How do I get PHP on IBM i?

You already have it!  Every copy of IBM i ships with Zend Server.  Just go to our download page, follow the simple instructions for installation, and then register with us--easy!

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Where can I get training?

You can learn more about PHP in the way that suits you best: in formal class or self-paced through webinars and white papers.   See our course curriculum designed just for you, the IBM i community.  And check out our pre-requisite knowledge resources to assess what you need.

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What is PHP?

PHP is a fully functional web scripting language used to build dynamic web pages.  PHP is developed in the Open Source community by hundreds of developers form around the world.  Early community members include Zend’s CEO Andi Gutmans and CTO Zeev Suraski, who wrote the “Zend Engine” which is still a major component of the PHP Parser (interpreter equivalent of a compiler).  The work done by Andi, Zeev and all the PHP community members has culminated into PHP becoming the leading language for Internet applications representing well over 35% of all internet websites and 6 of the top 10 most visited web sites.

After an exhaustive search for a rapid web development technology to complement their WebSphere product line for IBM i, IBM partnered with Zend Technologies to bring PHP to the platform.  Now 9 years into the partnership, IBM and Zend continue to provide a state-of-the-art solution for quickly and easily developing web content for IBM i to the steady migrating stream of Net.Data, RPG and COBOL developers.


How does PHP relate to HTML, JavaScript and RPG?

PHP, while a great tool for web development, cannot do it alone.  PHP works closely with HTML for building dynamic web content on IBM i.  HTML is to PHP what DDS and Display Files are to RPG.  Batch based PHP may not use any HTML while interactive applications require a significant understanding of HTML syntax and functions.   

JavaScript can add “sizzle” to a basic HTML web page.  JavaScript is not Java.  It is a scripting language that runs primarily in the browser and enables web pages to perform tasks that regular web pages can not.  If you have ever traversed a web site where lists and menus seem to appear out of nowhere as you  hover over something, it is probably JavaScript that makes it happen. 


Where does RPG fit into all this?

RPG is a business language that is most popularly used on IBM i.  Many applications and countless programs have been developed for business purposes such as shipping, order entry and accounting functions.  Many organizations are significantly invested in RPG and want to leverage their investments as they move applications from the 5250 (green screen) interface to the browser or Internet via the World Wide Web.  PHP makes it easy for these businesses to leverage that investment through capabilities such as the PHP Toolkit for IBM i which allows RPG applications to be fully leveraged by providing back end business logic to interactive web applications. 

What can I do with PHP?

There are many great examples of PHP applications being developed and deployed on the IBM i.   From applications that can access data and applications via a browser, to developing web-based front-ends that leverage RPG business logic or completely web-enabling entire ERP systems, PHP’s ease of use and enterprise capabilities combined with the power of IBM i has been the ideal choice for modernization.  Here are just a few examples:

Additional Resources

Get familiar with: HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP


  • Web development basics: HTML and JavaScript from W3 schools - a website dedicated to providing introductory level tutorials in web technologies such as HTML and JavaScript.
  • The IBM i Programmer's Guide to PHP: A Book that comprehensively addresses PHP and how it can, and should, be deployed on the IBM i. Examines how to transfer skills from a green screen environment to the Web and become intimately familiar with PHP
  • The PHP Community's site:  Provides general PHP "getting started" tips and information
  • PHP courses for RPG programmers:  A curriculum specifically focused on enabling RPG programmers to quickly become proficient with PHP and developing web applications.
  • Getting started webinar: A great place to get introduced to what PHP can do on IBM i is the “Getting Started with PHP on IBM i” webcast recording. 

Participate, Ask, Learn more


  • Zend PHP forums for IBM i: The Zend PHP Forum for IBM i is a great place to go for tips/tricks or solutions other PHPers on IBM i are sharing
  • Web400: list at where discussions of iSeries/AS400 webservers, CGI programming and everything Web for the IBM i takes place