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PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor)

PHP is a script language and interpreter that is freely available and used primarily on Linux Web servers. PHP, originally derived from Personal Home Page Tools, now stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, which the PHP FAQ describes as a "recursive acronym."

PHP executes on the server, while a comparable alternative, JavaScript, executes on the client. PHP is an alternative to Microsoft's Active Server Page (ASP) technology. As with ASP, the PHP script is embedded within a Web page along with its HTML. Before the page is sent to a user that has requested it, the Web server calls PHP to interpret and perform the operations called for in the PHP script.

An HTML page that includes a PHP script is typically given a file name suffix of ".php" ".php7," or ".phtml". Like ASP, PHP can be thought of as "dynamic HTML pages," since content will vary based on the results of interpreting the script. 

PHP is free and offered under an open source license.

This was last updated in November 2006

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