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25 Years of PHP, and Why It Will Continue to Be Crucial to WordPress

PHP is celebrating its 25th birthday this week. 25 years since its creator Rasmus Lerdorf released version 1.0 of the “Personal Home Page Tools.”

The language is currently known as PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. 80% of all the websites with known server-side language use it. WordPress, in particular, makes for 37.3% of these websites. Websites such as Wikipedia, Facebook, and Yahoo also use it in some forms for development. It is noteworthy that its files can contain text, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP code.

The language has been on a small decline recently, with a peak in January 2015 at 80.6%. Nonetheless, improvements occur with the regular release of new versions. The latest version is 7.3.


One of the reasons for its popularity is how easy it is to find good web hosting for PHP-based websites. This is perhaps the main reason for its large market share, WP Tavern explains.

Matt Mullenweg, the American entrepreneur, known for developing WordPress, shared in a 2017 interview that he appreciated how PHP and MySQL provide a user-friendly platform that enables WordPress. Mullenweg noted that the language is impressive in its ubiquity, pointing at its easy integration with Apache web servers. “You didn’t have to mess with file permissions and everything else in the same way, and then every web host supporting it also make distribution easy”, Mullenweg said.

Last year, during a Q&A session at WordCamp Europe, Mullenweg said he believed the language would be crucial for many more years.

Keep it up-to-date

WordPress site owners have been slow to upgrade to the latest versions. Fortunately, Site Health was introduced last year to improve this process.

As pointed out by WordPress.org, it is crucial to keep the language up-to-date all-year-round. The two main reasons for keeping up with the update hygiene are the following:

  • Running the latest version will make your website more efficient and faster performance-wise. The current latest version is 7.3, so make sure to check if you’re running it. It is much faster than older versions.
  • Running the latest version will also make your website more secure. Their communities maintain both PHP and WordPress. The popularity of the language makes it a target for hackers. That’s why installing the latest version is critical. It contains the latest security features. Older versions are vulnerable, and having them makes your website prone to attacks.

So, double-check the version you are using – it should be 7.3. And happy 25!

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