Open Source PHP Usage Tops 244 Million Sites

phpFrom the ‘Open Source Language Rules’ files:

When I first started building websites in the late 90’s, PHP was my tool of choice. Though many things have changed on the web since then, PHP’s popularity has not changed, it has grown.

A new report from Netcraft puts the current tally as of January 2013 for PHP sites on the web, at a staggering 244 million sites. In context, that’s nearly 40 percent of the 630 million total sites on the web today.

Why is PHP so dominant?

Well the most obvious answer is that most modern content management systems (including the one that powers this site) use PHP. The world’s most popular CMS systems including WordPress, Drupal and Joomla all use PHP.

The dominance of PHP will not change anytime soon, especially since CMS usage continues to grow.

As a language, PHP also continues to grow. My first exposure to PHP was with the 3.x branch and I spent many long days and nights struggling with PHP 4.x too. Today PHP 5.x dominates, which makes sense since PHP 5.0 was first released over 8 years ago. Though it wasn’t until 2008 that PHP 4.x was declared (mostly) dead.

So for all you aspiring developers out there, don’t get caught up in the hype around RoR or other ‘exotic’ web frameworks and languages, make sure you have a grounded understanding of PHP. You’ll certainly be in company with nearly half the web.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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