NodeJS vs PHP for server side scripting

NodeJs vs PHP


PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page, but it now stands for the recursive backronym PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. It's a server-side scripting language designed specifically for web development. It's used to develop Static websites or Dynamic websites or Web applications. It can be easily embedded in HTML files and HTML codes can also be written in a PHP file.

It was created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, and the PHP reference implementation is now produced by The PHP Group. PHP codes are executed on the server. The best things in using PHP are that it is extremely simple for a newcomer, but offers many advanced features for a professional programmer. Although PHP's development is focused on server-side scripting, you can do much more with it.


Node.js is a server-side platform built on Google Chrome's JavaScript Engine (V8 Engine). It's an open-source, cross-platform runtime environment for developing server-side and networking applications. Node.js applications are written in JavaScript. Node.js was developed by Ryan Dahl in 2009. It can be run within the Node.js runtime on OS X, Microsoft Windows, and Linux. It provides a rich library of various JavaScript modules which simplifies the development of web applications using Node.js to a great extent. Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices.

PHP vs Node.js

  • PHP is a server-side scripting language; this means you only need to install it on the server and client computers requesting for resources from the server do not need to have PHP installed; only a web browser would be enough.

  • Node.js runs single-threaded, non-blocking, asynchronous programming, which is very memory efficient. It can generate the dynamic page content. Node.js can create, open, read, write, delete, and close files on the server.

  • A PHP file contains PHP tags and ends with the extension ".php".

  • Node.js files contain tasks that will be executed on certain events. Node.js files have extension ".js".

  • PHP has a short learning curve compared to other languages such as JSP, ASP, etc.

  • All APIs of Node.js library are asynchronous, non-blocking. It essentially means a Node.js based server never waits for an API to return data.

  • PHP has a large community document. Most web hosting servers support PHP by default. This makes PHP a cost-effective choice.

  • PHP is regularly updated to keep abreast with the latest technology trends.

  • Node.js uses a single-threaded model with event looping. Event mechanism helps the server to respond in a non-blocking way and makes the server highly scalable as opposed to traditional servers which create limited threads to handle requests.

  • PHP has built-in support for working hand in hand with MySQL. You can also use PHP with Postgres, Oracle, MS SQL Server, ODBC, etc.

  • Node.js library is very fast in code execution.

  • PHP is cross-platform; this means you can deploy your application on a number of different operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS, etc.

  • Using Node.js server-side, you have all the benefits of one scripting language across your application development stack.

  • PHP scripts can only be interpreted on a server that has PHP installed.

  • Since Node.js is written in JavaScript, it makes both the sides server-side and client-side based on JavaScript so there is no need to switch between the languages.

  • PHP can be used in combination with various web template systems, web content management system and web frameworks.

  • Node.js comes bundled with a package management system called NPM (Node Package Manager) and its registry which is easy to use and publish.

  • PHP is easy to learn and runs efficiently on the server-side.

  • Node.js works perfectly with NoSQL (Not only SQL) databases like MongoDB, CouchDB and graph database systems like Neo4j.

  • PHP is compatible with almost all servers used today (Apache, IIS, etc.).

  • Nodejs was developed for network applications. It ships with some core modules like HTTP, DNS, file system, etc. which helps to develop customized web servers.

  • PHP should be used in applications in which the client does not have to interact with the server again and again and Node.js should be used for the applications which require a lot of interaction between client and server.

  • PHP has been known for synchronous execution of codes. As per the term suggests this backend language executes the codes in sequence (synchronization), so it doesn’t matter how long a function takes to execute, it won’t move to the next one until it’s completed. And Node.js is asynchronous which means it does not execute the codes in sequence. If one function of the code takes time to execute, it will send it to the queue and move on to the next one. Thus, the user does not have to wait until the completion of the previous code.

  • In PHP, there is a huge list of frameworks at your disposal. These frameworks are so popular that they have established their domain in the web development industry.

  • When it comes to Node.js, there is a growing number of frameworks along with its growing community. Although, you may not get the options as varied as PHP.

  • One of the issues with PHP is that sometimes the maintainability of codes can get worse. The reason being PHP is liable to mix the HTML and language syntax inside the HTML files. Thus, it causes dire issues when extending and adding new functionality.

  • Node.js provides freedom and flexibility to the developers when it comes to choosing the architecture and pattern as there are no direct guidelines.

  • NodeJS, being a relatively new overlay over the standard JavaScript, uses newer technologies and more advanced approaches to development and safety. On the other hand, given the many years of PHP experience, you will most likely find solutions that meet your specific needs.