NodeJS Vs PHP: Difference Between NodeJs & PHP

Web development is rife with questions about NodeJs and PHP as to which is the more viable option, if one is better than the other, or if the new NodeJs can replace most developer’s favourite PHP.

There is no simple answer to that. Although both Node.js and PHP are capable of handling complex applications, there are a number of ways in which they are different from each other. And that is enough to confuse any new programmer or business owner.

In this article, we will explore the key differences between Node.js and PHP to help you make the right choice for yourself based on your business needs.

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What Is PHP?

PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a powerful, general-purpose programming language used in back-end development. Rasmus Lerdorf invented in 1994 as a server-side scripting language for web development.

As per recent surveys, over 80% of all websites are based on PHP, thanks to its versatile and easy-to-learn framework that also results in faster development.

PHP can be integrated with Javascript, HTML, and CSS to operate as a general purpose scripting language. It is actively used in content management for some of the most popular frameworks like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. It is largely synchronous but also exhibits asynchronous behaviours in coding.

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Read: PHP Projects Ideas on GitHub

PHP’s Benefits for Server-Side Development

PHP has long been a popular server-side programming language, with various characteristics that make it a favored language for creating dynamic and interactive websites. Here are some of PHP’s primary advantages:

  • Easy to Learn and Use: PHP has a basic and straightforward syntax that makes it simple for novices to learn and begin writing immediately. Because of its familiarity and thorough documentation, it is accessible to developers of all ability levels.
  • Huge Community and Resources: PHP has a huge and lively developer community that actively contributes to its environment. This implies a plethora of tools, such as frameworks, libraries, and online communities where developers may seek assistance, exchange information, and cooperate.
  • Cross-platform Compatibility: PHP is cross-platform compatible with major operating systems such as Windows, Linux, macOS, and many web servers. It also supports a wide range of databases, making it adaptable to various server configurations.
  • Rapid Development: PHP has several rapid development platforms, including Laravel, Symfony, and CodeIgniter. These systems include pre-built modules, libraries, and tools that simplify basic web development tasks, allowing engineers to focus on developing specific aspects and capabilities.
  • Scalability: PHP offers scalability features for dealing with high-traffic websites. PHP applications may manage increased user demand without sacrificing speed by employing features such as load balancers, caching systems, and horizontal scaling strategies.
  • Extensive CMS Support: PHP is commonly used for content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. These CMS platforms are suitable for constructing many sorts of websites and online apps because they provide flexibility, customization choices, and a huge variety of plugins and themes.

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What Is NodeJS?

NodeJS is an event driven, non-blocking I/O, Javascript run-time environment created by Ryan Dahl in 2009. It runs on Google’s V8 JavaScript and is known for its highly scalable and asynchronous nature.

It was Node.js that made server-side scripting possible and gave birth to applications that were entirely powered by Javascript.

As an open-source, cross-platform technology, it is fast gaining popularity among back-end developers.

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Difference Between NodeJs And PHP

In this section, we will explore the various differences between NodeJs and PHP based on various parameters.

Here’s a quick comparison in a tabular form before we go into more detail

PHP NodeJs
It is largely synchronous but also exhibits asynchronous nature It is asynchronous in nature
It uses the Zend engine It is powered by the V8 Javascript Engine
It uses PHP Extension and Application Repository (PEAR) It uses Node Package Manager (NPM)
It is compatible with most content management systems It is highly scalable
Web Servers
Iy used to rely on Apache and IIS web servers. However, it comes with its own development server from the new version 5.4 It doesn’t require a web server. NodeJs is already a Javascript runtime environment
Performance and Speed
PHP is comparatively slower. But, it is evolving to adapt to faster development principles NodeJs is faster due to: asynchronous nature, event driven, non blocking I/O model, and uninterrupted server connection
Software Stack
It belongs to the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) stack. NodeJs is compatible with the MEAN (MongoDB, ExpressJs, AngularJs)

