PHP Frontend Or Backend? (Checked out in detail)

If it’s your first time interacting with programming languages, you must have read about backend and frontend programming. The only challenge may be telling them apart and categorizing different languages, such as PHP, under each.

So, is PHP backend or frontend? PHP is a scripting language that focuses on the server-side of the application, making it a backend programming tool. It only runs in the backend to ensure that the website operates effectively. The server will run the PHP code by interpreting it according to the commands in the PHP code and send any output to the frontend, the web browser on the user’s device.

The PHP language is a key part of a web application since it forms the logic where the decisions are made according to the inputs provided at the frontend on the website. PHP provides the links to the database and other services required by the website to work, such as email connections for contact forms to search functionality to search for information in databases.

PHP can display HTML code on the frontend website by being able echo HTML within it’s own PHP code. This allows HTML code to be embedded within the PHP code, so if a message needs to be sent to the website user, the HTML code for the message can be included in the response sent back by the PHP interpreter.

PHP can also include HTML files when rendering the output to the website, so individual HTML files for the header, footer and main areas of the website can be called by the PHP application before each webpage loads. This allows common HTML elements like headers and footers to be used for all the webpages displayed.

This is important when a website has a load of different webpages as making a change to a footer or the header of a webpage can be time consuming when every webpage has to be individually changed. However, with PHP only the template footer and headers need to be changed in a single location, then every webpage loading when accessed will pick up the headers and footers from this single location.

PHP is an interpreted programming language and not a compiled programming language, this means an interpreter that understands the PHP code needs to be on the backend server. A compiled programming language doesn’t necessarily need an interpreter and runs in code the operating system of the backend server understands.

The backend is the “behind-the-scenes” of a web application, unlike in the frontend, users cannot directly interact with this side of web application. With only the developers being able to directly engage with the backend code.

The backend is a critical part of a web application or website because it keeps the webpage going as it links it to the logic that runs all the operations, and, without it, the site will be useless. So any buttons clicked, or actions completed on the frontend will not work, as there is no logic to run through when the backend is unavailable.

Backend programming languages like PHP are usually divided into two forms, functional or object-oriented programming (OOP). The latter involves objects where commands execute in a specific sequence and later versions of PHP are OOP.

Frameworks built on PHP like Laravel take this a step further with an increased use of OOP, providing an intuitive way to build web applications, without having to create objects and functions from scratch. This reduces the chances of insecure coding, as functionality around let’s say authentication has been built and tested professionally. So, there’s no need to build this from scratch, potentially introducing coding errors and security vulnerabilities.

Laravel is a Model, View, Controller (MVC) framework built on PHP, where models are created, which reference the data in the database. The views are what the frontend will see with the controllers providing some of the logic required for the web application.

Frontend Development and Its Languages

It may be pretty unclear for first-timers to learn about frontend and backend languages. To start you off on this discussion, I will begin with the frontend development, what it is, and the essential languages you need to know.

Frontend development is the client or user experience. Frontend website development section directly connects to the customer, from the navigation menu, fonts, styles, images, and any other action that the user can take. The frontend developers are the people in charge of everything you interact with when logging into a website or application.

Their role is to ensure that they provide uniform and sensitive services to all users regardless of their login devices or screen sizes. To be a great frontend developer, you must learn the core programming languages like CSS, JavaScript, and HTML.

Increasingly frontend development frameworks like Angular, React and Vue are increasing in use and demand. Usually developers with frontend experience in these frameworks and a corresponding backend programming language are most in demand. These frontend frameworks of Angular, React and Vue can easily work with PHP as the backend.

Anything you see when you open a site is thanks to frontend development. Without the developers, you wouldn’t customize your sites or access any website. To be a great frontend developer that makes all this happen, you must first know how to use some programming languages. Frontend development involves CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), JavaScript, and HTML (Hypertext Markup Language).

HTML involves Hypertext language to connect web pages while the Markup determines how the web pages will look. On the other hand, CSS entails making a website simpler and more presentable, even without HTML. Lastly, JavaScript is the most widely used language in frontend web development.

HTML is responsible for the site’s functions and user-friendliness, making it possible to enjoy all the site’s cool features and apps. Besides these primary languages, developers also use other frameworks and libraries. For instance, the AngularJS framework, which deploys JavaScript to create simple, one-page applications.

It is an open-source function that makes HTML more active and is one of the fastest-growing tools developers use to make better apps. Secondly, there is ReactJS, another JavaScript library that is also open-source, which creates an app’s view function. jQuery is another framework that makes it simper for DOM and JavaScript to interact with each other.

However, the SASS is an expansion of the operations of the CSS language, while the Dart enables the Flutter framework for great-looking and high-performance applications. There are also other libraries like Ember.JS, Backbone.JS, Foundation, and many others.

Frontend Vs. Backend

You will always hear the terms backend and frontend when learning about programming. They determine your tasks, the languages you use, and the career path you take. Before I get to discussing where PHP lies, let’s look at their differences.

