP-based to improve performance. Some of these portals and their PHP website examples are described below.
It is one of the largest sources of information on the Internet for all major and minor topics. The website offers a ton of information provided by individual volunteers. The platform also uses PHP as its primary server-side language to quickly display content on web pages.
Later in 2014, Wikipedia also switched to HHVM to improve performance by converting PHP code in other languages for faster execution. Find out “How we made editing Wikipedia twice as fast.”
Currently, according to “What software is used to run Wikipedia?”, most of the code at the Wikimedia Foundation uses PHP 7, MySQL, and MariaDB as the back-end database. ATS and Varnish for frontend and caching. Search is implemented using ElasticSearch based on Lucene.
CMS systems are used by web owners to manage their websites more conveniently and efficiently. Many of the popular CMS systems are also PHP-based, which greatly increases the use of the language.
One of the most popular PHP examples, which is currently the largest CMS. The entire WordPress infrastructure is based on PHP, and this language is used to quickly retrieve data from the database.
At this point, it's no surprise that the world's largest content management system also uses PHP. Over 455 million WordPress-hosted websites (representing an astounding 35% market share of all websites in existence) rely heavily on the reliability, speed, and security of the platform.
While no WordPress user needs to know anything about PHP to actually use the service, its entire architecture was built in PHP and then merged with MySQL and MariaDB. WordPress uses PHP to establish a secure connection between its users' web pages and the WP database. In this way, client-side HTML output can be requested quickly and securely on the WordPress server-side.
This has allowed millions of companies and web developers to create a huge array of templates, plugins, and custom UI components with little or no coding knowledge. And by the way, the relationship between WordPress and PHP is still evolving rapidly as the company continues to invest in new initiatives that generate comprehensive PHP-based improvements.
Drupal also supports over a million websites, which is 2% of all websites running on the Internet. Drupal is a CMS as well as a content management platform where many government sites are hosted with maximum security.
The latest version 8 of Drupal was completely based on a PHP framework called Symfony. This greatly contributed to the improvement of this CMS.
Drupal has adopted Symfony components, modern PHP concepts, OOP, the Twig templating engine, and more. Now we have a rebuilt core, API, configuration management system, and so on. The results are amazing - Drupal 8's architecture is really new compared to Drupal 7.
Source: Why the big architectural changes in Drupal 8
The popularity of online booking sites is evidenced by the thriving tourism and hospitality industry. There are several platforms in this area that have thriving PHP examples.
Trivago is a platform for comparing hotel prices and choosing the best booking plans. It pulls prices from a number of booking sites to find the most cost-effective option. Trivago uses PHP and Kotlin for its technology stack and Golang for performance-critical factors.
This is a great shipping app that works in over 50 countries. Delivery services range from restaurant food to store goods. Delivery Hero also hired a PHP web development company to improve the performance of their website.
In addition, they used Golang in part because of performance-critical factors, but they constantly rely on Go to make it their main server-side language. This is to improve the performance of their applications.
Real estate companies have moved to an online environment for buying and selling property assets. These companies often require responsive web pages to display property listings, so they use PHP for this purpose.
Compass is one of the most prominent PHP examples in the field. It is an innovative real estate solution that automatically notifies you of properties around your location. To do this, they have apps for Android and iOS. However, they also have a pretty responsive website that also accesses your location for real estate suggestions.
Century21 connects agents and brokers with clients. They have over 8,000 agents and brokers in 80 countries around the world. Their web platform uses PHP and Java as their two main programming languages.
Find out more about this duo from our blogpost - PHP vs Java – The Best Choice For Web Development
In addition, Bootstrap and jQuery UI are used to enhance front-end elements such as property lists.
Source: Century21 Technology Stack - StackShare
There are many websites in the media and entertainment industry. However, some of the leading media sites use PHP to enable readers to get the most out of their fast web pages.
This is probably one of the largest sources of entertainment for young people who surf the Internet for funny memes, videos, and jokes. 9GAG offers a social media platform where users can post fun stuff and comment on each other's memes.
