Ruby on Rails vs PHP: A Comparison Worth your Time

So are you planning to build a new project from scratch? Confused about choosing the best web development platform? We understand that it is not an easy choice to make when you are browsing through web programming languages and want to have one which meets your requirements.

Here in this post, we will be comparing the two technologies – Ruby on Rails and PHP. Both the languages entered the web development arena in the 1990s and have their roots in the C programming language. With time, the technologies have updated and newer versions came up with better features and functionalities. Both techniques have been instrumental in creating some of the amazing solutions over the years.

So without wasting any time, let’s see a detailed comparison of Ruby on Rails V/s PHP by covering various aspects.

Google Trends comparison: Ruby V/s PHP

A Brief Comparison of Ruby on Rails vs PHP

Ruby on Rails PHP
Ruby is based on OOP language PHP is also based on OOP language
You can develop desktop apps, web apps and APIs using Ruby. You can build desktop and web apps with PHP.
It is tough to find Ruby developers across the globe. You can easily find PHP developers for your project.
Ruby has 43,329 stars on GitHub. PHP framework like Laravel enjoys 52.9 k stars on GitHub.
In case of Ruby, development and deployment is difficult. In case of PHP, development and deployment is easy.
To get the corresponding function, Ruby has to load libraries. PHP comes with in-built functions, which eases up things.
Syntax of Ruby is similar to Python and Perl. The Syntax of PHP is similar to C and Perl.
Ruby applications are slower. PHP applications are faster.

Market share

As per W3Techs, today 79% of all websites make use of PHP for their server-side programming while Ruby is used by 2.5% of all websites.

W3Techs - Ruby vs PHP
This means that the popularity of PHP is more compared to Ruby when it comes to taking care of server-side programming.

SimilarTech says that the number of websites which have been build using PHP has crossed 7  million whereas for Ruby, there are some less than 400K websites build so far. PHP has been seen leading the area of different web app development, which includes shopping, entertainment, arts, business, people & society, and others. Ruby no more has prominence on any geographical area whereas PHP has a strong grip on the USA and Russia compared to other parts of the world.

Similartech - RubyonRails vs PHP

Learning Curve

Compared to other programming languages, it is easy for the developers to understand PHP, especially if they are beginners.

Again the internet comes with large volumes of step-by-step guides and free videos which can help the beginners to understand the technology well and get on board fast.

Compared to PHP, Ruby is complicated but is well-known for its high-quality code. If you wish to learn more about Ruby and its frameworks, you will need to put in more effort as well go for dedicated tutorials.


When comparing Ruby on Rails with PHP in order to decide the best one based on the performance, two parameters were taken into consideration.

Once was the number of code lines and the average runtime. Ruby lets you have shorter code while PHP leads in case of the second parameter. This simply means that we have no winner in this area as both aces in their own ways.

Demand for Developers

With low learning curve and high popularity of PHP means you have more number of PHP developers available in the market compared to Ruby on Rails.

This means if you want to have Ruby on Rails developer for your project, you will have a tough time finding one across the globe with the same experience and expertise that you have with PHP developer.

This clearly means that the demand for Ruby on Rails developers is more, especially in Japan and the USA where Ruby on Rails is more popular.

Ruby on Rails enjoys a constant flow of capital to startups across the world. On the other hand, PHP has a large community which consists of a large number of developers and it enjoys a more significant market share.

This even points to the fact that there is an increased demand for PHP developers.


Security is mostly considered as a concern when we deal with frameworks and libraries. When we talk about vulnerabilities like XSS, CSRF, and others, the language does not on its own have much to do in terms of protection.

Compared to Ruby on Rails, PHP is considered as less secure as Ruby on Rails offers robust and versatile tools to the developers to tackle the common security issues that come their way.

This itself lets us know who the winner is in RoR V/s PHP comparison in terms of security. Now, this does not mean that you will have a complete guarantee against safety issues.

This can only be made sure the way you plan to write the codes.

Cost of Development

In economics, scarcity is considered as the main concept. When comparing the cost of development for Ruby on Rails V/s PHP, you have to consider a number of factors.

