Node.js vs PHP: Which is better for web development? by@Martin

Node.js vs PHP: Which is better for web development?

July 25th 2019 96,506 reads
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Node.js vs PHP: Which is better for web development? Nearly 79% of websites in their data are developed using PHP. PHP is an open-source server-side scripting language developed in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf. Node.Js is a Javascript runtime environment that includes everything that is needed to execute a program that is written in Javascript. PHP works well with a range of database forms like MariaDB and Post DB and PostDB engines used. It likewise uses JSON to connect with another type of type of database for getting to a virtual server, which calls for SSH for a server.
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Web development seems to be a diverse & ever-changing field. New technologies and tools come up regularly, due to which app programmers and developers have to face the dilemma. They get confused between the long term and mature solutions & the new upcoming ones.

Backend programmers are the ones who usually have to deal with the problem of selecting between PHP and Node.js. This has now become a common situation with the developers due to certain reasons. Earlier, Javascript (the one which underlies Node.Js) didn’t overlap with PHP. Javascript was used to build the front-end applications and on the other hand, PHP was used for developing server-side applications. Working together, these two languages developed amazing websites.

Then, what happened all of a sudden? Why did the situation change? This happened since JS that was represented by an all new Node.Js began entering a server-side sphere & distracted the backend programmers from traditional PHP.

In this article, we will be talking about the key features & differences between Node.js and also try to identify which technology is suitable for which purpose.

Although both Node.js and PHP are able to manage any complexity of the applications, they are built around different architectures and concepts. If you are an app owner or a business owner, selecting between these programming languages for your web development project can be a difficult situation indeed.

However, if you have landed on this page, then you are going to get answers to all your questions and in the end, you will be able to select one as per your business needs and requirements.

In this article, we are going to discuss:

  • A description of both the languages
  • Comparison of the two languages on different parameters
  • When to use which technology

Overview of PHP

PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), is an open-source server-side scripting language. It was developed in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf. And since then there was no going back for this language. A survey by W3Tech shows that almost 79% of the websites in their data are developed using PHP. Also, the ever-increasing popularity of content management systems like Drupal, WordPress, Shopify and WooCommerce portraits how PHP has covered the backend under its wings.


Overview Of Node.js

Node.js is a Javascript runtime environment. Now, people who understand this, good. But, what about others? What does this mean exactly?

Node.js is a runtime environment that includes everything that is needed to execute a program that is written in Javascript.


Node.js initially appeared when the engineers of Javascript broadened it from something you could just keep running in the program to something you could keep running on your machine as an independent application. Presently you can do considerably more with Javascript than simply making websites interactive. Javascript now has the ability to do things that other scripting languages like Python can do.

After an introduction to both the languages, let’s now move on to the detailed comparison between the two.

By the time you finish this article, you would hopefully have arrived at a point on which language is suitable for your next app project.

Node.js vs PHP: Development


As you can see in the image, Node.js tops the list, however, both of them have their explanations.

At the point at which a developer codes in PHP, the experience is significantly quicker and also more simple when compared to Node.js as there is absolutely no need to include compilers or converters. The language set up a simple connection to the SQL database & has no hosting confinements.

On the other hand, Node.js is significantly complicated. The deployment of applications and frameworks in the case of Node requires a more complex preparation & server infrastructure.

Node.js vs PHP: Database

PHP works quite well with a MySQL database while offering support to a range of various database forms like MariaDB and PostgreSQL. The code functions admirably with databases independent of the engines used.

Node.js has various libraries for getting to SQL. It likewise uses JSON to connect with another type of NoSQL databases.

While even a PHP project can be configured for supporting JSON, it is more advantageous to use Javascript as you get one code for both browser and server.

NodeJs Vs PHP: Hosting


PHP language is supported by many hosting services as compared to Node.js which comes with less number of hosting services. This makes the deployment and integration of PHP easier than Node, which calls for a virtual server having SSH access for running applications.

Node.js vs PHP: Practical application

Node.js may be used in a number of places including web apps, multithreaded apps, game servers, browsers, etc. However, PHP is usually used for web-based applications.

Node.js vs PHP: Performance


PHP provides a stable and reliable performance when it comes it to web development, as compared to the Javascript framework.

