PHP vs. JavaScript: The Right Tech For Your Next Big Project

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PHP vs. JavaScript: The Right Tech For Your Next Big Project

Find the right language for your next project.

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Some programmers still claim that there is no point in discussing the differences between PHP and JavaScript, as both cater to a different purpose in website development. When it comes to PHP vs. JavaScript for website development, the answer is incredibly straightforward — PHP is a server-side scripting language and JavaScript is a client-side scripting language. PHP and JavaScript together make dynamic websites. However, the advent of Node.js, Angular.js, and React.js enabled JavaScript to be applied to server-side scripting as well. As a result, PHP vs JavaScript has become a viable topic for discussion. Let us proceed with the similarities and differences between PHP and JavaScript.


PHP is a server-side scripting language that empowers developers to build dynamically executed websites. PHP includes several precise functions and outstanding features that allow developers to create feature-rich web pages and database-driven sites. It helps in building high-level interactive web pages like picture galleries, login pages, etc. As PHP is open source, it can run on most of the operating systems available today, such as Windows, Mac OS, Linux or UNIX, etc.

PHP Instances

  • Content Management Systems(CMS) like Word Press, Drupal, Joomla, etc.,
  • Servers like SQL, MariaDB, SQL, Postgresql, Sybase, etc.


JavaScript is a lightweight language often mentioned as a client-side scripting language that generally executes in the browsers to make interactive and dynamic web pages. It is widely used for building user-friendly, creative web pages, as well as non-web projects like games, mobile apps, PDFs, and much more. It doesn’t require recompiling, thereby increasing time efficiency. There are also advanced server-side versions of JavaScript like Node.js and Angular.js, which enable designing websites with more functionality than just downloading files.

JavaScript Instances

  • Frontend technologies like Angular JS, JQuery, Ember js, Backbone.js, React js, etc.
  • Server-side technologies like MongoDB, Node.js, Express.js, etc.

PHP and JavaScript Similarities

Before we discuss the differences between PHP and JavaScript, we should understand some similarities between the two languages. Both are object-oriented and interpreted languages. They are open source and platform-independent and offer memory management features. They are case sensitive to variables, support frameworks, and always demand HTTP to execute. PHP is renowned for its object-oriented scripting features. On the other hand, JavaScript can mimic these features with encapsulated functions recognized in PHP as local variables and methods. The table below details PHP and JavaScript similarities.

PHP and JavaScript Similar Features






Easy to use existing code



Case sensitive to variables



Requires HTTP to execute



Supports framework



Platform Independent



Memory Management (garbage collection)






Exceptional Handling



When used in combination, these two languages are powerful. Large numbers of websites combine PHP and JavaScript — JavaScript for the frontend and PHP for the backend, as they offer community support, various libraries, as well as vast codebases. Developers who build online gaming sites generally combine PHP and JavaScript together, so they can offer reliable and secure platforms that host a wide variety of games.

PHP and JavaScript Differences

Apart from PHP and JavaScript similarities, each has different benefits and utilities, depending on how they’re used and when they’re employed. While considering which language is right for you, it is well established that PHP is the prominent server-side script and JavaScript is the ruler of frontend web development. Keeping this in mind, let us spread some light on the difference between PHP and JavaScript:

1. Usage of PHP and JavaScript for Web Development

A report from W3tech.com shows the percentage of websites built with PHP vs JavaScript technologies:

PHP vs JavaScript technologies

PHP vs JavaScript technologies

The graph depicts that around 79% of all websites use PHP as the server-side programming language, whereas only 0.7% of websites use JavaScript as the server-side language. Similarly, 77.4% of all websites, which are ranked in the top 1,000,000, use PHP.

However, when accounting for the usage of client-side scripting language for websites, JavaScript beats the other languages. A technology overview from W3techs.com states that JavaScript is the leading client-side language and is used by 95.2% of all the sites.

JavaScript as the leading client-side language

JavaScript as the leading client-side language

Each language is leading in its own area of implementation; hence, you should pick the language based on its feature specifications rather than popularity. Let us move our PHP and JavaScript discussion forward with other aspects of these languages.

2. Availability

Availability plays a big role in observing the difference between PHP and JavaScript. It defines who owns the script and who can modify them. PHP is an open source language, and its source code is available free of cost to the public. Internet community owns the language, and it is available for changes from its original design. This is helpful for PHP developers, as there is a myriad of support offered by commonplace users. JavaScript is a non-free program; it is an open standard program maintained by the W3C and Ecma International.

3. Concurrency

Concurrency means that a task is not completed until all the threads and sub-threads have finished processing. Thereby, all the threads begin and end at the same time. PHP includes multi-threaded blocking input/output to perform multiple tasks simultaneously with a systematic approach. On the other hand, JavaScript uses single-threaded functional scripting to achieve an event-driven model with non-blocking input/output execution, which ensures everything runs concurrently.

