Unless you’re on linux, most of the time developers mess with the HTTP interface of PHP since it’s implemented in the PHP-Apache-Module and that’s what local development servers such as XAMPP uses as well.
For your information, the two less popular PHP Interfaces are:
1) PHP-cgi interface
2) PHP-cli interface
If you are curious, I found this explanation about the PHP interfaces at PHPList quite easy to understand.
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