What if you could easily decide which tech stack to use for your project? We are talking about knowing which one serves you better, PHP vs. Python. That would mean fewer headaches and more confidence in your work, right? Well, first, there is a need to know the differences between these programming languages. Only then will one fully appreciate both and arrive at an informed, balanced decision. Python is a high-level programming language that is for the most part, an interpreted language.

On the other hand, there is PHP, an open-source, scripting language suited for web development. It is essential to know the difference between these two programming languages. This is so because PHP vs Python in 2021 is an important comparison of the two most favored server-side languages today.

PHP: The basics you should know

PHP can be used for web software and web pages as it works with servers. This language is known for its easy integration with most modern servers and operating systems.

 

What is the PHP programming language?

PHP is short for Hypertext Preprocessor. This is a server-side scripting language used in the development of dynamic websites or web applications. PHP integrates with all the main web servers on all the major OS. This language is ideal for pages meant to have dynamic content.

Did you know PHP is free, even though it is not distributed under a General Public License? There are over 244 million websites currently using it.

php vs python php websites

 

The pros of using PHP

Making use of PHP gives quite an impressive array of advantages. Before going into much detail, this list can give you insight into the pros of using PHP.
Efficient work with databases.

  • Does away with the need to write extra code.
  • Automation of the most common web development tasks.
  • Reduced web development costs.
  • Simplified maintenance of web applications.
  • Acceleration of web application development.
  • Open-source scripting language.
  • Outstanding and effective community support.

 

The cons of using PHP

Like anything else in this world, there are disadvantages to PHP, and yes, we have a list for you.

  • Slower execution.
  • Inconsistency.
  • Core behavior is not modifiable.

Python: The basics you should know

Being an object-oriented tool, Python is excellent for the fast creation of apps. According to SlashData, Python has over 8 million developers worldwide. This is because of its ease of use and notably, its ease to learn.

 

What is the Python programming language?

Python is a high-level, interpreted, and object-oriented programming language with large library support. Its use is in the development of scripting algorithms and standalone programs for different domains. Guido Van Rossum created this language in 1989 with its first release coming two years later in 1991. Python allows the reuse of code features and modularity by supporting modules and packages. Since the programmer only needs to write a few lines of code, Python is regarded as one of the fastest programming tools ever. Python is also used in web development, though some do not know of this possibility.

So, how is Python used in web development? Python offers many libraries, such as Pandas and Theano, that work with Machine Learning technology in a web environment. The most popular Python frameworks are Django and Flask. For more in-depth information on how and why to use Python for web development, contact us. We will be happy to assist and even demonstrate examples for you to increase your understanding. To address what is Python good for, just remember its wide use in AI, the scientific community, and data science. What it boils down to in comparing Python vs. PHP for a company that plans to use Big Data technologies, the perfect choice could be Python instead of PHP.

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The pros and cons of using Python

Advantages Disadvantages
Broad libraries Speed limitations
Object orientation Weak in mobile use
Readable Limitations in design
Improved productivity Database layers are less developed
Open-source Prone to runtime errors.
Ease of integration
Portability
Interpreted language
Enterprise application

PHP vs. Python: Which one should you use for your project?

To determine which of the two, there is a need to know more than just their pros and cons. Below there is a detailed comparison of PHP vs Python. Keep reading!

php vs python

 

Detailed comparison of PHP vs Python programming languages

Head to head: these two make for a thrilling comparison. Given the complexity of the subject, there is only one effective way to give a more comprehensive comparison. That’s right; we will have to break it down into several criteria. After this, you will realize how ridiculously easy it is to come to a firm decision. Throughout the whole comparison, we will not keep score to decide which of the given criteria holds more value.

Well, let’s take that closer look at the matter at hand, shall we?

01

Frameworks

The framework is the foundation on which to build one’s programs for a specific platform. Though it could be compared to an application programming interface, it technically includes an API. A framework makes the development process more straightforward and less time-consuming by using generic modules and components.

That being said, the main framework difference between PHP and Python is quantitative. PHP boasts the availability of more frameworks in comparison to Python.

Some notable PHP frameworks are - Laravel, CodeIgniter, CakePHP, Slim, and Symfony.

Python frameworks of note are - Django, Flask, Scrapy, and Tornado.

02

Performance and Speed

Time has always been the number one currency for success. So, it is important that a business builds a perfect product in time to reach the market before their competitors. The official website of Python boasts that it is powerful and fast. Of course, they are going to claim that, and it is your duty to do your due diligence.

Fortunately, you have us to help you put things into perspective. When it comes to Python vs PHP performance, Python has always been the faster of the two. This is thanks to its use of the Just-In-Time compiler. Of late though, the JIT’s speed can no longer compare with the PHP5s upgrade to PHP7. Zend Engine 3.0 was also released, contributing to the PHP7 vs python comparison being won by PHP7.

03

Community support

Let’s face it, bugs are a constant struggle. If there is not much community support, it can be a real challenge working with a particular programming language. Both languages have excellent community support.

04

Security

Security vulnerability is that one aspect that always goes hand in hand with the web development process. Some of the most critical web app vulnerabilities, according to A study by OWASP Foundation, are: cross-site scripting, cross-site request forgery, SQL injection.

The costs to fix these vulnerabilities increases each year exponentially. When it comes to security, Python is the first choice of professionals in cybersecurity for backend development. For example, Django comes with inbuilt security features that help in the protection of the application from many types of security threats. As if not enough, many U.S government agencies rely a lot on Python as their hacking tool, according to WikiLeaks. Conversely, PHP has recorded a dreadful security history.

Although the majority of security issues have been and are being addressed by robust community support, PHP still does not compare to Python's security.

