Open a php file

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Open a php file
Open a php file

PHP is a scripting language mostly used by web developers to enable dynamic content, which means that the content of a web page can change based on the parameters set in the PHP code. This can be as simple as changing the user's background image based on time. Or it could be as complex as creating a workflow map that shows different users their requests based on where they are in the process. You can easily view PHP files on both Windows and Mac computers with a code editor. You can also run a PHP file using a server you pay for, or locally on your computer with XAMPP. Read on below for various methods to do this.


Method 1 of 3: Opening a PHP file in Windows

Open a PHP File Step 1

Step 1. Download a code editor if you don't already have one

Code editors are programs that allow you to write code or scripting languages. A code editor is different from a standard word processor such as Microsoft Word.

  • Code editors are equipped with facilities for writing and reading various programming languages, such as PHP.
  • Well-known code editors are Dreamweaver, Notepad++, TextEdit and Komodo Edit.
Open a PHP File Step 2

Step 2. Install a code editor

Once you have found a code editor to your liking, you can download and install the application. Locate the.exe file and open it. Follow the installation instructions.

  • When you click to download, you can also choose to run the installation file immediately upon download. Click "Run" in the security window. The installer will run automatically.
  • Once you have installed a code editor, you can open it and view PHP files with it.
Open a PHP File Step 3

Step 3. Right click on the PHP file and select 'Open with'

Then choose the code editor to open the file. Depending on the speed of your computer, it may take a while to open the file. The editor will start and load the PHP file.

  • If the code editor does not appear in the new drop-down menu, click on 'Choose Default Program…' If your program does not appear in the new screen, click on 'Browse…' and locate the location where the program is on your computer is installed. This can even be on the desktop. Click on 'OK' when you have found the program.
  • Once you find the program and click 'OK', the PHP file will open in the text editor. You can then review the code and make changes as needed.
Open a PHP File Step 4

Step 4. Make sure the editor is the default program for PHP files

To make it easier to open PHP files, you can set the editor as the default for this file type in the future. Change the application for your PHP files in the default settings page.

  • Go to Settings > Change PC settings > Search & apps > Default settings.
  • Click "Choose default apps by file type" or "Choose default apps by protocol." Then click on the application, such as Notepad++, to set it as the default program.
  • The next time you need to open a PHP file, just double-click the icon.

Method 2 of 3: Opening PHP files on a Mac

Open a PHP File Step 5

Step 1. Download an application for opening PHP files on your Mac

TextWrangler and EditRocket are both code editors that allow you to view and modify files with scripting languages ​​(such as PHP). You can download TextWrangler directly from the makers' website, or from the App store on your computer.

  • Once the application has been downloaded, run the.dmg file if you downloaded it from the internet. Drag the TextWrangler icon into the Applications folder.
  • If you have downloaded an application from the App store, it will automatically be placed in the Applications folder.
Open a PHP File Step 6

Step 2. Locate your PHP file

Locate the PHP file you want to open, whether it's on your desktop or in a directory of folders. Once you have found the file, right click on it. Select the 'Open with' option.

As soon as you click on 'Open with' you will see a list of applications appear. Click on TextWrangler or any other code editor. The PHP file will open in the desired application

Open a PHP File Step 7

Step 3. Search for the application if it does not appear

If the application you downloaded (eg TextWrangler) does not appear in the list, click on 'Other…'. This will bring up a window with a list of applications to choose from. Scroll down until you find the application you were looking for and click 'Open'.

  • While this should not be happening, the application may be grayed out. Then click on the drop-down menu next to 'Enable'. Then click on 'All programs'.
  • You can also click the box next to "Always open with." The next time you want to open a PHP file, it will automatically launch the desired code editor.
Open a PHP File Step 8

Step 4. Make this application your default app for PHP files

Another way to make it easier to open PHP files is to make the downloaded program your default app for this file type.

  • Click on your PHP file, but don't open it. You want to select it.
  • Press 'Command' and 'I' at the same time. Shows the properties of the file.
  • Find the option that says "Open with:" and click on the menu bar. Click on the name of the program you downloaded. There is an option 'Change all' below. Clicking this will open any PHP file with this app in the future.
  • Now you can open PHP files by double clicking them.

Method 3 of 3: Running a PHP file in a web browser

Open a PHP File Step 9

Step 1. Put the PHP file on a server

To be able to see the scripts in PHP at work, it must be processed in a server environment. This means that you put the PHP file in your web folder.

  • If you rent space on a server, you must first log in to your account and upload the file to a public folder on the server.
  • If you just want to test the file without renting server space, you can optionally use XAMPP. XAMPP works on multiple platforms such as Windows, Mac and Linux. It simulates a server-like environment on your personal computer.
Open a PHP File Step 10

Step 2. Download XAMPP

The application helps organize and edit PHP files right on your computer. This is a good method for testing files you work with or create if you don't need or want hosting.

  • If you have a Mac, once you have downloaded the application, run the.dmg file. Drag the XAMPP folder to the Applications folder.
  • If you are using Windows, click 'Run' during the download or find the.exe file and open it. Follow the installation steps to complete the software installation.
  • Once you've launched XAMPP, you'll have a few options. Click 'Start' for Apache and MySQL. You may be prompted to enter your computer's password when you have one setup. You can also choose to launch FTP if you want to transfer files. But for testing purposes only the first two options are needed.
Open a PHP File Step 11

Step 3. Run the PHP file

Open the file in your web browser and press 'Enter'. This will run the scripts in the PHP file.

  • If you are using a server host, this will most likely be your domain name, followed by a forward slash, the directory where the file is located, and finally the file name. For example, ''
  • If you're using XAMPP, type 'http://localhost', then the file name. For example 'http://localhost/file.php'


  • If you expected a regular HTML web page, then the PHP page probably contains both HTML and PHP. In that case, you can simply give the PHP file an 'html' extension and open it in a web browser. The page will not display as it should because the PHP code is visible in the browser; However, you will now be able to read the HTML content. If the PHP file is just programming language and doesn't contain HTML code, then this won't work.
  • Always keep a copy of the original PHP file before making any changes. Editing the code may cause your website to stop working. It is always best to make a backup.

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