Almost every day there are some new technologies emerging, that are trying to change the web landscape. Server-side of the web development also is divided, there are long-standing heavy-weights such as Java, C, and Perl and newer, more web-focused languages like Ruby, Clojure and Go. But how to select a perfect solution for your project? We will compare two back-end technologies PHP vs NodeJS. We hope we won’t start a holy war.

First of all, let’s define PHP and Node.js. PHP is a server-side scripting language. It was created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994 primarily for web development. Originally PHP stood for Personal Home Page, but now it stands for a recursive acronym – PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.

Usually, PHP is processed by an interpreter, powered by the Zend Engine, that is installed on web servers such as Apache and Nginx. Also PHP code can be embedded into HTML or HTML5 markup. This flexibility contributed to the popularity of the language, PHP is now used on more than 80% of web servers.

Node.js is an open-source, JavaScript run-time environment used to execute JavaScript code on the server-side. Node.js development process has changed the paradigm that JavaScript is used primarily on the client-side. That’s why Node.js has become one of the foundational elements of the “JavaScript everywhere” paradigm. Node.js was created by Ryan Dahl in 2009.

It is powered by Google’s V8 JS engine, that is the same engine that is used in Google Chrome web browser. This JS runtime environment doesn’t need a separate web server or other dependencies, there are built-in libraries that take care of that. Compared to PHP, Node.js is relatively young, however, it is already well recognized and used by giant companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and PayPal. For a clearer view, here is the PHP vs NodeJS comparison of the popularity indicators in the form of a table: 

Benefits of PHP

Some developers say that PHP is much easier to use then Node.js. Their arguments are:

It’s easier to configure the development environment for PHP

Node.js requires more code

In order to code on Node.js, you have to understand callback functions and blockings

All internet hosting services support PHP

Supports more frameworks and CMS

Official code organization recommendations (PSR)

PHP has a larger library of instructions and frequently asked questions (there were plenty in 20 years)

The PHP developers community is a massive and diverse group of people, they are constantly re-visioning and updating libraries, frameworks and other PHP components

You should consider using PHP when your project includes:

CMS technologies such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc, even if there is only a part of your project includes these technologies (for example blog, admin page, online store etc.)

If you are using a relational database – go with PHP.

To sum up the whole server side of this PHP vs NodeJS comparison, PHP supports following database management systems:

MySQL / MySQLi

SQLite

PostgreSQL

Oracle (OCI8)

Microsoft SQL Server

Sybase

ODBC

mSQL

IBM DB2

Cloudspace

Apache Derby

Informix

Ovrimos SQL

Lotus Notes

DB++

DBM

dBase

DBX

FrontBase

filePro

Ingres II

SESAM

Firebird/InterBase

Paradox File Access

MaxDB

PDO

Benefits of Node.JS

One of the main advantages of NodeJS is the support of multithreading. While it is a necessity in browsers, it is not that much needed in web development process. A lot of developers choose Node.js over PHP. Here’s why:

Built-in server support

A single syntax for client and server side of the website. This improves the reusability of the code and makes the work of a full stack developer easier

Module caching – modules are downloaded and initialized when they are called for the first time, afterward they are constantly available

Stream module makes it easier to work with large files

Node has an almost identical syntax to JavaScript, thus it easy to pick-up and learn for JS developers.

Benchmark

It is a good idea to choose a winner in PHP vs Node.js based on the features and benefits. However, it is always better to see how they are performing back to back, PHP vs NodeJS. We have created two different test cases and will run them on the same machine.

The test bench configuration:

VDS

CPU – 1 core, 2GHz

RAM – 1GB RAM

Storage – 10GB SSD

OS – Debian 8.6

PHP 7.0.22 FPM

Node.js 6.11.2

PHP vs NodeJS – First test

This test will show us how well PHP and Node.js are working with arrays, string concatenation, network I/O, and arithmetics. Results for PHP:

For nodejs

As you can see PHP is faster than Node.js in:

Concatenation of strings

Filling array

Filling associative array

Reading the file

MySQL query

Node.js is faster than PHP only in adding numbers.

Source


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