Node JS vs PHP: A Detailed Comparison for Your Backend Development
Do you know what happens in classic Hollywood movies?
A climax always has the fight between two longtime friends who went their separate ways. Generally, bitterness occurs when one of the friends develops an interest in what had always been the unspoken realm of the other.
An Overview: Node JS vs PHP
The list goes on, and the most difficult part is to pick an excellent option for the project.
While talking about Node JS and PHP, both are powerful options for backend development services. However, the developer community is divided when it comes to choosing PHP or Node JS for the backend.
So, which option is better to choose from the difference between PHP and NodeJS? How do you decide when to use Node JS or PHP technology for the server-side development of your project?
In this detailed comparison blog, let’s find out Node JS vs PHP . Furthermore, we are going to discuss the key features and differences between PHP and NodeJs.
What is PHP?
PHP (Hypertext Processor) is an open-source server-side scripting language used by giants like Wikipedia, Tumblr, and Facebook. Rasmus Lerdorf developed the language in 1994, and since then, there has been no going back.
A survey by W3Tech states that PHP is used for the data in almost 79% of websites. In addition, PHP has spread its wings in the CMS (Content Management Systems), such as Shopify, WordPress, Drupal, and WooCommerce.
It contains various built-in features and packages that make developing eCommerce and CMS websites very easy, despite being synchronous and only works with a central server in place.
PHP is a synchronous programming language with multi-threaded blocking I/O processing in terms of technology. On the server-side, PHP is executed by an interpreter – Zend Engine, working with Nginx and Apache servers. Without having access to the original code, the client-side waits until it receives the results of a script being processed, and no other code lines are executed until the previous result is received.
PHP is a very flexible language as you can easily integrate its code into HTML or HTML5. Also, you can easily connect to the various SQL databases like MariaDB, MySQL, or PostgreSQL.
If you hire PHP developers, they will bring various benefits to your business. However, you should understand and know some tips to hire PHP developers for your project. Let’s go through a few of them here.
Multiple Database Options
PHP has the ability to create a connection with any type of database. But MySQL is the most common and preferred database as it is free and popular. Furthermore, PHP is also compatible with other database management systems like mSQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, MS SQL, etc.
On the other hand, PHP is also compatible and used with non-relation databases like MongoDB, ElasticSearch, and Redis. This way, developers have the freedom to choose any database for their future app.
Faster Page Load Speed
When compared to other web development technologies, PHP allows website pages to load faster. For example, most of the time, PHP is almost three times faster than Python.
On the other hand, lower loading time is a significant SEO ranking factor that aids in promoting a website by providing competitive benefits. A faster application keeps consumers happy and, when combined with additional benefits, helps to grow and retain the client base.
Higher Customer Retention Rates
PHP has rapid data processing features that reduce the page load time. Users generally don’t like to wait for a website to load. However, they tend to leave if the website doesn’t reload in less than three seconds.
PHP-based applications load pages quickly, increase user retention and make your product more intuitive to use.
PHP has a large and robust codebase that includes popular web development stacks and platforms. Furthermore, it is so simple to use that even someone who is not familiar with technology can use it.
PHP has a large codebase for all kinds of solutions, from content management systems to amazing frameworks like Symfony and Laravel. For example, you can set up a blog in minutes with WordPress, a PHP-based content management system.
Drawbacks of PHP
Let us uncover the disadvantages of PHP development services that sometimes drive developers away from this technology.
Poor Code Manageability
Slow Testing Process
The most significant drawback of PHP, especially when compared to Node, is its poor error handling. PHP does not have many debugging tools that can detect flaws and notify the programmer in real-time. This feature of PHP makes it more error-prone and slows down the quality assurance process. Thus, it increases the number of errors in the finished result.
The low entrance barrier for newbies is one of the reasons PHP has a negative reputation in terms of security. As a result, unskilled coders, trainees, or even amateurs create many websites and apps. The poor quality of their work adds to the rumors and truths about PHP’s overall security and performance issues.
What is Node JS?
Besides, another thing we can consider is its amazing support for JSON. Actually, JSON is used when data is sent to the web page from the server. It allows you to communicate with NoSQL databases. Microsoft, LinkedIn, and PayPal are among the companies that use NodeJS development services.
