PHP is a popular programming language that is commonly used for web development. Building dynamic webpages and web apps is done using this open-source server-side language. PHP was probably utilized in the development of any website or program you have ever used that lets you enter data, communicate with other users, or alter in any way how you experience anything.
But what is PHP in WordPress and how does it function? We’ll look at the fundamentals of PHP in this blog article, covering its background, operation, and use in our content management system (CMS) WordPress and in WordPress Plugins.
What stands PHP for? What is PHP in WordPress?
“PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor” is what PHP stands for. Rasmus Lerdorf, a Danish-Canadian programmer, first developed it in 1995 as a collection of scripts for tracking visits to his online resume. Millions of websites and applications use it now since it has developed through time into a fully complete programming language.
The ability to create dynamic webpages and apps is one advantage of utilizing a server-side language like PHP. PHP, for instance, may be used to create websites that let visitors log in, leave comments, or search databases. Additionally, you may use it to build customized forms, send emails, and communicate with other servers or APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).
How is PHP used?
Usually, a web page or application’s HTML has embedded PHP code. The server executes the PHP code when a user requests a PHP page before transmitting the HTML to the user’s browser.
Here is an example of a simple PHP script that prints “Hello, World!” to the browser:
<html> <head> <title>My PHP Page</title> </head> <body> <?php echo "Hello, World!"; ?> </body> </html>
In this instance, a pair of ?php and ?> tags surround the PHP code. The string “Hello, World!” will be sent to the browser by the server after this code has been processed.
PHP is a versatile language that enables you to combine code and HTML in a number of different ways. As well as interacting with databases and other resources, you may use it to build functions, classes, and objects.
WordPress runs thanks to PHP code. The best WordPress themes and plugins, as well as WordPress itself, always run on the latest version of PHP. If you’re stuck on an outdated version, the lack of compatibility between PHP and your core files, plugins, and theme might break your website.
A MySQL database houses all the data on a WordPress website. This information ranges from your user profile details and plugin settings to your blog name and blog post content.
It is PHP’s responsibility to extract certain data from the database and combine it with other data to create an HTML web page.
Let’s take a moment and see how the PHP code in WordPress works with HTML first, step by step: The first step is for a user to enter your URL into their browser or select your link. With this, a request is made to your server where your website resides. The browser receives the HTML code again via the Internet from your server. That HTML code is then interpreted by the user’s browser into a web page. However, an extra action takes place when you visit a PHP-built website, such as WordPress.
Before sending the HTML code to the browser, WordPress executes the PHP code in your site. This is accomplished via a PHP interpreter running on the server, which takes the PHP code and converts it into HTML. As with non-PHP sites, the generated HTML is transmitted to the user’s browser. Just as it does with non-PHP sites, the browser reads the HTML code and renders the page for the user.
In summary, a WordPress site’s PHP code is used to dynamically build the HTML code that is transmitted to the browser. Because of this, WordPress is able to construct websites that are both dynamic and interactive, allowing for things like the retrieval and display of content from a database and user login/commenting capabilities.
The majority of the WordPress files in a Core zip file are PHP files. The php suffix indicates that the file contains PHP code.
You may see file names like wp-config.php, index.php, and many more in the picture above. Wp-Config.php file for example is an important configuration file for your website. The code required to carry out various tasks in WordPress is present in each of these files.
PHP versions of WordPress
PHP was used to create WordPress. It provides a simple interface for adding and managing content to the millions of websites and blogs it runs worldwide.
WordPress is constantly changing and getting better, just like any program. In order to benefit from the newest features and security upgrades, it’s critical to have an updated WordPress installation. This involves upgrading PHP to the WordPress-recommended version. Like other programming languages, there are different versions of PHP that you can use. PHP 5, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4 are older versions of PHP that have reached their end of life. This means they will no longer receive active support and have ceased receiving security support.
WordPress recommends using PHP version 7.6 or above as of this writing. The most recent version of WordPress might not work with older versions of PHP (such 5.6 and 7.0), which are no longer supported. WordPress latest Version 6.1 runs with PHP Version 8.2 as at the time of December 2022.
Not sure which PHP version you are running?
There are various ways to check for the current PHP version on which your WordPress installation is running. The quickest way to check your WordPress PHP version is to use the Site Health area, which you’ll find under the Tools section in your WordPress admin panel. After logging into your WordPress admin, go to Tools > Site Health > Info > Server. There you’ll find the PHP version on which your WordPress site is currently running.
You must check with your hosting company to discover what versions are available and how to convert to a newer version if you want to change the PHP version in WordPress.
Contacting the support staff may be required by certain hosting companies, while others may let you choose your PHP version using a control panel or dashboard. Most WordPress tutorials will advise you to back up your site before making significant changes, and updating PHP is no exception.
To make sure your website is compliant and operating correctly after changing your PHP version, test it. You may examine your website for any problems that may result from the upgrade by using the PHP Compatibility Checker.
For creating dynamic websites and apps, PHP is a strong and popular programming language. It’s crucial to maintain your PHP version current if you use WordPress in order to benefit from the newest features and security upgrades. You may create more complex and engaging websites and applications that offer a better user experience by being familiar with the fundamentals of PHP and how it functions.
Are PHP Skills Required for WordPress Users?
To use, run, or maintain a WordPress website, a user does not need to understand or learn PHP. WordPress already comes with the PHP files you require, as do the themes and plugins, so you can use WordPress without knowing PHP code.
Although the majority of WordPress users never need to know how to write in PHP, you’ll need to learn it if you want to create your own WordPress plugin, a WordPress theme or complex tweaks for WordPress websites – in short if you would like to join the community of WordPress Developers.
There are many resources available online where you can learn PHP for WordPress or when you simply need a short refresher for your PHP programming. Here are a few options if you are looking for a PHP Tutorial:
- WordPress Codex: The WordPress Codex is the official documentation for WordPress and it has a section on PHP for WordPress. You can find it here: https://developer.wordpress.org/coding-standards/wordpress-coding-standards/php/
- WordPress.tv: WordPress.tv is a video tutorial website that has several videos on PHP for WordPress. You can find them here: https://wordpress.tv/tag/php/
- W3Schools: W3Schools is an online tutorial website that has a comprehensive tutorial on PHP. You can find it here: https://www.w3schools.com/php/
The most important thing to do if you’re trying to learn PHP for WordPress development is trying some WordPress coding yourself.
In conclusion, PHP is an essential part of WordPress, and if you know how to use it, you can make the most of its power and flexibility. We hope that this post has given you a good introduction to PHP in WordPress and that you will continue to learn more about this topic.
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