Is PHP Dead? No! At Least Not According to PHP Usage Statistics

Is PHP dead? | TurnKey

The phrase “PHP is dead” has been floating around for a couple of years now, but judging by its usage numbers, PHP can’t kick the bucket just yet! There are nearly 2 billion websites and 77.4% of them use PHP, making it one of the most popular technologies out there.

In fact, in terms of web development programs and software systems, PHP is the number one choice worldwide – meaning that no matter what you’re trying to build with a web-based language, there’s a good chance that PHP code will fit the bill. 

So if you’re planning to develop a web application using PHP, you might be wondering how to hire web developers who are skilled in PHP. While developing our own automation system for EOR service, the team chose PHP as the primary language for this platform.

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PHP Usage Statistics

The popularity of PHP as a server-side programming language appears to be only increasing over time. In May 2024 W3Techs reported an impressive 76.3% (-1.2% Y2Y) of all websites are still relying on it, a slight decline from the 78.9% that used it in 2022. Needless to say, it’s clear that PHP will continue to maintain its dominance for most server side languages for the foreseeable future., with the most popular versions being PHP 7.4 (50.3%), PHP 7.3 (24.7%), and PHP 5.6 (12.8%), with all remaining versions combined making up 12.2%.

PHP Usage Statistics | TurnKey

Why is PHP Still Relevant and Widely Used?

Short history overview:

  1. 1994 – Creation by Rasmus Lerdorf: Development of PHP to track visits to his online resume.
  2. 1995 – PHP/FI (PHP Tools/Form Interpreter): Public release of PHP/FI 2.0 source code.
  3. 1997 – PHP 3: Rewritten by Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans; renamed PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.
  4. 1998 – Establishment of the PHP Group: Formation of the PHP Group to manage PHP development and distribution.
  5. 2000 – PHP 4: Introduction of the Zend Engine 1.0; improved performance and scalability.
  6. 2004 – PHP 5: Based on Zend Engine II; introduced object-oriented programming (OOP) support.
  7. 2015 – PHP 7: Major release with Zend Engine 3.0; significant performance improvements and new features like scalar type declarations and null coalescing operator.
  8. 2020 – PHP 8: Introduction of JIT (Just-In-Time) compiler, union types, named arguments, attributes, and match expression.

Even though there has been a slight decline in the number of websites that are using PHP as their server-side scripting language, it would be foolish to write off its presence. As nearly 74% of such sites still use this technology despite a slight decrease, it is unlikely that this powerful development tool will go away anytime soon.

Although it is true that some hosting providers deliberately remove X-Powered-By HTTP headers from broadcasting on their servers for security reasons, which could throw off the statistics slightly. However, the reason PHP continues to dominate year after year is due to PHP’s reliable performance and dynamic features; indicating an continuing trend among developers worldwide to choose it as the first option for their software development.

It’s not exactly mind-blowing that PHP is one of the world’s most popular coding languages. According to the Buildwith portal, WordPress stands as the most popular system used globally, powering 45.2% of all websites worldwide. However, in the United States, its usage is notably lower, accounting for only 18.6% of websites. That’s 810 million websites powered by PHP code – which is more than a third of interactive websites on the entire internet.

CMS Market | TurnKey

Erik Klein, who worked at YouTube as an engineer from 2006 to 2009, answered a question on Quora about whether YouTube is still written in PHP. He stated that YouTube was originally written in PHP, but was later migrated to Python in a rewrite process that started in December 2005 and lasted until about February 2006. 

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PHP Is Faster and Better

PHP has come a long way since it hit the development scene, and the latest version, PHP 8.2.6, is one of its most impressive achievements yet. With awesome new features such as typed properties and optimizations for better memory usage, CPU usage, and garbage collection, there’s no doubt that this version is faster and better than ever before. The OPCache preloader makes loading applications super speedy too, so now your site will be zipping along in a flash.

Wordpress 5.0 | TurnKey

The improvements brought by the PHP 8.X versions are a tech-lover’s dream come true!

Combining comparison operators, null coalesce operators, and new type, which make debugging a breeze; anonymous classes, nullable data types, and multi-catch exception handling to create efficient and effective coding; keys usable in lists, number operators, and malformed numbers, trailing commas – the list goes on and on!

Despite all this exciting news for developers, however, most aren’t actually utilizing the latest version of PHP.

Other PHP Popularity Reasons

PHP’s persistence on top is due to two key reasons: its compatibility with a wide range of plugins and its expansive library of functionalities. So if you can dream up a website with all the bells and whistles, there’s a good chance you can find the relevant extensions and functionalities to make that dream a reality.  With decades worth of scripting under its belt, PHP also makes sure you don’t have to reinvent the wheel either,  since you can always use some available readymade codes for functions like booking/scheduling, checkout carts, polls, or lists, etc., making your page awesome without compromising speed.

PHP is like the Golden Retriever of programming languages: easy to work with and lots of support. Just as a puppy can adapt to its owner’s lifestyle, its dynamic technology makes PHP ready for whatever database you’ve got. Whether it be MySQL, MongoDB, or Oracle, you can count on PHP to quickly build a productive relationship with your backend. It’s one less thing for developers to worry about –they’ll have more time to actually create something that works rather than being tied up in knotty integrations. The best part? This last bit usually translates into less development costs and big savings further down the line.

