There, I said it. Of course, everyone has their preference when it comes to programming languages and there are many arguments for or against certain languages. But in the end, PHP is one of the greatest choices you can make.
PHP is by far the most popular when it comes to websites and web applications. According to w2techs.com it is even 78% for PHP compared to 10.6% and 3.7% for .NET and Java respectively.
Why is that? Java web applications are notoriously expensive to develop and maintain, while .NET applications enjoy many standard components, but customization is expensive and more complicated to create than PHP customization.
While PHP was Java's little brother 15 years ago, today it has become a serious alternative. Due to the shift to Full OOP (object oriented programming) it is as powerful as Java. Because of its Open Source origins, it is still supported by thousands of programmers every day.
But today PHP is more and more used as an alternative to high performance web applications. While Java used to be the Go-To choice for such extreme requirements, today PHP is at least as powerful to set up and develop.
The rates you pay for Enterprise Level programmers have increased tremendously over the last 10 years, and that's no different for PHP programmers. Yet PHP programmers are still a lot more affordable than Java or .NET developers. So you can count on a price difference of 5% to 20% when it comes to daily rates, depending on experience level.
PHP was always designed to function in the context of web applications, while Java is a general-purpose language and .NET, well, that remains of course a Microsoft framework. So PHP will always be better for creating web applications than the alternatives.
As already mentioned, PHP has had a very nice growth in terms of number of users, flexibility and performance for many years. But the PHP community is a lot more active than the competition and will therefore be able to respond even faster to needs and requirements that will arise in the future.