PHP VS NODE.JS - Which One is Better for You?

by jay patel

Almost every day there are some new technologies emerging, that are trying to change the web landscape. Server-side of the web development also is divided, there are long-standing heavy-weights such as Java, C, and Perl and newer, more web-focused languages like Ruby, Clojure and Go. But how to select a perfect solution for your project will compare two back-end technologies PHP vs NodeJS. 


PHP was created in 1994, Apache – in 1995, Javascript – in 1995, Nginx – in 2002, and Node.js – in 2009.  Let’s take a look at the history of creating Node.js and reasons for its development.


As everybody can see from the first presentation of Node.js in 2009, Ryan Dahl, the creator of Node.js, criticized:

  • The limited possibilities of the most popular web server in 2009, Apache HTTP Server to handle a lot of concurrent connections (up to 10,000more);

  • The most common way of creating code (sequential programming), when code either blocked the entire process or implied multiple execution stacks (read as “more hardware and software”, more money) in the case of simultaneous connections.

php vs node.js
php vs node.js comparision
php7 vs node.js
php vs node.js





As Ryan Dahl noted, Node.js and Javascript were able to solve this problem at that time at no extra cost:

  • Node.js provides a purely evented, non-blocking infrastructure to script highly concurrent programs.

  • Javascript is designed specifically to be used with an event loop: anonymous functions, closures; only one callback at a time; I/O through DOM event callbacks. The culture of JavaScript is already geared towards evented programming.

Ryan Dahl‘s presentation was regaled with ovations. One of the most common web applications' performance problems was resolved! No additional hardware! No additional monthly hosting costs! The only strict requirement was retraining programmers to teach them using event loops, callbacks, and non-blocking I/O.

php vs node.js which one better

php7 vs node.js comparision

php vs node.js

The disadvantages of being single-threaded: your code will run in single thread only and so you can’t do anything complicated. If your code needs to process data for each request and it’s going to take just 10 milliseconds and there are 1000 concurrent connections, it will take 10 seconds to finish all of them. It’s pretty bad response time, isn’t it?

Some large companies expressed interest in the implementation of Node.js into their live project. As was reported, the transition from Rails to Node.js improved the scalability of LinkedIn’s mobile backend infrastructure. There’s been a lot of talk about PayPal moving from Java to Node.js for an application platform.

In his recent interview (2017), Ryan Dahl has admitted that,Node.js "is not the best server side system ever ".


In 2015, PHP 7 with new long-expected features was introduced

PHP 7 is based on the PHPNG engine that speeds up PHP applications more than the previous PHP interpreter (Zend Engine 2.0). Thanks to PHPNG, your apps see up to 2x faster performance and 50% better memory consumption than PHP 5.6

php vs node.js


With PHP 7, possible differences in performance are already not an issue when one compares Node.js with PHP.

But even earlier, in 2013, Phil Sturgeon made a test and concluded: "PHP is not sucking as bad as some people would expect. Removing the blocking PHP approach (because obviously, it's slow) and running just the other three scripts [PHP 5.5.5 + ReactPHP + phpQuery] looks like this [take a look on the image below]. Look, they're the same. At this point, it is just a network test. The speed between the two systems for handling this specific task is essentially identical".

php vs node.js

Need Node.js or PHP developers? Hire a dedicated team!


A lot has changed since 2009. The WebSocket protocol was standardized in 2011 and NGINX server started to support it. PHP programmers have learned to use event loops,callbacks, and non-blocking I/O with ReactPHP.

So, today’s experienced developers can choose what tool to use for any particular project. What do they take into account when considering what tool to use?

 Experienced software developer (10 years of experience with PHP, 1 year – with Node.js) Review: For some tasks, Node.js may be faster than the “standard” webserver with PHP because it runs as a single thread with non-blocking IO for each connection, hence there is no memory overrun. Due to this, Node.js is useful when there is a need to process data in real-time (chats, games, video, big data streams without logic). However, Node.js can also be used for creating CMSs, e-commerce, and other web applications, which are usually developed using PHP. Node.js is also able to perform high-load tasks, but these tasks should be moved away from the main thread using appropriate tools such as callbacks, workers etc.

On the other hand, tasks for which Node.js is an excellent choice can be performed using PHP. For example, ReactPHP enables developers to write PHP-based socket server to process requests constantly as well as Node.js does it (yes, Node.js is faster, but the fact is that PHP can also do it). The same thing with Workers (the classes responsible for running asynchronous jobs and synchronizing their results) or Amp (libraries that are used for writing non-blocking asynchronous code). Hence, it is easy to create long running processes using PHP. Additionally, there are a lot of tools for supporting and managing these processes (such as supervisord ).

