PHP vs JavaScript: which is best for web development

PHP vs JavaScript: which is best for web development

PHP and JavaScript have been complementary web development languages for many years. JavaScript was used for the front-end side of the website while PHP development was for the back end. However, everything changed in 2009 after Ryan Dahl invented Node.js. Thanks to this new runtime, you could use JavaScript for both front and back-end website development.

That’s when the PHP vs JavaScript debate started. Both languages are object-oriented but still differ in their structure and functionalities. Here is a breakdown of the two languages:


PHP is known as Hypertext Processor. Hypertext refers to anything that’s displayed on the web. PHP is a server-side scripting language. It’s widely used by most websites and is recognized as one of the first successful web technologies. It’s used by developers to create powerful websites.

PHP is a robust programming language that provides proper object-oriented functions. PHP application development should only happen when you're planning to create large-scale sites that are rich in features. It’s also useful in developing data that is used to facilitate the normal running of the site. Some examples of highly interactive web pages by PHP include login pages, picture galleries, and extensive navigation menus.

Considering that it’s an open-source language, it’s supported by most operating systems. This includes Linux, UNIX, Windows, and Mac OS.


JavaScript (JS) is a lightweight scripting language that lies more on the client-side. It’s mostly used to develop fully dynamic and interactive web pages. JS works best when developing creative web pages that are user-friendly. Also, it can be used to create non-web projects such as PDF, game development, and mobile apps.

The biggest advantage of JS is that it doesn’t need re-compilation. This makes it time efficient. It also has advanced versions that are specifically used on the server-side. This includes Angular.js and Node.js. JS is built into the browser. Thus, it’s supported by all available operating systems today.

Below are application comparisons between PHP and JavaScript:



Php is used mostly for Back-end Purposes only.

Does the job for Both Front-end and Back-end.

Php is synchronous, it waits for IO operations to execute.

JavaScript is asynchronous, It doesn’t wait for Input-Output operations.

Php requires a Server to Run. Cannot run without a server.

Can be run in browsers and after Node, we can also run it in Command line3.

Can be combined with HTML only.

JS can be combined with HTML, AJAX, and XML.

Web Development

Statistics from shows that 79 out of every 100 websites have integrated PHP as their server-side language. On the other hand, 0.7% had used JavaScript. Besides, among the top 1 million ranked sites, 77.4% had used PHP.

However, JavaScript was seen to be widely used as the client-side scripting language - 95 out of every 100 websites use it.


Availability refers to the ownership and modification rights of a script. PHP is designed as an open-source language. This means that the code is readily available at no cost. It can also be altered from its original form by the internet community.

On the other hand, JavaScript is a proprietary program. It’s designed in an open standard and undergoes maintenance by the Ecma and W3C international.


Concurrency is the step-by-step running of a thread in code only when the sub-threads have been completely processed. PHP application development uses a systematic approach that can multitask simultaneously. This is done with a multi-threaded blocking input/output. Even so, JavaScript only runs concurrently. It has a single-threaded functionality with non-blocking input/output execution.

Integration with External Code

PHP development code can only be combined with HTML. However, JS code can be integrated with other codes such as Ajax, XML, and HTML.


PHP is easier to learn and use. That’s because PHP has over 1000-built in functions that you can use to create certain tasks. The list of functions is easily accessible online. You can also create custom functions to give commands. JavaScript is a bit complicated because it has additional features, such as event queues, HTTP requests, syntax, statements, and many other features. Also, unlike other programming languages, JavaScript is asynchronous.

When to Use PHP vs JavaScript

Use PHP as a back-end language if you’re going to use the LAMP (Linus, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) solution stack. JS is preferable when using the MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, and Node.js) solution stack. PHP also works well with content management systems like WordPress and Drupal while JS works best with dynamic single-page applications.

In summary, it’s essential to do in-depth research before choosing the preferred programming language. Although you can use JavaScript to build your website, it’s best if you combine it with PHP. That way, you can take advantage of what both programs have to offer.

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