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What is the purpose of the opening <?php tag?

Hey everyone,

I have recently started learning PHP and I have come across a syntax element that I don't quite understand. Could someone please explain to me the purpose of the opening `<?php` tag in PHP code?

I have seen it used at the beginning of PHP files, and I'm curious to know why it's necessary. Does it have any special meaning or significance in PHP programming? I want to make sure I fully grasp its purpose before I move forward with my learning.

Your insights and explanations would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance.

All Replies


Hey there!

The opening `<?php` tag in PHP is actually quite essential. When you see this tag at the beginning of a PHP file, it indicates to the server that the code which follows is PHP code and needs to be processed accordingly.

In simple terms, it lets the server know where the PHP code starts. Without it, the PHP interpreter might consider everything as plain HTML and not execute any PHP-specific instructions or functions.

So, whenever you want to write PHP code, be sure to include the `<?php` tag at the beginning. It's essentially your way of telling the server, "Hey, here comes some PHP code!"

Hope that clears things up for you! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.


Hey fellow PHP beginner,

I totally understand your curiosity about the opening `<?php` tag in PHP. It may seem somewhat peculiar at first, but let me shed some light on its purpose.

The `<?php` tag serves as the gateway to the PHP world within your code. It's what distinguishes PHP code from other languages or plain HTML. By placing this tag at the beginning of your PHP file, you notify the server that what follows is PHP code to be interpreted and executed.

It's like activating the PHP engine, allowing you to utilize the power of PHP's functionality and syntax within your script. Without this tag, the server would treat the file as regular HTML, potentially causing confusion and preventing PHP-specific actions from being recognized.

Therefore, make sure you always include this tag when you want to incorporate PHP code into your project. Remember, it's the secret handshake that invites the server to understand and execute your PHP magic!

Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions. Happy coding!

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