JavaScript and PHP are both the largest programming languages in the world with 67.7% and 26.2% respectively. Before Node.JS came around, JavaScript was no competition to PHP and was used solely for frontend development. In fact, the languages worked in tandem: JavaScript was a technology for building frontend and PHP was used for the server-side. What has changed? Why are we comparing Node.JS vs PHP?

In 2009, JavaScript launched its own backend technology called Node.JS and disrupted the development market. Nowadays, coders compare the two technologies, trying to decide which one is better. In reality, both Node.JS and PHP have their benefits and drawbacks, which we will discuss further in this article. PHP vs Node.js: how to choose the right technology for your next project?

Node.js: Pros and Cons

In this section, we will take a deeper look at Node.JS and its pros and cons for your business. What are Node.js alternatives and why is it becoming a popular choice within the software development community?

 

What Is Node.JS?

Node.JS is a JavaScript runtime environment. Using the V8 JS engine, Node.JS delivers apps with high performance and stability. This technology also provides access to a range of asynchronous I/O primitives, which makes applications more responsive. Finally, Node.JS simplifies software development for thousands of coders as they can create both server and client sides of the app using one language, JavaScript.

 

What Are the Benefits of Node.JS?

node.js vs php nodejs advantages

Is Node capable of evolving into a PHP replacement or is it just an alternative? What makes Node.js so great and popular among developers?

01

Shorter time to market

Node.JS allows developers to build well-functioning apps in a shorter period of time. The reason why Node js is fast lies in its ability to share code and tests between the client-side (browser) and the server-side. This shareability enables a higher grade of efficiency and productivity for developers.
02

Building apps with real-time experience

Another business benefit that Node js offers is the ability to create applications with real-time experience and streaming. Utilizing the event-driven environment of JavaScript, you can quite easily build high-performance software solutions with advanced features like chats, streaming services, transactions, etc.
03

Easy change implementation

In the fluctuating market, it is vital to stay flexible and be able to shift your application to meet the changing requirements. Node.JS offers an event-driven model in exchange for the traditional MVC that helps developers make changes to the app in a shorter amount of time. It's all thanks to the distributed app infrastructure. Alongside the novel model, MongoDB is a database that also enables smoother data change. As a result, Node delivers systems that react to changes quicker and helps companies alter their business processes when the need arises.
04

Easy to scale

Although in Node.JS vs PHP, the latter is probably more scalable, Node is far easier to scale. The need for scalability cannot be overestimated, and it continues to grow with the company’s progress.

What Are the Drawbacks of Node.JS?

Nothing is perfect and neither is Node.js. We will not go through each and every disadvantage of the technology, but rather focus on the most crucial reasons for opting not to use Node.js.

01

Lack of complex tools and frameworks to build resources from templates.

02

Poor performance for intense calculations.

PHP: Pros and Cons

As the goal of this piece is to compare Node.js vs PHP, in this part we will shift our focus toward the advantages of PHP along with its drawbacks. What is PHP used for and how does it benefit your business?

 

What is PHP?

PHP is the biggest Node.js alternative and is considered one of the best server-side languages in the world. Survey from W3Tech shows that 79% of websites use PHP for their backend compared to the 1.4% that use Node.js, the JavaScript runtime environment. Being a general-purpose backend technology, PHP is mostly used for web development. This language has a large support of frameworks such as Laravel and Symfony that are open source and can be used by anyone.

node.js vs php php frameworks

 

What Are the Benefits of PHP?

How can PHP benefit your business and put you ahead of the competition? Why is PHP such a popular language and who wins in the battle between Nodejs vs. PHP?

01

Advanced customization palette

One of the most mentioned advantages of PHP development is it’s customizability. Once your business booms and expands, you will need to adjust to the growing demand and make some changes. Having a high grade of customization in enhancing functionalities of your website is a great competitive advantage.
02

Great level of security and flexibility

Businesses lose substantial amounts of money due to hacker attacks, which is why preventive measures are highly important. PHP delivers a highly secure code that will guarantee a good level of data protection. Besides that, PHP is known for its flexibility and compatibility across platforms like Windows, Linux, MacOS, etc. On top of that, this backend technology gives you a wide choice of servers (Apache, iPlanet, Netscape, etc.) and databases (MongoDB, MySQL, and others). Why is flexibility important? It allows you to be more adaptable to change and always you to stay on top, even when the market situation shifts.
03

Increased customer retention rates

PHP offers fast data processing features that shorten the page load time. Users do not like waiting for the page to load and tend to abandon websites if they take too long. Applications written with PHP load pages very swiftly, thus boosting your customer retention rates and making your tool easier to use.
04

Large pool of talent

According to a "State of the Developer Nation" survey by Slashdata, there are more than 6 million PHP developers in the world, which makes it one of the most popular languages. This gives your company a large pool of candidates to choose from. When you hire and onboard your developers in a quicker time, you are ahead of everyone else who goes for a less popular technology that requires more search and vetting.