Also Read JavaScript Vs PHP

Node.js Use Cases and Applications

Node.js, on the other hand, has grown in popularity in recent years due to its distinct features and benefits. Here are some major Node.js use cases and applications:

  • Real-time Applications: Node.js is effective in developing continuous applications such as visit apps, collaboration devices, and gaming servers. Because of its event-driven, non-obstructive architecture, it can surely accommodate a few concurrent relationships, making it excellent for applications that demand continual information updates.
  • Microservices Architecture: Node.js is ideal for microservices architectures. Because it is lightweight and modular, developers may create and deploy separate, scalable services that connect with one another via APIs, allowing for quicker development, testing, and deployment cycles.
  • Single-page Applications (SPAs): Node.js is useful for SPAs that create a smooth user experience by dynamically changing content. Node.js can handle server-side rendering for SPAs, which improves initial load speeds and SEO while simultaneously allowing for seamless client-side interactions.
  • Streaming Applications: Node.js excels at managing streaming data, making it suitable for applications such as video and audio web-based stages, continuous inquiry, and information processing pipelines. Its event-driven engineering enables it to cope with massive data streams competently, improving performance and adaptability.
  • Proxy Servers and API Gateways: Node.js may be used to create intermediate servers and programming interface doorways that mediate requests between clients and backend administrations. Its non-blocking I/O style contemplates handling a large number of concurrent solicitations, making it an excellent choice for developing elite execution intermediate and door layers.

Node.Js Vs PHP: Differences In Modules

PHP uses PHP Extension and Application Repository (PEAR). It is a structured library for PHP users that is employed for code distribution, module installation and component reusability purposes.

PHP also relies on the dependency management tool Composer through which users can define the libraries that highlight a project’s dependency.

Using this information, the Composer installs or updates the desired packages.

Node.js uses the Node Package Manager (NPM). As the name suggests, it is a package management system for NodeJs users.

The benefits of being an open-source platform are visible here; users can seek help in package installation, module management, etc.

NodeJs Vs PHP: Differences In Runtime Environment

As we mentioned before, Node is a Javascript runtime environment that operates on Google’s exceptionally fast V8 JavaScript engine.

PHP, on the other hand, runs on the Zend engine.

Although they require an interpreter at run-time, both server-side scripting languages allow embedding into HTML.

NodeJs Vs PHP: Differences In Concurrency

Although PHP is primarily synchronous (I.e., it executes code line by line), it can also be asynchronous when it comes to some APIs. However, code execution in PHP is slower than NodeJs and to make up for it, it employs multithreaded blocking I/O so multiple tasks can  run parallely.

NodeJs’ asynchronous nature makes execution extremely fast as its engine does not have to wait for a function to return after executing every line. It works on an event-driven non blocking I/O model and goes through the entire code in one go.

NodeJs also has a fix for when programs get stuck in ‘callback hell’. It uses Async/Await to initiate synchronous execution of a particular block of code.

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NodeJs Vs PHP: Frameworks And Web Servers

NodeJs has its own http, DNS, file system modules and a runtime environment. Therefore, it doesn’t need a web server. It allows users to create custom web servers for network applications.

NodeJs is dependent on the likes of Express, Meteor and Derby.

With the right configurations, custom web servers in Node.js can be capable of high scalability.

Some other prominent frameworks NodeJs uses are koa.js, hapi, total.js, and sails.js, to name a few, which require very less effort to set up.

// starting Node.js server

$ node app.js

// app.js source code

var http

= require(‘http’);

http.createServer(function(req, res) {

res.writeHead(200, { ‘Content-Type’ : ‘text/plain’ });

res.end(‘Hi Programmer\n’);


.listen(8080, ‘’);

console.log(‘Server running’);

PHP takes help from Laravel, CodeIgniter, Cakephp in creating secure backend solutions. It used to run on Apache web server or IIS until version 5.4.

However, after v5.4 was released, PHP is shipped with its own development server that can be used as a full-fledged web server.

