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24 ways to impress your friends

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If you’re going to mix CSS with PHP you’d better do it right. :) If you control the server you can use more fancy methods, but you’d be well advised to turn your .css files into .php on shared hosting.

One (obvious?) benefit is being able to define constants or variables. Colors are just one application. Another are widths, be they pixels or percentages or whatever. Define your main content area as 75% and your sidebar as 25%, or the main as 400px and the sidebar as 120px and you can use PHP to spread those values all around the CSS and even do calculations on the fly based on them.

Another great benefit is adding HTTP headers for gzip compression and timestamping, to facilitate caching and to reduce bandwidth. CSS is pure text so it compresses very well. You’ll be able to reduce that 20k CSS file to only 1-2k that each visitor has to transfer.