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What Are the Drawbacks of PHP?

What are the disadvantages of PHP that drive coders away from this technology?

01

Prolonged testing activities

The most crucial disadvantage of PHP is its poor error handling, especially compared to Node. PHP does not provide a big selection of debugging tools that identify bugs and alert the coder in real-time. This characteristic makes PHP more error-prone and prolongs the process of quality assurance. Finally, it leads to an increased number of errors in the end product.

Comparison Table for Node js vs PHP 2021

We have created a quick overview of the PHP vs Node comparison where we take a look at seven aspects of backend technologies and determine the winner.

node.js vs php

 

Node js vs PHP: which is better?

Node.JS PHP
Coding More code Less code
Speed Node.JS is faster due to asynchronous execution Synchronous execution makes PHP slower
Performance Node.JS shows high performance due to the concurrency feature Pairing up with HHVM Virtual Machine makes PHP performance better but Node.JS is still superior
Database Node.JS allows working with any database type: MongoDB, PostgreSQL, CouchDB, SQLite, Redis, etc. PHP is great with relational and conventional databases: MongoDB, Redis, MySQL, PostGreSQL, SYBASE, Oracle, etc.
Community Community is relatively small but active PHP has a bigger online community
Hosting Node.JS is compatible with many hosting providers: Bluehost, HostGator, Hostinger, etc. PHP has a wide compatibility with hosting providers: Bluehost, HostGator, Hostinger, SiteGround, iPage, etc.

 

Node.JS vs PHP in Coding: PHP wins

This aspect is contingent on the syntax that either language allows you to write fewer code lines or does not. The simpler and better engineered is the syntax of a language, the less code you will have to write to execute the program.

Node.JS requires way more code lines to execute the same functionality as PHP. Although you will be operating in a single development environment with JavaScript, which simplifies the learning curve, Node.JS apps are written with more code. PHP, on the other hand, operates with fewer lines but requires you to learn the LAMP stack in order to write apps. In PHP vs Nodejs coding, PHP is a clear winner.

 

Node.JS vs PHP Speed: Node.js wins

Speed is a vital factor in deciding when to use Node.js or PHP. Node.JS is asynchronous and PHP is synchronous, but what does this mean? Synchronous code is executed line by line, whereby the line will not be processed before the previous line has been successfully executed. Asynchronous code allows simultaneous code execution without waiting for previous lines. This distinction is very important and makes one language fast and the other rather slow and cumbersome.

Node’s asynchronous nature gives it a huge competitive edge as it reduces downtime and allows for a better user experience. PHP operates with synchronous code which labels it an outdated technology. In PHP vs Node.js speed, Node is the definite winner.

 

Node.JS vs PHP Performance: Node.js wins

Performance is one of the most significant metrics in app evaluation as it impacts the user experience. It addresses the way the code was written using Node.js and PHP, as well as performance KPIs including page load and UX/UI design.

As we have mentioned before, Node.js operates asynchronously as well as utilizes the Chrome V8 engine, which accelerates the execution and drastically improves performance. JavaScript is also event-driven, which does not freeze new requests until the old ones are finished. Paired up with Node’s concurrency, JS creates a great environment to create well-functioning applications with incredible performance levels.

PHP is an older technology that does not provide concurrency and blocks new requests until it finishes existing ones. This feature slows down the entire system and negatively impacts on the user experience. However, PHP can be used with HHVM which will boost your performance, yet remain slightly inferior to Node: in Node.js vs PHP performance, Node still wins.

 

Node.JS vs PHP in Database: Node.js wins

Your database needs also to play an important role in choosing when to use PHP vs JavaScript. The ability of the technology to hook up to the right database type, conventional or relational, will steer you in the direction of the right language. But what is the difference? Conventional databases store data hierarchically, whereas relational databases save data using tables, which makes it a convenient format for detecting relationships. Finally, there are NoSQL databases that keep data in formats such as documents, graphs, key pairs and so on.

Node.js supports a wide range of databases, including NoSQL ones like MongoDB. Besides, Node certainly works well with conventional and relational databases, even with complex ones like graph databases. PHP cooperates well with conventional and relational databases such as MySQL, however, working with NoSQL is difficult. Setting up NoSQL with PHP is lengthy, tedious and complicated. In PHP vs Node.js databases, Node takes the lead.

 

Node.JS vs PHP in Community: PHP wins

Another crucial aspect of any technology including Node.js or PHP is the community behind it. Community contributes to libraries and frameworks to keep the technology relevant and give it a competitive edge. Besides, a loyal community creates discussions on GitHub and other tech portals to answer questions and resolve difficult cases. Finally, communities are shaped by your potential employers, and when they are big and ambitious, your project will be sure to win.