Finally, Node.js can be used as complement to the PHP (or to another programming language) with the aim of reducing load on a server and performing program (or, as one can say, PHP can be used as complement to Node.js :))) For example, the first version of a website was built in PHP and then the client asked to develop a real-time system that gets data from stock data systems. I would prefer to develop that real-time system as a separate application using Node.js (and then integrate it into the PHP-based application).
So, the same tasks may be performed either with PHP or with Node.js. The question "what tool to use" is a question of personal preferences. I use Node.js for tasks involving big data flows and PHP for tasks involving complex logic, high-load tasks, for dealing with external utilities, applications, and OS. PHP has a lot of different libraries, frameworks, and it is more standardized than Node.js (however, Node.js is not far behind and continues to gain momentum). In general, I think it is a good idea not to counterpose them, but use them cooperatively.

software developer , participant and award winner of various hackathons (8 years of experience with PHP, 1 year – with Node.js): Comparatively low entry barrier for writing PHP code means there are many PHP specialists on the market, hence, it is pretty easy to find developers for PHP-based projects. Due to age factor, PHP has more production-ready modules, frameworks, and CMSs. It means if a client needs a product and there are ready solutions in PHP, then it is better to use PHP because it will be cost effective.

I think the entry barrier for writing Node.js code is higher. Node.js uses JavaScript, but it does not mean that any front-end developer can easily start writing back-end using JavaScript. And it does not mean that any front-end developer can use the same code snippets both on the front-end and back-end.

PHP and Node.js are tools that can very often be used interchangeably for the same tasks. However, Node.js is often used for real-time applications, web sockets and workers (especially, persistent workers), and rarely for high-load tasks and computation. From the scalability perspective, there are no big differences between PHP and Node.js, it is more important to consider the project’s architecture.

It is always interesting to hear what other experienced developers think. Here is what we have gathered from the web.

php vs node.js performance

Features and Benefits of PHP and NodeJS

Benefits of PHP

Some developers say that PHP is much easier to use then Node.js. Their arguments are:

  • It’s easier to configure the development environment for PHP

  • Node.js requires more code

  • In order to code on Node.js, you have to understand callback functions and blockings

  • All internet hosting services support PHP

  • Supports more frameworks and CMS

  • Official code organization recommendations (PSR)

  • PHP has a larger library of instructions and frequently asked questions (there were plenty in 20 years)

  • The PHP developers community is a massive and diverse group of people, they are constantly re-visioning and updating libraries, frameworks and other PHP components

You should consider using PHP when your project includes:

  • CMS technologies such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc, even if there is only a part of your project includes these technologies (for example blog, admin page, online store etc.)

  • If you are using a relational database – go with PHP.

To sum up the whole server side of this PHP vs NodeJS comparison, PHP supports following database management systems:

  • MySQL

  • MySQLi

  • SQLite

  • PostgreSQL

  • Oracle(OCI8)

  • Oracle

  • Microsoft SQL Server

  • Sybase

  • ODBC

  • mSQL

  • IBM DB2

  • Cloudspace

  • Apache Derby

  • Informix

  • Ovrimos SQL

  • Lotus Notes

  • DB++

  • DBM

  • dBase

  • DBX

  • FrontBase

  • filePro

  • Ingres II


  • Firebird/InterBase

  • Paradox File Access

  • MaxDB

  • PDO

Benefits of Node.JS

One of the main advantages of NodeJS is the support of multi-threading. While it is a necessity in browsers, it is not that much needed in web development process.

The scripting language does not need to be threaded”

Rasmus Lerdorf

A lot of developers choose Node.js over PHP. Here’s why:

  • Built-in server support

  • A single syntax for client and server side of the website. This improves the reusability of the code and makes the work of a full stack developer easier

  • Module caching – modules are downloaded and initialized when they are called for the first time, afterward they are constantly available

  • Stream module makes it easier to work with large files

  • Node has an almost identical syntax to JavaScript, thus it easy to pick-up and learns for JS developers.

Here is the PHP vs NodeJS comparison table of supported technologies:



Node JS


Magento, WordPress, Opencart,Drupal, Joomla, PrestaShop

Apostrophe2, Ghost, KeystoneJS, enduro.js, Pencilblue

MVC frameworks

Symfony, Laravel, Yii, Codeigniter, Zend, Phalcon, CackePHP

Koa JS, Express JS, Sails JS


Ratchet, Wrench,,

ws, Sockjs,


RestClient, Guzzle, HTTPFUL

Restify, Loopback


symfony+, laravel+ , yii+, CackePHP


HTML templating


Embedded js

Horizontal scaling implementation

Elastic beanstalk, varnish

Cluster mode, Amazon Elastic Beanstalk

Load balancer support






Multiple drivers support DB, storage



Full-text search




Xdebug, Blackfire, XHProf, XHGui

Built in profiler


Redis, Memcache

Redis, Memcache

CI support

Travis CI, Codeship

Travis CI, Codeship


Cucumber (behat)


PHP has won in almost every category of our PHP vs NodeJS comparison. PHP is more popular and easier to learn, yet it supports a significant amount of professional programming technologies and techniques. There are plenty of sources where you can get assistance and help and the deployment process is so much easier than Node.JS.

For a long time PHP was the butt of many language jokes, but I honestly feel that it’s becoming not only a popular language but a powerful one. PHP7 is great. The speed boost is one thing, but having optional support for full type hinting is a game changer. We’ve also got modern tools like Laravel and Composer, breathing new life into the language and its supporting community. 

However, don’t discount Node.JS yet. Despite its steep learning curve, it has some really serious advantages. With the help of AJAX and HTML5 you can create very efficient apps and once the code is cached, the only thing that keeps transferring is data.

Ref : belisoft

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