Some say a full-stack PHP developer is someone who can program both on the client-side and the server-side. The server side is programming in PHP and the client-side is programming in the browser using JavaScript.

Others define a full-stack developer as someone who can troubleshoot both the software layer and the server layer.

I like both definitions. I think a full-stack PHP developer is someone who has, at least, enter-level PHP web server system administrative skills and the ability to deal with the full programming stack.

Lets Break That Down

There are two parts to this – The software layer and the Linux PHP hosting layer.

I believe all PHP developers should have a basic familiarity with Linux. I think a PHP programmer should use Linux on their desktop (unless there is a reason not to) and have the skills to configure a basic LAMP or LEMP testing server.

The PHP web server Consists of:

LAMP stands for:

Linux – The operating system.

Apache – The web server.

MySQL – The data engine.

PHP – The programming language.

LEMP stands for:

Linux – The operating system.

NGINX – The web server.

MySQL – The data engine.

PHP – The programming language.

Notice the difference is Apache vs NGINX web servers.

The software layer consists of:

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) – HTML is the bones or structure of the website.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) – CSS gives a website its look and feel

JavaScript, JavaScript library or framework, and AJAX – JavaScript and the associated frameworks and AJAX are used to create interactive web pages.

The PHP programming language – PHP is a server-side programming language which means it runs on the server and sends output to the browser.

Structured Query Language (SQL) – SQL is used by the developer to talk to the MySQL data engine.

There is a lot to know. Knowing and being able to work with all that has been outlined above, in my opinion, makes one a full-stack developer.

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What a Full-Stack PHP developer is can depend on who is defining what a Full-Stack PHP Developer is. There are two definitions 1) a PHP programmer that can program both on the server-side and on the client-side, and 2) a PHP developer than can troubleshoot both the client-side software, the server-side software, AND the PHP web hosting server itself.

I believe a PHP developer must have basic Linux hosting skills. This does not mean this developer needs to be a production server administrator. What I am saying is this PHP developer should be able to configure a LAMP or LEMP stack for testing.