Difference Between Node.js and PHP (With Table)

In this digital era, there are many programming languages available for a wide variety of projects. Node.js and PHP are two of the most popular language used exclusively for web app development. Even though both offer server-side scripting, there are many differences between them.

Node.js vs PHP

The difference is that we can use node.js for a wide variety of applications like game servers, browsers, multithreaded apps, including web apps. But, we usually use PHP for web-based applications only. Both the languages are open source, and thus it has been popular in the digital arena.

Node.js was initially released in 2009 by OpenJS Foundation because the most popular web browser in 2009, Apache HTTP Server, had limited possibilities when it came to concurrent connections. Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 (and later) officially supports Node.js.

PHP is a scripting language released in 1995 to serve as a tool for web development. It originally stood for Personal Home Page but now stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. Almost all the operating systems and platforms support PHP, and it can be ported and deployed anywhere, free of charge.

Comparison Table Between Node.js and PHP

Parameters of ComparisonNode.jsPHP
ScriptingIt is a server-side Javascript runtime environment built on V8 Engine. The files have a .js extension and contain only Javascript.It is a server-side scripting language. PHP scripts have an extension of .php and might contain HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc.
ExecutionIt uses Asynchronous execution. Asynchronous coding executes all of the code at the same time.It uses Synchronous execution. Synchronous coding executes the code in sequence, that is, line by line.
PerformanceIt has high performance with an appreciative execution time and lower start-up time.It has lower performance and slower execution time when compared to Node.js as it uses the synchronous method of execution.
DatabaseNode.js can work with all forms of databases including SQL Databases and NoSQL Databases like MongoDB and CouchDB.PHP works very well with conventional databases like MySQL and MariaDB. But the process becomes complicated with NoSQL Databases.
ModulesNode.js has a poorer library of modules when compared to PHP. But it is developing at a rapid pace.PHP has a plentiful library of modules compared to Node.js since it was developed many years before Node.js.
Application DomainReal-time applications like video streaming applications and chat applications use Node.js. It is ideal for developing highly scalable server-side solutions.The CPU-intensive applications use PHP. It is also a good solution for creating websites, blogs, e-commerce sites, etc.

What is Node.js?

Node.js is a Javascript runtime environment built on Chrome’s V8 engine. It was developed in 2009 when the popular server of 2009, the Apache HTTP server, proved to be inadequate. It contains only Javascript.

Javascript was initially developed to make the websites interactive. With Node.js, you can do more with JavaScript. It can be used as any other programming language.

When designing dynamic single-page applications, it is preferable to use Node.js. It offers fast back-end solutions and is efficient to use for concurrent connections. Since Javascript is a popular programming language, most programmers have a good knowledge of it, and it is easy to learn.

Node.js is a flexible option for programmers as it has limited guidelines determining its use. There is no predetermined set of rules or patterns to follow in Node.js. Hence, many different modules can be used by programmers while coding with Node.js. Many popular websites like LinkedIn, Netflix, and others use Node.js.

What is PHP?

PHP is a general-purpose scripting language geared towards web development. It was developed in 1995. A survey conducted by W3Tech showed that of all the websites in the world, 79.2% of them were developed using PHP. Websites that use PHP include Facebook, WordPress, and Tumblr.

PHP has a stable framework. It was developed for easier web development and maintenance of code. It is usually used for blogs and e-commerce sites with Content Management System.

Over time, the developers of PHP have fixed the bugs and possible errors which can arise while coding and made it stable. Therefore, it is pretty stable when compared to other programming languages.

PHP is perfect for the LAMP stack (Linux Apache, MySQL, PHP). It can be used for programs that require ease of deployment and integration. PHP is based on object-oriented programming and is a back-end development language.

Main Differences Between Node.js and PHP

  1. Node.js is a Javascript runtime environment built on Chrome’s V8 engine. PHP is a server-side scripting language.
  2. Node.js uses the asynchronous method of execution, while PHP uses the synchronous method of execution.
  3. Node.js has higher performance compared to PHP. Node.js executes faster and has a quick start-up time than PHP.
  4. Node.js can work with almost all major databases, including NoSQL databases. But PHP doesn’t work well with NoSQL databases and is a complicated process.
  5. Since PHP was developed way before Node.js, it has a richer library of modules when compared to Node.js. But, Node.js is also making quicker developments in this area.
  6. Node.js is ideal for highly scalable server-side solutions. PHP is used in CPU-intensive applications and for websites, blogs, e-commerce sites, etc.

Conclusion

When distinguishing between Node.js and PHP, we can find that there is no clear-cut winner. We cannot say that one is better than the other. It all depends on the project requirements. The user can choose either Node.js or PHP according to their needs.

Both PHP and Node.js provide great server-side scripting. However, neither of them is perfect. They have their pros and cons.

Programmers designed both Node.js and PHP for web development. It aimed to provide more extensive and data-rich solutions as per the demands of the project. The good thing about this is that the languages keep evolving to accommodate more needs of the users. It keeps on getting better.

While selecting one of them for your project, it would be useful to note the proficiency level of the programmers you recruit in both of them. The expertise of human developers can sometimes make up for the drawbacks of each language.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7023652/
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00607-014-0394-9
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