Q: What’s something very few people know about PHP?
It is mind-bogglingly popular for web development. That popularity hasn’t diminished even though conventional wisdom says otherwise…
Over a decade ago, I said about 40% of the top 100 websites use PHP — a number I pulled out of my ass — but nobody (not even the Ruby on Rails developers I pissed off) argued with that spurious claim. In 2009, Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress became curious with my claim and did a survey of Quantcast’s top 100 sites — he got almost exactly 40. Even today, among the 10 most important websites, four use PHP as their language of choice — 40% again.
Overall, almost 80% of the internet is powered by PHP, and that has held steady for years! Newer web languages such as Ruby or NodeJS have only grown at the expense of other languages such as ASP, Java, or Perl.
Just one single application written in PHP, WordPress, is used by over 30% of all websites on the entirety of the internet. That’s more than double the market share since back when I last worked at Automattic/WordPress in 2011! It grew until it saturated its entire market — over 60% of all CMSs. In the CMS market as a whole, PHP-based CMSs occupy positions 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 in the top 10. The most popular non-PHP-based CMS is both closed source and sitting at only a 2.5% share.
It was estimated back in 2009 that there were 5 million PHP developers worldwide. It’s difficult to make this estimate today, but it’s obvious that that number has also held steady or grown.
These last few years, I’ve been commercially working in Ruby (on Rails), GoLang, NodeJS (for static servers), and Python (Django), but PHP is still also my love in that love/hate relationship.
Come see my talk in February 2019 at SunshinePHP in Florida!