Before starting work on a project, it is necessary for you to make an in-depth analysis of the needs and objectives that your application will be expected to satisfy. One of the factors to consider is the choice of an appropriate technology, programming language, libraries and technical resources. In order to make the right choice and not regret afterwards, you need to focus on your client’s expectations regarding the application, on the client’s preferences, and on each of the libraries that will connect to your application. These factors will determine which technology – PHP or Node.js – makes a better choice.

PHP is a scripting language designed for developing web applications. Originally created in 1994, it was initially distributed as a release called PHP/FI. PHP is a very fast growing language, now available as PHP 7 which has brought with it multiple new features and capabilities, making it similar to Java or C++ languages and ensuring increasingly better performance. Node.js is an environment designed for building highly scalable web applications written in JavaScript. It was developed in the year 2009, using the JavaScript language.

Advantages and disadvantages

When it comes to deciding which of the two comparable languages will be better suited to your requirements, you should take a close look both at the capabilities and limitations inherent in each.

PHP has its origins in scripting languages and is synchronous. Each time a query to a server is called up, a script is executed and a response is returned. As a result, data sending and receiving operations alone take more time. PHP owes its popularity to the ease with which you can use it to develop both simple and more complex web pages.

As there is a large community of users behind PHP, it is possible to quickly build applications with available packages. No difficulties are involved in developing applications for e-commerce, blogs, manufacturing management systems and computing systems. Such development tasks are easily completed using relational databases included with PHP. The whole of an application runs on a server and no data are sent to the user until after they are generated. As the PHP language is immensely popular, you will have no problem finding a suitable server for your application. All hosting providers offer an extensive range of servers supporting PHP and SQL relational databases. Consequently, the maintenance and administration of such an application is straightforward and does not involve unduly high costs.


Node.js has quickly become a very popular environment thanks to its processing speed. Unlike PHP, Node is asynchronous and event-driven. This means that it is not necessary to block a thread before you call up a function. After a task is completed, a return function is executed that transmits the result or executes next functions. Thus, in practical terms, you do not need to wait for all the tasks to be completed one after another, as is the case when a webpage created in PHP is being loaded; each function is executed independently and if any of the functions is blocked, this does not block the whole application.

As Node.js is highly scalable, it can deliver maximum performance irrespective of the traffic that your application has to handle. Another advantage of Node.js is the use of JavaScript on both the server side and client side. This contributes to better resource management as the same language and libraries are used on both sides. Node.js enables users to develop real-time applications which allow for fast information transmission while a client-server connection is active. In most cases applications use non-relational databases, such as MongoDb, which store data in JSON format which a standard format for client-server communication.

Example syntax

Shown below are examples of code, in both languages, that acquires a user’s data and returns them in a response. As can be seen, the differences in syntax are not large and practically speaking, such lines of code do not differ from each other.





Greater differences can be seen in lines of code designed to output the text “Hello World” using PHP and Node.js, respectively:

The PHP code is very brief,


whereas the Node.js code is quite long:


As can be seen, in Node.js the amount of code is significantly larger. And what does a connection to a database look like? Or the execution of a simple query?





Again, the PHP code appears more concise and comprehensible. That is one of the reasons why programmers are of the opinion that PHP is easier to learn and use.

So, which will be best for my project?

You should give PHP serious consideration if your application has a CMS module, a payment management system (e-commerce) or if it is expected to process a large amount of data and use relational databases.

Node.js is the best choice when it comes to developing web services, sockets, chat modules, applications that use real-time data transmission, e.g. music and move streaming, position tracking.

Better CPU utilization while processing large amounts of data Asynchronicity; and event control
Building an application using components is easier (CMS, online stores, blogs)Scalability
Wider selection of hosting servicesIdeally suited for real-time applications
Popularity, which translates into better developed libraries and componentsUse of non-relational databases and JSON format

It often happens that a client’s single project requires multiple tools that connect to each other, but are built using different technologies. The most important thing to do is to select suitable tools for the tasks executed and skilfully combine them.

Wanna know more programming tips coming straight from our experienced team of developers? Check this article written by our Senior iOS Developer Paweł Ferens about Bluetooth Low Energy.

Dariusz Żelasko
Senior Backend Developer
A professional programmer with a great passion for coding. I took my devotion to mathematics and IT from my home. I am currently working on API programming for mobile applications. After work I like to swim in the pool or play squash.

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