Python vs PHP: Which One to Choose?

By | April 16, 2022
Python vs PHP

PHP and Python are both high-level languages. While PHP is specifically used as a back-end scripting language, Python is a general-purpose programming language ideal for data science and artificial intelligence. However, when it comes to web development, Python vs PHP becomes a topic of interest.

When it comes to making a dynamic web application, people often choose PHP over Python. Over 70% of all websites use PHP in some form. But with the advancement in Python and its frameworks, developers are rapidly moving towards Python over PHP to develop high-quality web apps. Thus, which one is better? Let’s try to know.

PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor

PHP is a high-level programming language. Specifically, PHP is a server-side scripting language that is used primarily for web development. The question would arise that what is a server-side scripting language. PHP is a scripting language which means it can be embedded in HTML, which is a markup language.

Server-side means an application of PHP is saved on the server to run the PHP file apart from HTML. JavaScript and CSS are client-side languages, which means they can run in your browser. To run a PHP file on your browser, you need to install localhost, such as Apache.

PHP was first introduced in 1994, and it was created by Rasmus Lerdorf. Earlier the PHP full form was “Personal Home Page.” PHP was never meant to be a programming language, but with time and effort, it became a programming language.

Advantages and Disadvantages of PHP

Advantages of PHP

  • PHP is open-source and free-to-use.
  • Easy to learn for those who already have some experience with programming.
  • Supported by a large and experienced community across the world.
  • Provides extensive database support.
  • It will execute the code in the restricted environment.
  • It supports every operating system.

Disadvantages of PHP

  • It can only be used for web purposes. You cannot create a desktop application entirely with it.
  • Finding the errors in PHP is very hard.
  • Objects in PHP use the CallByValue method by default.
  • It is not secure.

Python

Python is one of the most popular programming languages of 2022. The future of Python is looking very bright. Developers are moving to Python for their projects, and as a consequence, the community of Python is increasing. With a simple syntax, Python is even lucrative for newcomers. In fact, many experts consider Python as the best programming language to start learning to program.

Guido van Rossum developed Python in 1989. In few recent years, the popularity of Python has increased tremendously. The simple syntax and less jargon of rules make it easier to learn, and its versatile nature attracts developers to code on it.

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Python is everywhere, but if we see web development, the programming language is way behind other programming languages and frameworks. Internet claims that less than 1% of all websites use Python.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Python

Advantages of Python

  • It is easy to start and quick to learn.
  • Python supports multiple platforms. Interestingly, it comes preinstalled on certain platforms like macOS.
  • The syntax of the language is well organized and easy to read.
  • It is a dynamic language, so you do not need to define the variable datatype.
  • It has a large community.
  • Python supports OOPs.
  • It has a large number of libraries, frameworks, and tools.

Disadvantages of Python

  • Python does not do multi-core and multi-processor well.
  • There is a limitation to accessing the database in Python.
  • It is slow as compared to other languages such as Java.

Python vs PHP

1. Language

While Python is a full-fledged programming language, PHP is a server-side scripting language.

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2. Easy to learn

When it comes to ease of learning, no other language can overcome Python. Python is by far the easiest programming language. If you already have some experience with a programming language such as C or C++, you will find PHP easy in the beginning, but when you go deeper into PHP, its syntax becomes complex. If you are totally new to programming, you should pick Python as your first programming language.

3. Syntax

Both are high-level languages, and all the coding is English-like. Now when it comes to the complexity of the syntax, PHP is similar to C, which is easy to read and understand. However, PHP is a little bit more complex than C. In PHP, semicolons, and brackets lead to errors that are often very hard to find.

On the other hand, the syntax of the Python programming language is very simple as compared to PHP. Python uses indentation instead of brackets, which makes it easier to read and makes it a little bit error-proof.

4. Flexibility

Python provides more flexibility than PHP.

5. Frameworks

Both languages have a number of frameworks. Django and Flask are the two most famous frameworks of Python, but PHP has more frameworks than Python, and many of those are more famous than Python frameworks.

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When a developer has to choose between the frameworks of Python and PHP, there will be no surprise that the developer goes with PHP frameworks. In terms of frameworks, PHP frameworks are better than Python.

6. Popularity and Future

Both the programming languages are popular, but when we compare the popularity level of both the languages, PHP is way more popular than Python to serve the web. PHP rules the web, with 70% of the websites using PHP in one way or another. Big players such as Yahoo, Facebook, Wikipedia, Flicker, and Tumblr prefer PHP instead of Python.

Python is building momentum to power the web. It is Google who is hyping Python for working with AI and data science. Now companies like Reddit, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and Spotify are choosing Python for their projects.

The future looks good for both languages. PHP is dominating the web right now, but it would not be surprising if Python takes over the web in the near future. But if you want something apart from the web, you can choose Python. Also, both languages allow learners to have a successful career.

7. Documentation and Libraries

Both languages have well-organized documentation on their official website. Python has more libraries than PHP, though.

PHP vs Python: A Head-to-Head Comparison Table

Key Point PHP Python
Language type High-level High-level
Specific type Scripting Language Programming language
Used for Web development
  • Web application development
  • Desktop application
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Data Analysis
Pricing Open-source and free to download Open-source and free to download
Speed Fast Slow
Platform Uses server hosting Interpreter
Applications Localhost (Apache, etc.) Python Interpreter
Application to run Browser (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, etc.) cmd and IDE
Frameworks Laravel

Symfony

Codelgniter

CakePHP

Zend

Django

Flask

Pyramid

Bottle

Extension .php .py

What Language Should a Beginner Choose? PHP or Python

Before choosing between Python and PHP, beginners must know what they wish to do with it. If you want to be a back-end web developer or want to create a dynamic web application, you can choose PHP instead of Python.

But if you are choosing PHP for web development, keep in mind that you should have some experience with coding. At least you should know the basic programming languages such as C or C++. This will help you to understand PHP easily. Choosing PHP as the first language is not a good move.

You can also create a dynamic web application on Python, but for that, you need to learn Python frameworks. PHP also has frameworks for web development, but those are not necessary to create a web application. If you want, you can learn the PHP frameworks too to complete your PHP projects easier and faster, though you can make web applications without using them.

But in the case of python, you cannot make a web application without using Python web frameworks. There are many Python frameworks that you can use for web development. Django and Flask are the two most famous frameworks for web development.

If you are not sure that you want to be a web developer or you want to learn programming languages for some other purpose, you can go with Python. The main thing to note is that PHP is limited to web development. You cannot go further with PHP. The web is the endpoint of PHP, but this is not the case with Python. It is everywhere, especially in data science and AI.

Conclusion

That sums up our Python vs PHP discussion. Both are popular programming languages. While Python is ideal for data science and AI, PHP is best for web development and back-end programming. To start programming, Python is the best choice.

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Author: Vinay Singh

I am a Full Stack Developer with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science, who also loves to write technical articles that can help fellow developers.

One thought on “Python vs PHP: Which One to Choose?

  1. Adam

    Hey, thank you for this! This comparison really touched upon all the most important topics. The table was a nice touch especially, it can really help make a quick yet informed choice. I recently co-wrote an article on the same subject, however, it goes a bit more into detail about the current facts and figures. I figured that when making a decision about which language to use for the development project at hand, a few statistics can’t hurt. I’m curious what you think about it.

    Reply

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