PHP is the most popular, open source, cross-platform, free, platform-independent and general purpose scripting language crafted especially for Web development. It’s a hypertext preprocessor, a fast, flexible and pragmatic server-side programming language that helps you create powerful websites.
It’s HTML embeddable
PHP can be embedded into HTML, can be used as a standalone executable and runs on different platforms. Its syntax draws upon C, Java, and Perl programming, and the best of all is that it is easy to learn, especially if you have previous knowledge of the aforementioned programming languages.
Supports LDAP, IMAP, XML, Java technologies
It offers support for XML (Extensible Markup Language), IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) and Java technologies, several major databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and SQLite, various Internet protocols. It is highly extensible via its powerful APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).
It is independent of an operating system
PHP is a platform-independent software, implemented in the C programming language (with various components written in C++), which means that it supports GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X or Microsoft Windows operating systems.
The software has been successfully tested on computers supporting either of the 32 or 64-bit hardware platforms. It is freely available for download on any of the aforementioned OSes, distributed under the PHP license.
Integrates into a web server
PHP is called by its developers a server-side programming language because it integrates into a web server software, such as Apache or Microsoft IIS. Adding PHP support to a web server is quite easy, as all you have to do is to install the native web server module or a CGI executable.
PHP is actively developed in multiple stable and development branches, each one supporting various features and components. It supports FTP (File Transfer Protocol) servers and provides general data manipulation capabilities.