What you need

PHP stands for Personal Home Page or for the recursive acroynm PHP: Hypertext processor. It is a way of manipulating variables, files and databases to vary the contant displayed on a web page. It uses HTML to display anything on the screen.

PHP does not use a compiler - it does not create executables or other programs and needs nothing doing to source files beforehand. You just type in the source code into a text editor, and PHP checks each line of the code as it runs.

To get started you need:
  • A text editor to type in the source code (Notepad will do, but there are better ones)
  • PHP needs to be installed on the computer that runs the scripts. Most home PCs do not have PHP running (so you can't test your scripts on your own PC), but there many web hosting packages that do come with PHP installed. You do need PHP on your PC to write the scripts - you can write them on your PC and copy them to your web host's server and test them there. To test scripts on your own PC, you need to download some web server software (like Apache) and the PHP software.
  • A FTP package or similar to copy your scripts from your PC to the server that is hosting your web package.

If you have these things, then you are ready to get started!

If not, follow the links here to go to the respective download pages:
PHP downloads page (don't forget - this will allow you to install PHP on your own PC. If you want to use this for a working website, your hosting package must include PHP)
Apache web server. Note: download version 2.0.58 NOT the latest version in order to get PHP working
Crimson editor download page
Smart FTP - FTP free software

Next article: Getting Started

PHP Versions

PHP is currently on version 5. You should note that many web hosting packages run version 4 and some run version 5, whilst others will give you a choice of running either.
You need to note which version of PHP that your hosting package has. This is important because some commands were only introduced in version 5. If you try using these commands when your web server is running version 4, they will not work.

Next article: Getting Started


This is the first screen in the tutorial list.


The next screen gives you a tutorial on how to get started with PHP scripts.
Topics covered tell you how to enter a script and the basics you need to get PHP to work.

External Links