Just imagine if there is a single Ruby on Rails developer against ten PHP developers, then this means that it is on the language that the role of the project depends. This means costs will decide who the winner will be.

Because of heavy competition, PHP has lower prices. If as a businessman, you plan to keep the expenses on the mind, then you should definitely think about it. With PHP, you can save yourself from paying more.

PHP comes with a low learning curve and today more number of new developers is learning this programming language to build web applications in particular.

If we now consider Ruby on Rails, it is a tough language to learn and this means that people who understand it only choose it.

The number of PHP developers moving to Ruby on Rails is a natural thing and this way they get to use their experience in PHP on Ruby on Rails.

In fact, more PHP developers are now moving towards Ruby on Rails. Any language other than PHP comes with limitations when it comes to coding and you will have to use what is available to you.

This means if you get to build an application which reaches and engages a large volume of audience or be among professionals who have the same goal in common.

So it is common sense that the application which will be used by a large audience should be build using the language which has the largest audience base.

For the same reason, PHP should be the language you choose.

When you plan to host an application which is on Ruby on Rails, then the cost will surge high. To find a hosting that supports Ruby on Rails will not be an easy thing and big brands will not offer a cheaper solution.

Some of them will start their service from $40 and can even go high as $500. Then you can find companies which will offer you free hosting, but when you plan to expand your website, they will charge you a lot as hosting fees.

The hosting companies which will offer you hosting service for Ruby on Rails will also offer you hosting service for PHP.

There are some cheaper companies which will assist you on Ruby on Rails hosting service but for an older or an out-dated version.

This will keep the application limited to the older version. It is also possible that they run your web applications as CGI, which is the slowest way possible for it to be run.

Time of Development

Ruby on Rails and PHP is said to come up with faster development time. There was once even a video on Ruby on Rails which featured like “Create a Blog in 15 Minutes”.

Now, this was enough to attract web developers who were looking to build a quick solution. This video became the prime standard, which explains what a web framework needs to do and how fast it can take for a web application to be built.

Since then, a number of frameworks and languages have come forward with similar videos. Ruby on Rails comes with a powerful tool named as scaffolding.

Scaffolding is a process where, based on some parameters, you generate codes. This means faster coding in less amount of time. FuelPHP comes with functionality, which is similar to it.

Community Support

The community that is built around a programming language clearly represents the force of developers it has. When we talk about Ruby on Rails and PHP, it has to be said that both of them come with an active community.

Something that is distinctive between the two is that the community of Ruby on Rails is based on the Rails framework while in case of PHP; there are a number of communities under the framework which represent its different products.

Scalability and ease of maintenance

Ruby on Rails and PHP, both can scale. With Ruby on Rails using more resources as compared to PHP, you will face the issue of scalability earlier than expected during the app development life cycle.

When we compare both, scaling can be considered on the basis of the application design. You can even find solutions online to deal with the scaling issue. If a developer does not have much idea about scaling, then he or she will look online to find any tutorials or guides for help.

So when it is about scaling, you will find enough resources which are written for PHP developers to handle their projects while Ruby on Rails does not come with a large volume of information.

As far as ease of maintenance is considered, the organization of the application has to be blamed. It will become easy for support as long as the developer is making use of a web framework.

You will be able to find a good number of frameworks with PHP while Ruby on Rails comes with limited choices.

Some of the popular websites build on PHP are Some of the popular websites build on Ruby on Rails are
Facebook Earlier Twitter version
Yahoo Basecamp
Wikipedia Hulu
WordPress Yellow Pages
Tumblr Slideshare
MailChimp GitHub
Dig Shopify
Flickr Groupon
Baidu Urban Dictionary
iStockPhoto AirBnB


Just keep in mind that when you plan to build an application, you have to consider a lot of things. Based on this article, you can definitely sum up that either of them is not a bad option.

Both the technologies have their pros supporting their use and drawbacks which are against them. The best way to choose a solution is by identifying the needs of your application as well as the speed of development. It will help you make the right choice.

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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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