mobile app development

PHP Vs NodeJS: Which Platform Is Superior in 2021?

Comparing the pros as well as cons of the Node JS and PHP environments

PHP and NodeJS

PHP and Node.js are two of the most widely known platforms that are used when it comes to mobile and web development.

But developers are often struck with a dilemma of which back-end technologies to choose for their online development project. That's why we came to the part of having a showdown comparison between NodeJS and PHP.

Both platforms, PHP and Node.js are used for the server-side development and are considered tough competitions to each other. And in this article of PHP vs NodeJS, we will be covering the Basics of PHP and Node.js along with the features of PHP and NodeJS.

Basics of PHP

The term PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor and can be defined as an open source server-side scripting language that is specifically designed for the purpose of web development. Even though PHP is a server-side scripting language it can be easily used as a General Purpose scripting language as well.

stats in between nodejs and php

Basics of NodeJS

Like PHP, NodeJS is a platform that is also used for the open source service development but it is built on the JavaScript Engine (V8). Node.js came into action in the year 2009 and since then it is used to build applications that are scalable and fast.

Node.js cannot be referred to as a language but it is a JavaScript runtime environment that follows the non-blocking I/O model. With this technology, users can now create entirely JS-based apps. Node.js logging is a bit harder to tackle, but there are ways to make sophisticated logging simpler as explained in the blog post here.

Now, moving forward to the comparison part of PHP vs NodeJS!

PHP vs NodeJS Comparison

Over the years, both PHP and NodeJS have been showing constant growing and this evolution is witnessed by all of us. Below are some of the features of PHP and Node.js and their comparison:

1. Synchronous code vs Asynchronous code

The code of NodeJS is asynchronous in nature that means that the JS engine runs throughout the whole code at once. Also, the JavaScript engine does not wait for any function to return. So the code lines that are below the function, will execute and will also return the output fast.  

PHP is synchronous but there are also some APIs that act as asynchronous in it. The thing with the synchronous code is that the first line of the code takes a lot of time in executing so the code lines below have to wait for their execution turn. This reason is responsible for slowing down the outcome.

2. Context Switching

This switch is referred to as the change in different languages and environments which further contributes to lowering the code's efficiency. Switching between several coding languages can also result in dropping the programmer's efficiency.

While writing it's back-end code, the developer constantly tends to switch between different syntax and language. This switch occurs because it is used as a part of the LAMP stack that also includes Linux and MySQL which have different syntax. That's why a strong knowledge of CSS, JavaScript, and HTML is required.

Node.js has an upper hand in this situation as it is written in JavaScript further indicating the node js performance. So, there is no need to make the switch as JavaScript can be used for both client-side and server-side.

3. Modules

The module used by PHP  is PEAR that is a veteran package system and Composer, is a tool for the purpose of dependency management.

In Node.js, the Nope Package Manager i.e. NPM is used as a module which is quite easy to use and operate.

4. Frameworks

PHP has been in the limelight since the early 2000s and is a popular server-side scripting language which uses several frameworks like CakePHP and Laravel for smooth web development. These two frameworks provide a robust, secure and agile back-end development.

For NodeJS, the most known frameworks are Derby and Express, but since node.js is comparatively new to PHP, several new frameworks are always hitting the market. Some of these new frameworks are Total.js and Hapi.

5. Databases

The NodeJS technology works with the NoSQL Databases, some of them being CouchDB and MongoDB. The Nope Package Manager is available for almost every database on its registry.

For the PHP technology, the relational and traditional databases are used, for example, PostgreSQL and MySQL. Although, the user can use NoSQL databases as well but those are not so widely considered.

6. Web Servers

From versions above 5.4 of PHP, the technology uses an inbuilt development server to make the procedure more efficient.

The NodeJS comes with modules like a file system and DNS to assist the user by developing highly customized web servers. One of the most powerful frames that can be set up with 3 to 4 lines of code is Salis.js.

Applications of PHP and Node.js

In short, PHP should be used for apps where the clients do not want to interact with the server constantly. Whereas, Node.js is to be used when the web application requires regular interaction between the server and the client.

Uses of PHP

  • The PHP's LAMP stack is commonly used in the API development.
  • In Content Management Systems also known as CMS including Drupal and WordPress, PHP is used for the purpose of creating online stores, websites, as well as, blogs.
  • This platform is also used in the development process of the Scientific applications that are CPU-intensive.
  • PHP along with GD library can create amazing high-quality graphics. For example, users can create avatars and redesign their CAPTCHA verifications using dynamic methods.

