6 popular versions of PHP for right career growth

Are you an aspiring PHP developer? Get to know about these top PHP versions before jumping into the field of PHP development. 

PHP is the popular open-source web development programming language, which has HTML codes in its code scripts. The first PHP version got released in 1994, later there were 5 more PHP upgrade versions available. 

In this article, I have enlisted the top 6 versions of PHP that includes PHP version 1.0, PHP version 2.0, PHP version 3.0, PHP version 4.0, PHP version 5.0 and 6.0, and the latest PHP version 7.0.

Top PHP Versions

1. PHP Version 1.0

  • As I have mentioned earlier, PHP development was started in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf. He used C (scripting language) and also he wrote many Common Gateway Interface programs.
  • He first used it to maintain the personal homepage of his website and then extended it to add up in web forms and databases. This upgrade has got Personal Home Page and Forms interpreted in it.
  • The first version of PHP had many basic functionalities. It can handle Perl like variables and has the capability to work using HTML. Their syntax is also simple and inconsistent.

2. PHP Version 2.0

  • The initial version of PHP is not refined but it actually gained instant popularity in the developer community when it was launched for public purposes in 1995.
  • As it was popular and kept growing tremendously, a formal developer team was created to work on their inconsistencies faced with version 1.
  • Once they overcame those inconsistencies, they updated the language and released their new version 2 in 1997.

3. PHP Version 3.0

  • As the field of PHP is popular and growing still, it grabbed the attention of Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans.
  • In 1997, Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans started rewriting the internal PHP parser and created the basic PHP 3 framework. The PHP 3 was officially launched in June 1998 after the completion of public testing.
  • However, Suraski and Gutmans re-written the core of basic PHP and they launched the Zend engine in 1999. That’s how the foundation of Zend Technologies got created in Israel.

4. PHP Version 4.0

  • In 2000, PHP version 4 was launched by Zend Engine 1 especially for public usage.
  • In 2008, PHP version 4 evolved to its peak and transformed into 4.4.9. But PHP version 4 was not supported for security updates.

5. PHP Version 5.0 and 6.0

  •  In 2004, PHP version 5 was released by Zend Engine 2.
  • It includes many new features and provides support for Object-Oriented Programming (OOP), PDO (PHP Data Objects) extension. It provides a lightweight interface for programmers to access databases and improve performance.
  • PHP version 5 evolved into version 5.6. In 2018, the PHP official security stopped. Then, Debian started to deliver security support till 2020.
  • The developers started using PHP 5 for the application development, then they got to know that PHP 5.0 has insufficient support to encode Unicode and that’s why the developer community had clueless opinions on it.
  • In 2005, Andrei Zmievski charged to take over this problem and launched Unicode embedded support in the PHP system.
  • To achieve this, he created the International Components for Unicode library throughout the basic PHP system. Along with the text strings in PHP that represent (16 bit Unicode Transformation Format) which is also known as UTF – 16.
  • The migration got completed, the conversion from UTF – 16 caused several performance issues and then the project got abandoned incomplete. This exercise created an efficient method to embed Unicode PHP support.
  • In 2010, PHP’s version 6.0 got released with the non-Unicode features such as (traits and closure binding). This update made the developer community to hope for effective Unicode integration.

6. The Current PHP Version 7.0

  • During 2016 and 2017, PHP experienced many changes and got updated into PHP 7. This version number underwent several debates.
  • Then, the PHP Unicode project was not released officially, with reference included to PHP version 6. The release of version 6, caused many confusions in the developer community. Therefore it got updated and released as version 7.0.
  • PHP 7 (phpng) that stands for PHP next Generation. PHP Next Generation is like an initiative by the developer’s community for high-performance than previous PHP versions. The phpng branch is considered as the basement for PHP version 7.0.
  • PHP 7 didn’t have several optimizations and performance improvements. It includes an in-build mechanism for better performance. But this didn’t match the performance of a JIT compiler.
  • PHP continues to evolve and it’s an open-source code language, which means anyone can access its base and find the solution.
  • As a result of it, the probability of PHP websites is higher than other languages built websites. PHP is not modular, and it’s not an ideal language to develop large applications. PHP data types are surprising for new programmers. For example, the string “1000” is just like “1e3” and they both have float type.


As mentioned earlier, PHP is very popular in the developer community since its first release though it includes inconsistency and performance-related problems. 

It is an easy programming language and PHP’s creators are committed to overcoming these issues with a solution. 

These continuous improvements by PHP developers help this development language to rise above its peers like Python and Java. 

If you’re interested in making a career in PHP development, join our short-term courses and shine as a successful PHP developer.

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