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Node.js vs PHP – A Comparative and Detailed Study

Node.js vs PHP – A Comparative and Detailed Study

Since we are planning to go for a detailed study, let us all start from the beginning. Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, back-end Java runtime environment that runs on the V8 engine and executes JavaScript code outside a web browser. On the other hand, PHP is a general-purpose programming language that is created to make web development easy. Well both of them are recommended backend technologies for the web. But still, there’s always a debate among the best web developers. But if we look at their best features then PHP is perfect for server-side scripting and Node.js is considered perfect for the development of new modern web applications. However, developers from all around the world find it difficult to choose from these two.

If you are also one of them then questions like What are their pros and cons? What technology to choose and when? What are the individual features offered by both of them? Pops up in your head. As a leading web development company we understand your dilemma as in this comparative study we will try to answer all such questions one by one and in DETAIL just for you.

The first question which arises is why are there so many similarities between both these technologies? Yes, it is true they both have many similarities like both are considered perfect for backend web apps, are open-source, and also have a superb and large community. However, they have developed very apart from each other and each enterprise has different opinions about it.

Along with the backend, the frontend is also really important to win the marketplace. No matter whether it is web development or mobile app development, the front end can take your business to new heights if you write the latest trends and technologies in your brand. However, with so many frontend frameworks in the market, it can be difficult to find the one which suits your needs. To make it simpler for you, here we have a list of best frontend frameworks of 2021 for web development.

Overview of What We are Going to Discuss

Let us have a look at what we are going to discuss further in this blog. PHP is one of the most dependable scripting languages which is used by many giants in the industry like Facebook, Tumblr, Wikipedia, etc. It has been in the market since 1995 because of which it has a huge community. Thanks to its inbuilt functions and libraries which makes the development of complicated and time-eating websites like eCommerce and CMS websites super easy at top website development company.

On the other hand, Node.js was launched in 2009 but was quickly able to grasp the market in various web application categories. It is used by the latest and successful startups like LinkedIn, Netflix, Medium, and other leaders of the market. The main reason behind this is its asynchronous architecture which gives its amazing efficiency and quick speed which is really important for handling any kind of queries.

If you want to see a difference then Node.js is a runtime environment while PHP is a scripting language but both are used as backend technologies for successful web development.

Some Impressive PHP and Node.js Stats

Metric PHP Node.js
Number of Websites 7,400,000 129,000
Market Share 5/5 0/5
Popularity Across Website Categories 6/6 0/6
Stack Overflow Questions 1,290,000 281,000
Lead in Geography  162/162 0/162

After looking at the data in the above table, you might be thinking that PHP is king and there is no comparison between PHP and Node.js. But before coming to the conclusion you must also consider the 14 year age gap between both the backend technologies. Moreover, PHP has always struggled with new-age products because of its issues with scaling and concurrency in Node.js. And this point is not considered in the above data. On the other hand, Node.js was able to provide relevant packages required for modern projects which are outperforming PHP on various levels as more and more people are leaning towards Node.js in recent times.

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Detailed Comparison: Node.js vs PHP

Let us differentiate both technologies by taking various aspects into account for a better and clear view.

1. Coding 

If your syntax is easy and well-engineered, you’ll be able to do more with less code.

Node.js 

The best part of Node.js is that it relatively requires only one language to write code. But it requires more lines of code to execute the same functions in PHP. Well, you do not need to remember the syntax of different languages but long lines of code are still there.

PHP

On the other hand, PHP has been among us for a longer period of time and has seen significant changes in the past few years. It is easier in PHP to run your code and it also requires fewer lines of code to perform functions. But in order to be efficient in PHP, you need to be smooth in technologies like Linux, Apache HTTP Server, PHP, MySQL. Everything comes with a cost and lesser codes come with mastering the top technologies.

Our Recommendations 

Both languages are very easy to comprehend and straightforward to use. Even if you are a rookie developer, it won’t take you long to master both technologies. But by using both of them for a long time writing codes on Node is much easier even if it requires longer lines of code. So, Node.js wins this round of coding.