The frontend and backend may have a common goal, but they are pretty different. A user or site visitor sees the frontend, while the backend is only under the developer’s control providing the logic.

When you log onto a site, you will find and interact with the frontend. It includes the user interface, navigation menu, images, and any other graphics. In contrast, the backend is the background function that determines how the app or site will run through a remote server.

However, the backend and frontend are always in communication, and one cannot run without the other when logic is required. The languages used may be different, but the two have a common ground to ensure that the site always runs smoothly.

While the frontend deploys languages such as HTML and CSS, the backend uses other programming language like Python, PHP, and. NET. However, other languages like JavaScript will work for both platforms. Going deeper into the two systems, you will realize that they are not independent; they need each other to run effectively. For instance, the frontend will send HTTP requests to the backend as soon as the user enters a command which happens in interactive sites where the client clicks on prompts.

The system picks all this up, sends them to the server database, and gives the relevant output. The backend is just as its name suggests. Instead of running on the user’s device, it functions in the background linking to a different server created by the developer or the web provider.

The developers working on the two platforms also have distinct roles. If you specialize in the frontend, you will be keen on how the site looks, but you will only be concerned with how the site functions if your task is for backend development.

Frontend developers manage the themes, fonts, colors, and the general outlook of the application or website. On the contrary, you will deal with the server database as a backend developer, detecting site visits, security, and overall operations.

If you are learning about web development, you may choose to major in frontend or backend. You might settle on what you are passionate about, either great user experience or creating the best websites. Alternatively, you can also be proficient on both systems to become a full-stack developer.

What Is PHP and What Can it Do?

If you are new to programming languages, you must have heard of PHP. Let’s discuss what it means and what it entails before categorizing it as a backend or frontend.

PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is an open-source scripting programming language that web developers commonly use. It is relatively simple to deploy, great for beginners and professional programmers. The main role of PHP is server-side scripting. You can implement it to help create incredible web pages, cookies, and any other website functions.

A developer can also use it with other programming languages, and the best part is that it runs on various operating systems. It can also sustain a wide database for a programmer’s needs.

Besides its main function of server-side scripting, PHP has several other functions. For one, you can use it as a command-line without necessarily deploying a server; this will be handy if you often execute using Linux or Task Scheduler. However, one downside is that it may not be very effective in desktop applications, but professionals take it a step further by incorporating the advanced features to make amazing sites.

Alternatively, you can use an extended version, the PHP-GTK, for certain demanding programs. You are free to use this language on any primary OS, from macOS, Windows to Linux. Secondly, PHP also functions on most servers as a module or CGI processor. Another cool feature is that it allows you to use it as functional or OOP or a combination. It can easily output PDF files, images, or any other text.

Additionally, the language automatically generates the files, and you don’t have to go through the hassle of printing them. Instead, you can save them in the database for safe-keeping on a cache in the server. It also supports text processing such as the PCRE and other extended features. Lastly, you will find several other extensions that are conveniently organized for you to try out.

Is PHP Frontend or Backend?

It may be challenging for a beginner to group the different programming languages under the backend or frontend. Therefore, in this section, I will tell you all about where PHP lies and why.

PHP is a scripting language, particularly for the server-side, making it a backend. The server receives and interprets the commands then executes them to the app or site. Since it focuses on the server-side, it must work behind the scenes like other backend programming languages. Therefore, the client or the end-user will never see a PHP code as long as the developers have configured it correctly.

Once you learn how to use it when coding, it will effectively generate dynamic content, write command lines, manage cookies, and perform server-side scripting, among many other functions.

Since its release in 1995, PHP has always stood out as a great tool for website creation. You can attest to its diverse function given that major companies use it and that it runs more than 78% of websites with known server-side programming. An incredible feature is that the scripting language is dynamically typed enabling you to solve various problems.

Consequently, you may find that writing a line of code can have other functions according to the situation you use it. A disadvantage with this is that it may seem complicated to some beginners and may run slowly compared to other languages.

PHP is a special backend language that you can use as a starter in web development. For one, if you have challenges in your tasks, it is pretty forgiving and still allows you to run your programs. You will also have the benefit of contributing to your development team since a wealth of information about the language is at your disposal, and you can access tutorials about any updates.

You will find it easy to use as it can run on various OS. Thanks to its user-friendly interface and interactive features, several companies use it for their backend needs, and it’s evident since it powers websites for Facebook, Viber, and Lyft.


There are three main categories of web development, frontend, backend, and full-stack. Frontend web development is the part of the site that is available to the user, from the fonts, themes, colors, and images. However, the backend involves the “behind-the-scenes” running of the website.

It entails codes that determine how the site will work. The backend languages link the codes to the servers then relay it to the frontend for a final end-product for the user. PHP is one of the backend development languages that are user-friendly and runs on various operating systems.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is a technology expert based in the UK, with experience across a number of technology areas from phones, tablets, computers to gaming.

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