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PHP vs Node.js

Omji Mehrotra By Omji Mehrotra | August 28, 2020
nodejs vs php

The landscape of the web development world is changing at a drastic rate with the addition of the latest technologies. This is a clear indication that showcases the importance of technology, programming languages, or frameworks that helps in the development of frontend and backend.

For the frontend, developers usually depend upon JavaScript as their reliable platform. Whereas, when it comes to the backend development, the real race starts and so is the fight between PHP Vs Node JS.

It has become one of the hot topics for mobile app developers and business owners that are diving into the digitized world.

To give you a better idea, here is a graph that showcases the most popular technologies that developers depend upon. 

most popular technologies as per dev types

As the graph suggests, PHP is one of the top backend development platforms due to its maturity in the market. However, NodeJS is not far behind in the race and is slowly becoming the eye candy of the development world.

With this, let’s jump into the main topic of PHP Vs Node JS. In this article, we will cover everything about PHP and NodeJS followed by their similarities and differences for Web Application Development.

So, let’s get started!

What is PHP?

This server-side language is one of the renowned scripting languages that help in developing interactive web pages. PHP is a great platform to check details from a form, create login pages, surveys, picture galleries, and build forms.

It was launched in 1995 and is famous for desktop application development that is an addition to PHP. It is a great platform to use syntax like Perl to refresh HTML pages making it work as a dynamic language.

PHP is a platform that is increasing with time and gaining programming highlights as the object-oriented programming model, package management, exception, and namespaces. It is considered as the first choice for content management system development such as Joomla, Drupal, WooCommerce, Shopify, and WordPress.

The platform is a Hypertext Preprocessor that helps in creating HTML, execute the server, and review the results with no need of underlying code. The HTML files with PHP can be processed easily while configuring the webserver.

In addition to this, PHP includes several features and is simple to write simple scripts. Here is everything that you need to know about PHP. 

php in the enterprise

What is NodeJS?

NodeJS works for both – client and server-side – that is used as an environment to run JavaScript. You can consider it a web server that is similar to the PHP web application development.

NodeJS is a great choice to handle the incoming connections that are built on Chrome’s VB engines. It is ideal for robotics, web applications, IoT, mobile, API engines, and enterprise applications.

The platform is entrenched JavaScript language and is effective for the development of web apps over the V8 JavaScript engine. It runs on the server that can develop dynamic and interactive web apps performing on asynchronous coding.

Other than this, the development requires NodeJS Framework that makes the whole process streamlined. You can also go through the following to get a grasp on NodeJS.

With this said, here are the major aspects of the NodeJS programming platforms.

nodejs specialities

Similarities – PHP Vs Node JS

Before diving into the difference between PHP vs Node JS, let us understand the similarities between the platforms. Just remember, that it is not about which one is better but which one is preferred. 

#1 Viable Choices

PHP and NodeJS are famous due to their server-side development and use for website development. In addition to this, out of both the platforms, NodEJS is faster and extensive making it a viable choice. However, PHP is easier for some programmers as compared to NodeJS with an integrated database. 

#2 Interpreted Languages

The runtime environments of both platforms make it a common aspect when it comes to NodeJS and PHP. They both are the interpreted languages that make them an ideal platform for scripting. 

The Real Battle – PHP Vs Node JS

Now you might have a clear idea about PHP vs Node Js similarities, pros, and cons. Now, let’s settle the difference between Node JS and PHP.

Before getting started, you need to understand that these differences are mainly based on the popularity of PHP and NodeJS. The popularity can be analyzed using the following aspects that can help you get an answer to “Node JS vs PHP which is better”.

#1 PHP Vs Node JS – Performance

PHP vs NodeJS performance is an essential factor that is used to differentiate them.

PHP performance is a bit faster with its script or code involving ASP and JSP. The codebase in PHP is richer to support better and easy to understand. It also runs smoothly on the server and is portable to run such as IIS and Apache. PHP also supports Linus, Windows, Mac OS X, and Unix (multi-platforms).

