Jasmine Morgan
Jasmine Morgan 24 October 2017
Categories Ecommerce, Technology

8 Reasons to Choose PHP for E-commerce Websites

PHP is a versatile, free and flexible scripting language that can offer e-commerce websites a robust and scalable tool for business.

Online selling is the business sector expected to pass a $400 billion threshold next year, and all you need is a great website. In this game, it is all about personalization, about giving the right response to the customer in the shortest time possible and upgrading pages with interactive abilities to engage users for longer, thus triggering a conversion. Connecting a large and neatly organized database is also mandatory to grant customers the access to a wide variety of products to choose from. Add the challenges of secure transactions, multi-language requirements, and you already might be asking yourself, what are the best tools to make this happen?

Meet PHP

PHP was an acronym for “personal home page” when it was first designed in 1994 to monitor the online resume of its creator, Rasmus Lerdorf. Later, the name was changed to PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.  It is an HTML embedded scripting language that enhances static pages with functionality and the ability to generate on-demand responses, which makes it an excellent tool for e-commerce. PHP is almost as ubiquitous on the web as HTML, being present in 82.9% of websites that use a server-side programming language. Plain, static pages are no longer an option since the late 90s.

It’s Great for CMS and E-commerce

If you are not a developer yourself and are bootstrapping the costs of your startup, you can still take the full advantage by using a PHP- based out-of-the-box solution. The options include content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla! or e-commerce-specific solutions like Magento, UberCart, and Zen Cart. The beauty of these is that there is a wide array of ready-made solutions that offer flexibility, scalability, and coverage.

It’s Cost-efficient

From the outset, PHP was open-source, so you can save consistently on subscription costs. Also, since it is a widely used and standard language, you don’t have to look far or spend a fortune on developers. You can capitalize on the skills of C++ or Java developers. PHP’scompetitor, ASP.NET (which is a framework, not a language) requires expensive hosting and debugging, which can be intimidating and unjustified for a company which is not caged by Microsoft products.

It’s Compatible & Integration- ready

You can easily run PHP on most platforms, including Microsoft, MacOS, Linux distributions and even UNIX. It also supports all major servers, including Apache and Microsoft IIS. Furthermore, it integrates with other technologies like Mongo dB, which allows it to operate with Big Data, Memcache, and other tools.

It’s Fast(er)

Speed was already one of the primary attributes of PHP, but with the introduction of PHP 7, this has become a trademark. A recent study of Zend Technologies shows that a CMS running on PHP 7 is twice faster than the one running on PHP 5.6. These improvements are also available for e-commerce platforms like Magento. The same study highlighted that the new version offers 30% less memory consumption and catalog requests improved by 112%, thus decreasing the loading time considerably. PHP development company Iflexion notes a 70% decrease in CPU execution instructions and better consistency.

It’s Scalable

Speed is not the only concern when it comes to e-commerce solutions. Scalability is also necessary for e-commerce, and PHP can offer the right tools if the developers create a good architecture. One way of scaling PHP is to use cloud infrastructure to have a NoSQL database and enough servers available. This approach also helps to address security issues.

Support & Documentation

Due to its popularity and age, PHP has gathered a large and helpful community of developers. These experts are ready to help each other overcome challenges, improve the code or just integrate PHP with other technologies. There is an extensive PHP manual available online, complete with resources and information about migrating from one version to another. 

Analytics options

PHP can be used to connect an analytics service to your website. The most famous is Google Analytics, but if you are using a dedicated CRM, integration is also possible. For e-commerce, there are specialized sales analytics tools incorporated in off-the-shelf  solutions. Knowledge regarding your most and least popular products can help to make better business decisions.

Numerous frameworks available

Zend, Laravel, Symphony, CakePHP, Codeigniter, Yii, Phalcon, and PHPixie are just a few of the existing frameworks. Each offers a multitude of tools and modules, has pros and cons as well as an entire community behind. Frameworks are great since they offer the opportunity to recycle code. They come with inbuilt functions for handling calendars, connecting to a database, working with emails and even debugging.

When choosing one for your e-commerce website, it is essential to discuss with the developers potential requests that your site needs to serve, as well as desired widgets, compatibility with third parties and any other functions.

Is it secure?

There are at least 10 major PHP security problems, but once these are addressed, it is as secure as any other language. The fact that it is open-source, and white-hat hackers can test its limits, makes it less likely to be the target of a devastating attack. However, it is essential to understand that code makes an application vulnerable, not the language. Therefore, the developers must ensure there are no breach opportunities. For e-commerce solutions, it is best to outsource payments to a dedicated provider to avoid endangering your customers’ accounts. In PHP-based websites, this is possible through integration.

3,2,1… Shop

The flexibility, speed, and cost-efficiency of PHP make it one of the best solutions for building an e-commerce website. Its frameworks simplify the job of the developers and offer an excellent time-to-market even for budget options. The integrated analytics help owners keep track of trends and improve their offer accordingly. Those looking for a secure solution that can be scaled once the business expands should look no further but set aside some money for accessing cloud solutions and integrating Big Data insights in the shopping experience.

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