Top 10 most popular frameworks and libraries among developers
Benefits of Node JS
If you hire Node JS developers, you can leverage certain benefits for your upcoming projects. Let’s go through a few of them here.
Easy to Learn
Faster Server Connection
While talking about Node JS vs PHP , Node.js is an asynchronous, event-driven, and non-blocking programming language, whereas PHP is a synchronous programming language. This means that Node.js is a better option for speeding up the development process than PHP.
Node.js is flexible enough to let you develop an app with any technology. It doesn’t adhere to any strict rules for project development. Besides, NPM allows you to develop an application smoothly and quickly.
Since Node.js doesn’t have any strict rules for developers to follow, they get the required room to build apps.
When comparing Node JS vs PHP , the features of Node.js – non-blocking and asynchronous, speed up application development and allow you to handle various requests at once. Node.js is the primary technology used to create SPAs and data-driven apps.
Drawbacks of Node JS
Let us find out the dark sides of Node.js development services that make developers not to choose this technology.
Node.js can execute on the server-side without disrupting the connection. You can do it yourself or leverage the hosting services, like a virtual cloud (VDS/VPS, a server environment with full access) from the service providers. Unfortunately, not all hosts will be able to afford it, thus the costs will reflect this.
One of the factors that make NodeJS frustrating for individuals is the use of a complicated coding structure.
Not Suitable for Intensive Apps
This framework is not capable of handling CPU-intensive tasks such as audio and video production, graphic editing, and so on. Node.js-based apps are more responsive, which makes developing graphic-centric applications more difficult.
Node JS vs PHP: The Popularity Contest
While talking about the popularity of Node JS and PHP, the PHP-driven websites exceed NodeJS- websites by a huge margin. PHP is used to power the backends of around 80% of all websites on the internet, and around 40% of them are developed by PHP-based WordPress.
On the flip side, slowly and gradually, Node.js has gained popularity in the market and has become the most used programming language in 2020. Albeit, there are only 1-2% of websites that are developed by Node.js. And Netflix and LinkedIn are such examples of it.
A Stack Overflow survey shows that around 41.6% of developers ‘Loved’ and 58.4% of developers ‘dreaded’ PHP language. Besides, Node.js has secured its spot in the most loved Frameworks, Libraries, and Tools category with around 66.4% of the developers ‘Loved’ Node JS.
It’s worth mentioning that, while PHP has long been the more popular technology, Node.js is becoming more popular among professional developers.
Node JS vs PHP: A Final Comparison
Now, we will discuss the difference between PHP and NodeJs, where we will look at the different aspects of backend technologies and determine the winner.
PHP has been around for a long time and has flourished over these years. From afar, it may appear like PHP requires lesser lines of code to complete a function, making it easier.
But then, you must have a good understanding of operators and generators and how they work in LAMP (Linux, Apache HTTP Server, MySQL, and PHP).
Winner: Well, while announcing the winner for the coding parameter, Node.js tops the market in our books. However, both languages are easy to understand.
PHP is an older technology. Hence, it has a different concept to handle requests, which is slower. Also, it has a synchronous code execution procedure, processing every module in the code-specified order. It blocks a process until it has completed all execution, resulting in delayed loading and no concurrency.
However, if you still want to utilize PHP, you can link it with the HHVM Virtual Machine. And this virtual machine is used to execute PHP web projects. It can increase your PHP web app performance by over 75%. Despite this, Node.js is still the speedier option.
Well, this order-independent execution is known as ‘concurrency’. When combined with Node’s concurrency, JS provides an excellent environment for developing high-performance apps.
Winner: Both technologies are the winners here. Just-In-Time Compilation is used by both PHP and Node.js. However, Node.js would be your choice if performance is your top priority.
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When it comes to backend programming language, PHP is the pure one. Therefore, its area of development is limited. In terms of technology, it belongs to the LAMP Stack. Hence, a developer should have a good knowledge of various technologies along with CSS and HTML to create and maintain a PHP-based project.
Of course, the possibility of dealing with several technologies further complicates the learning curve. Despite the difficulties mentioned above, PHP continues to evolve dynamically, with its developers always coming up with new features and ideas to improve its capabilities and functionality.