Uses of Node.js

  • Node.js is widely used in creating real-time applications, for example, video-streaming apps, and chat/messenger apps.
  • Because of its non-blocking I/O model, Node.js is ideal for developing server-side solutions that are highly scalable.
  • Node.js is also used for building Single Page apps like individual websites and portfolios.
  • Node.js has the ability to store the data without facing any system breakdown. Sometimes accepting a huge amount of data into a database can lead to a bottleneck situation. However, using node.js this situation can be completely avoided.
  • Streaming is another application of node.js as both audio and video can be can be processed as they are being uploaded.  This will also save time and make media accessible at a much faster rate.

So, before opting for a technology between PHP and Node.js, the developer should be aware of their pros and cons as well.

Pros and Cons: NodeJS vs PHP

Below are the advantages and disadvantages of Node.js and PHP when compared to various perspectives including the performance of Node JS and PHP:

nodejs and php features

1. Pros of PHP

  • Consists of a powerful and rich Source Code for developing strong web development frameworks and sites, further enabling fast app development.
  • PHP is a great option when considering light and portable solution that can easily run on a variety of platforms and servers.
  • From the very beginning, this technology was solely made for the purpose of web development, unlike the other technologies.
  • With it, the process of web application maintenance is simplified as it does not emphasize the readability of the code. The PHP environment supports the MVC architecture i.e. Model View Controller where the application developers can further divide the app into several models, views, and controllers.

Cons of PHP

  • When keeping in mind the Model View Controller approach, this technology may create some issues of SOC i.e. Separation of Concerns.
  • There’s no denying of the fact that it uses a classic and outdated client-server model for operation.
  • The app developers and programmers might need to learn about the various frameworks rather than just PHP. This is because these frameworks allow the developers to add functionalities to an application without writing any additional code.
  • While using PHP frameworks, the quality and support from each framework might differ, as a majority of them are open source as well as free. Along with this, the community sizes of these frameworks are not that impressive when compared with their competitors.

pros and cons Php

2. Pros of NodeJS

  • Because Node JS performs multiple concurrent events at a single period of time, this results in faster server-side solutions.
  • Another advantage that Node JS holds, it operates on a single language all across the stack which makes it an efficient pick for online development.
  • The flexibility factor is what makes this technology a better option because of the low amount of strict conventions for the developers and programmers.
  • Since Node.js is a very lightweight technology and acts as a convenient tool for architecture especially for microservices. What makes this architecture style a great approach is its ability to build a suite of small services for a single application.

Cons of NodeJS

  • As Node JS is comparatively a new technology, it is safe to say that it still hasn’t achieved the status of a completely mature platform.
  • As it is a single-threaded event-based environment, its capabilities to effectively handle the CPU-intensive applications is not up to the mark.
  • As Node.js is mainly open-source, the quality of the core technology is impacted. Currently, there are many tools that do not meet up with the high coding standards that are set by global organizations.
  • The nature of Node.js is asynchronous which makes it rely on the functions that are responsible for running each and every task in the queue. These functions are known as 'callbacks' and when they are nested together, the maintainability and quality of the code are affected.

node js pros and cons

Although, NodeJS and PHP technologies are able to manage projects of varying complexities, however, both of these technologies are built on different architectures and concepts.


The initial few things that you should consider before choosing between Node.js and PHP, are:

  • What type of application are you going to develop?
  • What speed do you want your development to be done?
  • What are the hosting requirements from the client's side?

After noting down the answers to these questions it’s time to categorize the project’s requirements. If your project is related to a Real-time application then, by all means, pick Node.js. But you should opt for PHP if you are looking for a much more standardized solution that also consists of great hosting support facilities.

We really hope that with the help of this comparative study on two of the widely known platforms i.e. NodeJS and PHP, we were able to clear out some of your doubts surrounding them. To stay up-to-date with such interesting topics related to mobile and web application development, hit on that 'Subscribe' button.

Which platform do you prefer between PHP and Node.js? Let us know in the 'Comment' section down below!

Aparna <span>Growth Strategist</span>
Written By
Aparna Growth Strategist

Aparna is a growth specialist with handsful knowledge in business development. She values marketing as key a driver for sales, keeping up with the latest in the Mobile App industry. Her getting things done attitude makes her a magnet for the trickiest of tasks. In free times, which are few and far between, you can catch up with her at a game of Fussball.

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