PHP stands for “Hypertext Preprocessor.” (It is a recursive acronym, if you can understand what that means.) PHP is an HTML-embedded Web scripting language. This means PHP code can be inserted into the HTML of a Web page. When a PHP page is accessed, the PHP code is read or “parsed” by the server the page resides on. The output from the PHP functions on the page are typically returned as HTML code, which can be read by the browser. Because the PHP code is transformed into HTML before the page is loaded, users cannot view the PHP code on a page. This make PHP pages secure enough to access databases and other secure information.
A lot of the syntax of PHP is borrowed from other languages such as C, Java and Perl. However, PHP has a number of unique features and specific functions as well. The goal of the language is to allow Web developers to write dynamically generated pages quickly and easily. PHP is also great for creating database-driven Web sites. If you would like to learn more about PHP, the official site is PHP.net.