The history of PHP is closely related to the development of the world wide web. While HTML is what made the web possible it is the development of PHP that really made it the interactive thing that it is today. This has greatly enhanced the popularity of the internet since without it the internet would have remained largely just a source of information. Now it is a way to communicate because of its interactive nature.
PHP was created during the mid nineties in order to allow for the creation of dynamic websites. Originally PHP stood for personal home page and it was written by computer programmer Rasmus Lerdorf in order to maintain the page on which he had his resume posted. He also wanted to know how much traffic his site was receiving, something that he couldn't do with HTML. It turned out that PHP offered a number of advantages over HTML so there were steps to taken to develop the script into a more complete language. The main advantage that PHP has is that it can be used to create a dynamic website.
When you use HTML to create a website you are creating a static site, that is every visitor who comes to your site is going to see the same thing unless you go in and actively change the content. With a dynamic site you can set it up so that your site shows different content every time somebody clicks on it. From an internet marketing standpoint this is valuable since it allows you to get repeat visitors. After all nobody is going to return to your site if you have just the same stuff there every time. Because of this advantage PHP soon became very popular.
Basically PHP provides new content to your site by taking it from one place and putting it another. You will need to have a file of content or some form of stream for providing new content. PHP will then take that content and code in HTML and display it as output on your website. This gives the appearance that you are constantly changing your content and it helps to encourage users to come back. Dynamic sites are now almost as popular as static sites because they are so easy to build thanks to PHP (and we've used it for our site too!).
Although it was originally intended to be used to create dynamic web pages PHP is now more widely used for server side scripting. This is primarily used to create interactive websites that are connected to databases like blogs. This allows for the collection of information from your visitors. It also allows you to build sites that are far more interactive than would otherwise be possible. Almost all of the most popular sites on the internet use server side scripting to allow for this interactivity.
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