Don't Do It Yourself
How to Hire PHP Developers

Vetting PHP Developers: Job Description & Interview Questions

Over the past 20 years, my business partners and I have hired hundreds of different types of programmers for many different software companies. Through this experience, it’s safe to say we’ve gained plenty of knowledge regarding the dos and don’ts of hiring the right programmers for the job.

Here’s a checklist to reference the next time your company needs to hire a PHP programmer.

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What is PHP Used For?

PHP is known as a server-side web scripting language. This means that it is primarily used for writing scripts on web servers to do things such as manage user data, handle product transactions, and keep the website functioning. It also has uses within content management systems such as WordPress and in mail lists.

Here are some common uses of PHP Programming Language:

Web Server Scripting

While you will use many languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create the website that your customers will see, PHP is the most popular language for coding on the servers. If you need your web servers to handle things such as user data, e-commerce transactions, and server calculations then you could need PHP. Websites as large as Facebook use PHP for this purpose.

Content Management Systems

Content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress are built on top of PHP. The simple, default templates given by WordPress do not require PHP knowledge, however, if you want to create a unique website through WordPress then you will need a PHP developer.

Mailing Lists

PHP is a popular language used for creating and managing mailing lists. PHP scripts can be used to maintain lists, stylize and populate email templates, and send out emails to your customers. This can be particularly useful when you have regular newsletters being sent out.

What to Look for When Hiring a PHP Developer

When hiring a PHP programmer, there are a few things you have to consider including experience, rates, and the type of work arrangement. It also depends on the type of project you have and what skills you need to complete it.

PHP Required Skills

Here are some of the basic skills that a PHP Developer is expected to have:

  • Standard library functions and algorithms such as sorting data
  • Working with loosely-typed variable
  • Multi-platform development
  • PHP objects

PHP Experience

PHP developers should have some experience with the following:

  • Standard PHP library functions
  • Object-oriented programming (OOP), databases, web development, Apache, and more come as an added advantage
  • Data storage and representation through SQL and JSON
  • Debugging and web testing tools such as XDebug
  • Understanding of other languages including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Regular expressions
  • Enterprise, commercial, and open-source projects

How to Write a PHP Job Description

Writing the perfect PHP job description is essential to ensure that you can attract the top developers. It's also important to ensure that you set the proper expectations up-front to streamline the vetting process, saving everyone time and money.

PHP Developer Job Description Template

Company Introduction

Use this section to write 2-3 sentences about your company. Make sure to provide information about the company culture and benefits. This would be a good section to link to your company website. The best candidates will do some advanced research.

Job Description

We are looking for a PHP developer responsible for maintaining the existing code on our web servers and implementing new features for our website. Your primary responsibility will be to maintain and improve the website, and to work with the rest of the development team working on different features and projects.


  • Create simple, effective, efficient, and performant code to power new products, as well as refactor and improve existing code
  • Write test code to ensure the system function as expected
  • Devise solutions to bottleneck and bug issues
  • Help maintain code quality, organization, and automatization
  • Add other responsibilities here that are important for the project/job


  • Strong proficiency in PHP 7-8, with working knowledge of the language specification
  • Thorough knowledge of the standard libraries and algorithms
  • Understanding of object-oriented programming (OOP) and inheritance
  • Knowledge of the LAMP stack of technologies
  • Exposure to other web development languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Knowledge of data storage and SQL databases {{if_required}}
  • Good understanding of loosely-typed variables and their pitfalls
  • Implementation of automated testing platforms and unit tests
  • Proficient understanding of code versioning tools
  • Familiarity with continuous integration
  • Experience working with web servers (nginx, apache)
  • Specify other frameworks, libraries, or any other technology relevant to your project/job
  • Education level or certification requirements

PHP Interview questions

When looking to hire a PHP developer, consider asking some of the following interview questions:

  • What is the difference between static and dynamic websites?
  • What does it mean if a language is loosely-typed?
  • Explain the differences between PHP7 and PHP8.
  • How do you define a constant in PHP?
  • What different methods are used to submit forms in PHP?
  • When would you use include, and when would you use require?
  • How do you set or retrieve a cookie value?
  • What are sessions?
  • What is inheritance?
  • How do you connect to a MySQL database in PHP?
  • What are the different types of errors in PHP?
  • How can you debug code or catch errors?

Freelance PHP Developer Rates

The average salary for a PHP developer is $88,388 per year in the United States. When hiring a PHP freelancer, you can expect to pay $54.02 on average per hour. PHP freelancer rates can range from $15-$90 per hour depending on the developer's experience, where they are located, their availability, and other programming languages required.

Check out our detailed pricing guide for more web developer freelance rates.

Where to Hire a PHP Developer – Top Websites

Read our list of the top websites to hire a PHP developer.

Developer Hiring Guides

If you are looking for other types of technical talent, we’ve put together hiring guides for these technologies as well.

Programming Languages
Top Programming Languages
Frontend Frameworks
Top Frontend Frameworks
Backend Frameworks
Top Backend Frameworks
Content Management Systems
Content Management Systems
  • Unity
  • Salesforce
  • iOS / Android


Where can I find a PHP developer?

There are many places where you can find and hire a PHP developer online. If you're looking for a full-time developer, you can try popular job boards like Indeed and LinkedIn. For the best freelancers, consider using a remote hiring platform focused on placing programmers like Upstack or Toptal. You can also find PHP developers on general freelancing marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr.

How much does it cost to hire a PHP developer?

The average salary for a PHP developer is $88,388 per year in the United States. When hiring a PHP freelancer, you can expect to pay $54.02 on average per hour. PHP freelancer rates can range from $15-$90 per hour depending on the developer's experience, where they are located, their availability, and other programming languages required.

What are the most important skills to look for in a PHP developer?

Since PHP is primarily used for web scripting, a PHP developer should know the different technologies that go into a website. They should also have a good understanding of core PHP concepts such as object-oriented programming (OOP) and loosely typed variables.

What does a PHP developer do?

To put it as simply as possible, a PHP developer designs and develops software using the PHP language. In addition to programming, continued development, and optimization, they will also be required to maintain existing web server code, and debug code when a problem occurs.