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What is PHP / MySQL?

One of the most popular combinations in the open source arena today is the PHP / MySQL combination. PHP is one of the most popular scripting / programming language for web development. It is flexible, scalable and easy to program in. MySQL like PHP is fast and reliable database management system that is in use today mostly for building web application..


By using PHP and MySQL together, users can benefit from the cost savings that accompany community-driven (Open Source) software.

PHP and MySQL together can be used to build applications such as:

  • User authentication and personalization

  • Shopping carts

  • Content management systems

  • Web-based email

  • Mailing list managers

  • Web forums

  • Document generation etc

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these powerful technologies.

MySQL – What is it?

MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS) in the same class with Oracle, MS-SQL, Informix and the likes. People often use the two terms database management system (DBMS) and database to mean the same thing. In reality, a database management system (DBMS) refers to the system that manages the affairs of the database while a database is used to efficiently store, search, sort and retrieve inter-related data.

MySQL is available under an Open Source License, but commercial licenses are also available if required. Just like every other RDBMS systems, you use Structured Query Language (SQL) to communicate with MySQL. The current MySQL version is MySQL version 5.

Strength of MySQL

  • Performance: MySQL is a very fast relational database management system.

  • Low Cost: MySQL is available at no cost, under an Open Source license, or at low cost under a commercial license if required for your application.

  • Ease of Use: MySQL is easier to setup than many similar products. If you have used another RDBMS, you should have no trouble adapting to MySQL.

  • Portability: MySQL can be used on many different UNIX systems as well as under Microsoft Windows.

  • Source Code: As with PHP, you can obtain and modify the source code for MySQL.


PHP – What is it?

PHP is a server-side scripting language designed for the Web. PHP was conceived in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf. PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page but was changed by GNU(GNU’s Not Unix) and now stands for PHP Hypertext Preprocessor. The current version of PHP is PHP version 5.

PHP can be used to provide connectivity between the client and the server. It also allows us to create dynamic pages and not just static HTML files. PHP can also be used for database connectivity by connecting to the PHP server and the database server.

Why do you need PHP?
If you have built web sites using plain HTML, you will realize the limitations of this approach. Users can’t interact with the site in any meaningful fashion.
Using a language such as PHP and a database such as MySQl allows you to make your site dynamic and you can have them be customizable and contain real-time information.

Strength of PHP

  • Cost: PHP is free. You can download the latest version from for no charge

  • Scripting / Programming language (“C - Like”) – If you already know C or Perl, or a C-like language such as C++ or Java, you will be productive using PHP almost immediately

  • Portability : PHP is available for many different operating systems. You can write PHP code on the free UNIX like operating systems such as Linux and FreeBSD, commercial UNIX versions such as Solaris and IRIX, or on different versions of Microsoft Windows. Your code will usually work without modification on a different system running PHP

  • Source Code Availability: You have access to the source code of PHP. Unlike commercial, closed-source products, if there is something you want modified or added to the language, you are free to do so without having to wait for the manufacturer

  • Performance: PHP is very efficient. Using a single inexpensive server, you can serve millions of hits per day

  • Database Integration: PHP has native connections available to many database systems. In addition to MySQL, you can directly connect to PostgreSQL, mSQL, Oracle, Informix, InterBase, and dbm databases among others

  • PHP is all about community: keep in mind that you are not alone when using PHP. You going to be able to download readymade open source solutions free of charge from the internet and extend them and also learn from them as you deem fit.

PHP and MySQL?

When setting out to build a dynamic website, there are many different products that you could use.
You will need to choose hardware for the Web server, an operating system, Web server software, a database management system, and a programming or scripting language.
Some of these choices will be dependent on the others. For example, not all operating systems will run on all hardware, not all scripting languages can connect to all databases, and so on.

However, one of the nice features of PHP and MySQL is that they are available for Microsoft Windows, for many versions of UNIX, and with any fully-functional Web server. In view of this and the issues mentioned earlier, it makes sense to consider the use of PHP and MySQL regardless of your hardware, operating system, and Web server..


Kazeem Adegboyega

Kazeem Adegboyega, a Jidaw Alumni, is the CEO of The Ikons Systems Limited, a company specializing in IT training, Networking & Security Integration, Web solutions, and Support & Technical Outsourcing services. He is also one of the consultants and trainers that work with Jidaw to provide technical IT training and Certification programs.


What Do you Have to Say? Post Your Comments about this article Here 

COMMENTS for "What is PHP / MySQL?":


July 20, 2009


Chima I of Enugu, Nigeria says:


A great exposition. Please keep on giving us such enlightenment. I thank Kazeem and the Jidaw team. Expect me soon. I can't be left behind.


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