Blog Summary: Node JS vs PHP is a highly discussed topic among the developers. To help you make the right decision, in this blog we will discuss -
- What is Node JS?
- What is PHP?
- Pros of using Nodejs in an application
- Pros of using PHP in a web application
- Limitations of Node Js as a back-end technology
- Limitations of PHP as a back-end technology
- PHP vs Node JS: a comparative guide
- Node JS vs PHP: a comparison table
- What should you choose: NodeJS or PHP?
The question remains, which one is the better choice for your next project's server-side development? Or, Node js vs PHP which is better? In this comparison of PHP vs Node.js, we'll delve into their performance and popularity to help make an informed decision.
What is Nodejs? An Overview
Node.js provides a rich library of modules that simplify development and can be easily included in a project through a package manager. Its package ecosystem, npm (Node Package Manager), is the largest ecosystem of open-source libraries in the world, making it easy for developers to find and use existing solutions for common tasks.
Node.js also provides a lightweight and efficient server-side runtime environment that can handle a high number of simultaneous connections, making it a popular choice for building server-side applications. It has a fast startup time, low memory footprint, and can be easily embedded into other applications.
In addition to its back-end capabilities, Node.js can also be used for command-line tools and utilities, and for automating repetitive tasks and processes. It can also be integrated with other technologies such as databases and web servers, making it a versatile technology that can be used for a wide range of projects.
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What is PHP? An Overview
Hypertext Preprocessor, commonly referred to as PHP, is a highly successful open-source server-side scripting language that was first developed by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. Over the years, PHP has become an integral part of the web development industry, with an estimated 79% of websites using the language, according to a survey conducted by W3Tech.
One of the key factors that has contributed to the widespread use of PHP is the popularity of content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Drupal, WooCommerce, and Shopify. These CMS solutions make it easier for businesses and individuals to manage their online presence, and they all rely on PHP as the backbone of their backend operations.
In addition to its versatility and ease of use, PHP has a vast community of developers and users who are constantly working to improve the language and provide support to others. This means that PHP developers can access a wealth of resources, tutorials, and plugins to help them build robust, scalable applications.
See More: 6 Types of Applications You Can Build With Node.js
Pros of using Nodejs in an application
Here are some of the top advantages of Node JS that makes it widely popular among the developers.
1. Node JS is fully event-driven
Nodejs is completely event-driven and the majority of the code runs based on callbacks. This approach helps the application not to pause or sleep, but to become available for other requests.
Node Js can handle multiple requests simultaneously, hence increasing the performance of the application. This is because Node Js runs on a non-blocking code execution model. In contrast, PHP uses blocking code execution, which means it can only handle one request at a time.
2. Node JS facilitates the faster performance of the web application
Another factor that contributes to the faster performance of web applications built with Nodejs is its ability to handle multiple requests simultaneously. Because of its non-blocking code execution, it can handle multiple requests at the same time, which increases the performance of the application.
This makes Nodejs ideal for real-time data processing applications, which require quick and efficient processing of multiple requests.
3. Access to full-stack like technology resources
- better efficiency and overall developer productivity
- code sharing and reuse
- speed and performance
- easy knowledge sharing within a team
- a huge number of free tools
Consequently, your team is a lot more flexible and the development is less time-consuming.
4. Microservices architecture and its scalability benefits
In microservices architecture, the application is broken down into smaller, independent modules, each running in its own process and communicating with lightweight mechanisms like HTTP resource APIs. This approach allows for greater flexibility and easier scalability, as it is easier to add more microservices on top of existing ones.
Furthermore, the direct communication between each microservice and the database through streams allows for improved performance and speed of the application. This is supported by two popular frameworks for microservices architecture in Nodejs, Express and Restify.
See More: Express JS vs Node JS: What’s the Best Backend Technology?
Limitations of Nodejs as a back-end technology
Node JS also comes with its own cons as discussed below.
1. Risks of callbacks hell
In comparing PHP and Node.js, performance is often a major consideration. While PHP is a synchronous language, Node.js is asynchronous and heavily utilizes callbacks, which can lead to the risk of callback hell.
This is a situation where callbacks are nested within other callbacks to the point of making code difficult to understand and maintain. Security is another aspect to consider in the PHP vs Node.js debate, as both have their own strengths and weaknesses.
2. Can be too complex in case of heavy computation tasks
A non-blocking input/output model means that it answers the client’s call to start a request. It then processes the task during the time it shoots callback, as the task is ready. While processing tasks asynchronously, Node executes JS code on its single thread on an event basis. That is called an event loop.
