Node.js vs PHP: Comparing – 2023
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It’s time for an epic battle between an old-style and novel platform. Let’s compare popular website creation technologies, Node.js and PHP, reviewing their pros and cons.
PHP vs. Node.js: Overview
Before starting the full-scale analysis of the platforms, let’s look at their overall history. PHP is undoubtedly among the most popular programming languages in the modern world. Created in 1995, it has become the foundation of the existing Internet. For example, if you like using Wikipedia, know that PHP powers the site. Today, the platform has a wonderful community, making development within it extremely easy.
A good idea for this Node.js vs. PHP overview is to start by presenting the positive and negative features of both platforms. This approach will help better position the explanation of the key differences between the frameworks.
Pros and Cons of Node.js
Node.js has the following positive features to consider:
- Great community of developers: the platform is highly popular, and, as a result, it has many followers who would be willing to help you with implementation.
- A large number of extensions: Node.js is also famous for the tremendous collection of additional features you can add to it. NPM, the platform’s library manager, offers you access to a wide variety of different options. Node package framework is undoubtedly one of the greatest highlights in the presented case. It made Node.js a go-to destination for all novel application development.
- Node.js scalability is tremendous: as long as your project doesn’t feature some overwhelmingly complex calculations, the platform is perfect for update-centric services.
- High processing speed: Node.js overtakes countless languages (Java is a good example) in terms of velocity. It can sometimes work ten or even twenty times faster under certain scenarios. Companies such as Netflix rightfully call it one of the leading back end technologies.
Still, some downsides can play a negative role in the Node.js vs. PHP contest:
- Node.js has large problems with CPU-centric tasks: based on input/output that typically is non-blocking, Node.js can create significant pressure on CPUs. Due to asynchronous processing, the environment, for example, starts a lot of code on a single thread. This approach works until the moment a large task arrives. It can easily eat through server resources with other smaller processes. Therefore, using node js development services where major calculations are present isn’t optimal.
- Problems with callback structure: due to the aforementioned concentration on being asynchronous, Node.js heavily relies on the so-called callback functions. Even though they don’t affect the performance strongly, these elements have one potent impact: code becomes difficult to maintain. Not all Node.js software is full of callbacks; however, one should constantly consider this issue. Generally, Node.js scalability can undoubtedly become a problem for all involved developers if one doesn’t manage it correctly.
Pros and Cons of PHP
Another important aspect of our Node.js vs. PHP comparison includes the strengths and downsides of the latter language.
What are the strengths of PHP?
- High popularity level: PHP is one of the most widespread languages for creating websites. You can get a lot of information about the functioning of the platform and the ways to jumpstart it on the Internet, as a result.
- Strong adherence to Object-Oriented Programming: PHP enables this key principle of programming. As a result, a good expert can create simple-to-maintain code in most cases.
- Easy integration of old databases: today, PHP has one of the best platforms for MySQL and MariaDB. If you have to work with projects that feature a lot of legacy code, PHP is great for you.
At the same time, there is also a set of potent downsides, which make the presented contest complex:
- Unstable code structure: PHP doesn’t push programmers into a certain style of coding. Even though this approach gives more flexibility, it makes the maintenance of code rather difficult. Work-related approaches can differ so much that a company may be too tied to its past specialists. The problem is especially strong when it comes to WordPress, one of the key PHP website development frameworks. Different extensions for it can require so much individual work that changing specialists may be too dangerous.
- Many problems with security: safety of the information isn’t a forte of the PHP framework too. Firstly, being an old platform, it contains a lot of outdated elements. Ways to bypass PHP security are numerous and well-known (however, the situation might be getting better with modern updates, which appear relatively often). Secondly, it also features major problems with the overall quality of code. Many people see PHP as a beginner language. Consequently, a lot of genuinely bad programs written in PHP exist. Sometimes, they form the very basis of websites, making the costs of rewriting highly prohibitive for all involved parties.
Area of Comparison #1. PHP vs. Node.js: Performance Speed
Now that you know about the overall characteristics of the presented contestants, it is time for a real competition.
Node.js has a clear advantage over PHP in many situations. Why? The reason is simple: asynchronous calculations of various kinds. While PHP typically performs one operation after another, Node.js can launch several simultaneously. Let’s imagine you have a website dedicated to online sales. Instead of processing banking information and queries regarding shipping sequentially, you can execute them at the same time. This element is the key power of Node.js and the main reason why technology giants use it rather than PHP. It is hard to imagine Netflix based on PHP.