Source: 9GAG Technology Stack - StackShare
Music and video streaming apps are also gaining popularity. These platforms need to keep their users running smoothly, which is why they use languages like PHP to load all the dynamic elements of their web application.
This is most likely the largest music streaming app with millions of users. You can access millions of songs with a simple search and click. It is a cloud platform powered by PHP.
PHP is a basic language that makes it faster to load all dynamic elements when searching. There are many frameworks for PHP, but Spotify decided to use Symfony2.
The full stack of Spotify technologies is listed on StackShare along with its core apps and items.
MailChimp allows businesses to send automated emails to their customers. More than 10 million registered users can easily automate and use the bulk mailing function to keep in touch with hundreds and thousands of customers.
This mail system is also completely PHP-based.
Source: Ewww, You Use PHP? | MailChimp Email Marketing Blog
Slack is a platform built for corporations and businesses to collaborate, discuss and work on various projects. It integrates with a number of other tools and applications that make collaboration much easier.
The thriving e-commerce industry also has platforms that consistently rely on PHP as their primary programming language. Several of these platforms are discussed in detail.
This platform is a major player in the e-commerce market. It is based on the SaaS model, and its customer base is composed primarily of merchants and online merchants, accounting for over $ 9 billion in total sales.
As for BigCommerce Tech Stack, they use PHP as their main application language. In addition, all infrastructure is hosted on Amazon AWS.
Magento helps online sellers in the commercial marketplace by creating a more engaging and more convenient shopping experience for users. Magento was acquired by Adobe and is now also known as Adobe Commerce.
“Magento includes the basic architectural principles of PHP-based object-oriented applications. A detailed discussion of these general principles exists both on the Internet and in print,” says their report.
Source: System requirements | Adobe Commerce Developer Guide
iStock is a Getty Images project. It is a kind of image exchange that sells graphics and illustrations. The platform has millions of active monthly users who love to explore and share graphic illustrations or images.
Multi-vendor marketplaces allow third parties to sell under their wing. They provide buyers and sellers with a complete infrastructure to safely trade their products and services. Several of these marketplaces use PHP as their base language and they are listed here:
Upwork is a freelance marketplace where clients connect with merchants who are willing to sell their digital services. The platform is based on web technologies, so PHP is the most appropriate language used by Upwork.
In addition, the platform is similar to a social network where new vacancies appear in the news feed. Hence, this dynamic framework needs a language that can make web pages more responsive.
Kafka is used to making communication between customers and customers much easier and faster. In addition, all infrastructure is hosted on Amazon AWS.
Etsy is a marketplace for creative DIYs. On this e-commerce site, people sell art, collectibles, and a range of creative handcrafted goods. The site is built on PHP and uses HHVM to improve the performance of its web page.
The reason for choosing HHVM was that “in 2014, Etsy engineers noticed two main problems with the way we build mobile products. First, we had to rewrite the logic that was designed to run in the web context to run in the API. This led to a drift of functionality between the mobile and web platforms as the amount of shared code decreased.
Source: Experimenting with HHVM at Etsy
Many pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars annually. While they mostly distribute their products through offline channels, they still need to list everything on their websites, which is where PHP comes in handy for these companies.
Pfizer has also recently contributed to the distribution of vaccines, further increasing their revenue by billions. However, when talking about their technology stack for a website, they rely heavily on Laravel, which is basically a PHP framework.
Laravel allows their developers to code efficiently and they also need to update tons of product lists and information about their medicines. They took the easy path, choosing Laravel as their primary language for their web framework, and they do have responsive and interactive web pages.
Peloton is a leading player in technology-based fitness. Its community of over 3 million clients is reaching its fitness goals. They also offer a range of fitness products, but their main product is a SaaS app that anyone can subscribe to on a monthly basis.
