Why should you want to use Active Server Pages or PHP and what’s the difference? PHP is a server-side scripting language that’s cross-platform compatible, embedded in HTML, lets you create dynamic web pages on the fly for the UNIX (Linux) or Windows platform. It’s comparable to Active Server Pages which run on Windows platforms. All you need to run PHP is for it to be installed and enabled on your server, and some PHP code in your page(s), saved with the extension .php. Both platforms allow you to create dynamic pages. Dynamic pages are executed by pulling data off the server and creating pages ‘on-the-fly’ as they are requested, instead of being parsed in the browser like static pages. They are extremely quick and most of the routine tasks associated with displaying content and information can be automated.
The code is kept in text files on the server and served up immediately into the browser as it’s requested. It’s extremely compact, just as powerful as ASP and can also be used with databases (mySQL/postgreSQL). PHP is an open source project of the Apache Software Foundation and doesn’t cost anything to use. If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘open source’, it means FREE! The advantage of using PHP is that it can be run on UNIX and Windows (unlike .asp which requires a third-party software solution to run on UNIX).
One of the biggest differences between using PHP and ASP is the cost. PHP and all things Linux are open source and freely available for use by anyone personally or commercially. And the good news is that you don’t have to be a programmer to make use of ASP or PHP scripts. If you can cut, paste and edit, you can learn use them too.
Using PHP or ASP applications on your server gives you many more options for interactivity and information storage than static pages, while speeding up your site in the process. It’s not just for programmers anymore. This is something anyone can learn how to do.
Keep in mind that most search engines cannot index dynamic pages or read information stored in a database, so if you’re optimizing your site for higher rankings, you also need static, content-rich pages that include your targeted keywords so the bots can crawl and index them. To be effective, your static pages must be included in your site map and linked in your navigation.