By Harikrishna Kundariya, eSparkBiz Technologies
While starting a new project, it is often hard to determine which technology to choose, and due to this, things can be delayed. Don’t worry; today, we will make a head-to-head comparison of the two best technologies for backend development. By the end of this article, you’ll surely know which technology you should use and when you should use it. So, let’s get started by knowing Node.js and PHP.
What Is NodeJS And Who Uses It?
Node.js is quite popular, and big brands like Uber, Netflix, LinkedIn, and many more use it to power their backend systems.
What Is PHP, And Who Uses It?
PHP is one of the earliest server-side scripting languages. It is the language that changed web development and introduced dynamic websites to users. It was created in 1995 and soon became popular.
The widely used WordPress CMS is based on PHP, and almost 43% of websites on the internet are powered by WordPress, which makes PHP a robust and widely used language.
PHP is used in web development for Wikipedia, Facebook, Slack, MailChimp, and many other high-performing applications.
Having known the basics about both these technologies now is the time for a head-to-head comparison. So, let’s find out which of these is better for backend development.
Head-To-Head Comparison Between NodeJS And PHP
To learn backend development, one needs to know different things like databases, OS concepts, networking, REST APIs, and frameworks. But if you learn the technical concepts well, learning everything becomes more manageable.
On the other hand, PHP is an entirely different language. Learning PHP can be a bit challenging and confusing at times if you don’t use the right resources. Moreover, it also will take more time. You have to start from the very basics and move up to PHP frameworks to start building practical server-side applications.
Today Node.js is quite popular and learning a trending technology will always help you. Plus, you can learn it in a short time and start building your applications.
Performance is an area where Node.js shines brightly. It is known for its event-driven and non-blocking IO model. This model truly allows uninterrupted execution of user requests, and they are served in real time. Node.js is event-driven, meaning code is executed based on different events. The non-blocking IO model ensures that the main thread is never blocked, and requests are served whenever they are received.
If a request needs to access any file or database, it is sidelined till it completes the task automatically, and the main thread goes on to serve the subsequent request. Once the previous request is executed, the response is sent to the user. This way, Node.js can serve more requests in a short time, and this reflects a significant boost in its execution speed.
On the other hand, PHP also has significant performance, but it lacks the non-blocking IO model, and that keeps it below Node.js in terms of performance. PHP waits for the complete execution of a request before it serves the other request.
If you are building mission-critical applications and want real-time execution of user requests, Node.js is the way to go. On the other hand, if you want good performance but do not require real-time execution of requests and some delay is acceptable, PHP is a good option too.
PHP is a more secure server-side framework as it comes with in-built features that allow you to create secure and unhackable systems. In Node.js, you are responsible for implementing security features in your web applications. While this can be a good choice as it allows you to customize every security aspect of your application, it also makes application development slower.
PHP’s security functionalities come with the language, and this makes it relatively easy to integrate and use the best security features in your web applications. PHP has route protection, SQL injection prevention, XSS protection, and many other features that make it more secure than the other contender. Though it is possible to implement all this in Node.js, too, it just takes more time.
Database support can be a determining factor when you are looking for backend development technologies. Both these technologies support multiple databases, and they are pretty different in nature.
Node.js is naturally more inclined toward NoSQL and Graph databases. This means that it is easy to use NoSQL databases like MongoDB, CouchDB, and AWS DynamoDB with Node.js. You also can build graph-based databases with Node.js by using Neo4j. Node.js also supports relational databases, but it is not as polished as NoSQL databases. You can use all major RDBMS with your Node.js apps, but you’ll require more configuration and code.
On the other hand, PHP’s database support is toward SQL-based relational databases. It works well with RDBMSs like MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and MariaDB.
If you are looking to use NoSQL databases, it is better to go with Node.js. But if you choose to work with traditional SQL databases, PHP is the technology you should choose.
Community support is essential when it comes to building software solutions with any technology. Here PHP can have a lead in terms of self-help material as it is a language that has spent more than two decades in the world.
PHP has excellent documentation, and there are many questions and answers on programming forums that help you solve almost all issues that you may face while building PHP web applications. Moreover, it has enough libraries and plugins to decrease your development time. You can just add them to your code and get the basic functionalities ready without writing much code.
On the other hand, Node.js has the most extensive open-source libraries and module repositories. The NPM repository has almost all sorts of features available in the form of ready-to-use libraries and modules that you can install and use in your projects effortlessly. Moreover, Node.js also has significant community support in programming forums, and you can solve many of your issues by just referencing those solutions. There are ample self-help tutorials, articles, and other stuff, and the language documentation is pretty good as it covers all the things.
Coming to the end, both technologies have their set of strengths and weaknesses. It truly boils down to the needs of your backend systems. If you are looking to build highly scalable and real-time backend systems with NoSQL databases, for that you need to know about the features of Node.js and PHP in detail. But if you are building secure, SQL-based, and simple backend systems for your web applications, you should choose PHP.
Author The Author
Harikrishna Kundariya is a marketer, developer, IoT, Chatbot, and Blockchain savvy designer, co-founder, and Director of eSparkBiz Technologies, a software development company. His 10+ experience enables him to provide digital solutions to new startups based on IoT and Chatbot.