// starting php server

$ php -S localhost:8000

// index.js file code


echo ‘Hello!’;


NodeJs Vs PHP: Scalability

PHP is a popular choice for blogging and ecommerce websites since it supports integration with most content management systems.

Node.js, on the other hand, was created to boost scalability by allowing users to build dynamic, functional web applications. NodeJs’ scalability also extends to multi-cores systems.

NodeJs Vs PHP: Differences In Databases

NodeJs is compatible with NoSQL (Not only SQL) databases. Some of these include MongoDB and CouchDB. It also works with graph database systems like Neo4j.

PHP is compatible with both traditional and relational databases. Some of these are MySQL, MariaDB and PostgreSQL. Like NodeJs, PHP can also work with NoSQL databases if needed.

NodeJs Vs PHP: Performance

NodeJs’ asynchronous nature and its event driven, non-blocking I/O model have earned it the high performance tag. It is a lot faster than PHP, thanks to its V8 Engine and uninterrupted server connection.

However, PHP is also catching up. It supports event-driven programming with ReactPHP, and after its new update, users do not need to rely on web servers.

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Which Is The Right Choice For You?

Both PHP and NodeJs are extremely popular back-end technologies but NodeJs comes with the added advantage of building a web application with both the front and back end based on Javascript.

So, basically it boils down to what you are finding a solution to. One can also consider the development skills that will be needed and pay attention to the technologies in association with which you plan to work on your project.

If your purpose is purely for backend development, PHP is the easier choice due to simple, and understandable framework, and compatibility with popular content management systems.

NodeJs is also a backend technology and it has its own advantages. Plus, it gives you the complete solution stack.

In terms of compatibility, PHP belongs to the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP). It supports almost all Apache-based and IIS platforms.

Whereas, NodeJs is compatible with the MEAN (MongoDB, ExpressJs, AngularJs) stack, which means if you are working with any of the MEAN technologies, NodeJs is the right choice for you. This will ensure consistency across both server-side and front-end development.

You can also opt PHP if you don’t have plans to scale your app. Besides this, PHP is also highly portable and cost ineffective.

As we have already established before, Node.js is significantly faster in performance and execution than PHP. Therefore, if speed is what you are after, NodeJs is the one you should choose.

We hope this helped!

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Coming to the end of our collection of some of the most asked NodeJs Vs PHP, we hope you find them valuable and are able to impress your interviewers by answering them right.

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What is Nodejs?

Node.js is a platform built on Chrome's JavaScript runtime for easily building fast, scalable network applications. Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices. Node.js applications are written in JavaScript, and can be run within the Node.js runtime on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. It is the runtime used by npm (the package manager for Node.js modules) for running JavaScript on the server. The runtime environment is called the Node.js runtime environment.

Why is PHP used for server-side development?

PHP is a server-side scripting language mainly used for dynamic Web site development. It is most commonly used to process HTML forms and create dynamic Web pages. It is a popular choice for Web development in part because it is free, easy to use, and fast. It may be used in combination with a variety of databases, web servers, programing environments, and text or HTML editors. It is free, but you will incur charges associated with third-party software and your Web hosting plan. It is not compatible with all servers. You will need to install scripts to run PHP on your server. It is easy to use, but it is not a fully object-oriented language, so it's not as powerful as some alternatives. There is no version of PHP that is optimized for Windows. However, several third-party products are available to help with this problem. To use PHP, your hosting company must have the Apache server software and PHP must be installed on your server.

What are the differences between PHP and Nodejs?

Node.js is a server-side programming language, meaning it is built to run server-side code. It was designed by Ryan Dahl to build real-time applications that run on one-threaded event loop, unlike traditional web applications that use threads. Node.js has run-on-JavaScript concept that allows you to use the same programming language both on client and server side. Whereas, PHP is a server-side scripting language meaning that it is primarily used to create dynamic web pages. PHP is not designed to build real-time applications. You can’t run PHP and Node.js on the same server. Node.js and PHP are two different languages. If you have to choose between Node.js and PHP, the common choice among developers is Node.js.

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