PHP v/s JavaScript: Comparing Two Popular Scripting Languages

When it comes to website development, PHP and JavaScript –both are considered as the most popular programming languages with versatility. The best thing about these two scripting languages is that even beginners can start using it efficiently without reducing their productivity.

Both of them come with their set of similarities, but at the base level, PHP is used as a backend language and JavaScript is used as frontend language. This means that when you are carrying out the development, you can use them together as a complete package solution. Some of the popular websites in the market like Wikipedia, Facebook, Yahoo, and Flickr are the ones which are built using PHP and JavaScript. Similarly, who doesn’t know about WordPress –the most popular web page design tool? Yes, it is developed using these two scripting languages too.

Stats Speaks : Comparing PHP and JavaScript

Based on the interest, here is a graph explaining the performance of the two technologies over time.

Google Trends:

Statista Says :

According to the Statista Survey, 67.8 % of Developers used JavaScript, while 26.4 % are using PHP.


StackOverflow Report 2019

Most-loved-Technology PHP vs Javascript

What is JavaScript?

Today, JavaScript is one of the most popular scripting languages used around the world for frontend development. JavaScript has been used to build applications for big shots like Walmart, Netflix, and PayPal. Earlier, the role of JavaScript was just to build interactive web pages, but later, it became capable enough to build real-time applications, mobile applications, and games. JavaScript runs on the browser as it is a client-side programming language. In order to execute code, every browser comes with a JavaScript engine. JavaScript complies with the rules of ECMAScript, which is considered as a standard for the specification.

Here is a sample Javascript code:

<script type="text/javascript">
document.write("JavaScript is the most popular language");

Pros and cons of JavaScript

Pros of JavaScript

  • Ease of learning
  • Rich interfaces
  • Fast speed
  • Interoperability
  • Less load on the server
  • Versatility

Cons of JavaScript

  • Client-side security can get compromised
  • Single inheritance is only possible
  • Bitwise function is slow
  • Browser support is not good enough


What is PHP?

PHP is a scripting language which is open source in nature. This language is used for carrying out server-side development. You can build interactive and dynamic websites using PHP. PHP code is placed within the HTML code within tags and so you can easily get in and out of it with ease.

In case of PHP, the code is executed on the server and then the resultant HTML code which is generated from the server is sent to the client. This way, the browser which is the client in here receives the result, but in all this process, the code which is underlying remains hidden. A PHP program can generate dynamic content for the page, collect form data as well as receive or send cookies. PHP codes are used in Command-Line Scripting, on the server-side as well as to code desktop applications. PHP runs on different Web Servers like IIS, Apache, and others as well as on all the major Operating Systems like Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS, UNIX variants and RISC OS.

Here is a sample PHP code:

<!DOCTYPE html>
echo "Hi, I'm a PHP script!";

Pros and cons of PHP

Pros of PHP are:

  • Quickens custom web application development.
  • Get web application maintenance simplified.
  • Additional codes are not required.
  • Efficiency to work with databases
  • Common web development tasks get automated.
  • Protects websites from attacks
  • Efficiency in carrying out unit testing
  • Web development cost stays under control

Cons of PHP are:

  • Programmers need to know PHP frameworks
  • Different frameworks have no same quality
  • There is not much to be done to change the core behavior
  • Speed and performance of websites get affected


Comparing PHP vs Javascript

Features Javascript PHP
About  JavaScript was just to build interactive web pages, but later, it became capable enough to build real-time applications, mobile applications, and games. Designed by Rasmus Lerdorf and developed by The PHP Development Team at Zend Technologies, the PHP is the world’s largest open source server-side scripting language
Released Date Javascript was publically released on 1995 First appeared in 1995
Latest Stable Release ECMAScript 2018 PHP 7.3.6
Type of language Client side scripting language Server side scripting language
Case Sensitiveness Case sensitive in function No case sensitive to function
Community Support Has smaller community support compared to PHP PHP has larger community support compared to Javascript
Performance Faster with respect to PHP Slow compared to JS
Code Availability Even after the output is interpreted, you can see the JavaScript code. After the server interprets, the PHP code is made available.
Execution Only local tasks of specific nature can be handled by JavaScript. PHP executes on server and it works on to come up with HTML code which can then be loaded on the browser to be read.
Database JavaScript does not go for MySQL  PHP makes use of MySQL
Complexity JS is little bit complex PHP is easy to use
External code plugin You can combine JavaScript with Ajax, XML and HTML. You can combine PHP with HTML only.