2. Client-Side Coding 

Server Side coding is an important aspect when it comes to websites and the top website development company also thinks the same. As it constitutes the UI it is a critical aspect to consider for comparison. The other parameters that it determines are data used on the client’s device and page loading speeds of an app.

Node.js 

The benefit of using Node.js is to import all the logic of the backend code for the server-side code which makes it easy for the web developers to access the features that they have assigned on both sides. Since it moves a lot of workload to the client-side, Node.js is perfect for mobile sites. But it uses the AJAZ engine to create new web pages on client requests, so it must always be connected with the servers.

PHP

If we talk about this aspect in PHP then we must remember that it is created to maintain dynamic web pages. That is why many functionalities needed for UX elements can be already found in PHP. Apart from that PHP is very much dependent on the HTML code created for static webpage and if there is no change needed for each web page, it easily loads the page without any stress on the processing power of client devices.

Our Recommendations 

As a leading web development company, we suggest you use PHP if your project is a static website development as it requires few web client requests and your target audience uses low-powered devices. But if you have to create a dynamic website that frequently sends requests to servers and plans to have dynamic UI then move ahead with Node.js.

The Internet is the biggest playmaker in today’s world. If you want to succeed as a business then you can’t miss the chance to be a leader by creating mobile apps for business. With the advancement, you need to have the best mobile applications that represent your business. Cross-platform app development frameworks allow developers to develop mobile applications that are compatible with more than one operating system i.e. Android and iOS. It makes things easy for your business as you can get the apps for both platforms at the price of one. All you need to do is to hire a top mobile app development company. With so many cross platforms app frameworks here we have a complete blog on where do cross platform app frameworks stand in 2021?

3. Speed

This aspect looks at the operation speed for both technologies. With high speed, you can create quicker development and better cost-effective opportunities. So, let us have a look at the Node.js vs PHP speed.

Node.js 

Node.js is an asynchronous development environment, which makes it a better choice over other languages. Asynchronous means that it needs to wait for a module to be successfully executed before loading the next one. It’s amazing that it reduces a lot of time for the web apps and creates a seamless user experience for your customers.

PHP

On the other hand, PHP operates on synchronicity which means every module and function is executed in the code specified order. If one function or module is not executed, the consequential ones will start until it is completed.

Our Recommendations 

Because of the asynchronous development environment, Node.js is clearly ahead of PHP in delivering high-speed performance.

4. Performance 

Performance is another important factor that depends on how code is written in PHP or Node.js. It performs aspects like page speeds, seamlessness, and much more. If you are using high-performance technology for the development then you will surely have better results. Let us see the performance of both languages one by one.

Node.js 

As we have mentioned in the above point, Node has asynchronous nature with JavaScript V8 engine which gives it a high speed while execution along with quick startup time. In Node, independent execution is generally known as concurrency. Concurrent module execution means that multiple modules are executed at a given time but not simultaneously. All you need to do is to put their beginning and completion times may differ even if they are using the same resources and executed in the same environment.

PHP
As PHP is a very old technology it was created with a very old timeframe and it can be clearly seen on page load time efficiency. It basically blocks any kind of process until the previous one is completely processed. It means it offers slow loading with no scope for concurrency.

But this performance can be increased by pairing it with an HHVM virtual machine which can be used for the execution in the PHP environment. It helps in boosting the performance of your PHP web app by almost 80%. But even after doing so, Node.js still offers faster performance.

Our Recommendations. 

As a matter of fact, both technologies use Just-in-Time Compilation. But when it comes to better performance then Node.js is a much better option than PHP.

5. Frameworks 

Frameworks can be used for various reasons, but most importantly they help to make web development faster and easier for the top website developers. The better the framework, the lesser the amount of reductant code you need to write.

Node.js 

Node.js offers services like Meteor, Derby, Express, and Sails and can be seen with massive libraries which makes the coding easy and fast. These frameworks increase productivity, reduce development time and resources consumption and offer other benefits.

