The PADME experiment, at the Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati of INFN, is a fixed-target, missing-mass experiment designed to search for a dark photon (A’), the hypothetical gauge boson of a new U(1) symmetry in a hidden sector of particles neutral under Standard Model interactions. The design performance of the experimental apparatus allows the investigation of A’ mass ranges up to 23.7 MeV and values of the effective coupling between A’ and the photon (\epsilon) greater than 10^-3, using a positron beam striking a thin diamond target. The PADME experiment has been in operation since October 2018 and performed a first detector and beam-commissioning run for 5 months. The statistics of the data sample collected could also allow the extraction of preliminary physics results. The talk will review the experience gained with the detector and beam operation. Additionally, the status of data validation and understanding in terms of detector performance and both beam-induced and physics backgrounds will be discussed. Finally, the physics potential of PADME and possibilities for future upgrades will be explored.