The problem occurs when receiving a CPU-bound task: Whenever a heavy request comes to the event loop, sets all the CPU available to process it first. It then answers other requests queued, one by one.
This results in slow processing and overall delay in the event loop. Therefore, it is not recommended for heavy computation.
Pros of using PHP in a web application
Some of the top advantages of using PHP in a web application are as follows.
1. A wide range of choice of databases
PHP allows connection to almost any type of database. The most common choice is MySQL, mainly because it is free, effective, and popular among developers. Other solid options of database management systems compatible with PHP or mSQL, MS-SQL, SQLite, PostgreSQL, etc.
Besides, PHP can be equally well used with ElasticSearch, Redis, MongoDB, and other non-relational databases. This way, the developers are not limited to using a particular database and may select the most optimal one for a future app, taking all relevant factors into consideration.
2. Higher page load speed
The use of PHP makes website pages load faster as compared to many other web development technologies. For example, currently, PHP is about three times faster than Python for most use scenarios.
In its turn, lower loading time is an important SEO ranking factor that helps further promote a website by bringing competitive advantages. A higher application speed keeps customers satisfied and, in combination with other advantages, helps build and retain the client base.
3. Efficient Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)
PHP lets you use OOP to manage the spaghetti code easily. It has four principles: Encapsulation, Abstraction, Inheritance, and Polymorphism, all of which are dealing with properties and methods.
- Encapsulation is a process of grouping similar variables and functions into a single unit which is called object;
- Abstraction is when you hide some parts of the object to make its perception easier. Also, it allows reducing the influence of changes;
- The inheritance includes the cutback of redundant code. Instead of redefining all methods and properties all right through, you can define it once in the generic object and have other objects adopt them;
- Polymorphism is a process of reducing the occurrence of switch-and-case statements.
When working with OOP, you declutter your code, have fewer parameters, hire redundant methods and properties, and, altogether – make the usage of PHP more seamless.
See More: 7 Reasons to use Nodejs with React for Web Development
Limitations of using PHP as a back-end technology
Here are some of the key limitations of using PHP as a back-end technology.
1. Flexibility but at the cost of consistency
The other side of PHP’s flexibility is its inconsistency. The lack of structure and strict architecture allows devs to choose the way of coding that is convenient to them. It means the codes of different PHP devs may look different.
Also, one of the issues with the code’s structure is something the IT community likes to call Spaghetti code, which is a poorly-structured application with difficult to understand and maintain code.
2. Security vulnerabilities
The reason for PHP having a bad reputation regarding its security is the low entry barrier for novice programmers. As a result, a number of websites and apps are developed by inexperienced coders, trainees, or even hobbyists. The shoddy results of their work contribute to the rumors and facts regarding the overall bad security and performance of PHP.
PHP Vs Node JS: A Comparative Guide
When it comes to the performance of PHP vs Node.js, the results are often subjective and dependent on the specific use case. For example, if your application requires a lot of CPU-intensive operations, PHP may perform better due to its blocking code execution mode.
In comparison, PHP is a language that uses blocking code execution, which means that it can only handle one request at a time. While PHP is known for its simplicity and ease of use, it can struggle with high-performance applications, especially those that require real-time data processing.
Let’s have a closer look.
1.PHP vs Node Js: Execution speed
Nodejs is among very few asynchronous development environments. This, being a major differentiator, gives an edge over other languages. Being asynchronous means that it need not wait for a module to be successfully executed before loading the next one. Such execution drastically reduces the downtime for the web app and makes for a seamless user experience.
Like most languages and technologies from the 90s era, PHP operates on synchronicity. That means every module and function is executed in the code-specified order. If one function or module is not executed, the consequential ones will not start until it’s completed.
So, if you are looking for a back-end technology that makes your app faster, go for Node JS.
2.PHP Vs Node Js Performance
PHP vs Node.js is a popular comparison for developers looking to choose between these two technologies for web development. While both PHP and Node.js have their own set of pros and cons, one of the major factors that developers consider is performance.
PHP, as a server-side language, has been around for more than two decades and has a large user base and community. It is known for its ease of use, fast development speed and compatibility with many web servers. PHP has a number of frameworks, such as Laravel and Symphony, which help to improve performance by optimizing code and database queries.
In terms of performance, Node.js has the upper hand in terms of speed and scalability. It is particularly well-suited for real-time, data-intensive applications, such as chat applications and online games. Node.js is also highly optimized for handling multiple requests simultaneously, which makes it a good choice for building high-traffic websites.
On the other hand, PHP has been optimized over the years to deliver better performance and handle more traffic. PHP has improved significantly with the introduction of PHP 7, which is faster and more efficient than previous versions.