And last but not least, tech companies and website owners can rest assured that their budgets won’t suffer irreparably if they want to update their websites or applications. It’s because PHP is such a versatile language that it runs across several operating systems, like Windows and OSX, and its Linux variants. So instead of having to learn a new language every time you need an upgrade, all one needs to do is keep pace with this one.

Why PHP Is Bad?

PHP memes | TurnKey
Source: Reddit.com/r/ProgrammerHumor/php_definitely_is_one_of_the_languages_ever_made/

If you’ve ever heard of Stack Overflow, you know that its annual developer survey can tell us a lot – and the latest one is no exception.

  • PHP requires a full web app restart each startup.
  • Difficulties managing separate versions of PHP.
  • PHP function names are not intuitive, frequent documentation referencing needed.
  • PHP lacks built-in security compared to newer languages.
  • .NET Core and Java offer better security and performance than PHP.
  • PHP might be replaced by superior backend alternatives.

PHP, the open-source language that’s long been used to create amazing websites, has consistently ranked among the least favorite of the most popular programming languages out there. It’s an easy-to-use language with a bustling active community – so why don’t devs fancy it? It turns out there are some pretty notable issues that make it not the most beloved choice. Over 90,000 professionals shared their gripes with PHP in recent surveys, begging the question: will PHP die and is it really worth all this dread?

For a language that’s been around for 25 years, you’d think that PHP would be going strong. Sadly, it’s only in its 8th major version and doesn’t seem to be quick to change. Although some believe its performance has always been lethargic, but the real nail in the coffin is that it requires you to restart the entire web application each time it starts up. Managing separate versions of the language and its libraries? Not a chance – you’ll practically need your own set of containers just for that! It’s pretty clear why many feel PHP has become something of a relic in these modern times.

Another pain point is that PHP is not intuitive. Many of the function names are difficult for programmers to anticipate; also, developers do not appreciate the frequent referencing required for documentation.

Can the age-old debate of “is PHP dead” finally be put to rest?  Of course not! But when are we going to bury it, you ask?

PHP itself is not particularly secure by design and so would quickly be outclassed in modern development. Compared to the new wave of languages like .NET Core and Java, these are built with security concerns in mind, making them difficult to learn, develop and support. Despite this, they often show better performance than PHP and provide more flexibility. So while PHP isn’t going anywhere soon, it may very well be replaced by better backend alternatives. If you’ve been following development trends, you know that Node.js is hot right now and it’s definitely worth considering when it comes to creating backend applications. It’s a great alternative to PHP due to its ability to handle multiple requests simultaneously, being a synchronous language, and having faster execution speed.

If you are looking for a PHP developer.

How to Find PHP Developers

It’s no surprise that when it comes to finding experienced developers, PHP is the way to go. In fact, if you’re looking for developers with experience in newer frameworks like React, you might just need a time machine to go to the future! Recently a Reddit post made the rounds after someone posted a job description looking for a React developer with 5 years of experience in 2017, an impossible task given the language had only been around for ~4 years.

Since new companies tend to build their products using React or other technologies, there are fewer opportunities for developers specializing in PHP programming language. Because of PHP strong history and it’s easy to learn, affordable, experienced PHP professionals are everywhere — meaning tech companies can take advantage of this high competition and keep salaries low for talented PHP coders.

Ready to take your PHP development to the next level? Contact TurnKey today and hire top-notch PHP developers who can help you achieve your goals.

No Matter If You Love or Hate PHP, TurnKey Can Help

Looking to hire backend developers using an offshoring hybrid model to squeeze the juice from software development? We’re your perfect partners.

With Yourshoring, you get the best of both worlds: control and cost-effectiveness. Outsource your backend development needs with a hybrid solution that blends outsourcing, offshoring, and recruitment; customized to fit your specific software development needs.

You pick the talent for YOUR team – no more wasting time or money on substandard results. Plus your offshore squad will be packing an in-house attitude so you can leverage them into agile success while keeping costs low & manageable. TurnKey gives ya’ access to quality developers without breaking the bank… now that’s what we call smart business savvy (wink).v

Don't let the pros and cons of hiring a PHP developer hold you back from achieving your goals. Call TurnKey today and hire experienced developers who can help you create high-quality web applications that meet your unique needs.

FAQ

Is PHP dying in 2024?

PHP has been declining in popularity since 2014 according to GitHub data and similar results from the TIOBE index, dropping from the 3rd to the 16th position among the most popular programming languages.

The future of PHP is always up for debate and there is no clear answer on whether or not the programming language is going to start fading come 2024. The industry of web development is constantly changing; staying ahead of the curve needs continuous innovation – something that frameworks like PHP may not be able to keep pace with in the coming years.

Is PHP still relevant in 2024?

In 2024, PHP will remain a staple in web development. Despite the increasing prevalence of newer technologies such as Node.js or Vue.js, PHP has been resilient in maintaining its important place in the web development ecosystem. Much of the existing codebase powering the internet is written in this language, and it continues to be an important part of any full-stack developer's skillset.

Why PHP losing popularity?

Recently, for example, there have been conversations claiming that PHP is losing its popularity as a programming language and the number of developers is decreasing. This might be the case in some areas, but on the whole, PHP is still one of the most popular languages around. Although PHP today faces stiff competition from other programming languages, its adaptability and long-standing presence in web development will ensure it remains popular for many years to come.

Does PHP have a future?

With such widespread adoption, there is little doubt that businesses that choose PHP will have a lasting presence within the development landscape for years to come.

April 1, 2024

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