Difference and Similarities Between PHP and Node js

Written by Hemendra Singh on August 06, 2019 | Updated on: December 5, 2019

Difference and Similarities Between PHP and Node js

Emerging technologies are competing every day for becoming user favourites by changing the landscape of the world of internet and web development. Back end developers now have more choices than ever for which server side script they would rather choose to work with. Similarly, there are two back end web development technologies that confuse people often: PHP and Node js.

While both are popular web development applications used to power the back end of heavy websites, they have distinct qualities which place them at par with each other.

Which is better? Let’s find out.

What is PHP?

PHP initially referred to ‘Personal Home Page’ but is now recognized as an acronym for ‘Hypertext PreProcessor’. It is possibly the most mature server side scripting language on the web. Created in 1994, the purpose of the language was web development

PHP is usually processed by an interpreter which in turn is installed on web servers. The PHP code can be embedded into HTML easily and this flexibility of the language has contributed greatly to its popularity – it is now a part of almost 80% of the web servers.

A majority of websites run on PHP including WordPress and Drupal.

Also See: PHP Web Development Company India

What is Node js?

Node js is more of a back end development platform than server side language; it is written in Javascript, a scripting language which usually runs in browsers and makes web sites dynamic. Node js is more of an open source run time environment with multiple frameworks running atop. It is the Node js which made it possible for Java to be used as a server side script, opening up a world of possibilities of Javascript powered sites.

Node js is supported by Google’s VB JS engine, which is the same engine that powers the web browser Google Chrome. This platform does not require its own web server since there are built in libraries for that purpose.

Similarities Between Node js and PHP:

Both PHP and the script of Node js are interpreted languages which implies that the code can be run in respective runtime environments. Both PHP are Node js are suitable for beginners as well as experts of web development and web design.

Both are used to serve web requests – they run on servers and handle requests which are directed to them. Both can be used to deal with dynamic web content and interactive sites as well as requests for data. While Node js is considered more suited to serving web sockets, PHP is also equally competent for this purpose.

Both PHP and Node js can be used to serve up streams also, though Node js definitely has a more direct way of dealing with stream API while PHP is more complicated and requires more complex coding in order to stream a video. It is for this reason that despite the similarity, Node js is the preferred platform in most cases on account of being more user friendly and less time consuming.

Node js and PHP can both run across multiple platforms including Linux, macOS and Windows.

In terms of extensibility, both technologies have the ability to adapt to your circumstances – they can be modified as per need and incorporated into a variety of code. They are both open source with a rich system of add ons to play with.

Now let us talk about performance. The performance of any platform depends on a variety of variables which include but are not limited to programming, usage and database. It is difficult to compare the performance of PHP and Node js since their usage is so different but this can be done by taking a look at Retrace and monitoring real time performance of both PHP and Node js.

Observers will not notice too much difference between the two; they are quite successful platforms when it comes to good performance under real world circumstances.

Also Read: Native vs Hybrid vs Web Application

Differences Between PHP and Node js:

Factually speaking, PHP and Node js have more differences than similarities. While PHP is one of the most widely used back end server languages, Node js is less well known.

Being affiliated with the Javascript, Node js gives websites the ability to take action without relying too much on Flash – it also gives web developers the power to use the script beyond just the browser, which it was originally designed for. PHP is an interpreted scripted language which was designed to deliver web content from servers to browsers.

Node js seems to be the clear preference here since it acts independently, without relying on a separate server.

In terms of handling desktop application, once again Node js is superior. The platform has progressed a lot in terms of its applications after being used just to serve requests initially. Now it can deal via sockets and is used in multi purpose ways that include development of applications using popular building engines such as grunt or webpack which are primarily responsible for front end coding.

Softwares such as Skype and Slack are also utilizing Node js, not PHP. PHP is more suited for simpler web applications, that are executed via command line interface.

Another important difference is that Node js is written in C++ with around 25,000 commits and almost 2,400 contributors while PHP is written in C with 109,885 commits and only 580 contributors.

So evidently, it is much more tough to get requests resolved with PHP as compared to Node js. PHP.net also has 444 bugs and lack of summaries on the page. Node jshas better organization with information being much more easier to get to and better documentation.


In contrast to PHP, Node js is still a very young and novel platform of web development. Despite its young age, it is already quite popular among companies such as Microsoft, PayPal, Yahoo and Linkedin. In terms of operating modern web application, Node js is the more productive choice to make.

It is a close competition; both PHP and Node js have their highlights which are listed above in detail but it seems that the obvious winner is Node js.

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