05

Popularity (are there many developers on the market?)

The current popularity trend shows a relative increase in favor of Python. It also shows a decrease in PHP popularity. The graph below can give an insight into that trend.

06

Cost

The average rate for middle to senior Python developers in Ukraine is about 50 - 70 USD per hour. Whereas PHP developers' rates are about 40-60 USD per hour.

07

Scalability

Scalability is the ability of the application, network, process, or system to handle an expanding amount of work. It is also the system’s potential to expand so as to handle that growth. One of the foremost necessary features of any solution these days is scalability.

Let’s be honest: regardless if you own a startup or an established business, it is important that your business grows and succeeds. PHP offers you this chance since internet solutions supported by this language are capable of handling increasing traffic. It also helps that they are extendable if needed. So, if you want to stay practical yet straightforward, PHP is a reliable option.

With the current trends being AI and ML, if you’re going to go with the latest technological advancements, then Python frameworks will work best for you as they have AI and ML capabilities.

08

Python vs PHP for web development

With Python created as a general-purpose language and PHP as a language for the web, the question that is often raised is: is python good for web development, or is it just a PHP alternative? Well, the short answer to that is yes.

Both PHP vs Python are suitable for web development; the language choice depends on your particular needs. Neither of the two is the outright best web programming language for any project.

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Note that Python for web development is popular as a direct competitor for JavaScript. While it is a multi-purpose tool, it is mostly found in a vast array of web apps.

PHP is a good fit for companies who are looking to develop small or medium-scale projects with limited features. PHP and its ready-made tools should also be considered when a company’s priority is to speed up or simplify the development process. So what is PHP used for? PHP is an excellent option for content management and e-commerce websites as it provides unparalleled integration with a variety of 3D party apps.

Therefore, the best language for web development depends on your needs, and the above information should help you decide on which language to use, PHP vs. Python.

 

Alternatives to PHP

php vs python alternatives to php

PHP vs Python is not the only worthy comparison. We could go on and compare Python vs Ruby vs PHP and PHP vs Python vs Java, but since there are so many languages worth being part of the comparison, here is a list of other PHP alternatives:

  • JavaScript (Particularly Node.js)
  • Java
  • Ruby
  • C#
  • Go
  • Erlang
  • Elixir
  • C++
  • Rust

 

Alternatives to Python

php vs python alternatives to python

From this list of Python alternatives, you will understand why Python is compared to PHP. Some languages can be alternatives to both.

 

  • Java
  • Javascript (Node.js)
  • R Language
  • Scala
  • Perl
  • Ruby

 

PHP vs. Python: Which one is best?

As noted before, Python is a general-purpose programming language. Therefore, the programming language can be used for developing both web and desktop applications. Adding to that, one can use Python for the development of complex scientific and numeric applications. It is designed to include features that facilitate data analysis and visualization. Various US organizations that store sensitive data make use of Python as their backend language. Examples include the Department of Education, the Navy, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), etc.

PHP is used to develop dynamic or static websites or Web applications. Applications of PHP include Web Pages and Web-Based Applications, Web Content Management Systems, eCommerce Applications, and GUI-Based Applications. Top brands such as Facebook, Wikipedia, Lyft, Whatsapp, etc.

When comparing PHP to Python and what they bring to the table for a business, it’s important to note that PHP saves you both time and money significantly. Python very easily interacts with various platforms and languages by making use of third-party modules. It also is considerably user-friendly. Therefore, it’s safe to say the future of python and the future of PHP are in safe hands as they both have qualities sought after by businesses.

Summing up

Here is to making the right informed decision in choosing Python or PHP. The success of your project isn’t guaranteed by the simple knowledge of the differences in PHP vs Python for web programming and other projects. Do you know what it is? A good professional development team. If you need to hire the most skilled, talented, and effective PHP and Python developers, you should contact us. If you still have some doubts about Python vs PHP, we will assist you with choosing the best tech stack for your project!

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the difference between Python and PHP?

The main difference between Python and PHP is that PHP is broadly applied in web development, whereas Python is a general-purpose full-stack programming language. In contrast to Python being object-oriented, PHP is a server-side scripting language.

Is Python faster than PHP?

When comparing Python vs PHP speed, Python has always been the faster of the two. Credit is probably owed to its use of the Just-In-Time compiler. Recently though, the JIT’s speed has been beaten by the PHP 5s upgrade to PHP 7. Zend Engine 3.0 was also released, contributing to the speed of PHP. It should also be known that PHP 7th generation restarts the application each time a request is sent. Therefore in PHP 7 vs. Python, PHP comes out on top.

Is Python better than PHP?

Both PHP and Python have their advantages and disadvantages. What you consider better depends on your project and the amount of time available. For example, if you need many libraries, web development with python could be the best choice, and if you need something simple and quick, PHP would serve you best. It is interesting to note though, that Python seems to be taking over PHP in the web development arena. Other advantages of Python are object orientation and ease of integration, and those of PHP are efficient unit testing and reduced web development costs.

Which language is better for the backend?

When it comes to the question of backend, it is no longer just PHP vs. Python, but rather PHP vs. Python vs. Node. And backend developers mostly prefer Python. Python unleashes its true potential in web development, fintech, and machine learning.

What does PHP stand for?

PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. It is an open-source, scripting language suited for web development. Some have known PHP to mean “Pretty Hard Project” but this is not the case. A good example of a PHP software development firm is DOIT Software.

How popular is PHP?

The current popularity trend shows a relative increase in favor of Python. It also shows a decrease in PHP popularity down to about 26%, compared to Python’s 44.6%, according to a 2020 stack overflow survey.

SERHII OSADCHUK
CTO @ DOIT Software
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