Considering that PHP has been around since 1994 and has proven to be a reliable and successful technology, it has a much larger community. Thanks to WordPress, which supports millions of websites and uses PHP for its backend, the technology has become insanely popular. In PHP vs Node.JS, PHP is the clear winner with 26% on Statista. Node.js is a relatively new technology that was launched in 2009. Even though Node is a very popular backend tool that has been gaining more and more traction, the community is smaller. At the same time, Node’s projects are newer and more relevant to current developers. Still, in the PHP vs Node.js community comparison, PHP is the leader.

 

Node.JS vs PHP in Hosting: PHP wins

Your choice of technology determines your access to different hosting providers. Depending on the selected provider, your development costs, expenses, speed, and security might be affected. Which technology wins in Node.js vs PHP security and hosting?

As mentioned earlier, PHP powers 79% of all websites. PHP is compatible with an exhaustive number of hosting providers which makes it a great choice. However, PHP lacks in ensuring a high grade of security, a vital aspect of any technology. Node.JS offers some compatibility, but it is far less diverse compared to Nodejs vs PHP.

node.js vs php php websites

 

Node vs PHP: Famous applications

PHP: Facebook, Wikipedia, WordPress, Yahoo!, Tumblr, MailChimp, etc.

Node.js: PayPal, Netflix, Linkedin, Uber, eBay, Mozilla, etc.

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The Verdict: Node.js vs PHP

After everything we have learned about PHP vs Node.JS, their benefits and disadvantages, which technology is better? Has Node.js become a great alternative to PHP over the years, or do the disadvantages still outweigh the Node js advantages? The truth is that your choice also depends on the project and industry. When should I use Node.JS vs PHP?

 

When to use Node.js vs PHP?

node.js vs php node usage

Node.js is the perfect choice when you build dynamic single-page applications using Angular, React and JQuery for the frontend. Node is a part of the MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular and Node.js), MERN, MEVN, which is why its usage makes sense if your stack consists of these tools.

Node.js can single-handedly support IoT devices such as fitness trackers, drones and even robots as well as heavy data streaming platforms. Being able to manage multiple concurrent processes, Node is also used for collaborative business management tools like Trello.

 

When to use PHP vs Node.js?

PHP is a good pick for a blog or eCommerce project that requires many integrations. PHP is a part of the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache or Nginx, MySQL, and PHP), so including it to your stack if you are already using these technologies is a great idea.

node.js vs php lamp stack

PHP is used for web development and allows developers to create dynamic content. PHP is great for data collection, sending and receiving cookies.

Conclusion

With the abundance of backend technologies, it is tough to choose the right one that will complement your project and enrich your stack. If it remains unclear when to use Node.JS vs PHP, contact DOIT Software to receive answers to any technology-related questions.

Our experts at DOIT Software have years of relevant experience behind them and are eager to share this experience with our next client. We will guide you through all the steps, starting from the discovery phase and development plan, all the way until release and post-release support. Contact us and begin your new exciting project.

Freequently Asked Questions

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What is Node.js? Is Node js backend or frontend?

Node.JS is a backend JavaScript runtime environment that runs on V8 engine and allows the creation of great web applications. Node.js is a part of a famous technology stack called MEAN stack, which includes MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and Node.js.

When is the use of Node.js recommended?

Node.js is a backend technology that is perfect for creating dynamic single-page applications using Angular and MongoDB as supporting tools.

What is PHP? Is PHP backend or frontend?

PHP is a backend programming language widely used for web development. PHP is a part of a famous technology stack called LAMP, which consists of Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.

When is the use of PHP recommended?

PHP is used to create dynamic page content and is mostly utilized for web development. Especially popular usage of PHP is seen in blogs and eCommerce sites.

Is Node JS a PHP replacement? Is Node js better than PHP?

Node js is a PHP alternative but not a replacement. PHP has its own advantages and is the go-to technology for blogs. Besides, PHP is the perfect addition to the LAMP stack, and Node cannot simply replace it. Node.js is faster and provides higher performance than PHP. However, PHP has been around longer and has a larger community and support base, which is a great trait of any technology.

Why is Node js better than Java?

Java is a much older technology that lacks some of the advanced features of present-day tools. Node is easier to learn and use, and allows you to build lighter apps with high performance in a shorter amount of time.

Node js vs PHP vs Python: which to choose?

Node.js is much faster than both PHP and Python. However, Python is ideal for complex applications that include data analytics, and PHP is the go-to technology for blogs and eCommerce platforms.

Node.js vs PHP vs ASP.NET: which to choose?

ASP.NET allows the creation of dynamic websites and real-time applications, and is widely used for social media and messaging platforms. Node.js is still faster and more adaptable than both PHP and ASP.NET, whereas PHP is a technology often used for blogs and eCommerce apps.

SERHII OSADCHUK
CTO @ DOIT Software
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