Node.js vs PHP for web development

Node.js vs PHP for web development

Node.js and PHP are two very popular web development solutions. Both can manage apps of any complexity. Both are used for the server side development and thus have become a competitor for each other. They are built around different concepts and architectures. If you want to choose between these two environments, you should be aware of their major advantages and limitations.

So, here we are going to highlight some points about Node.js and PHP to help you to figure out the best one for your projects.

So, let's get started -


PHP is an acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. PHP is an open-source server-side scripting language designed specifically for web development. Although PHP is a server-side scripting language, it is also used as a general-purpose scripting language. PHP scripts have an extension of .php and can contain Javascript, HTML, CSS and even plain text. PHP got more and more advanced programming features, such as an object-oriented programming model, namespaces, package management, and exceptions.

Node JS

Node.js is an open-source server-side Javascript run-time environment built on Chrome’s JavaScript Engine(V8). Node.js is used for building fast and scalable applications and is an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model. Node.js files have .js extension and contain only Javascript. Its original author is Ryan Dahl and was initially released on May 27, 2009. With the birth of Node.js, it brings users the facility to built completely Javascript based applications.

PHP vs Node JS

  • PHP was first released in 1995. Since then it was one of the top languages of the Web 1.0 era. The eloquent manifestation of the PHP success is CMS (Content Management Systems), such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal that power millions of blogs and web portals.

  • Node.js is a representative of a younger web development generation. Unlike PHP, Node.js is not a language, but a runtime environment that uses JavaScript for the server-side application development. Node.js has demonstrated the power of JavaScript in building event-based, data-driven, I/O-heavy applications for the Web 2.0 era.

  • PHP is synchronous but there are some APIs that behave asynchronously apart from the synchronous lot. On the other side, Node.js is asynchronous in nature which means the JavaScript engine runs through the entire code in one go and does not wait for a function to return.

  • In Node JS, the lines of code below the function will execute and the function is executing too and will return the output once done and thus it makes Node.js fast.

  • Writing code in PHP, the user continuously switches between different language and syntax. This is because PHP is predominantly used as part of LAMP stack which includes MySQL for the database, PHP for server-side code, and Linux. In contrast, 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 uses module installing technologies like PEAR(a veteran package system), and Composer which is comparatively new. On the other hand, Node.js comes bundled with a package management system called NPM (Node Package Manager) and its registry which is easy to use and publish.

  • Node.js works perfectly with NoSQL databases like MongoDB, CouchDB and graph database systems like Neo4j. PHP is used in collaboration with traditional/relational databases like MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, etc.

  • Node.js is a single-threaded and event-based environment that is not as good in handling CPU intensive operations, such as generating or editing graphics, audio, and video as in managing concurrent requests.

  • Node repository provides access to a bunch of third-party modules developed by the community.

  • PHP integration and deployment is easier for small companies or individuals who have can run and manage their applications without any knowledge of SSH (Secure Shell), console commands, and Linux server technologies which are the preferred option for Node.js.

  • PHP was designed specifically to work well on the Web.

  • PHP is not a great fit for the implementation of  MVC (Model-View-Controller) approach that prescribes clear Separation of Concerns (SOC) between data, and representation.

  • 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.

  • Node.js uses Just-in-Time compilation with the V8 JavaScript Engine. This strategy for dynamically-typed languages has proven itself but does often increase startup time a little.

  • PHP Zend runtime uses an interpreted compilation strategy, leading to less optimized code execution than a good JIT-(Just-in-Time)-based runtime.

  • Node is not suitable for processor intensive tasks. And PHP is not suitable for making larger applications.


As you have seen that both Node.js and PHP have their good and bad parts.

Let us know which one you prefer. You can share your experiences with us in the comment section. Thank you!

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