Additionally, PHP’s ease of use and large community make it a great choice for small to medium-sized websites and applications. When it comes to popularity, PHP still has the edge over Node.js, particularly in the enterprise space.
So, if high performance is your focus area, Node JS can be your choice.
3.PHP vs Node Js: Database
Being the older technology, PHP is designed to work with relational and conventional databases like MySQL and MariaDB. While it’s possible to import libraries to work with NoSQL databases, the process is tedious and eats up a large chunk of processing time.
In short, if you plan to have a scalable web application that will frequently pull data from conventional, relational, or NoSQL databases, Nodejs is what you’re looking for.
4.PHP vs Node Js: Hosting
Nodejs has a range of alternatives that help it perform competitively. Joyent, the company that maintains, provides a SmartOS system. This is great for debugging, performance enhancement, and ease of deployment. With Heroku and Nodejitsu, it is easy to use Node Js in a Platform-as-a-Service setup.
PHP is, directly and indirectly, powering almost 79% of the internet. Due to its majestic reach, it’s designed for compatibility with all major hosting service providers. With its LAMP stack, it meets the needs of many servers. However, LAMP isn’t considered the most secure technology stack for hosting.
To summarize, PHP clearly has wider compatibility with hosting service providers. However, if security is not a major concern, you could freely choose either platform for your web-app development project.
5.PHP vs Node Js: Ecosystem
The Node Js ecosystem has a wide range of libraries and frameworks, but they lag way behind PHP’s numbers. Although Nodejs lacks in quantity, it makes up for its variety of projects. Since it’s used for both server-side and backend programming, the types of projects available range freely fitting into a larger number of use cases.
WordPress has been a major contribution to the PHP ecosystem. The company is directly responsible for running a large percentage of total websites on the internet, and nothing else shows PHP’s godlike reach quite like this.
Moreover, the PHP community has developed a ton of training material and supporting technology over the years to bring new developers on board. Note that PHP has a larger ecosystem while Nodejs has a richer one with a greater variety for projects, frameworks, and modules.
Node JS vs PHP: A Comparison Table
See More: How to use Docker and Docker Compose with NodeJS (NodeJS + Mongodb + Elasticsearch)
What Should You Choose: NodeJS or PHP?
Based on your application, use case and development goals, you should choose from Node JS vs PHP. Here are their respective use cases and application areas to help you with that.
Top Use Cases/Applications of Node JS
✅Building server-side web applications
✅Creating real-time applications (e.g. chat applications)
✅Developing command-line tools and utilities
✅Building scalable network applications
✅Backend for Single-Page Applications (SPAs)
✅Building IoT applications
✅Automating repetitive tasks and processes
Top Use Cases/Applications of PHP
✅Building dynamic and database-driven websites
✅Developing e-commerce websites and online stores
✅Building content management systems (CMS)
✅Creating custom server-side scripts
✅Integrating with other technologies and platforms
✅Developing forums and community websites
✅Building RESTful APIs
✅Automating repetitive tasks and processes.
With its performance and ease of development advantages, it’s best to use Node Js to build:
👉Real-time applications such as instant messengers
👉A dynamic single page application
👉You are using front end technologies like – React and Angular
On the other hand, PHP is ideal for:
👉A blog or e-commerce website with CMS
👉With LAMP stack (Linux Apache, MySQL, PHP)
👉When you need to prioritize ease of deployment and integration
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The Bottom Line
It’s impossible to choose one from PHP vs Node Js. Both PHP and Nodejs have their own pros and cons. It’s impossible for me or anyone to give a final verdict on which one outperforms the other. However, what you do need to determine is which one will be the best fit for your project.
So jot down the project specifications and compare how both PHP and Nodejs will fare for your project. Also, an important consideration is the kind of team you have. If your developers are better at working with PHP, you might want to go with that and vice versa.
In order to avoid compromising the app performance in the absence of in-house experts, it’s best to hire dedicated developers from a reliable software development agency. The costs of hiring dedicated developers will never be as high as the cost of building an inefficient app for your business.
1. What are the main differences between PHP and Node.js?
2. Which is better for server-side web development, PHP or Node.js?
Both PHP and Node.js are capable of server-side web development, but Node.js is better suited for real-time web applications due to its event-driven, non-blocking architecture. PHP is better suited for traditional, server-side rendering of web pages.
3.Can Node.js handle large-scale projects as well as PHP?
4. What are the performance and scalability benefits of using Node.js over PHP?
Node.js offers improved performance and scalability compared to PHP due to its non-blocking architecture and ability to handle a high number of concurrent connections. It also has a larger developer community and wider range of third-party packages available.
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