NodeJS performance is different from PHP. It is a server-side solution that works extremely fast and is powered by a non-blocking I/O model and event-driven. The license is under MIT that means no data buffering and faster code execution. Just like PHP, NodeJS also supports multi-platforms. You can get a better understanding of JavaScript performance optimization to know it better. 

#2 PHP Vs Node JS – Market Share

Another major factor is the market share of Node JS and PHP. The market share of the PHP is on a larger scale as compared to NodeJS. Well, it has been in the market since 1995 so it is understandable. PHP is a leading web development platform that makes Mobile App Development Company use it. However, NodeJS is still a bit struggling with the market share since it is relatively new as compared to PHP. 

#3 PHP Vs Node JS- Market Position

The major aspect of the PHP Vs Node JS race is its market position. PHP is a mature platform that is now used by more websites as compared to comparatively new NodeJS. However, the traffic rate makes NodeJS a better option as compared to PHP since websites developed using PHP experience low website traffic. 

#4 PHP Vs Node JS – Modules

Since PHP is an old platform, there are not many in-built modules but it is essential to install the composer, PEAR, or other third-party modules. The additional framework and distributed systems add to the components that can be reused. Whereas composers are the one that is used as dependency management tools that help in managing and declaring. It can help in updating or installing the library as per the project requirements.

However, the built-in modules of NodeJS make it a good choice since it includes a bundled Node Package Manager (NPM). It is a default system as the package management system that makes it easy to publish and use. 

#5 PHP Vs Node JS – Practical Application

The web-based applications can be easily developed using the PHP programming language. NodeJS works differently since it includes the development of browsers, game servers, multithreaded apps, and web apps. Hence, know Frontend JavaScript frameworks guide to develop a website or app.  

#6 PHP Vs Node JS- Database

PHP is a great platform when it comes to collaborating with relational and traditional databases such as PostgreSQL, MariaDB, and MySQL. Nevertheless, it is possible to include NoSQL in the development but it still has a long way to go. The downside is MySQL prone to Cross-site scripting (XSS), and SQL injection attacks.

NodeJS is another platform that is mainly dependent upon NoSQL databases such as graph database systems and MongoDB. The databases can work with the NPM packages that are on the npm registry. Its documented vulnerabilities include NoSQL injection that is negligible compared to SQL injection. 

#7 PHP Vs Node JS- Development Stacks

Developers prefer PHP due to its simple and quick process that does not require converters or compilers. It establishes a single SQL database connection and no hosting confinements. Whereas NodeJS includes frameworks and deployment that can be used for severe infrastructure and complex preparation that is significantly complicated. 

#8 PHP Vs Node JS – Application Domains

PHP is best for CPU-intensive applications that include scientific or meteorology applications. It can be used for the API development using the LAMP stack along with the content management system that makes PHP an ideal choice. Whereas NodeJS is used to develop real-time applications such as video streaming, blogs, chat applications, etc. and also single-page applications such as individuals websites and resume portfolios, Due to event-driven and non-blocking I/O model, it is ideal for the scalable server-side development. 

#9 PHP Vs Node JS – Hosting

NodeJS includes fewer hosting services as compared to PHP that requires many services. Due to this, PHP is easier when it comes to integration and deployment that work as a virtual server that is followed in NodEJS for running apps. 

#10 PHP Vs Node JS – Concurrency

The Synchronous Vs Asynchronous is a major aspect of the PHP Vs Node JS. To give you a clear understanding of the PHP and NodeJS, let us explain synchronous and asynchronous concurrency.

Synchronous is the line by line execution of code that means that it is essential to wait for the next requisition when the current request is going on. Once the current request is executed then you can move on to the next request. Whereas, Asynchronous is the same time execution of code that handles the tasks simultaneously.

PHP is a Synchronized that will require the current request to be done to start with the one. But if the function of the code line is a time taking process then it will take a long time to reach the next function and so on. However, PHP can use APIs that can help in using asynchronous programming.

NodeJS works differently than it since it already uses asynchronous programming and needs no API to follow it. This makes overall development faster and efficient since no waiting time is required for requests. 

nodejs vs php programming languages

#11 PHP Vs Node JS – Framework

PHP includes several frameworks that include CakePHP, CodeIgniter, and Laravel that helps in developing robust and secure web applications. Whereas NodeJS work with full-stack, micro, and asynchronous frameworks that help in developing astounding network apps. So, “Is Node JS more secure than PHP” is the question that might remain but it depends upon the use of the language. 

