Is PHP dead?

PHP is a common programming language in web development. It is a popular general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited to web development. PHP was originally created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page, but it now stands for the recursive initialism PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.

Today, it’s a common occurrence for a programming language to lose popularity over time. Over some years, the language starts being rumored to be dead. PHP has received similar rumors. Due to the fact that PHP is no longer popular, people assume that it is an outdated and dead language.

All the rumors are false. While no one really talks about the 1994 language anymore, it is still very much alive. People argue that PHP is dead by bringing up the following points; According to data, PHP job postings have decreased 5.16% from August 2017 to August 2019. Another pretty convincing point is that the number of people running searches for PHP roles on the same site, which dropped 41.83% in that same time frame.

 As of survey in December 2017, PHP was known to be found in over 83% of server-side languages used on the internet. Most of that content is made up of PHP-based management systems such as WordPress, but even if you take out even the pre-built CMS, PHP still makes up over 54% of the web. That’s a big number no matter how you look at it.

The information above clearly shows that PHP is not dead, but most people also argue that while it is not dead, it is on its way to the grave. PHP dying is also another exaggerated. Languages like Node.js and JavaScript are really the talk of the internet and are receiving most of the hype. The emergence of these new languages have pushed many languages into the background, but as seen with Java, languages can have a resurgence. The last decade for  JavaScript has not been all great but recently, it has taken the scene again. The same might be possible for PHP.

While you might have a few more arguments, remember that some of the world’s most popular websites were programmed in PHP. Facebook, Wikipedia, WordPress, and Pinterest all use PHP. So ask yourself, can a language with this much reach on the net really be dying?

Calling PHP a dead language is probably a bit exaggerated and too early, considering that a ton of people are still using it, and some major companies have committed to using it for the foreseeable future. Do you wonder why many people swear by this language and its largely untapped potential?

One of the strong points of PHP is that it has so many advanced systems that you can use as a company. This is because the language has been evolving over the decades that it has been around for. You need to have systems that you can rely on and you can only rely on stuff that has matured. 

Another thing that has made PHP’s popularity dwindle is the fact that people often compare programming languages to each other and pit them against each other even though this isn’t really necessary. The other languages like Java and Node are seen as much better than PHP when they are pit against each other because these languages are used mainly on the front end. Economically, there are lots of more Frontend developers than backend developers. This worsens the situation for PHP as more than half of Frontend devs are generally more graphical in how they work and operate. Most of the people who compare languages like this are younger programmers. This means that their choice of language seems better than that of older Devs. But their views aren’t necessarily picture perfect. If you look at JavaScript from a language design perspective, it’s quite an ugly language. It has so many type problems, it’s so unreliable in cases and it sometimes behaves so erratically and weird.

Over the last two years, employer demand for PHP has dropped a little. This means that the number of people seeking PHP programmers has dropped. In turn, the but job seeker demand has plummeted in comparison( that’s the number of programmers looking for jobs). What could this mean if you’re in the market for a new PHP role? Less competition and more of a chance to land your next big opportunity faster.

The truth is that most people say that PHP is dead because they don’t really like it for one reason or the other. Because the number of people who share this opinion is quite large, they can easily push the notion that the language is dead.

You might not like PHP, in fact, most new web developers take a sharp dislike to it. They prefer to build on Node and React, which are both JavaScript-based, not PHP. But again, not liking PHP doesn’t mean it’s dead, or even dying. It’s still used by over 78% of all websites using a server-side language. 

Bjarne Stroustrup, the creator of C++, has a pertinent quote here: There are only two kinds of languages: the ones people complain about and the ones nobody uses.

Yes, PHP does seem to be losing some steam according to W3Techs’ data. But even if PHP keeps decreasing at the same rate, it would take 25+ years before PHP even dropped under the 50% mark! In the end, all of these posts about “Is PHP Dead?” are really just examples of Betteridge’s law of headlines – “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.“

1 thought on “Is PHP dead?”

  1. Everything is very open with a precise description of the issues. It was truly informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing!


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