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Why Node.JS is better than PHP?

The web is an ever-changing technology landscape. There are too many web technologies, from simple to complex, and explaining each and every one in detail cannot be done in a single post. So, in this post, we will be doing a comparison between Node.js and PHP.

To understand these concepts, you need prior knowledge in web technologies like HTML, JavaScript, Node.js, PHP. To learn Node.js visit here.

To begin with, let’s start with a brief discussion about Node.js and PHP.


An important thing to remember about Node.js is that it is not a webserver. Node.js on its own doesn’t do much and doesn’t work like Apache. There is no config file, where you point it to the HTML files.

The main objective of Node.js is: use non-blocking, event-driven I/O to remain lightweight and efficient in the face of data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices.

If you want it to perform like a HTTP server, you need to write an HTTP server (with the help of its built-in libraries). Node.js is just another way to execute code on your computer. It is simply a JavaScript runtime.


PHP is an interpreted scripting language that is used as an alternative to ASP on UNIX-based servers. PHP code typically runs on Linux-based and UNIX-based Web servers, and can run on Windows-based servers with an installed interpreter.

PHP is commonly used to access databases and provide server-side form and e-commerce processing. As with ASP code, PHP code is contained within the body of an HTML page.

Node.js vs PHP

JavaScript syntax is not what makes Node.js better than PHP but its easily understandable code. When it comes to PHP there are different ways to develop a web application in PHP; there is the old and ugly way everybody absolutely hateand then there is the better and modern way of developing in PHP.

Let’s start with the Syntax used by both of them.


Both Node.js and PHP have access to the command line interface via $ php -i and $ node.

  1. Printing a statement

The following code prints ‘Hello Acadgild’ in PHP:

echo 'Hello Acadgild';

The below command in Node.js will provide the same phrase as output:

console.log('Hello Acadgild');
  1. ‘For’ loop

The ‘for’ loop in PHP looks like this:

for ($i = 1; $i <= 100; $i++) {
 echo $i;

They’re strikingly similar to the one in Node.js:

for (var i = 0; i <= 100; i++) {
  1. Creating an array

This is how an array is created in PHP:

$users = array(
 array('name' => 'selma', 'id' => 10),
 array('name' => 'usha', 'id' => 74)


For creating an array in Node.js:

var users = [
 { name: 'selma', id: 3940 },
 { name: 'usha', id: 74 }

Development Tools

Both technologies have a good range of editors, IDEs, debuggers, validators and other tools.

Node.js has a tool called NPM — the Node Package Manager. NPM allows you to install and manage dependencies, set configuration variables, define scripts and more.

PHP’s Composer project was influenced by NPM and is better in some respects. However, it’s not provided in PHP by default and has a smaller active repository, making minimal impact within the community.

NPM is partially responsible for the growth of build tools such as Grunt and Gulp which have revolutionized development. PHP developers will probably want or need to install Node.js at some point, But it’s not true the other way around.

Both PHP and Node.js are functional languages with a relatively later addition of OOP to PHP.


PHP is no slacker and there are projects and options which make it faster. Even the most demanding PHP developer rarely worries about speed but Node.js performance is generally better. Of course, performance is largely a consequence of the experience and care taken by the development team but Node.js has more advantages compared to PHP as discussed below.


Node.js doesn’t need many dependencies and there are frameworks, which does the work instead, like Express.

Express is a minimal and a flexible Node.js web application framework that provides a robust set of features to develop web and mobile applications. It facilitates a rapid development of Node-based web applications.

When it comes to PHP, all requests to the PHP applications has to be routed through a web server which starts the PHP interpreter, which indeed runs the code for you.


Node.js is smaller and better than the PHP interpreter. It’s less burdened by legacy language support and Google has made a huge investment in V8 performance.


Web developers often need to create applications which aren’t strictly for the web, e.g. build tools, database conversion scripts, etc.

There are ways to use PHP for desktop and command-line app development. PHP is a server-side development technology. It’s good at that job but is rarely stretched beyond those limits.

