PHP vs Node.js: Which One to Choose for Back-end Development?

By | November 24, 2021
PHP vs NodeJS

As such, Node.js has become one of the most used tools for developing back-end services. Node.js is replacing PHP on a large scale because many big tech companies like PayPal and Google are using this tool for backend development. Nonetheless, PHP is not out of the game. It is still one of the most-used technologies powering the backends of countless websites and web apps. Thus, PHP vs Node.js has become a common topic among the web development community.

“PHP or Node.js, what should I choose?” This is a common question for many front-end developers having some experience with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript wanting to pick up back-end skills. Both PHP and Node.js are used to develop the backend in web development. With new features, however, Node.js is giving a hard time to PHP.

We will compare these two popular back-end tools in this article so that you can decide which one is the ideal tool for your project, but before comparing NodeJS and PHP, let’s have a brief introduction of both of them.

What is PHP?


PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is an open-source server-side scripting language, which means it executes at the server instead of the client device. It was released in 1995, and since then, it has been serving the web as a back-end web development tool. According to a survey held on the internet, more than 60% of websites use PHP. It is used to design dynamic web pages, and it can be embedded in HTML pages.

Some of the famous content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla use PHP and its frameworks. PHP frameworks are also used to create dynamic web pages but in a more productive way.

Some Big Tech Giants Using PHP:

  • Facebook
  • Wikipedia
  • WordPress
  • Tumblr
  • Slack
  • Daily Motion

What is Node.js?


Unlike PHP, Node.js is an open-source server-side JavaScript runtime environment. It is a child of Google and works along with JavaScript. JavaScript is a client-side scripting language and used for front-end development, but with the help of Node.js, JS has pushed its reach to back-end development.


Some Big Tech Giants Using Node.js:

  • LinkedIn
  • Google
  • Uber
  • PayPal
  • Medium
  • eBay

PHP vs Node.js

1. Hosting Support and Expenses

All hosting services on the internet support PHP. Although not all hosting services support Node.js, the top ones do. Nonetheless, PHP hosting costs cheaper than Node.js hosting.

2. Request Handling

PHP has a decent strength to handle multiple requests. Node.js possesses more power, and with multithreading, it can handle 2x requests compared to PHP.

3. Processing

PHP works on synchronous processing, which means it executes the code line by line. On the contrary, Node.js works on asynchronous processing, which means it executes all code at the same time, making it faster.

4. Compatibility with the Front-end

Since the beginning of back-end development, we have used PHP, and it offers good compatibility with front-end languages like JavaScript. Yet, it might cause problems between the front-end and backend development systems.

In Node.js, we use JavaScript, which is a front-end development tool. Using the same language for the front-end as well as the back-end sets a symphony between the backend and front-end development teams. For the developer, it becomes easy to maintain full-stack development.

5. CPU Usage

When it comes to CPU-intensive applications, PHP would be the first choice for the developer. Moreover, PHP can handle graphical operations quite well. Node.js works on single-threaded, and it is an event-based technology, which is, therefore, not good at handling intensive graphics.

6. Database Support

PHP can work with popular databases like MySQL, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL. Although NodeJS can also work with other databases like MySQL, NoSQL, and PostgreSQL, it is usually coupled with MongoDB.

7. Used For

One of the major distinctions between NodeJS and PHP comes down to their implementation scenarios. While PHP is ideal for creating CPU-intensive applications and using in LAMP stack API development, Node.js is ideal for developing highly scalable server-side solutions and creating mobile-friendly web applications.

PHP vs Node.js: A Head-to-Head Comparison

PHP Node.js


It is an open-source, server-side scripting language. NodeJS is a server-side JavaScript runtime environment for JavaScript.

Release Date

PHP was released on 8th June 1995. The first release of Node.js came out on 27th May 2009.

Hosting Support

Supported by all hosting services. Top hosting Services support Node.js.

Hosting Expenses:

PHP costs lee than Node.js. It is expensive than PHP hosting.

Request handling

It is capable of handling multiple requests. NodeJS supports multithreading and can handle 2x requests than PHP.


PHP works on synchronous processing. It works on asynchronous processing.

Compatibility with Front-end

It offers good compatibility with front-end technologies. NodeJS uses JS, which is a front-end tool. Thus, full-stack development becomes easy.

Development of CPU-Intensive Applications

PHP is ideal for developing CPU-intensive applications. It is not suitable for developing applications that require high processing.


PHP works with all popular databases. NodeJS works with all popular databases but is usually used with MongoDB.

When to Use

  • To create CPU-intensive applications.
  • For LAMP stack API development.
  • Developing highly-scalable server-side solutions.
  • Creating mobile-friendly web applications.


That completes our take on the PHP vs Node.js topic. Although PHP is widely-used for back-end development, NodeJS is getting more and more popular by the day. With its support for asynchronous processing and intrinsic support for front-end development in JS, NodeJS hosting has become popular. However, you need to spend more on it than PHP hosting.

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Author: Paridhi Joshi

Paridhi Joshi is an expert web content manager with significant experience in content creation. Professionally she is dedicated to staying up to date with the latest trends and technologies in content writing and committed to bringing state-of-the-art web approaches to the workplace. She is an efficient multi-tasker who can complete multiple projects under strict deadlines.

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