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Node.js vs PHP: Which Is The Best Server Side Environment For Your Business?

The internet has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. From reading the news to shopping, from services to healthcare, there is hardly any aspect of life that the internet does not find a place in. The internet also gave rise to many technologies. Some have stood the test of time and some, couldn’t. JavaScript and PHP were products of the connected age.

Both PHP and JavaScript have been around since the advent of the internet. During the early days of the web, the differentiation was simple. JavaScript handled the client side, whereas PHP handled all server operations.

php vs node JS - Volumetree

The internet has changed since. JavaScript has reinvented itself in the form of Node.js. JavaScript can now run both on the client and server, resulting in common code types for both the client and the server. Even though both PHP and Node.js can manage complex apps, these are built around different architectures.

If you are trying to choose between these two, you should be aware of their major advantages and limitations. Node.js is an application runtime environment that allows you to write server-side applications in JavaScript. Due to the unique I/O model of JavaScript, it excels at handling scalable and real-time situations we demand of our servers today.

It’s also lightweight, efficient, and possesses the capability to use JavaScript for both front-end and server development. Large companies use JavaScript in production, including Walmart, Netflix, Medium and LinkedIn, amongst others.

Node.js leverages the event loop of JavaScript events to create non-blocking I/0 applications that find it easy to service a magnitude of concurrent events.

Extremely scalable server-side solutions can be created using the asynchronous processing available with JavaScript which helps maximize the usage of a single CPU and memory while serving many more concurrent requests compared to conventional multithreaded servers.

Data-driven real-time applications and single page applications benefit from the excellent runtime performance of Node.js. Having the same language at the front and the back-end helps programmers maintain applications better and improves in-team coordination as both front and back-end developers use the same JavaScript data structures, functions, expressions, and conventions.

This leads to quicker bug fixes and faster mobile application development. With very few dependencies, rules and guidelines, Node.js helps programmers be creative and select the best design patterns, modules and features for the project. Using the NPM repository, the development team also has access to thousands of modules for faster development.

prons and cons of Node.js - Volumetree

However, not all is good news for Node.js. Applications that require graphics processing and editing audio or video may become sluggish due to the single-threaded and event-based environment of Node.js. Processing very large files also cause Node.js applications to become sluggish.

The modernity of Node.js also brings in some subtle bugs that might creep in from its ecosystem of modules. Version inconsistencies amongst these modules make it difficult to maintain them. This calls for added attention while selecting packages so that you get access to the latest bug fixes and updates.

PHP has come a long way from its origins in 1994. A powerful codebase that includes time-tested platforms for building websites like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, paired with powerful web development frameworks like Laravel and Symfony that enabled Rapid Application Development have made PHP earn the reputation of being the language of the web.

With support from industry majors like WordPress, cPanel and a large developer community mean that everything you need for your application is at your fingertips.

With the capability to run on nearly any server and almost every platform, PHP is truly portable. Most hosting providers offer shared hosting options for PHP. This is in contrast to Node.js that requires a virtual server with SSH access to run Node.js applications.

This makes the integration and deployment of PHP easier for smaller organizations. PHP was designed from the ground up for the web. IT includes all needed functionality to manage HTML, servers, and databases.

This means that all pages can be dynamically generated and rendered from the server, making client-side apps lighter. However, this also might cause regular requests to the server for page generation that makes PHP not the obvious choice for SPAs.

prons and cons of PHP - Volumetree

PHPs capabilities also cause problems. As PHP is not a great fit for the MVC approach that entails a clear separation of concerns between data and presentation, and the fact that MVC is the de facto best practice in web development to ensure readability, maintainability, and scalability of web apps makes PHP code difficult to manage.

As PHP can mix HTML and language syntax within HTML, it becomes difficult to extend and manage. The requirement to initiate a connection for each page request makes PHP much slower than Node.js that only needs a singular initialization. Thanks to that, Node.js is most suitable for HTML5, AJAX, and WebSockets. Memcached offers a similar solution for PHP, but as it is not a standard feature of the language, it might not be available for everyone.

Major difference between MongoDB and MySQL you need to know!

use of Node.js - Volumetree

So, how does one choose? Real-time applications like instant messaging and collaborative apps like drawn and video conferencing make the asynchronous and event-based architectures of Node.js a great fit for these applications. The Publish-subscribe architecture used in Real-Time Applications also benefits from the support that Node.js provides to WebSockets and server-side events to quickly update client-side views.

These features make Node.js the perfect fit for applications that process data from IoT and SPAs that require a very flexible, dynamic and heavy client-side functionality. Node.js also makes it easier to implement web services that have the server-side function as a REST API, which is of great importance to CRUD operations and async processing for client-database connectivity.

PHP, however, is a great fit for a standardized solution like a news site, a blog or a portal. With the WordPress community providing thousands of themes and templates, a blog can be up in no time, with literally zero codings required to customize it.

The flexibility of PHP along with the massive support offered by hosting providers, it is the de-facto go-to solution if you wish to be up and running quickly.

In short, when trying to choose between Node,.js and PHP, the first evaluation should be of the type of application that is to be created, the hosting requirements of the client and the required speed of development. If the requirement is of a standardized solution, then PHP is the obvious choice. For Real-time Applications and Single-Page applications, Node.js offers a better solution.

1 thought on “Node.js vs PHP: Which Is The Best Server Side Environment For Your Business?”

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