Difference Between PHP and Node.JS

The web is a complex maze with a labyrinth of never-ending technologies, with each one of it claiming to be better than the other, which, we understand, cannot be discussed in a single blog. However, we have covered the differences between Node.js and PHP in this post for you to make an informed decision on the choice of back-end technology. Please note that understanding this concept may require prior knowledge in basic web technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, Node.js and PHP. There are scores of useful learning tutorials available online for the same purpose.  


Node.js is not a programming language but it is JavaScript language (i.e.,) it uses JS as main programming interface. Node.js is cross platform JS runtime environment that is best for data-intensive applications. One thing to remember here is that Node.js isn’t a web server. Node.js, unlike Apache, does not do much on its own and work like it. There isn’t any config file to initialize settings in your programs.  The key objective of Node.js is using event-driven, non-blocking I/O to stay efficient and lightweight in the face of DIRT (Data-Intensive Real-Time) applications that run in several distributed environments or devices. 

You have to write an HTTP server (using built-in libraries) if you want to implement an HTTP server. Node.js, being a JS runtime, is an alternate method to execute code on the computer.  


Hypertext PreProcessor abbreviated as PHP, is an interpreted programming language typically run on UNIX-based and Linux-based servers, and is built to run Windows Servers using an installed interpreter. PHP is used for accessing DBs and server-side form. Due to this feature, it can offer better processing for eCommerce sites. PHP code, like ASP, is included within the body section of the HTML page. Also, PHP is a back-end scripting language suitable for web development. 

Example Codes of Node.js and PHP: 

Understand the syntax format of Node.js and PHP for different outputs.  
Here’s the syntax used by Node.js and PHP: 
Both PHP as well as Node.js have access to the command line interface through $ php -i and $ node. 

Printing a statement 

*The below code prints ‘Hello Infinijith’ in PHP: 
echo 'Hello Infinijith '; 

*The below command in Node.js gives the same phrase as output: 
console.log('Hello Infinijith '); 

‘For’ loop:

*This is how the ‘for’ loop in PHP look like: 

for ($i = 1; $i <= 10; $i++) { 
echo $i; 

*The above codes are quite similar to that of Node.js: 
for (var i = 0; i <= 10; i++) { 

How to create an array? 
*This is how one creates an array in PHP: 

$users = array( 
array('name' => 'jana', 'id' => 10), 
array('name' => 'jerin', 'id' => 74) 

*An array in Node.js will look like: 
var users = [ 
{ name: 'jana', id: 2720 }, 
{ name: 'jerin', id: 98 } 

Both technologies seems to be easy, but we will discuss its difference in detail. 

Node.js vs PHP: Differences  

Node.js is faster to access when compared to PHP, but on the other hand, PHP is an easy and understandable code for developing the applications. The following are some of the differences. 

1.Development Tools:

Both Node.js as well as PHP has a wide array of editors, debuggers, IDEs, validators and other tools. 
Node.js comes with a tool - the Node Package Manager, or NPM, which lets you set configuration variables, install and run dependencies, define scripts and many more.  

PHP’s Composer project, though better than Node.js in some aspects, doesn’t feature NPM, and contains a smaller active repository. PHP developers will want to install Node.js at some stage, but not vice-versa. 
Both Node.js and PHP are functional languages with pinch of OOP added to PHP later. 

2.Performance and Speed: 

Though PHP doesn’t lag that much behind Node.js in terms of speed, Node.js, all said and done, is usually better. To say in brief, speed is falling between time of writing code and time of code execution.  

PHP doesn’t need any compiler to execute the application. It is suitable for writing code at lesser time. But Node.js is meant for executing smoothly at faster time.  


Node.js requires no dependencies, but its frameworks, such as Express, which performs the work instead. Express, a simple and minimalistic Node.js framework, offers the developers much freedom, as they can use various modules to build the app. Also, because of its flexible nature, it is best-suited for large-scale apps that are planned to be extended and need long-term support.  

PHP runs server-side applications in a request/response cycle, routed via a web server, and the PHP interpreter usually processes the code. 


Node.js is better and smaller than the PHP interpreter. It is not legacy language support dependant and there has been a lot of investment that went into V8 performance made by Google.   

5.Database and Deploying: 

When talking about database, PHP is well effectively work with MySQL and also supports other databases like MariaDB, etc.,  

Nodejs has library to access MySQL and also contains special format like JSON to send data to web page from the server. As said, writing a code is easy in PHP but in Node.js, writing code and deploying applications is little complicated than PHP. 


PHP is a server-side development language and rarely outstretches itself. With Node.js, JavaScript is no longer restrictive as it can be run anywhere —on the server, desktop, on the browser and embedded systems too.  

Newer code and latest features enhance Node.js capabilities: 

Node.js has the advantage of new plugins, built with newest approaches including express.js, and features, which PHP lacks, though there are several open-source PHP files.   

Node.js keeps a single thread for your code and only has a single CPU with a single core. In terms of multiple computations on a multi-core server, there is some work that still remains to be done by the Node core team in cluster module form. Several Node.js server instances can also be run quite easily behind. PHP, by nature, is not single-threaded. Node apps, unlike PHP, run superbly over extended periods of time. 

Node.js is great for apps having several concurrent connections and each request requires only limited CPU cycles, as it blocks the event loop when a function is executed. 

Which is the best to choose? 

If you want simpler programming language with synchronous execution irrespective of speed, then PHP is the best language to build your applications. 

If you want faster code execution platform irrespective of complexity, then Node.js is the best one to create your apps. Every platform has its pros and cons. So, you have to choose the suitable type. 

Infinijith is a leading web development company where you can hire Node.js developers and PHP developers to build the web application. Get a free consultation now to hire developers. 




Content Writer