PHP

Since its inception, PHP has a very huge library of frameworks with niche markets of their own. Isn’t it amazing? There are many PHP frameworks like Laravel, CakePHP, Phalcon and Codelgniter that focus specifically on PHP and make things easier for website development company.

Our Recommendation 

When it comes to Frameworks then PHP has a very large number of frameworks but they all come with one common issue of mixed content and code. On the contrary, Node.js is developed at a time when demarcating code and content between modules has become normal. That is why Node.js is able to offer consistency across most of its frameworks by keeping the code organized. So, as per our recommendation, Node.js will serve as a better choice if your project requires the comprehensive use of frameworks.

Demand for web applications and websites has increased a lot in the past few years. Because it is an app that can be easily accessible through a browser search and needs no download to work, it is very popular these days as it makes our lives easier and as a business is a boon for us. From Facebook to Google Analytics., Wistia, HasOffers, etc are some of the successful examples of web apps that are prevalent in 2021 and will go beyond the time. As per the latest survey, Node.js is the preferred language used for backend by full-stack developers. It’s like almost everyone prefers node.js when it comes to developing web apps. Here we bring you a blog on top 12 node.js frameworks for web app development in 2021.

6. Database

Let us examine how suitably the technology is able to connect with the database along with the type of database – relational or traditional. Usually, the databases store the data in a navigational or hierarchical format and relational databases store data in the form of tables which makes the whole process super easy to understand the dependencies and relationships between the data points.

And NoSQL databases can store almost all forms of data structures which includes unstructured, semi-structured, and structured databases.

Node.js

Node.js is developed in the environment of NoSQL databases which makes it super compatible with all forms of databases. It can easily work with NoSQL databases like MongoDB and CouchDB as it also supports graph databases and has substantial libraries to access SQL databases.

PHP

Since it is an old language, it is designed to work with relational and conventional databases like MySQL and MariaDB. It is also not possible to integrate it with NoSQL databases because the whole process is dull and takes up a lot of processing time.

Our Recommendations 

We do not need to tell you that Node.js is what you want because it can easily pull data from conventional, relational or NoSQL databases.

7. Node.js vs PHP – Request Handling

Request Handling will let us know how swiftly a technology can process client-side requests. The trick is to do it accurately using minimum time and resources.

Node.js

Once again because Node.js is asynchronous in nature, it does not wait for one process to complete before it starts another one. It can easily handle multiple requests at one time. The only problem that can occur is to resolve any kind of error so that it doesn’t interfere with other requests as it can create a pan system error.

PHP

If we talk about PHP then it handles one request at a time as it also consumes more resources on the CPU and RAM. Every request in PHP happens in bulk which prevents cross-contamination of request errors but creates a lag in the system with the one request at a time approach.

Our Recommendations 

Once again Node.js has an edge in this comparison because it uses fewer resources and executes more processes at one time. And thanks to its effective error handling mechanisms, you can safeguard the system against slogging that results from faulty execution.

We can use third-party libraries in PHP to make it asynchronous but since it is not a native feature it won’t be that efficient.

8. Community 

The strength along with the size of the community decides whether the language will get the new updates or not. Both the languages have seen the launch of several useful libraries, frameworks, and also many top projects getting launched from time to time. And thanks to them we do not have to write the code from scratch in order to add a particular functionality. It also brings down development time and increases productivity. Let us know how the community roles in both the technologies.

Node.js

You will find that most node.js projects are indexed on the npmjs.com registry. Since it is new, it has a small community as compared to PHP. Still the projects created by the community are making the development much easier. More and more projects are trying to add unique functionalities to Node.js rather than serving as a library.

PHP

PHP has a stronger and larger community as compared to node.js. It also has a larger number of projects under its belt. But the new projects seem very uninteresting compared to Node.js.