Node.js is a programming language that combines some of the most significant elements into a single, seamless package with no functionality fragmentation. It allows you to create a complete backend model (Need a database – MySQL, reverse proxy – Apache or Nginx, and an HTTP framework – Express.js)
Winner: We could consider it a draw. The powerful NPM is an add-on functionality that adds an extra point in the Node.js bucket. But apart from that, both have similar functionaries.
WordPress has made a significant contribution to the PHP community. The company is directly responsible for the operation of a significant percentage of the internet’s total number of websites. This only indicates the power of the PHP.
Moreover, the PHP community offers many online tutorials and materials for training and supporting technology to help newbies get started.
The Nodejs ecosystem offers a large number of libraries and frameworks, although they are quite behind in comparison to PHP. Nodejs makes up for its lack of quantity with its diversity of projects. Since Node.js can be used for both server-side and backend development, the sorts of projects available are diverse and may be utilized for various purposes.
Winner: It’s worth noting that PHP has a larger ecosystem than Nodejs. Node.js has a greater variety in terms of projects, frameworks, and modules.
PHP dominates the internet world with almost 79% of all websites either directly or indirectly. The technology is designed to work with every major hosting service provider because of its broad reach. The LAMP stack of PHP adheres to the needs of many servers. However, LAMP is not considered the most secured technology stack for hosting.
There are a variety of Node.js alternatives available that help the technology perform competitively.
It determines a technology platform’s range of interoperability with various hosting service providers. The quantity of options provided has a direct impact on hosting costs. The web app’s security and speed must be considered when you choose a host.
The company that supports Node.js – Joyent, offers a SmartOS solution that is great for performance, deployment, and debugging. Also, using Node.js for a Platform-as-a-Service project is simple with Nodejitsu and Heroku.
Winner: Like PHP, Node.js has a larger range of hosting service provider compatibility. If security isn’t a key concern, you might use any platform for your web development project. There isn’t a single distinction that would be a deal-breaker.
PHP is a synchronous language, which means it executes code line by line. When PHP code is executed, it waits for the current line to complete execution before moving on to the next line, causing the request to be blocked.
Winner: Due to its asynchronous nature, Node.js is the winner here.
- Runtime Environment
PHP runs on the open-source scripting engine – Zend. It interprets the PHP code.
Winner: Since both technologies have their own runtime environment, we can’t consider one superior in this Node JS vs PHP battle.
Since PHP has been one of the most popular programming languages for more than two decades in the market, it’s no wonder that there are a plethora of ready-made frameworks and systems that you can use to rapidly and easily create apps.
Popular PHP web application frameworks include Laravel, CodeIgniter, CakePHP, Phalcon, and Symfony, with Laravel likely being the most popular now. Also, you can use open-source PHP CMS like Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal, as well as eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce and Magento to design and deploy web apps in a short time.
Sails.js, on the other hand, adopts a different approach. Its philosophy is similar to Ruby on Rails, with many default behaviors that simplify MVC app development. Meteor, like Sails, makes it simple to configure an MVC app back end. On the other hand, Meteor goes a step ahead and includes a significant amount of front-end functionality, making it a genuine full-stack framework.
Finally, there’s a new framework – Next.js. It is exclusively created to use with React apps. Next makes it simple to build a React app with server-side rendering and other performance enhancements. NuxtJ.js is similar to Next.js, but for Vue apps.
Winner: In a nutshell, if your project requires extensive frameworks usage, Node.js is a superior option.
Your right decision for choosing the database plays an important role while going for Node JS vs PHP comparison.
PHP has been used with conventional or relational database management systems (RDBMS) such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, MS SQL, and others. And MySQL is the most often used database for creating PHP websites. As we said earlier, it’s part of the popular open-source stack LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP). Thus, NoSQL databases such as MongoDB can also be used with PHP.
Node.js works seamlessly and perfectly fine with NoSQL databases like CouchDB and MongoDB, as well as graph databases like Neo4j. Although it can interact with SQL databases, most Node.js developers choose NoSQL databases. Node.js works extremely well with NoSQL databases thanks to its built-in JSON support. The M in MEAN stands for MongoDB, which is the most popular database.
