As a long-time PHP dev, I recognize that it's very popular to hate on PHP, and has been for some time. And there are some valid criticisms of PHP, particularly from the domain of purity. PHP is a brutish language, with lots of warts. Whether it's the lack of any sort of parallelism or threads, or the random_underscores or the random(haystack, needle) ordering of variables in functions, there's plenty to complain about.
But PHP has its strengths, too. Its translation of strings to integers to hexidecimal numbers is "good enough" for most cases. Embedding variables into new strings works "good enough" that it's highly useful. It is extremely stable - I literally cannot remember a single incident of unexpected crashing. It's array/hash thingie is a highly convenient way to organize data from semi-sanitized sources, which is largely the norm in embedded, "enterprise" development and/or vertical stack software development.
And despite these strengths, PHP offers some interesting angles that are pragmatic (non-technical) in nature:
1) There are lots of PHP application templates and starter apps that work as a starting point for new start ups. The PHP community is generally very forgiving of newbies.
2) It's uni-thread model is simple enough for beginner/intermediate programmers to comprehend easily.
3) It's already installed on every 2-bit website hosting provider's servers.
4) You can get a tremendous amount of "real work" done with PHP. You could rather easily run a US national census by website using a small cluster of PHP servers.
Once, long ago, I was a beginner programmer, and I chose PHP for largely these reasons, reasons that have sustained me well as a developer. My company, founded on this technology, has grown rapidly and well, meeting the needs of our clients.
How can I not thank the PHP designers for the free gift that I built I career out of?