Self-referentially short for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, an open source, server-side, HTML embedded scripting language used to create dynamic Web pages.
PHP is a script language and interpreter that is freely available and used primarily on Linux Web servers. PHP, originally derived from Personal Home Page Tools, now stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, which the PHP FAQ describes as a "recursive acronym."
PHP was created sometime in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf. During mid 1997, PHP development entered the hands of other contributors. Two of them, Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, rewrote the parser from scratch to create PHP version 3 (PHP3).
An HTML page that includes a PHP script is typically given a file name suffix of ".php" ".php3," or ".phtml". Like ASP, PHP can be thought of as "dynamic HTML pages," since content will vary based on the results of interpreting the script.
PHP is free and offered under an open source license.