#12 PHP Vs Node JS – Learning Curve

PHP is an easier platform as compared to NodeJS. It includes inconsistent functions, return values, and argument ordering that are better than in JS. Whereas with NodeJS including nom, it is a better yet a little difficult platform. However, with the right platform, it is possible to understand workflow and modern web development. 

#13 PHP Vs Node JS – Complexity

NodeJS Development is not a complex platform for the developers but it requires basic closure understanding and more lines of coding or callback functions. PHP development is a mature platform that makes it less complex for developers. 

#14 PHP Vs Node JS – Runtime Environments

Php and JavaScript work on the HTML directly but it requires interpreting the code to run smoothly. The developers can directly install it to run for the server-side. However, the Zend engine is required to run it. Whereas the NodeJS server-side is a runtime environment that is powered by JavaScript engine Google’s V8. This might answer the question “Is Node JS a server side scripting language”.

#15 PHP Vs Node JS – Web Server

It is essential to set up the server for the versions that are before LAMP, 5.4, and Cross-platform Apache, MariaDB, PHP (XAMPP). It includes a built-in server in the v5.4 in PHP that makes it easy for the development. Whereas in NodeJS, the apps are mainly for network applications that include core modules such as file system, DNS, and Http that helps in building customized web servers in a four-line of codes. Hence, it is best to know about the Web Application Architecture as well. 

#16 PHP Vs Node JS – JSON

NodeJS is the one that uses the non-blocking I/O execution model that is ideal when it comes to event-driven development. Whereas for the PHP development the multi-threaded blocking can run parallelly to the multiple tasks. It is best to go through the Essential Mobile App Backend Development Guide for better development.

#17 PHP Vs Node JS – Scalability

NodeJS is like a set of tools that can help in the development of the website efficiently and offer dynamic solutions. It includes numerous I/O operations that make it possible for the smooth NodeJS development. The developers can develop scalable websites with a bit more effort on multi-core systems. PHP is a content management systems development platform that can give scalable websites. It is easy to build eCommerce web applications and building blogs. 

#18 PHP Vs Node JS – Code Execution

NodeJS is a platform that can be used with different languages whereas PHP is expanding with time. PHP is a platform that is easy to pull content and use HHVM that includes lambda expressions and annotations. NodeJS is best when you want to go for cross-compilation that makes it huge leverage. 

#19 PHP Vs Node JS – Package Manager

PHP development requires the composers’ package manager for the whole process whereas NodeJS is the one that depends upon the NPM package that makes the development easier. 

#20 PHP Vs Node JS – Switching

The efficiency reduction must be considered while writing the code that can be managed easily with the switching between languages and environments. PHP uses syntax and languages for continuously switching that is a part of the LAMP stack including Linux, server-side coding, and database. NodeJS is a bit different since it requires no switching between syntax and language. It includes MERN and MEAN stack that makes the coding easier. 

Conclusion – PHP Vs Node JS

Now, it is clear that the difference between Node JS and PHP is not something that can help in making the final decision. The fact is that the technology must be handled in a manner that can help in managing the project. For this, be very clear about the requirements.

Here are the major websites that are built on PHP and NodeJS.

popular websites built on php and nodejs

To give you a good insight, here are the aspects of when to use PHP and NodeJS.

When to use Node JS

  • Same Language across the stack for developing dynamic single-page applications. 
  • Requires speed and faster development.
  • The project involves real-time data such as financial apps. 

When to use PHP

  • For portability that can support IIS, Apache, and database systems.
  • Centralized server in an application that does not require multiple servers. 

So make the decision smartly by keeping all the above aspects in mind while choosing the best out of PHP Vs Node JS.

Omji Mehrotra
Omji Mehrotra

Co-Founder and AVP Technology at Appventurez. An accomplished Android and React Native developer who is a fan of clean and optimized code, he is a passionate team builder having smart project managerial skills and has a deep love to provide end to end solution.

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