7 Global Websites Using PHP in 2024: The Power and Potential of PHP

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In a time when elite organizations are using rather intimidating, large-scaled tech stacks for their back-end, many people still can’t believe that PHP can be employed for big, successful projects.

But you’d be surprised. What do rising Fortune 500 tech startups and corporate giants such as Facebook, MailChimp, Slack, and Etsy all have in common? They’re companies that use PHP in their end-to-end computing infrastructure.

Whether it’s Lyft using PHP to run one of the world’s largest ride-sharing databases or Slack deploying PHP for the majority of its server-side application logic, PHP provides world-class support for building small-large mobile and web products.

Today, you’ll find out about seven global websites using PHP, including:

  1. Facebook
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Tumblr
  4. Slack
  5. MailChimp
  6. Etsy
  7. WordPress

If there’s anything you gain from this article, it should be this:

PHP is here to stay with an ever-increasing demand amongst some of the largest tech leaders in the global economy. 

Keep reading to learn more about leading companies that use PHP in their development workflows.

What is PHP?

Starting out as a small open-source project way back in 1994, Rasmus Lerdorf unleashed PHP as an intuitive server-side scripting language. 

Here’s a short and sweet rundown of PHP:

  • PHP is an acronym for “Hypertext Processor”
  • It’s widely used in small and large industrial applications, existing as an open-source scripting language
  • PHP scripts are executed directly on the server end
  • Its compilers and extensions are free to download and use

Similar to any other staple scripting language, PHP allows software developers to directly integrate logic into the creation of web page content and efficiently manage data returned from a web browser.

PHP also contains numerous out-of-the-box extensions that make it easy for software engineers to interact with databases.

The language is intuitively designed to extract relevant data to be displayed on a web page, storing any respective information entered by a website visitor into its corresponding database defined by its script.

All in all, PHP consists of two simple moving parts: a scripting language and an interpreter.

Web and PHP developers can utilize scripts to define server-side behavior and logic they need in a web app.

These scripts can be conveniently embedded into HTML markup documents that are served at the frontend of the webserver.

An interpreter behaves as a backend module that integrates into the webserver.

It actively converts scripts into explicit commands that the computer executes to achieve outputs defined in the script by the web developer.

Main functions of PHP

PHP can seamlessly perform the following functions:

  • Generating dynamic page content that can be easily updated
  • Creating, opening, reading, writing, and terminating files on the server
  • Ability to collect form data (a pretty popular application, by the way!)
  • Sending and receiving cookies
  • Used for controlling user access
  • Encrypting sensitive user data

What Are the Advantages of Using PHP?

Before diving into the business-level advantages of PHP, take a look at a few of its leading qualities as a server-side programming language:

  • PHP has cross-platform applications, running on Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, and an array of other supported operating systems
  • It’s compatible with nearly all modern servers (e.g. Apache, IIS, etc.)
  • It is open-source and free to use. You can download it officially at https://php.net.
  • PHP is easy to learn and runs/modulates efficiently on the server-side
List of PHP advantages.
The Advantages of Using PHP

The business-level impact of integrating PHP into your company’s server-side app development cycle is much more exciting.

PHP wins over developers by saving your budget and time while still empowering teams with flexibility and scalability.

Some advantages include:

PHP’s Open-Source Delivery Saves Budget

Although open-source programming languages in the 21st century are not unfamiliar to the average developer, it is a particularly unique advantage for companies looking to scale their PHP development workflow.

PHP is available for free, and requires no download or licensing fees. This accessible distribution brings about a large and active international community.

The result of an open-source software community that’s nearly three decades old is continual enhancements in functionality and an expanding pool of resources and facilities.

Developers no longer have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ because hundreds of viable, out-of-the-box PHP-based solutions are being released every year.

PHP Development Saves Time

Created as a partially object-oriented language, PHP makes code as reusable as possible.

Reusable PHP components save hours of time and effort in the software development cycle.

PHP frameworks, such as Symfony, CodeIgniterLaravel, Joomla, and WordPress carry functionality and offer efficient and secure development processes that alleviate the stress for everyone on the team.

Since its founding, PHP was optimized for programming various web applications through built-in GET and POST functions, as well as HTML and URL script functionality.

For businesses, this saved time translates to decreased busywork and a return on investment sooner rather than later.

PHP Code Is Flexible and Integrative

As highlighted earlier, PHP code is cross-platform. You can run and deploy PHP on major operating systems including Windows, Unix, Linux, and MacOS.

PHP’s server-side versatility is even better.

PHP’s backend supports servers including Apache, Microsoft IIS, Netscape, iPlanet, Caudium, Xitami, and Tornado, along with more than 20 databases like MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, and many others.