Our Recommendations 

Yes, the number of projects for node.js is smaller compared to PHP, but it offers newer and better projects which seems more relevant at the moment. These new projects tackle the latest problems faced by top website development company. However, after seeing the number of projects on PHP it’s a tie in this comparison.

Python is an elite in the field of high-end programming languages used when it comes to web development. This high-level programming language with built-in data structures and easy-to-learn syntax have made this language the most sought-after choice of any developer working on up-to-date apps and websites. If you are also into web development then our blog on top 14 python frameworks that are used for top notch web development in 2021 is surely going to help you.

9. Modules 

Modules usually consist of a set of functionalities and are often interchangeable which gives programs modularity.

Node.js

Well, many PHP developers from all around the world believe that Node.js projects are not as stable as PHP. And it’s true to some extent. As a community, it is still growing and many times it can be seen with other languages too. Moreover, in order to make it more stable, the node.js community has introduced the npm audit initiative which allows you to check each package for malicious code.

PHP

On the other hand, PHP gets the advantage in this scenario. Not long ago, many experienced PHP developers expressed displeasure toward receiving lackluster projects and started migrating to other platforms.

Our Recommendations 

At the moment PHP is winning in this category as it has a richer library. Moreover, node.js is moving ahead at a great pace but at the moment PHP is still ahead in terms of offering modules.

10. Ecosystem 

A platform’s community is responsible for the ecosystem it is going to offer to the users. It basically consists of all the open-source libraries, APIs, modules, frameworks, and the top projects it has to offer by the community for better development.

Node.js

Although it is new in the market as compared to PHP it still offers a wide range of libraries and frameworks which makes the coding simple. It only lacks in quantity but it makes up for the variety of projects it has to offer. As you know that node.js is used for both backend and server-side programming, the available projects fit almost every development. 

PHP

One major contributor to PHP has been WordPress. It is alone responsible for running a large percentage of total websites on the internet using PHP for the backend. And the PHP community has also helped a lot since they have developed a ton of training material and supporting technology over the years to bring new developers on board. 

Our Recommendation 

On seeing the above comparison we got to know that PHP has a much larger ecosystem while node.js has a much richer ecosystem. We think we need a variety of projects, frameworks, and modules to make things easy for us and that is why Node.js has a better ecosystem to offer than PHP.

11. Hosting 

Let us differentiate both languages with different hosting services providers.

Node.js 

Node.js has a great range of alternatives that help it perform competitively. The company that maintains Node.js offers a SmartOS system. It is perfect for debugging, enhances performance, and makes the deployment easy. You can make it easier by using Heroku, and Nodejitsu which makes it a Platform as a Service setup.

PHP

If you do not know then PHP is directly powering more than 80% of the hosting services. Its reach and compatibility with all major hosting services make it a superb option to have. With its LAMP stack, it meets the needs of almost every server. However, LAMP isn’t considered the most secure technology stack for hosting.

Our Recommendations 

Once again PHP has wider compatibility with hosting service providers, but so does Node.js. If you believe that you could use any of the platforms for your web development project.

When to Choose Node.js over PHP?

As we have seen in the above points, Node.js can offer optimal value to your web development. Here’s how:

Real-Time Data: Node.js is perfect for web apps as it makes data transmission quick and easy. 

Development Efficiency: If you are looking to create dynamic single-page apps then you might be using MongoDB, ExpressJS, or even Angular.JS.

High Speed and Consistent Callback from Servers: Web apps made using node.js perform better as it constantly sends requests to servers.

When to Choose PHP over Node.js?

Centralized Server and No Scaling Needs: If you are planning to allocate a specific centralized server to your web apps then PHP will be perfect for your tech stack.

Portability- While PHP definitely puts a tab on the number of servers you can effectively connect with, it also provides you great portability among servers.

Conclusion

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Well to be true, there is no standardized process to identify if Node.js is better than PHP or vice versa. In order to find the best technology for your market is to match the requirements of your project and then select the technology that perfectly fits your needs. If you do not have an idea about this addition then hiring the top website development company would be perfect for your business.

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