Similarities between PHP and JavaScript

There are a few similarities between PHP and JavaScript and the same has been explained below:

When it comes to developing websites, JavaScript and PHP are considered as powerful solutions. They go hand in hand like bread-butter. For website development, PHP is used for the backend while JavaScript is used for frontend development. So when it comes to offering support for PHP and JavaScript, you will find huge community support apart from the presence of a number of frameworks and libraries. This means, if you are planning something in mind, the solution for it must have been already developed somewhere else.

Being scripting languages, JavaScript and PHP are interpreted, and their scripts are executed in the runtime environments of their own.

Comparing Features of PHP and JavaScript


When we look at the key difference between JavaScript and PHP, the main one lies on who has control over the language and who is capable of making changes to it. PHP is a completely open-source in nature, which means that the internet community has complete control over it. So here the changes to the language are made based on what the community needs rather than looking into the individual needs of a developer. This means there is a large number of people offering support for PHP, making it beneficial for the users. So compared to JavaScript, this makes PHP more usable and flexible in nature.

Rebuilding and customizing

Whether the language is good enough or not is dependent on the two fundamentals –rebuilding and customization. At this point, PHP wins the situation as it is open source in nature and is a bit simpler than JavaScript. So for the developers, PHP offers better and choicer to carry out different actions.


When compared with Node.js, PHP is much simpler conceptually. In case of PHP, all you need is a “.php” file which comes with some code that is wrapped within the tags of <?php?>, when you are setting up the server. Then all you have to do is to enter the URL in your browser. Within the tags you can have any statement which can even be as simple as keeping <?php echo ‘Hello World’;?>. What happens in here is that a web server which is installed with PHP will go ahead to interpret the file and once it is done, the browser will have web page displayed. The web server can be anything like MySQL. While in case of setting up a Node.js server, you will have to write more lines of code even though it is not a tough job. You will also have to put in some idea regarding how the call-back functions and closures work.


The full form of JSON is JavaScript Object Notation, and it is nothing but a data format which is lightweight in nature. When you look at the syntax, it is more or less similar to JavaScript object definitions. So this means the different technologies based on JavaScript gets an edge naturally when working with JSON. On the other hand, when needed PHP can also work with JSON.


Like many other server-side languages, PHP carries out multiple tasks in parallel using multi-threaded and blocking I/O operations. While on the other hand, by using a few tricks, JavaScript uniquely does things. JavaScript has a single main thread for execution and for this, it makes use of Node clustering and event loop to reach event-driven and non-blocking I/O execution model. Here PHP is not a new technology and with time, it has managed to accomplish asynchronous processing.

When should you go for PHP or JavaScript?

In simple terms, it can be said that you can use PHP for server-side coding while JavaScript for client-side coding. However, if you are looking for choosing technologies for complete solution stack, you need to have some more profound understanding.

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When to consider PHP?

You can choose PHP if your project is making use of:

  • Servers like SQL, MySQL, Sybase, Oracle, Postgresql, and MariaDB.
  • CMS solutions like Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress.
  • Technology stack like LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP)

When to consider JavaScript?

You can choose JavaScript if your project is making use of:

  • Frontend technologies Ember.js, Angular JS, ReactJS, jQuery, Backbone.js, etc.
  • Building dynamic single-page applications
  • Server-side technologies like MongoDB, Node.js, Express.js, etc.
  • Solution stacks like MEAN (Express.js, MongoDB, Angular JS)

Final thoughts

As per some developers, comparing PHP and JavaScript does not make much sense as they both are focused on achieving different tasks. JavaScript can be called as a general-purpose scripting language which you can use for client-side and server-side coding while PHP is used for server-side scripting only. This means JavaScript can be approached as a single solution. On the other hand, PHP is open source in nature and that gives it an upper hand. Whichever technology you plan to choose for your project clearly depends on the kind of the project you have in hand – its complexities, its scope, your requirements, everything!

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    Ronak Patel

    Ronak Patel, the CEO of Aglowid IT Solutions, is a NASSCOM member and a published writer in top tech publications like DZone and Hacker Noon. With a background as a full-stack developer, he brings a wealth of technical expertise. Ronak's marketing acumen complements his technical skills, ensuring the delivery of innovative IT solutions that excel in the market.

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