PHP vs JavaScript Comparison Business Wise
Tech News & Remote Work Trends

PHP vs JavaScript: Which Technology Will Suit Your Business Better

Ihor Shcherbinin
VP of Recruiting at DistantJob - - - 3 min. to read

When looking at the distinct features of both PHP and JavaScript, it is evident that although the two technologies have some similarities, their primary objectives are different. This begs the question: what are the main differences between the two? In this article, we will explore the answer to this question.

PHP vs JavaScript 

Comparing PHP and JavaScript is not a valid comparison, as they are used for different purposes in web development. PHP is a server-side scripting language whereas JavaScript is a client-side scripting language. Therefore, they cannot be compared as they have different functions.

Most dynamic websites are created not only with one of these programming languages but with the two of them. 

What Is PHP? 

PHP was developed in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf; its name originally came from Personal Home Page, and it was a set of scripts used by Rasmus to track visits to his site. Nowadays, PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor, and it’s an open-source scripting language for back-end development.

PHP is used to manage dynamic content, databases, session tracking, and e-commerce sites. According to W3Tech’s data, PHP is currently used by 78.9% of all websites with a known server-side programming language. This means that 8 out of 10 websites you visit on the web are using PHP. And in terms of market share, 78.9% means 20 million websites and applications using PHP.

PHP developers can:

  • Create dynamic content.
  • Open, write, read, delete and close files on the server.
  • Receive and send cookies.
  • Collect data from forms.
  • Modify database information.
  • Perform data encryption.

Companies such as Facebook, Wikipedia, Slack, WordPress, and MailChimp are currently using PHP.

What Is JavaScript? 

JavaScript (JS) is a lightweight, multi-paradigm, dynamic programming language. It was developed in 1995 by Brendan Eich, and despite being more than two decades old, JavaScript is one of the most used programming languages in the world. According to Statista, JS is the most popular programming language – over 67.7% of developers worldwide use it.

JavaScript is a pretty big deal for those wanting to create websites. In case you aren’t familiarized with the coding world, let us give you a brief introduction. There are three leading technologies every front-end developer needs to know: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

HTML takes care of the structure and content of the site, while CSS handles the styling. When you sum these two, you have pretty websites instead of disorganized my-eyes-are-hurting websites. So, what is the role of JS, you might ask? Well, JavaScript takes care of the fun part: the webpage dynamic – developers can create interactive elements that engage a user.

JavaScript developers can:

  • Create interactive features and forms for websites.
  • Develop mobile applications (nowadays. JS is no longer exclusive for websites).
  • Create web browser-based games.
  • Back-end web development.

Companies such as Microsoft, PayPal, Netflix, Uber, Google, and eBay use JavaScript. 

PHP vs JavaScript: Key Differences

What’s the deal with PHP vs. JavaScript? Both are scripting languages, yet PHP focuses more on the back-end development while JavaScript focuses more on the websites’ front-end development. 

But is that the only difference? No. Both languages have distinctive characteristics that will help you know when to use PHP vs. JavaScript (Or who to hire; a PHP dev or a JS dev).

➡️ If you’re looking to hire a PHP developer and don’t know where to start check out our blog post How to hire a PHP developer

1. Server-Side vs Client-Side scripting

PHP is a server-side scripting language – which means that it interprets scripts on the server-side rather than on the client-side.  This type of scripting is used at the backend, where the source code is not hidden at the client-side (browser). Server-side scripting is also useful in customizing the web pages and implementing dynamic changes on the website. 

On the other hand, JavaScript is a client-side scripting language. This means that it’s used at the front-end, which users can see from the browser, and it doesn’t require any server interaction. One of the advantages of using client-side scripting languages like JS is that it minimizes the server’s load. 

2. JavaScript vs PHP in Terms of Functionality

PHP has all the server-side functions such as building custom web content, authenticating users, displaying results, and overall managing requests.

On the other hand, JavaScript is mostly designed to build interactive web interfaces and create network-specific applications without interacting with the servers’ side (as explained previously). This means that websites created with JS can look great by just changing the attribute of HTML tags.

3. Performance

PHP includes multi-threaded that is synchronous by nature. This means that it blocks input/output to perform multiple tasks simultaneously with a systematic approach. In simpler words, despite being ‘multi-threaded’, developers can’t execute the second line of code until the first one is, making it slower than other languages.

JavaScript is a single-threaded functional language that is based on an event-driven model. This means that everything runs concurrently, and it never blocks.  

4. Applications

If you’re looking to build a dynamic web page, PHP is the programming language you’re looking for. But if you’re looking for a scripting language with more functionalities, likely JS is the better option.

JavaScript has a larger scope when it comes to the ability to build different software products. For instance, with JS, you can do pretty much every type of software application (3D games, productivity apps, and more).

5. Database Integration

Another critical difference between PHP and JavaScript is regarding database integration. PHP can easily connect to databases, and it integrates well with MySQL or MariaDB. Moreover, many PHP frameworks provide easy database integrations.

Now you might be asking: are databases useful because…? They are helpful in terms of searching, sorting, and filtering information to present to a user. For example, if you’re trying to build an e-commerce, analyzing the data can give you information about how the users interact with the products. 

JavaScript, on the other hand, doesn’t integrate with databases. 

Here’s a table that sums up the main differences among both programming languages:

PHP vs JavaScript: Comparison Table

Server-side scripting languageClient-side scripting language
Back-endBack-end and Front-end
Multithreaded languageSingle-threaded language
Builds high-level interactive web pagesBuilds user-friendly creative web pages and other software products
Slow performanceFast performance
Best for e-commerce and other CMS websites Best for SPAs 
Database integrationDoesn’t have database integration

Final words

Hopefully, you deciphered what’s the right back-end technology for your project and thus what type of developer you need to achieve your goals (if you are not a programmer yourself) – whether a PHP developer or a Javascript developer. In either case, we can help you get exactly the talent you need. And if you want to hire on your own, these interview questions might help you find the right Php developer.

If you’re looking for a talented PHP or JS remote developer, contact us. At DistantJob, we have 15 years of experience in finding the perfect remote developer for your business. Our recruiters are embedded in global developer communities, so you can trust us to find the senior Javascript talent you need to hire for your team. Try us now and experience the DistantJob difference!

Ihor Shcherbinin

Ihor, is the VP of Recruiting at DistantJob. He specializes in sourcing and placing top remote developers for North American companies. His expertise covers the entire recruiting cycle, from pinpointing job needs to finalizing hires. Known for his skill in remote staffing solutions and offshore team integration, Ihor excels in matching the best tech talents with U.S. organizations. His approach to virtual developer hiring is marked by insightful candidate selection and strategic offer negotiation, ensuring the right fit for every role.

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