PHP, which stands for Hypertext Preprocessor, was created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf. Originally, PHP was developed as a simple scripting language to help Lerdorf manage his personal website. PHP quickly gained popularity among developers for its ease of use and ability to interact with databases.

In 1997, Lerdorf released PHP as an open-source project, allowing other developers to contribute to its development and improvement. This led to the creation of the PHP Group, a group of developers who coordinated the development of PHP until 2002.

Version 3 of PHP, released in 1997, introduced many new features and improvements, including support for object-oriented programming. This made PHP a more powerful and flexible language, capable of creating complex web applications.

In 2000, PHP 4 was released, which featured significant improvements over previous versions, including better support for object-oriented programming and enhanced performance. PHP 4 became incredibly popular and was widely adopted by developers around the world.

In 2004, work began on PHP 5, which was released in 2004 and introduced a major overhaul of the language. PHP 5 introduced new features such as improved support for object-oriented programming, exception handling, and a vastly improved standard library.

In recent years, PHP has continued to evolve and improve. PHP 7, released in 2015, brought significant performance improvements to the language, making it faster and more efficient than ever before. PHP 8, released in 2020, introduced even more improvements and new features, such as the JIT compiler and union types.

Today, PHP is one of the most popular programming languages for web development, powering a large portion of the websites on the internet. It continues to be actively developed and supported by a large community of developers.