With PHP, businesses can seamlessly build cross-platform applications without worrying about compatibility errors.

Organizations can now leverage existing tech infrastructure with little to no expenditures.

PHP’s Lightning Speed Performance Helps To Retain Customers

In order to effectively retain website audiences, page loading speed is crucial.

Unfortunately, the human attention span lasts only around 6-8 seconds, and if the website’s databases are slow, users will quickly exit and be left with a bad impression.

However, PHP ensures quick turnaround times by utilizing fast data processing features, excellent customization potential, and efficient integration with a variety of custom management systems.

PHP speed comparison bar chart with PHP 7.4 delivering the fastest speeds.
PHP Speed Comparison

Given that PHP was initially developed with dynamic web page generation in mind, its scripts can solve real-time problems much quicker than other static scripting languages.

PHP scripts can be easily embedded into HTML files, allowing developers to convert existing static website code into dynamic front-end apps just by integrating PHP.

Overall, PHP is an excellent programming language for the creation of full-fledged websites based on static HTML.

7 Global Websites That Use PHP

1. Facebook

Perhaps the most notorious social media web application with more than 1.49 billion active users, Facebook was developed primarily using PHP.

Facebook has taken advantage of PHP’s capability to generate dynamic content in mere seconds since its founding in 2004.

At its conception, the entire core Facebook application code was written in PHP by both Zuckerberg and Moskowitz. This led to a domino effect, and now a large pool of present-day tech companies use PHP as well.

Facebook introduced HipHop for PHP (HPHPc) in 2010, a transpiler, or a compiler that translates source code into source code of another language.

In HipHop for PHP, inputted PHP code is translated to C++ and then compiled into binary for execution.

Eventually, HipHop for PHP was discontinued and replaced by the HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) in 2013.

This drastically improved performance and facilitated easier development and deployment processes.

Related read: Node.js vs. PHP – Which Is Better For Your Project?

2. Wikipedia

Wikipedia is perhaps one of the most visited public information sites that use PHP as a programming language along with MySQL/MariaDB as their database backend.

Comparable to Facebook, in 2014 they switched to HHVM and loaded page data nearly twice as fast.

3. Tumblr

The birthplace of memes, the Tumblr community has generated over 325 million blogs and 555 million monthly visitors.

In 2016, Tumblr transitioned to PHP7, noting dramatic performance upticks and new language features that they’re now able to implement, including scalar type hints and return type declarations.

Related read: 15 Companies That Use Node.Js Successfully

4. Slack

Established as the go-to team communications app in 2009, Slack’s valuation hovered around 4 billion dollars and it’s actively used by over 3 million users daily.

Slack deploys PHP in their backend to maximize their workflow efficiency faster while speeding up web request time and minimizing program defects.

5. MailChimp

It’s no wonder that one of the primary leaders in the email marketing industry uses scalable PHP databases in their backend.

As of 2014, MailChimp uses PHP to actively send more than 400 million emails for its 7 million registered users.

6. Etsy

Etsy has gained ground as one of the top ten most popular retail PHP websites in the US with more than 45.7 million active buyers.

This establishes Etsy as one of the largest e-commerce sites built on PHP. Among the top companies that use PHP, Etsy is the most competitive organization using it in the retail sector.

They actually documented their experimentation with HHVM for webpage performance optimizations.

Additionally, they released Phan, a static analyzer that can automatically recognize incompatibilities between PHP5/7.

7. WordPress

Ultimately, it’s no surprise that the largest content management system uses PHP to interact with databases and fetch data.

In short, PHP is used to fetch key components from the database and output them as static HTML.

This allows millions of active daily users to create/use templates and drag/drop website UI components with little to no coding experience.

Related read: React Native – 12 Examples of Successful Apps


PHP’s dynamic nature as a scripting language has allowed companies to save hours in lost daily time, allowing them to maximize long-term ROI.

With the recent rise of PHP7 and its consistent popularity as a server-side language amongst top tech and retail companies, one thing is abundantly clear:

PHP should be seriously considered by business and software development teams.

Regardless of how these top seven companies employed PHP in their dev stack, they ensured that top-level talent got the job done.

At Trio, our senior PHP developers possess the technical intuition to build dynamic server-side backends for your web and mobile products.

Reach us today and learn more about how to hire PHP developer with Trio.

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With over 10 years of experience in software outsourcing, Alex has assisted in building high-performance teams before co-founding Trio with his partner Daniel. Today he enjoys helping people hire the best software developers from Latin America and writing great content on how to do that!
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