Node.js vs PHP: A Web Development Debate

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Photo by Emile Perron on Unsplash

In web development, Node.js and PHP are what are known as ‘backend’ components. They run processes for the software behind the scenes and serve like gears that keep a machine functioning—the ‘machine’ being a computer or website.

What are Node.js and PHP?

PHP, referred to as Personal Home Page (formerly) or Hypertext Preprocessor, is a stand-alone scripting language that was released in 1994. It’s currently used in popular systems like WordPress and Shopify.

Node.js, on the other hand, was presented to the public in 2009 as a JavaScript application enabler. It elevated JavaScript to function similar to programming languages like Python. Though considered a relatively young language, Node.js is used by some of the world’s leading corporations such as PayPal, LinkedIn, and Microsoft.

Comparing & Contrasting

  1. Coding Speed

PHP is considered a veteran programming language compared to Node.js. As such, it’s simpler in its design and execution. Nonetheless, it can run tasks as fast as its competition. Node.js works at a similar pace to PHP, but it can execute more complex commands. Its integration with JavaScript gives it an advantage over PHP if you’re looking for complexity over simplicity.

  1. Level of Performance

Listed as a synchronous code executor, PHP analyzes code functions as it is specified. It won’t move onto the next piece of code until the previous function is completed. On the other hand, Node.js moves bounces between codes. As functions are finished, it releases the data while still moving on with the next function. This makes Node.js a faster option when it comes to performance speed and execution.

  1. Extensions

HTML is still an important component of web development and PHP can integrate with it as well as LAMP stack technology. This has kept PHP in the running for good programming languages to use. However, Node.js’s integration with JavaScript, along with its own Node Package Manage (NPM), makes it more versatile than PHP. JavaScript allows it to combine with Ajax, HTML, and XML.

  1. Functional Ability

In this category, JavaScript serves as an all-in-one attachment for Node.js. It doesn’t require other software to run appropriately. PHP stands against Node.js here due to the community and reliability of its community. Otherwise, PHP requires proficient knowledge of other software to improve the limited functions it has as a backend programming language.

  1. Overall Popularity

Node.js has JavaScript at its back, as well as a small but influential number of corporations that use it. LinkedIn and Netflix support this language by using it within their systems. However, PHP is used by over two-thirds of published websites and has nearly three decades’ worth of dedicated users.

Conclusion

Ultimately, it’s a battle of corporation vs dedication. Node.js has the backing of JavaScript and some name-brand corporations. PHP has support from a large community and the majority of website usage. If you were to pick one over the other for your website, look at the specific differences then compare them to the plan you have for the site. How complicated is it? What are the functions that need to be run, and how quickly or extensively do you need them completed? The answers to these questions and more will help you decide which of the two programming languages—or even another language entirely—is the best fit.