PHP or NodeJS: Choosing the Right Technology for Backend Development

Feb 27, 2018 6:29:52 PM


Ever since dynamic websites started to improve user experience on web, developers have been particular about the backend development technology of their application. While PHP and Nodejs are two most favorable options available for the modern web; making a choice between the two is definitely a hard job to do. 

Both the technologies have distinctive advantages over one another. Here, we figure out, what these technologies are good at so that a right choice for backend development can be made, depending upon the type of application to be built.


PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a one of the ubiquitous technologies on web, used for server-side scripting. Today, PHP is the underlying language of popular content management systems (like Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal) and development frameworks (Laravel, CakePHP, Symfony).

1. A Strong and Flexible Codebase

Building a website with PHP is easy; even non-developers can do it. Thanks to the powerful code base of PHP that include some popular CMS platforms like Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal that makes it possible to launch a blog or an eCommerce website, in a matter of minutes. Similarly, the web development frameworks like Laravel, CodeIgniter are making the job of developers, easier than ever.

Then, there are some of the applications on hosting platforms (like cPanel) is powered by PHP. And with a huge community backing PHP, developing custom applications of any scale is a possible affair.

2. Easy Integration and Deployment

  • You can run a PHP code on variety of platforms (Windows or Linux) or servers (Apache, Nginx).

  • Hosting support for PHP applications is also flexible. While there is option for shared hosting for PHP applications, you need a virtual SSH access for NodeJS applications.

This certainly makes PHP a great option for beginners in development, or where cost and technicality is a bit limited. Unlike for NodeJS, there is call for have know-how for console commands, Secure Shell (SSH)or other Linux technologies.

3. A Right Fit for Web Development

PHP is designed with web in mind and therefore, it has all functionalities included to manage HTML, servers, and databases. Since all pages are rendered on server, developing a web app using PHP helps to avoid overloading on client-side.


NodeJS is a runtime environment that brought the benefits of a front-end development language (i.e. Javascript) to back-end development. Launched in 2009, Nodejs depicts the true the true power of Javascript that helps in building I/O heavy, data-driven applications.

1. Real-Time Web Development

The best part about Nodejs is it derives efficiency of Javascript (like non-blocking I/O events, capable of handling concurrent events at a time). This potential of Javascript makes NodeJS execute real-time events faster, with less CPU utilization. Such an ability of Nodejs makes it a good match for applications like collaboration apps, chatting apps, SPAs etc.

2. Single Technology Across an App

Javascript was introduced as a client-side programming language. When Nodejs is installed on server-side for backend development, developers get the benefit of working on single technology stack across the application. That is, both frontend and backend uses javascript for application development. Such an advantage allow developers at both the ends to collaborate for bug fixing, code management, and ultimately a fast delivery of project.

3 Community Support

Nodejs has an active community that continues to contribute in order to make applications simpler to develop and scalable as well. For example: A number of NodeJS modules extend capabilities of applications. . One of the most popular modules include that manages persistent connections between client and server, which in turn enables the server to push real-time updates to clients.

Nodejs or PHP: Which one to Choose and When?

PHP is ideal when:

The requirement is build websites like blog, landing page, news site, web portal etc. In that case, there are content management systems written in PHP that can help to create, customize, and scale websites (using plugins, APIs), as per requirement.

Also, you can include PHP in your project if you are using servers like MYSQL, SQL, Oracle, Sysbase, PostgreSQL etc. In addition, software stack like LAMP (Linux, Apache, MYSql, and PHP) complements application development with PHP technology.

NodeJS is ideal when:

The asynchronous architecture of Nodejs makes it a fit for Single Page Applications or those requiring real-time updates. This may include applications like team collaboration apps like Trello, instant messaging, video conferencing apps etc.

Also, include Nodejs for backend development when you have software stacks like MEAN (Mongo, Express.js, Angularjs). At front-end, if you are using JQuery, Backbone.js, React.js (written in javascript), Nodejs can augment the development process.

Topics: Web Development

Kunwar Jolly

Written by Kunwar Jolly

Digital Consultant at Daffodil Software, Kunwar is an avid reader, tech enthusiast and generally keeps abreast on latest developments in the technology space and their future outlay.