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What is PHP? (Video Explanation)

Come across the term ‘PHP’ (also known as ‘Hypertext Preprocessor’) and wondering what on earth it means? Fear not: we’ve got you covered! In short: it’s basically a scripting language used to power most of the web. In this quick video (below), we’ll go into both what PHP is, and how it fits in with WordPress.

Let’s take a look…

What is PHP, What Does It Do, And What Is It Used For?

Direct link to watch the video over on YouTube.

– (note: video credits to Topher DeRosia – creator of HeroPress)

Video Transcript:

Hi, this is Topher, with WinningWP! In this video we’re going to answer the question, “What is PHP, what does it do, and what is it used for?” Well, PHP is a programming language and it’s used to build things for the web. PHP runs on the server, and so when you ask for a webpage, there’s usually some PHP going on in the background. This is a very normal install of WordPress. And as you could see, most of the files end with .php and you can kind of tell what they do. Here’s login.php, mail.php, signup.php, et cetera. Right there is wp-config.php, and it does things like, hold the username and password for the database. An extremely common thing that PHP is used for, is making it so you could log in and out of a webpage. This page we’re looking at here, is plain html. But if I put credentials into it and hit Log In, then it’s going to send a request to the server, and PHP is going to talk to the database, and log me in. PHP is also what loads the content on your site in WordPress. If we look at our homepage of this site, you’ll see there’s a blog post here. All of this content is actually stored in a database but PHP says, “Hey, let’s go get that content, “bring it back here, and put it into this webpage”. PHP is also what’s used to extend WordPress, and make it cooler and more powerful. This is the Plugins page for WordPress. This is where people can write some extra PHP and attach it to WordPress, to make it do more things. A very common thing to do, is to create Widgets for WordPress. We have here the Digital Blasphemy Widget, and when it’s installed, we can go to the Widgets page and see it right here. And it’s installed right here. And we can choose One Random Freebie or the Latest Freebie. If we do One Random Freebie, and then look at our website, you’ll see that there’s a random free image right there. And if reload, we get a different one. PHP is the programming language that makes all of these things work. It’s the glue that ties together your content and the database and the web browser. Once it’s done its work, everything’s put together into a webpage. If you’d like to learn more about WordPress, check out

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By WinningWP Editorial

Run by Brin Wilson, WinningWP is an award-winning resource for people who use – you guessed it – WordPress. Follow along on Twitter and/or Facebook.
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