PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor,which the PHP FAQ describes as a recursive acronym. PHP is an alternative to Microsoft's Active Server Page (ASP) technology. As with ASP, the PHP script is embedded within a Web page along with its HTML. Before the page is sent to a user that has requested it, the Web server calls PHP to interpret and perform the operations called for in the PHP script.
"PHP is a server-side, cross-platform, HTML embedded scripting language."
That's a mouthful, but if we break the definition down into smaller pieces, it is easier to understand.
Server-Side: This means that PHP scripts execute on the Web server, not within the browser on your local machine.
Cross-Platform: Cross-platform means that PHP scripts can run on many different operating systems and Web servers. PHP is available for the two most popular Web server configurations (IIS running on Windows NT and Apache running on UNIX).
HTML Embedded Scripting Language: This means that PHP statements and commands are actually embedded in your HTML documents. When the Web server sees the PHP statements in the Web page, the server executes the statements and sends the resulting output along with the rest of the HTML. PHP commands are parsed by the server much like Active Server Pages or Cold Fusion tags.
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