Winner: Node.js is what you need if you want to build a scalable web application that routinely pulls data from traditional, relational, or NoSQL databases.
For years, PHP has had an advantage in this area. However, several PHP developers have recently expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of projects they have received. This has pushed them to migrate to other platforms because PHP’s inherent functionality may also be imported.
Some PHP fans sometimes complain that Node.js projects are less stable than their PHP counterparts. Quality-control systems aren’t in place yet because the community is still expanding.
The Node.js package registry launched the npm-audit initiative as a control measure. You may now verify each package for malicious code using this method.
Winner: For the time being, PHP has a larger module library. Node.js, on the other hand, is making significant progress in this area. As a result, PHP is still the best option, with Node.js a close second.
- Request Handling
PHP only deals with one request at a time. Therefore, it requires greater CPU and RAM resources. For this parameter, every request is executed in a silo because it’s on the opposite end of the spectrum.
This prevents request errors from spreading, but it slows down the system because it only processes one request at a time.
Since many requests are processed asynchronously, the system does not need to wait for one process to complete before going on to the next. The time spent on the CPU and RAM is not wasted here. The only issue here is that if an unsolved error in one request is not treated promptly, it may interfere with other requests, resulting in a system-wide error.
Winner: In this comparison, Node.js has the upper hand. It can carry out more processes with fewer resources. You can also protect the system against slowness caused by improper execution by implementing robust error-handling procedures.
Is Node JS Better Than PHP?
In the battle between the best frontend technologies – Node JS vs PHP, the winner could only be the one who fulfills all your project requirements and focuses on your needs. However, you can surely consider Node JS is better than PHP when your need is a faster execution and a vast choice of frameworks.
When Should We Use NodeJS Over PHP?
Node.js should be used over PHP for applications that require a lot of interaction and communication between server and client.
Is NodeJS Popular in 2022?
Node.js development has become very popular over the last few years. Furthermore, it will continue to outperform the competition in 2022, causing startups all over the world to choose it over other possibilities.
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When to Use Node JS?
Only choose Node JS over PHP if you are looking to leverage the following features for your web development.
Node.js is recommended when its performance and ease of development benefit. Moreover, you must consult the experienced mobile app development company for Node.js when you have to develop the given apps:
- Real-time applications such as instant messengers
- A dynamic single page application
- When you use front-end technologies– React and Angular
When to Use PHP?
PHP should be your preferred technology for your stack if you require to develop:
- CMS-driven eCommerce websites or blogs
- LAMP Stack (Linux Apache, MySQL, PHP)
- For ease of deployment and integration
Node JS vs PHP: A Comparison Table
|Speed of Coding||Faster: Works well when you need a quick solution||Slower: Needs more time for writing and compiling your code|
|Performance||Slower: Needs more time to run code lines one by one||Faster: Provides independent order execution of code|
|Extensibility||Pretty extensible||Even more extensible owing to underlying JS, with a huge NMP catalog|
|Community||Larger, highly experienced||Smaller, younger, yet ambitiously growing|
|Popularity||80%+ of all websites use PHP||1-2% of websites use Node JS|
|Talent Pool||No current shortage, but the language is slowly declining||JS developers far outnumber PHP|
|Development Cost||Can grow higher on a bigger project as requires additional specialists||Can be cheaper as projects may require smaller teams|
What Should You Choose for Your Next Project: NodeJS or PHP?
Well, there is no standard policy or rules to choose the right backend technology for your project from Node JS vs PHP. It stresses your mind to pick one as both have their pros and cons for their respective fields. Therefore, being a tech-savvy or a technocrat, it should not be easy to judge one technology as a superior or a winner in the battle. However, you need to determine which one will be suitable for your project and its requirements.
When it comes to choosing the right technology, the question should not be which one is better; rather, which one can fulfil your project’s requirements. First, you need to understand the project requirements, business logic, and target audience – this information will only help you choose the right technology.
Another important factor to examine is the developer’s proficiency and expertise with that technology, as well as how they use and apply it to the specific project. You can even connect with the leading web application development company – Trident Technolabs, which has a talented team of PHP and Node.js developers. You can have a free consultation with technical leaders and understand which technology would be suitable for you.