Node.js vs PHP :Which one to choose for backend?

Node.js is a back- end development environment that’s written in JavaScript. It was introduced in 2009, extending the domain of JavaScript– the old agreeable frontend language. Since then, the number of its users have been increasing. Today Netflix, LinkedIn and Uber are praising the Node.js. It has become the fastest growing backend technology. Yet, before Node.js, the scene was completely differently. PHP was the undisputed leader of server- side since past times and it has been immensely successful.

Today, developers over worldwide are using both of these technologies for various projects. Many of us have a strong belief that Node.js is the future of web development while many argue server side is the unspoken domain  PHP. Hence, in this blog, we’ll talk about both the perspectives– upsides and downsides of each and how using one for specific tasks can receive the greatest reward.

What is PHP?

PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a general purpose scripting language that immediately turned into the server- side language of choice for web developers after its initial release in 1995. Today, most of sites on the web run on PHP, due in huge part to its popularity as the language of choice for content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla and various modern frameworks like Laravel, Symfony, and CakePHP that have accelerated development with this developed language. You can hire dedicated PHP developers from Solace team for backend development.

What is Node.js?

JavaScript is a scripting language that normally runs in the browser and makes website pages dynamic and interactive, however since the release  of Node.js in 2009, it became possible to perform asynchronous coding with JavaScript on the backend. Node.js is a development and runtime environment with a huge number of available frameworks that run on top of it.

You cal also get to know the role of Node.js in IoT at- Role of Node.js in Internet of things (IOT) and Node.js for backend at- When, How And Why Use Node.js as Your Backend.

Similarities between Node.js and PHP-

There are some top-level similarities to think about when choosing which back-end technology is best for you.

  • Interpreted languages- Both PHP and JavaScript, the language behind Node.js, are interpreted languages, or “scripts”- the code can be run as- is in their respective runtime environments (browser for JavaScript; server for PHP). Both PHP and JavaScript are great for beginners.

Node.js vs PHP – The Key Difference

1. Synchronous and Asynchronous-

One of the key difference that separate the PHP and Node.js is the manner in which they execute the codes. PHP has been known for synchronous execution of codes. According to the term suggests this backend language executes the codes in sequence (synchronization), so it doesn’t make a difference to how long a function takes to execute, it won’t move to the next  one until it’s finished. However, Node.js is something inverse of that. It is asynchronous which implies it doesn’t execute the codes in sequence. If one function of the code takes time to execute, it will send it to the queue and proceed to the next one. In this manner, the user doesn’t need to wait until the completion of the previous code. Know the best PHP e-commerce platforms at- Best PHP ecommerce platforms to develop advanced ecommerce websites.

2. Frameworks-

Frameworks have made life simpler by accelerating the development process and helping developers to write structured, reusable and maintainable codes. So, while considering between PHP vs Node.js, frameworks has a significant job. With regards to PHP, there is huge list of frameworks available to you. Simply name it – Laravel, Codeigniter, Symphony, CakePHP, FuelPHP, Phalcon and so on. In fact, these frameworks are well known to such an extent that they have established their very own domain in the web development industry. Each of these frameworks has made their very own specialty. You can easily find a developer or web development company who has mastery in that specific niche.

On the other side, content management systems, for example, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, WooCommerce and Shopify allow someone with little or no technical knowledge to create and manage blogs and e-commerce websites. With regards to Node.js, we see a lot of frameworks  alongside its growing community. Despite the fact that you may not get the choices as varied as PHP, Some popular frameworks are– Express, Meteor.js, DerbyJS and Sails.js.

3. Databases-

PHP was developed to interact with the traditional/ relational database. That is the reason it works so well with MYSQL, PostgreSQL and MariaDB. While Node.js is best for using NoSQL databases, for example, MongoDB and CouchDB and also graph database systems like Neo4j with JSON. In spite of the fact that this should be possible with PHP also, it is far more convenient with Node.js.

Pros of PHP-

1. Designed for Web- 

PHP was specifically developed for the web, unlike its companions Java and Python. This implies it is characteristically equipped to work with HTML, servers and database. What’s more, this is one characteristic that has made it an ideal server-side solution. PHP also works perfectly with intensive web applications that require high computing and server-side rendering.

2. Robust Code Base, Frameworks and Community- 

PHP has been in the industry for 20+ years now. Hence it has rich codebase and documentation and frameworks. Choosing PHP for building your website or web application gives you a variety of frameworks and CMS, for example, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Laravel, Symphony and so on. These platforms and frameworks allow you to develop and deploy an  e- comemrce website or blog efficiently with no issue.

3. Quick Development-

Apart from the rich code base, something else that PHP is known for is its simplicity of deployment and compatibility with hosting services. Powering almost 79% of the web and being an industry standard from two decades, it underpins all physical or virtual servers.

Cons of PHP-

1. Maintainability-

The reason being PHP is liable to mix the HTML and language syntax inside the HTML files. Hence, it causes issues while extending and including new functionality.

2. Speed Issues for Modern Apps-

Saying PHP applications are slacker will be wrong. However, with regards to developing modern applications like Single Page Applications, Node.js is the first preference of the developers. 

Pros Of Node.js-

1. Performance and Scalability-

The asynchronous and non-blocking feature of Node.js is the thing that makes it fast and also allows it to serve various concurrent events at a time. By adopting Node.js development, one can build scalable server-side applications that use the maximum capacity of a CPU device. This makes Node.js ideal for real-time applications, single page applications and data driven applications.

2. FullStack JavaScript-

JavaScript is the ideal client-side language used in modern web applications. With Node.js developers can even use this frontend language to build server-side applications. This implies one language can be utilized in the whole project which brings about better coordination among the team, minimum bugs and better maintenance.

3. Freedom and Flexibility-

Node.js gives opportunity and flexibility to the developers with regards to choosing the architecture and pattern as there are no desperate rules. 

Cons of Node.js-

1. Not ideal for Heavy- Computation Apps-

Asynchronous nature allows execution of simple functions such as reading and writing database queries efficiently. However, the same single-threaded environment also serves as a drawback. In many cases, while executing CPU intensive tasks, Node.js applications might get sluggish. 

2. Comparatively Immature Environment-

Node.js has a huge community of developers contributing to it. Not all Node.js modules in the NPM registry are stable and of the utmost quality. There are various untested and inferior modules and tools that may cause issues for the project. In spite of the fact that Node.js has introduced npm-audit to solve this, it is very immature compared to PHP.

Which One Perfect for your Project, PHP or Node.js?

Now the entire comparison of Node.js vs PHP comes down to this – which one is a superior server-side technology for your task.

You can use Node.js if

  1. You have to build a dynamic single page application
  2. Real- Time Applications such as instant messengers
  3. You are using frontend technologies such as – Angular and React (Software stacks – MEAN/MERN)

You can use PHP if you need- 

  1. A blog or e- commerce website with CMS.
  2. Ease of deployment and integration.
  3. Goes perfectly with LAMP stack (Linux Apache, MySQL, PHP).

Wrapping Up-

Both Node.js and PHP are a great server- side language. Both have a few pros and cons also. But the best thing is both are created by intellects to improve the web development. While choosing the technology the question shouldn’t be which one is better however which one can serve your task needs in a superior manner. Understanding your project and business logic can give you a clear thought regarding choosing the appropriate technology for your project.

You can also consult with the Solace experts for selecting the best between Node.js and PHP for your project backend. Experts team is well proficient in Node.js and PHP development with new trends. You can develop your best software with Solace which leads the success you deserves. We will be happy to help you.

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