Is PHP Dead
Is PHP Dead

Exploring the Vitality of PHP in Modern Web Development

In the realm of web development, the rise of Gutenberg blocks and their association with JavaScript (specifically React, JSX, and ES6) has prompted discussions about the fate of PHP. Many have questioned whether PHP is on the verge of extinction. In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the nuances of this debate and provide a data-driven analysis to shed light on PHP’s current status.

The PHP Conundrum: Is It Truly Dying?

PHP has been on the receiving end of doomsday prophecies for quite some time. Dating back to 2011, articles pondering the question, “Is PHP Dead?” have emerged periodically. Yet, PHP continues to maintain its presence in the web development landscape.

Unveiling the Statistics

To assess PHP’s vitality accurately, let’s turn to the data. W3Techs, a prominent web technology usage analysis platform, reveals a significant statistic. As of now, PHP is the backbone of 78.9% of websites employing a server-side programming language. This means nearly 8 out of every 10 websites on the internet rely on PHP in some capacity.

A Decline, But Not Demise

Admittedly, this figure has witnessed a slight decline. In November 2017, PHP claimed a share of 80.1%, which decreased to 79.6% in June 2018 and further to 78.9% by November 2018, the time of writing this article. However, it’s important to approach these statistics with some skepticism. Certain scanning tools merely identify the X-Powered-By HTTP header, which some hosting providers, including Kinsta, suppress for security reasons. This suggests that the actual usage of PHP might be higher than reported.

Nonetheless, even with this slight decrease, it’s challenging to declare PHP dead when it maintains a solid presence of over 75%.

The WordPress Factor

The prominence of PHP becomes even clearer when we consider that WordPress, the leading content management system worldwide, is built on PHP. Given that WordPress powers more than 34% of all websites, it translates into a substantial number of websites relying on PHP. Other notable platforms, such as MediaWiki (the foundation of Wikipedia), Drupal, and Joomla, also embrace PHP.

PHP’s Evolution: Faster and Enhanced

Contrary to notions of obsolescence, PHP has evolved to become faster and more efficient. Recent iterations of PHP, such as PHP 7.3 and PHP 8.1, have demonstrated significant performance improvements. Benchmarks comparing PHP 7.X to PHP 5.6 indicate that the former can handle 2-3 times more requests per second, making it a more appealing choice for web developers. Additionally, PHP 7.X introduces various features and enhancements, including:

  • Combined comparison operator
  • Null coalesce operator
  • New type hinting
  • Anonymous classes
  • Nullable types
  • Iterable and void returns
  • Multi-catch exception handling
  • Keys usable in lists
  • Trailing commas
  • More negative string offsets
  • Number operators and malformed numbers
  • HTTP/2 server push

These enhancements enhance both the performance and developer experience.

The PHP Version Conundrum

Despite these advancements, a substantial number of websites are still running older PHP versions. According to, approximately 64% of WordPress sites are using PHP 7.1 or lower, with PHP 5.6 being the most prevalent at 22.9%. This is concerning because PHP versions 7.1 and below have lost active support and security updates.

The prevalence of outdated PHP versions could tarnish PHP’s reputation among developers and contribute to the misconception of its decline.

Abundant Availability of PHP Developers

PHP’s popularity ensures a ready supply of experienced PHP developers. Finding skilled PHP developers is relatively straightforward compared to newer frameworks, where talent shortages are more common. This accessibility to PHP developers is valuable for businesses and projects that rely on PHP expertise.

Personal Preferences vs. PHP’s Vitality

It’s important to distinguish personal preferences from the objective evaluation of PHP’s status. While not everyone may have a fondness for PHP, disliking it doesn’t equate to its demise. As Bjarne Stroustrup, the creator of C++, aptly puts it, “There are only two kinds of languages: the ones people complain about and the ones nobody uses.”

In Conclusion, PHP Persists

In summary, the verdict on PHP’s vitality is clear—it’s far from dead. Despite ongoing discussions and debates about its future, PHP remains the backbone of a substantial portion of the web. Its continuous evolution, robust performance, and availability of developers contribute to its enduring relevance in the world of web development.

So, is PHP dead? The answer, based on current data and trends, is a resounding no. Whether you love it or loathe it, PHP continues to thrive and power a significant portion of the internet’s digital landscape.

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