David Corbacho

PHP is not dead

Just some facts.
Haters gonna hate.

This is a follow-up on the article Dries Buytaert wrote in 2007 PHP is dead... long live PHP!. In the article he shared same concern that Nick Lewis for the slow adoption rate of PHP 5, less than 20% at that time. And he encouraged to upgrade to PHP 5.

Update 4th of March
This article is being misinterpreted. Just to make it clear: this is not a rebuttal of Dries article. It's a follow up. If you read Dries article, it can be summarised to "PHP4 will be obsolete. Let's upgrade to PHP5". So my article is about the status of the upgrade, and show the healthy status of PHP in the web.

As of 24th of March 2013 according to W3Tech this is the state of PHP

PHP adoption rate 96.9%

Well, PHP 5 adoption rate is 96.9%, and PHP 4 is quite dead. Mission accomplished!
Let's have a look to the overall PHP health.

PHP Status and trends

Netcraft published in January 2013 the above chart, as part of their recommended article PHP just grows and grows:

  • By September 2001, Netcraft's Web Server Survey found 1.8M sites running PHP.
  • PHP 5 was released in 2004, and remains the most recent major version release today (5.4.11 was released on 17 January 2013). Zend Engine 2.0 forms the core of this release.
  • By January 2013, PHP was being used by a remarkable 244M sites, meaning that 39% of sites in Netcraft's Web Server Survey were running PHP. Of sites that run PHP, 78% are served from Linux computers.
  • Popular web applications that use PHP include content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, along with several popular ecommerce solutions like Zencart, osCommerce and Magento. In January 2013, these six applications alone were found running on a total of 32M sites worldwide.
  • As of January 2013, 2.1M out of 4.3M web-facing computers are running PHP.

Notice that the previous chart uses an logarithmic scale, so the explosion of PHP sites during the last years is not easily noticed. This is an older chart (2011) by netcraft, where a linear scale was used:


Also this interesting comparison from W3Tech: Server-side languages used for websites. From 2010 to 2013.
PHP 78%, ASP.Net 20%, etc
Notice that in the previous chart Ruby and Python are not shown because they represent only 0.6% and 0.2% respectively.
Update 5th of AprilSee the comments, where we discussed if the data is reliable.


In the next chart also we see that there is a lot of activity around the PHP tag in stackoverflow. Specially this 2013.

PS. Read now Javascriptocalypse, where you will be impressed by the jQuery numbers.