Still, some people may have a rational question: Can PHP sometimes dominate in this comparison?
Our answer is a certain ‘yes.’ Be wary. Node.js isn’t always perfect. Node.js vs. PHP performance contests don’t have a clear winner all the time. If you look at the pros/cons list above, you can see that Node.js handles large tasks badly. When let’s say, there is some form of financial forecasting on your service (how about Bitcoin?), you can face a failure. Node.js will eat too many resources. Contrary to that, good old PHP won’t let you down in this respect. It has little to no problems working with large monotonous tasks.
Area of Comparison #2. Website Framework Management
On the other hand, Node.js doesn’t have a framework to truly compete with WordPress, the world’s leading platform for creating websites. If you want to use it, PHP is essential (the instrument uses the language as a basis). New approaches are great and all, but they are far from being as strong as good old WordPress. In Keystone.js and Ghost, getting the basic functions to work may often be more complex than in the case of this technology. So, PHP is still perfect for long-term development projects despite featuring a lot of old code and having problems with managing outdated extensions. PHP language is more potent if you want to create something reliably. Still, one shouldn’t be optimistic about using PHP coding everywhere. After all, it is only a matter of time before competitors catch up to WordPress and push the aforementioned problems to the fore.
Area of Comparison #3. Node.js or PHP: Coding
It is impossible to avoid the main question all programmers can ask: who leads the coding contest in the Node.js vs. PHP comparison? The answer is simple. Here, Node.js wins hands down.
Indeed, PHP as a language is simple to learn. What people don’t ask is whether PHP development is that easy. All individuals who work on PHP most probably respond with a resounding “No!” Why? LAMP! Or, to be clear, Linux, Apache Server, MySQL, and PHP. You guessed it right. PHP developers can’t learn the language alone to achieve some success. Want to use the key features of the platform? Study several additional things before programming via it. And, you shouldn’t forget about the back-end issues or the fact that the platform has problems with GIT integration too. An average PHP application often requires some Java or Ruby on Rails support to work. Basic differences between those platforms can make development highly difficult. Many programmers can also deploy their programs by sending archives directly to PHP rather than via GIT.
When to Use Node.js vs. PHP?
Node.js or PHP? The answer here is rather inconclusive. You must look at the basic differences between the platforms to decide which one is better for you. Nobody can predict what needs you have regarding diverging projects. Certain approaches require PHP; others call for Node.js. One thing is certain: you need a thorough analysis of all your main wants to make a more or less rational choice. The worst thing you can do is to rush the choice and arrive at some conclusions without truly thinking about them. Carefully consider everything. Only a cautious approach can ensure the high quality for the majority of your products. You should not limit the learning process to a singular article. Take a look at the opinions of several experts before you make a decision.
Still, if you want to know how to resolve the Node.js vs. PHP dilemma, some hints are easy to guess. What are the key factors to consider in this case? Look at the following features:
- Do you need a high speed of processing for many small- and medium tasks? Use Node.js.
- Do you strive towards high-load tasks (for instance, some calculations)? PHP is better in this case.
- Must your project be maximally secure? Node.js will cover all key needs.
- Do you need to work with legacy code and old databases? Utilize PHP.
- Do you want a full-stack environment? Node.js is your friend in this case.
- Do you seek ease of learning? Once again, Node.js is the best choice here.
- Do you want to use WordPress as the central development platform for your website? Utilize PHP.
- Want something new and groundbreaking for your websites? Node.js and its Keystone.js and Ghost platform can be a perfect solution for the majority of your needs.
In short, PHP is far from useless. It is an old-style platform applicable for many cases. Something novel, however, can work better with Node.js.
And, it’s time to finalize the contest. In this article, you’ve received a full-scale overview of two central programming platforms aimed at web development. Which one to use depends on you. Node.js coding is a better choice if you want something new and decisive. Still, PHP is a great choice in certain situations. One should not discount it easily. A reliable old-style website can greatly benefit from the WordPress ecosystem centered around PHP. Its tremendous library of various extensions still looks extremely tempting today. Hopefully, this article will help you make a full-scale decision. Do you still have questions? Feel free to address us. We can assist you with understanding the key features of Node.js and its applications.