Writing your first PHP script

Last updated 23-07-23 04:05


So, you've decided to delve into the world of web development and learn PHP programming. Congratulations on taking this exciting step! PHP is a powerful and widely-used scripting language that is perfect for building dynamic websites and web applications. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of writing your first PHP script, from setting up your development environment to executing your code and seeing the results. So, let's get started on this thrilling journey of PHP programming!

Setting Up Your Development Environment

  1. Choose a text editor: Select a text editor that suits your preferences and needs. Popular choices include Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, and Atom. These editors offer syntax highlighting and other useful features for PHP development.
  2. Install a local server environment: To run PHP code on your computer, you'll need to set up a local server environment. The most commonly used options are XAMPP, WAMP, and MAMP, which provide an Apache server, MySQL database, and PHP.
  3. Start the local server: After installing the server environment, start the server and ensure it is running correctly. This step is crucial as it allows your PHP scripts to execute and display output in your web browser.
  4. Create a new PHP file: Open your chosen text editor and create a new file with the .php extension. This file will contain your PHP code.

Writing Your First PHP Script

Now that your development environment is ready, it's time to write your first PHP script. Follow the steps below to create a simple "Hello, World!"


Start the PHP tags: In your newly created PHP file, start by opening the PHP tags with . This signals the beginning of PHP code.

  1. Write your code: Inside the PHP tags, you can write any PHP code you want. Let's start with a basic "Hello, World!" program. Type echo "Hello, World!"; in your file.
  2. End the PHP tags: Close the PHP tags with ?>. This marks the end of PHP code.
  3. Save the file: Save your file with a meaningful name and the .php extension. For example, you could name it hello_world.php.

Executing Your PHP Script

Now that you've written your first PHP script, let's execute it and see the output in your web browser:

  1. Place the file in the correct directory: Move your hello_world.php file to the appropriate directory of your local server, such as htdocs for XAMPP.
  2. Open your web browser: Launch your preferred web browser and enter localhost/your_file_name.php in the address bar. Make sure to replace your_file_name with the actual name of your PHP file.

  3. View the output: Press Enter, and you should see the output of your PHP script displayed in the web browser. In this case, it will be "Hello, World!"
  4. Congratulations! You have successfully written and executed your first PHP script. This is just the beginning of your PHP programming journey, and there's so much more to explore and learn.

Common FAQs about Writing PHP Scripts

How do I declare variables in PHP?

To declare a variable in PHP, you simply use the $ symbol followed by the variable name. For example, $name = "John"; creates a variable named "name" with the value "John".

Can I use PHP and HTML together in the same file?

Yes, PHP is often used in conjunction with HTML to create dynamic web pages. You can embed PHP code within HTML using the PHP opening and closing tags.

How do I handle user input in PHP?

PHP provides various methods to handle user input. One common way is to use the $_POST superglobal array to access form data submitted via the POST method. Another option is $_GET for retrieving data from the URL.

Is PHP an object-oriented programming (OOP) language?

Yes, PHP supports object-oriented programming. It provides classes, objects, and inheritance, allowing you to write modular and reusable code.

How can I connect to a database using PHP?

PHP offers several extensions for connecting to databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite. You can use functions like mysqli_connect() or PDO (PHP Data Objects) to establish a database connection and perform queries.


Writing your first PHP script is an exciting milestone in your journey as a web developer. In this article, we covered the basics of setting up your development environment, writing a simple PHP script, and executing it to see the output. We also addressed some common FAQs to help you get started on the right foot. Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep experimenting, learning, and building amazing things with PHP. Happy coding!

Suggested mock test