A few years ago, JavaScript would have been considered more restrictive, but Node.js has changed that perception and since then there has been an explosion of JavaScript projects. You can use JavaScript anywhere and everywhere — in the browser, on the server, terminal, desktop and even embedded systems. Node.js has made JavaScript omnipresent.

Newer Code and Modern Features add advantage to Node.js

One more advantage of Node.js is its new plugins and modern features. When it comes to PHP, there is no doubt that there are many open-source PHP files, but few are year’s old plug-ins which people wouldn’t like to use. Anyway, who wants to spend hours copying the code that hasn’t been updated in years, right?! Node.js plug-ins are not only newer, but they were built with full knowledge of the latest approaches like express.js.


Since node.js is a major component in web development, it is worth the time, money and effort for your developers to learn node.js.

Node.js and PHP are a good comparison. They’re both open-source, primarily aimed at web development and applicable to similar projects. PHP is a long-established language, but Node.js is a young upstart receiving increased attention. 

Node.js is single-threaded and uses only a single CPU core. When it comes to adding concurrency on a multi-core server, there is some work being done by the Node core team in the form of a cluster module. You can also run several Node.js server instances pretty easily behind. PHP is NOT single-threaded by nature.

Node apps run great over long periods of time. PHP is not meant to be run for extended amounts of time. 

Node.js is well suited for applications that have a lot of concurrent connections and each request only needs very few CPU cycles, because the event loop is blocked during execution of a function.

These are the core reasons why Node.js is highly preferable over PHP. Keep visiting our website Acadgild for more updates on Big Data and other technologies. Click here to learn Frontend Web Development.

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  1. Pingback: Why Node.JS is better than PHP? | AcadGild | Blog eloylinus
  2. Thanks for the wonderful article. It is ever confusing to read online and find out which programming language to begin with (for web development). For me, as a beginner, it was essential to first learn the logics of programming and then the ever daunti g task of choosing a language. I started with php but at certain point I just lost the interest to learn it any further. I am now learning JavaScript for the past few months and it is way more fun to work with it. Although, I think that at certain point I will pick up php again just to familiarise myself with the industry giant.

  3. The author needs to explain the Why with a valid point.
    The backbone of why in this article is Editor, Syntax blah blah

    1. Totally agree. It seems like the same old argument of “php is ugly” and “php has old libraries”. Ugly is a relative term. Over 70% of the world’s websites are build on PHP for a reason. The argument of “Node has libraries… PHP does too, but they’re old and ugly” is NOT an argument. Sigh… Sadly, this is just another fan boy of a new religion. PHP has matured quite a bit over the years and it has much, much better support and adaptation, and I’m not just spouting opinion here. It’s fact. And, the author’s spelling errors make me question their perception of “ugly code”.

  4. I’ve got news for you. If you think nodejs is better than php then you are on crack. PHP has been around for a very long time and has developed solutions for problems that node hasn’t even begun to look at. PHP is a better language than javascript. PHP has better frameworks than node. PHP’s overall user experience is better. I’ve used both. Nodejs is generally a pigs breakfast. I would never recommend it for server-side development. I am frequently looking for solid tools to abstract away the Javascript language and make it nothing more than a bytecode so that I don’t have to use it. Javascript is a horrible language that I wish would get replaced with something else. I’ve even looked at PHP to do this. Visual Basic 6 is better than javascript and that language is more than 25 years old.

    When it comes to packages in the npm package manager that ships with node. only about 30% of them actually work. You have to employ trial and error to figure out which ones those actually are. In comparison, I can say that composer its about 60%.

    Please stop spreading lies that technologies based on javascript are better than PHP. It’s not true. It will never be true because fundamentally javascript is a flawed language design.

    1. Someone with common sense, finally. It just sounds like he’s a fanboy of the new religion without really understanding everything about it. Like Christians that don’t know that Noah brought 7 of each animal onboard, and only 2 of each of the unclean. They just blindly adapt new technologies because it sounded good when it was sold to them. They don’t know any better, and never will. They will reject your ideas because they already believe their god is better than yours. 😉

  5. This article contains some of the most informative content I’ve read in quite some time. The points of this content are clear-cut and engaging. I think much like this writer.

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