Fintech is by far one of the most exciting industries with huge growth potential. Fintech companies have their own mobile apps as well as websites where users perform transactions on dynamically typed pages. Here are a few fintech companies that use PHP for this purpose.
Paytm, known as the largest digital financial services provider in India, is a pioneer in digital financial services. It is currently used by over 17 million merchants and millions of people use it every day.
On the back end of its network, Paytm uses PHP for instant responses when someone tries to log in or process any transactions. Along with this, they host all their data and applications on Amazon AWS and also publish an official Paytm case study.
The sheer volume of transactions and millions of website visits is the main reason PHP is so essential for the responsiveness of its web platform.
Ratio is a British fintech company that offers its customers a simple and secure payment solution. Their core infrastructure revolves around a mobile payment app, but as far as the website is concerned, they use PHP as their primary language.
They also use a range of Amazon AWS to host their products in the cloud. The Laravel framework is also used to make web elements more responsive.
Crowdcube is one of the world's most popular stock crowdfunding platforms. The platform allows private investors to easily find promising startups and invest in them. The platform has over 750 thousand investors and finances over 800 UK companies.
Their stack is PHP with a Laravel based API for our service code and MySQL database, with React + Redux on Frontend and AWS/Ansible/Terraform to package and run their services.
Ads are getting smarter and technology is making a big contribution to ad space, making it much easier to plan and manage online ads. The Adtech companies offer a number of tools for this purpose, and here are a few Adtech companies that use PHP in one way or another.
Using a platform called Smartly, you can automate every step of digital advertising by combining technology, creativity, and data. The company manages advertising costs of €2.5 billion for hundreds of companies.
DISQO is an audience analytics platform that aims to make businesses the audience experts by providing them with all the data they need to use to target their customers more accurately. They also have over 20 million lifetime consumer members.
As for their technology stack, they use a mixture of languages and machine learning algorithms for their tools with Tensorflow. In addition, they use PHP for the back end of their website, and WordPress is also configured there, although it is built with PHP.
There are hundreds of platforms where anyone can watch online courses to master any skill. These platforms are mostly web-based, so many of them use PHP as their ideal language.
Skillshare is a platform that offers a variety of online learning courses. They operate on a subscription model where their customers can pay monthly or annually to access their favorite courses.
Moodle is a free open source Learning Management System (LMS) that is used by thousands of colleges and universities to create an online environment in which students can learn and grow.
Moodle is written entirely in PHP, making it a great web LMS for everyone. Moodle code is mainly composed of PHP, CSS, and JS code. However, the core of Moodle is built on its plugins.
Source: Moodle architecture - MoodleDocs
Some say that if their platforms were built today, they would not have chosen PHP for development. But we disagree with such statements. PHP is user-friendly, easy to learn, has many useful libraries, detailed documentation, and, most importantly, has a huge community. Someone may call this language old, but we consider it one of the classic ones.
Simply put, choosing a development language is a trade-off between the pros and cons of the options available. PHP is a language that can be used to build any type of website in 2021, from landing pages and simple WordPress websites to complex web platforms like Facebook.
All in all, there is one thing that we can all agree on after reading this article: PHP has a lot of use cases and the demand for this technology will not decrease anytime soon, especially when it comes to global and flagship enterprises like the one above.
Flexibility, simplicity, numerous integration possibilities, and high speed are the main reasons why Ideamotive clients use PHP for web development in their projects.
But is PHP development right for you? Will it fit correctly with your current technology stack? Or are you thinking about expanding its capabilities with other technologies that the above companies also use? It is not possible to answer these questions in this article, so we recommend talking to a specialized backend consultant and putting together a roadmap for you.
Contact us and get a professional dedicated team full of seasoned experts. Our talent network has hundreds of proven developers ready to work on your project. You can 100% rely on them in any development issue.
By the way, don’t miss out on our blog posts:
Dawid is a full stack developer experienced in creating Ruby on Rails and React Native apps from naught to implementation. Technological superhero, delivering amazing solutions for our clients and helping them grow.View all author posts
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