Comparing one’s technology stack to those of industry leaders is a common practice, and can be a valuable tool in making informed decisions. However, many resources that discuss this topic tend to focus on technologies that are currently popular, often neglecting essential and foundational technologies such as PHP.
Despite the growing complexity of technology stacks at enterprise level, PHP remains a popular choice for large projects requiring a robust base from which to commence. As we shall see, the majority of businesses we will be discussing today have opted to outsource PHP development, as this provides them with more confidence that their projects will be both cost-effective and able to scale up.
What if we examine more closely?
It is widely recognised that Facebook has become a leader in system scalability and IT infrastructure solutions, thanks to its 1.5 billion monthly users. What is not as widely known is that Facebook has utilised the programming language PHP to generate dynamic content since the company’s foundation in 2004.
Facebook initially developed its code in PHP, and a few years later released HipHop for PHP. HipHop was a transpiler that converted PHP scripts into native C++ applications. Subsequently, Facebook unveiled HipHop, an open-source virtual machine, which significantly increased the speed of PHP applications and simplified deployment.
PHP and its HipHop extensions remain key components of Facebook’s backend infrastructure. Notably, the HHVM has been instrumental in accelerating the development of PHP applications and will continue to do so in PHP7.
Wikipedia, one of the most widely used sources of public information, places a strong emphasis on a robust IT infrastructure. In 2003, the site’s initial backend was UseModWiki, a multipurpose wiki software written in Perl. At this time, the database size was only 4GB, which was expected to grow exponentially by the company. Indeed, by April of the same year, the database was growing by an average of 1.4GB per week.
Due to this, PHP was integrated shortly afterwards with Phase II software, which was then completely rewritten by MediaWiki. It has been reported that MediaWiki mostly uses PHP7 for its backend. In 2023, Wikipedia adopted the same approach as Facebook and implemented HHVM, significantly improving page loading times for the website.
It is no surprise that the most popular CMS in the world is written in PHP. Its reliability, speed, and security are key features which have enabled it to power 455+ million websites – an impressive 43% of the total websites in existence.
WordPress was built using PHP and integrates with MySQL and MariaDB, but users do not need to have any knowledge of PHP to use the service. PHP is used to provide a secure connection between the user’s website and the WordPress database, allowing the server-side to quickly and securely request the client-side HTML output.
The result of this is that millions of businesses and web developers are now able to create a range of templates, plugins and customisable UI components with minimal coding knowledge. It is also worth noting that WordPress’s reliance on PHP is still developing rapidly as the company invests resources into new projects that improve the platform in general.
Finally, we can discuss Tumblr – the website responsible for the creation of many well-known online memes and fads. The company had no option but to utilise a reliable and robust technology stack, due to its extensive number of 510.5+ million blogs and its ever-growing user base.
In order to ensure a secure, PHP-driven infrastructure, Tumblr will be upgrading its PHP5 systems to PHP7 in 2023. Previously, the company discussed this transition in more detail on their engineering blog. Let us take a look back at some of the key points.
The migration to PHP was driven by the ambition to improve site performance, and this has been achieved by Tumblr. Shortly after switching to PHP7, the firm saw a 50% decrease in latency and a 50% decrease in server CPU use, effectively doubling their capacity to host blogs and grow their user base. Their blog post stated that “PHP 7 is really great!”.
Ask Yourself: Should You Go With PHP Development?
It is undeniable that PHP has become the industry standard for website and mobile application development. This is evidenced by the fact that many leading businesses rely on PHP programming to power their key processes.
Are you wondering if PHP programming is the right choice for you? Have you considered how it could work with the technologies you are already utilising? Additionally, have you thought about how it could be enhanced by using existing technologies employed by similar organisations? As it would be impossible to answer all of your queries in one go, I suggest speaking with a knowledgeable PHP specialist and formulating a plan tailored to your needs.
Following this post it is clear that PHP is here to stay and will continue to be a technology of great importance, particularly for large and global organisations.