Future of PHP in 2019 — A Statistical Overview

It’s been quite a long time since PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) was created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. The PHP language evolved without a written formal specification or standard until 2014, with the original implementation acting as the de facto standard which other implementations aimed to follow. Since 2014 work has gone on to create a formal PHP specification produced by The PHP Group and PHP is evolving with the latest version 7.3.0 coming out in December 6, 2018. But what the future holds for PHP? Some people are asking if it will even exist after 2020? Let’s take a look at some statistics conducted by Stack Overflow over the years.

The elePHPant, PHP mascot, designed by Vincent Pontier in 1998

Most Popular Technologies
In 2013, PHP was ranked 5th in the list of most popular technologies with 34.8% votes in total. We can see a downward tendency as PHP appeared to be falling out of favor as Node and Angular emerged. After 2016 it gained popularity but not enough to rise up in ranks. In 2017, The use of Python overtook PHP for the first time in five years.

In 2018, PHP was ranked 9th having only 31.4% votes. For the sixth year in a row, JavaScript was the most commonly used programming language. Python has risen in the ranks, surpassing C# this year, much like it surpassed PHP last year. Overall, the popularity of PHP among developers and clients is not satisfactory.

Popularity of PHP among developers

Most Loved, Dreaded, and Wanted
In 2015 and 2016, PHP was not in any list of Most Loved, Dreaded, and Wanted programming languages. It first made into the list in 2017 with position 21st in most loved, 15th in most dreaded and 17th in most wanted programming languages list. This worsened in 2018 as PHP was ranked 24th in most loved, 15th in most dreaded and 20th among most wanted programming languages.

Top Paying Technologies
It is bitter to say that PHP never made into the 10 top paying programming languages of the survey reports from 2015, not even in the top 25 list in 2018. PHP always had the demand, but the developers are way underpaid.

Job posting containing top languages

PHP is mostly popular for its open source feature which makes it cheaper for hosting than any other language. Anyone can get a hosting for as low as $4 a month for a website and able to create a website for $29, buying a WordPress theme. Many templates and themes are developed through it, on which the small agencies and business are depended. Majority of websites run in PHP. It’s not possible to change their Backend script like magic. Hence, it is certain that PHP will survive and get updated with most other programming technologies.

On the contrary in a developer perspective, we should think twice before jumping into PHP.


The Invisible Man | Machine Learning Engineer, Programmer, Tech Enthusiast

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