Both PHP vs Node.js are two of the major backend technologies that power web applications. PHP is older but Nodejs is winning in modern applications for modern uses. They are a great choice for web applications.
What is NodeJS?
What is PHP?
PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. It is an open source programming language that is widely used for server side development. PHP is one of the most reliable server side scripting languages. Over 80% of the web pages on the internet are developed with PHP. It is synchronous and works well only with a central server in place.
NodeJS vs PHP (Web Development)
Performance is a measurement of the code of its behaviour on key performance indicators (KPI)s. There are certain projects and plugins that can be used to make PHP run faster. For example, there is a Hack created by Facebook to make PHP codes run faster. Apart from that, JIT with PHP 8 also makes it faster. On the other hand, Node.js server is considered faster anyway. So it is solely based on the architecture, skills, and experience of developers.
The following advantages of Node.js help in enhancing performance:
- Interpreter usage:
- Event-Driven and Non-blocking I/O Stream:
PHP has a blocking model, while Node.js has a non-blocking model. In a blocking model, you need to wait for one statement to be executed before heading to the next. Thus there is a waiting time. In contrast, Node .js has a call-back system to listen to the processes and execute them parallelly.
- Fewer dependencies :
Each request to the PHP application will be directed to a web server and processed by an interpreter. Node.js is handy in this aspect as it doesn’t have that many dependencies. Furthermore, Node.js is lightweight and easily manageable.
Node.js scores better in terms of performance with its contribution to speed, concurrency, and developer experience.
2. Practical Application
Node.js is ideal for creating single-page dynamic and real-time web applications which are data-driven. A few use cases of Node.js are streaming applications, chat applications, social networks, online educational platforms, games, and data-driven IoT devices. Netflix, Twitter, Coursera, slack, and PayPal are some popular examples of applications developed with Node.js.
PHP is used for dealing with content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress with an easy project setup process. It is also used for many effective eCommerce platforms and web applications, personal and marketing blogs, as well as other marketing platforms. Yahoo, Wikipedia, Flickr are a few use cases where PHP is used with a centralized server.
3. Application Development
Since PHP is designed for back end programming, it has some limitations in application development. PHP works well with the LAMP tech stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP /Python/Perl). Therefore, designing, implementing, testing and managing PHP applications is more complex and requires proficient developers. Thus PHP has a steep learning curve.
PHP is a great choice if you are more concerned about building a fast solution. However, Node.js is the go to choice if you need to implement a more complex and efficient application.
4. Execution Speed
A PHP code is executed as follows,
- Sends a request to the File system.
- Waits till the file system opens
- Reads the request.
- Sends back the content to the user.
- Next code/line processing
Node.js handles requests as follows,
- Sends a request to the file system.
- Works on the request without waiting for others to finish.
- The server sends the content to the client when the requested file has been opened and read by the file system.
- The server then sends the content to the user when the relevant file is opened and read.
We can see that this asynchronous execution makes Node.js way faster than PHP. Additionally, the use of the v8 engine and real time server interaction make Node.js perform even better than PHP. It cuts out the downtime and waiting time, providing users with an efficient and effective experience.
5. Database usage
So Node.js is the best choice if you want to implement a scalable web application that uses relational or non-relational databases from time to time. Yet, you should go for PHP if you need to access more database management options. However, remember that you may need to put an extensive effort when dealing with non-relational databases with PHP.
6. Website Hosting
Node.js has a variety of alternative hosting providers, which support its tech stack. You have more choices to select upon your budget when there are many alternatives. Joyent, the organization that manages Node.js offers a SmartOS system for easy debugging, enhanced performance and deployment support. Furthermore, Node.js can be used as a Platform as a service with Heroku and Nodejitsu.
With PHP powering at least 80% of the web, it is designed to support all the major hosting providers. While PHP is much more convenient with the LAMP stack, it is not recommended as a secured hosting tech stack when it comes to satisfying several server needs.
NodeJS vs PHP – What’s the Difference for Web Development Conclusion
There is no standard route to identify if Node.js is better than PHP or vice versa. It is vital to stick to your requirements of your project and then select the technology that best fits it. We are aware that it can be challenging to pick one out of Node.js and PHP. Each of the technology tools has its own pros, cons and applications.
Node.js can provide optimal value to your web app development in creating a dynamic single page ( such as MongoDB). Another reason to pick Nodejs vs PHP is that web apps developed using Node.js perform by continually sending requests to the server. (asynchronous architecture so non blocking execution). Node.js vs PHP performs better with real data as the transmission speed from the server to the client side application is fast.
But PHP is better if your need is a specific centralized server to your web app and it is not scaled across a wider selection of servers. Pros of PHP server portability .
It is viable to look into the pros and cons of NodeJS vs PHP in terms of the application you are implementing.