PHP is a general-purpose server-side scripting language originally designed for web development to produce dynamic web pages. For this purpose, PHP code is embedded into the HTML source document and interpreted by a web server with a PHP processor module, which generates the web page document. It also has evolved to include a command-line interface capability and can be used in standalone graphical applications.
PHP can be deployed on most web servers and as a standalone interpreter, on almost every operating system and platform free of charge. There is also commercial software such as RadPHP, a rapid application development framework for the PHP language. A competitor to Microsoft's Active Server Pages (ASP) server-side script engine and similar languages, PHP is installed on more than 20 million websites and 1 million web servers.
PHP has hundreds of base functions and thousands more via extensions. These functions are well documented on the PHP site; however, the built-in library has a wide variety of naming conventions and inconsistencies. PHP currently has no functions for thread programming, although it does support multiprocess programming on POSIX systems.
PHP includes free and open source libraries with the core build. PHP is a fundamentally Internet-aware system with modules built in for accessing FTP servers, many database servers, embedded SQL libraries such as embedded PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite, LDAP servers, and others. Many functions familiar to C programmers such as those in the stdio family are available in the standard PHP build.