PHP Coding Guidelines & Best Practices: Be a Better PHP Developer

When it comes to coding standards, every PHP development company have their own standards based on their best practices. Coding rules are necessary because if developers will use different modules and start inventing their own standards, it will become difficult to maintain the source code in the future.

Here are the reasons for using coding specifications:

  • Your co-programmers must have an understanding of the code you are producing. The coding standard serves as a blueprint for all the teams to understand the code.
  • Simplicity and clarity gained from constant coding saves you from the most common mistakes
  • Future revisions of the code will make it easier to understand
  • It is industry standard to comply to a particular standard to being more quality in software

Here are some guidelines to follow when coding in PHP:


  1. For indentions, limit it to 4 spaces without tabs because different computers have different tab settings. For the line length, it is best to keep the lines at approximately 75 – 85 characters long for better code readability.
  2. Control structures such as it, for, while, switch, and others should have one space between the keyword and the opening parenthesis to separate them from function calls. Always use the curly braces even when situations call for making them technically optional.
  3. When making function calls, there should be no space between the function name, the opening parenthesis, and the first parameter. There should be spaces between commas and each parameter and no space between the last parameter, closing parenthesis and semi-colon.
  4. For comments, C style and the standard C++ comments are both acceptable. However, using Perl/shell style comments are discouraged.
  5. For PHP code tags, always use <?php> as delimiter not the <? ?> shorthand. This is a requirement for PHP compliance and is the easiest way to add PHP codes on a wide range of operating systems and setups.
  6. Here are the rules for naming variables:

    • Use all lower case letters
    • Use ‘_’ to separate words
    • Global variables should be prepended with a ‘g’
    • Global constants should be in all caps with ‘_’ separators
    • Static variables may be prepended with an ‘s’.
    • Functions should not prevent static variables from being reentrant
    • Sets of declarations should be aligned
    • Statements per line should be limited to just one unless the statements are interrelated
    • Methods should be limited to just one page of code


These are just some of the coding rules that a PHP development company should remember. When creating your program, you should show consistency throughout the programming code. This will only be possible if you will adopt coding standards. You can come up with your own standards if you want something unique. Having a uniform coding standard ensures consistency in writing programs.

Developers will write their codes based on the rules and will not make their own style. As a result, the code will not only be easier to understand but also the developer will have an understanding of what to expect throughout the program.