Python vs. PHP: Which is Better for Web Development?

In the digital world, web development has become one of the most in-demand skills. The biggest companies have already invested in developing their website to help boost business and brand identity. When first developing a website, you may be wondering which programming language to use.

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The two most widely used programming languages today are Python and PHP. Both languages have their pros and cons. But which one is better?

What is Python?

Python is one of the fastest developing programming languages today. First introduced to the programming world in 1991, this programming language has many uses. Python can be used for cross-platform web development, software testing, and even machine learning! Although it is mainly used for backend web development and management, it is also the preferred language for data science, data analysis, and scientific research.

The fast development of Python can be attributed to its growing community. Through the years, the Python community has contributed several libraries and troubleshooting solutions to address problems with the programming language.

Many big tech companies have adapted Python as their high-level programming language of choice. Companies like Facebook, Uber, Pinterest, Spotify, and Google all use Python to develop the backend of their websites and platforms.

What is PHP?

PHP is another programming language that is widely used today. Released in 1994, PHP is one of the most common scripting languages for the development of web applications.

Aside from the backend web development, PHP is a scripting language that can execute on both the web browser and command line. This script can easily be embedded in HTML, making it one of the top choices of professional web developers.

PHP is an open-source programming language that can be used by everyone. Tech giants and big companies use PHP on their platforms, including Facebook, Wikipedia, Slack, Tumblr, and WordPress. Like Python, PHP also has a growing community of developers that regularly contribute to the programming language’s improvement.

Main Comparisons: Python vs. PHP

Now that you know what both Python and PHP are, it is time to compare the two programming languages. In this section, you will find a comparison of the two languages in terms of seven major factors used by tech companies when selecting a programming language for web development.

1. User-friendliness and Ease of Learning

Ease of learning refers to how straightforward a programming language is to learn. Generally, Python is easier to learn because it is a programming language that can be used for many purposes. It is usually easier to write codes using Python.

PHP, on the other hand, is a scripting language and users need to be a bit more familiar with scripts and codes. Since it is mainly used for the development of web browser applications, it can take longer to learn. However, once the basics are done, both languages are very easy to use.

2. Performance

As mentioned, Python is the preferred language for data science and research while PHP is preferred for web development of applications. The performance of the two programming languages will mostly depend on the version of the language itself.

Comparing the newest releases, PHP programs were found to execute faster than Python programs by almost triple the speed. Speed can affect performance; thus, a lot of web developers prefer PHP for complex applications. But when comparing the performance of both languages on a simple application, the difference in speed is not as noticeable. 

3. Security

Data privacy and security are more important now than ever. In terms of security, Python is the preferred programming language for websites. Some of the frameworks that Python uses already come with built-in security features. Many large tech companies and US government departments also use Python for web development. As for PHP, there have been several security issues in the past. Although these issues have already been fixed, Python is still the preferred language for security.

4. Database Connectivity

PHP has access to more databases compared to Python. By using the language, you will be able to use over 20 databases when developing a web application. Python has much less database connectivity. 

5. Frameworks and Library Support

Both Python and PHP come with their own set of frameworks. Python has Django, which is one of the most widely used web development frameworks today. PHP has Laravel, which is also a well-used framework with additional features for web development. Both frameworks are easy to use and reusable, which allows web developers to develop an application faster. 

6. Documentation and Readability

Both programming languages have extensive documentation. In terms of syntax, Python has a clear and straightforward syntax while PHP is a bit more complex with different naming conventions. B because PHP has a built-in library, the difference in syntax can become almost negligible. Generally, Python is more readable as compared to PHP. Meanwhile, PHP has a classic approach to documentation. 

7. Community Support

When it comes to community support, both programming languages receive extensive support from the professional web developer community. If you begin programming with either of these languages, you will be sure to find several forums and discussion platforms that will help answer any questions that you may have.

The Bottom Line

Comparing Python and PHP can help you decide on what programming language is best for you. There is no single answer to which language is better. Developing complex web applications? Maybe PHP has more to offer. Building cross-platform apps? You can choose Python instead. Be sure to note the strengths and weaknesses of each language so you can choose the one that will best fit your needs.


Guest Author Information

Regi Publico is a full-time writer who is also an artist for fun. She takes pride in her towering collection of books and loves reading about anything under the sun. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge through every article that she writes. She has active Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn social channels.


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