4. Integration With External Code

You can combine PHP code only with HTML Code. On the other hand, JavaScript code can be combined with HTML, XML, and Ajax.

5. Runtime Environments

Both PHP and JavaScript encompass different runtime environments. However, both can be effortlessly integrated with HTML code; each language requires different interpreters to run their code. PHP follows a simple installation approach and uses Zend Engine as a compiler and run-time engine. The reliability, extensibility, and performance of the Zend Engine play a significant role in the increasing popularity of PHP. With the introduction of Node js, a JavaScript runtime environment, JavaScript has the capability to perform tasks that other server-side programming languages can do, such as controlled access to content, data analysis, and customized user experience. Both the browser JavaScript and Node.js execute on the V8 JavaScript runtime engine.

6. Simplicity

The significant difference between PHP and JavaScript is how simple they are to learn and use. Comparatively, JavaScript seems harder to learn due to its complexity, advanced features, usage of event queue, and violation of certain rules supported by other programming languages. Though PHP is powerful with its bigger library, it is simpler to use. PHP offers a function for each operation you can come up with. Many popular websites, including Facebook, use PHP because of its simple-to-use nature.


The following diagram compares PHP Vs JavaScript comments by listing which language supports which kind of comments.

PHP Vs JavaScript Comments

PHP Comments

JavaScript Comments

<?php // PHP single line comment 1

# PHP single line comment 2

/* PHP multi-line comment */

echo "<p>Hello!</p>";


// JavaScript single line comment

/* JavaScript

multi-line comment */

alert(“Invalid user name.");

8. Variables

PHP considers all variables as local unless it is declared as Global. In JavaScript, to declare a local variable, you should use the keyword “var.” Otherwise, the variable is considered as Global by default.

PHP Vs JavaScript Variables

PHP Variables

JavaScript Variables

function bar()


$variable_a = 'value'; // Local variable declaration.


function bar)


global $variable_b; // Global variable declaration.

$variable_b = 'value';


function bar()


var variableA = 'value'; // Local variable with use of "var".


function bar()


variableB = 'value'; // Global variable, no "var" declaration.


Another important thing to consider boolean variables. PHP accepts the keyword true in both lowercase and uppercase. However, JavaScript recognizes the keyword only when it is completely lowercase. For example:

PHP and JavaScript Boolean Variables



is_boolean(true); // TRUE

is_boolean(True); // TRUE

is_boolean(TRUE); // TRUE

typeof(true); // 'boolean'

typeof(True); // 'undefined‘

typeof(TRUE); // 'undefined'

Similarly, the difference between PHP and JavaScript continues in case sensitivity. Though both are case sensitive in recognizing variables, PHP is not case sensitive while dealing with class or function declaration, but JavaScript maintains case sensitivity for these as well.

9. Objects and Arrays

The main difference between PHP and JavaScript is that PHP treats objects and arrays as different entities with different syntaxes; in JavaScript, both are interchangeable. JavaScript allows switching the syntax of objects and arrays freely. In addition, JavaScript doesn’t have associative arrays.

PHP and JavaScript Objects and Arrays

PHP Objects and Arrays

JavaScript Objects and Arrays

// Define an array.

$roo = array(); // New empty array.

$roo = array('a', 'b', 'c'); // Numeric index.

$roo = array('a' => '1', 'a' => '2', 'c' => '3'); // Associative.

// Define an object.

$foo = new stdClass(); // New empty object.

$foo->a = '1';

$foo->b = '2';

$foo->c = '3';

// Define an array (longhand).

var roo = new Array(); // New empty array.

var roo = new Array('a', 'b', 'c'); // Numeric index.

// Define an array (shorthand, more common).

var roo = []; // New empty array.

var roo = ['a', 'b', 'c']; // Numeric index.

// Define an object.

var foo = {}; // New empty object.

var foo = { // New populated object.

a: '1',

b: '2',

c: '3‘


When to Use PHP and JavaScript

If you are in the middle of choosing the right backend technologies, just consider the following points:

Pick PHP as your backend language when your project covers:

  • Solution stacks like LAMP (Apache, Linux, MySQL, PHP).
  • CMS like Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, etc.
  • Servers like PostgreSQL, MariaDB, Oracle, Sybase, etc.

Choose JavaScript when your project covers:

  • Front-end technologies like Angular js, React js, Backbone.js, Ember.js, etc.
  • SPAs (Dynamic Single Page Applications).
  • Server Technologies like MongoDB, Express.js, Node.js, etc.
  • Solutions Stacks like MEAN (Express js, Angular js, MongoDB, etc.)

PHP may hold a slight upper hand because of its open source availability and simplicity. Instead of comparing these languages, it is better to combine them to reap the benefits of both.

php ,javascript ,web development ,software development ,angular ,node

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