However, when both the environments are compared, you will notice that NodeJs stands out to be a lot faster than PHP, due to the following USPs:

  • Speed friendly V8 engine
  • Continued Server connection
  • Callback functions which process many requests at the same time

Evolution of the Environment

PHP is on a continuous track of updates and development. The developers of this language always come up with new features and concepts for giving a high execution speed.

Node.js too is on a constant development track. This platform also comes with one more advantage. It comprises of all the modern functionalities in one distribution, where there is no fragmentation as such. This stands to be as one of the big advantages for programmers who have to spend zero time on the complete reworking of the code.

Moving further, this article would not be complete until we talk about the advantages and disadvantages of both the languages.


Advantages of Node.js

 Easy to learn: 

Since Javascript stands to be one of the most popular programming languages, many of the front-end programmers have a good knowledge about it. It becomes a lot easier for them to start using the Node.js at backend. It is quite easy to learn Node.js & consume less time to work with it.

Fast backend solution: 

A point that gets the Javascript framework points ahead of the NodeJs vs PHP war is that this framework may be used to service various concurrent events. By making use of Node.js, the developers can vary well make scalable solutions which maximize the computer memory and CPU usage as they service various requests.

More Flexible: 

When we discuss about software app development with Node.js, there are very limited guidelines and dependencies. There are no rules asking programmers to choose a set pattern or architecture, which gives them access to over thousands of different modules. Apart from this, there are a number of pros that are a part of Node.js, such as – Being similar to JS, it is much easier to learn Node, it is ideal when working with huge files.

Disadvantages of Node.js

The environment is still a little immature: 

The usage of a complicated code structure is one of the things that makes NodeJs disappointing for individuals.

It is not ideal for intensive applications:

This framework is not able for handling the intensive CPU activities such as generation of audio and videos, editions of graphics, etc. The apps made by Node are more responsive, which makes it quite difficult to develop graphic-centric applications.


Advantages of PHP


PHP framework is usually used to make the web application development easier & maintain the code automatically. The MVC architecture in PHP framework helps the code to be used & maintained. This MVC architecture helps the separation of a file for each module separately.


PHP is also quite stable as compared to various programming languages. It has been in existence for quite a long time. The programmers have worked on PHP to make it easy for developers to work on developing the PHP web-based apps. They have fixed the bugs and issues over the specific period of time for various versions of PHP & make it quite stable.

Disadvantages of PHP

Poor code manageability:

PHP provides the developers the freedom to combine HTML with the language syntax that makes it even harder for them to extend the PHP apps with the new functionality. Moreover, it has become even more tough to manage the codes with such a big code base: something that Javascript frameworks hardly face.

Unable to handle large number of applications:

The technology is helpless to support a bunch of apps. It is highly tough to manage since it is not competent modular. It already imitates the key features of Java language.

When to use Node.js?

  1. Dynamic single page applications (SPAs)
  2. Frontend technologies like Angular, JQuery, React, Angular, etc
  3. Software stacks like MEAN stack (Angular, MongoDB, etc)

Well, keeping aside the technicalities, let's talk about it in terms of business:

So, you must hire a mobile app development company for Node.js when,

  • You wish to build real-time applications such as instant messengers
  • A dynamic single page application
  • You are using front end technologies like – React and Angular

When to use PHP?

You may choose PHP for:

  • A blog or e-commerce website with CMS
  • Goes perfectly with LAMP stack (Linux Apache, MySQL, PHP)
  • Ease of deployment and integration


To conclude, both Node.js and PHP are able to serve as a great server-side framework. Both of them have some pros and cons, however, the amazing thing is that both are developed by the experts in order to make web and mobile developed better.

While choosing the technology, your question should not be which is better, rather it should be which one can serve your project requirements in a better way. Understanding the business and project logic, can provide you a clear idea for choosing the right technology platform for their project.

Also, one more essential thing to consider here is the proficiency and skills of the programmers using that particular technology, how they make use of them & apply to the specific project. There are many leading web development companies in India who have a talented pool of Node.js and PHP developers. You may even contact the companies to explain them your project requirements and understand which technology suits for your project.

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