Some developers can read the title and ask why we compare PHP and Javascript. JavaScript is primarily a front-end language, while PHP is strictly server-side.

However, such PHP vs Javascript comparison makes sense. Since the release of Node.js, JavaScript has become capable of serving both client-side and server-side purposes. Knowing Javascript and PHP difference may be essential for your software project.

Thus, before choosing the best language for your upcoming project, let’s draw some conclusions!

What is PHP?

PHP is a programming language firstly released in 1995 and used to write websites. According to W3Techs, almost 8 out of every 10 websites you visit on the Internet use PHP in some way. Server-side means that the language can only perform actions on the server: For example, it can establish connections to a database or delete files on the server.

The PHP language has a number of undeniable advantages:

  • High speed and, accordingly, the overall performance of resources;
  • Easy-to-learn syntax;
  • Excellent compatibility and portability - PHP codes work equally well with different platforms;
  • Code typing and editing can be done in any text or HTML editor;
  • Multitasking and wide possibilities: creation of any web applications, blogs, guest books, online stores, sites, work with redirects, headers, pdf-documents, databases, e-mail, etc.

Learn more about PHP here.

What is Javascript?

JavaScript (JS) is a high-level dynamic scripting programming language. It has multiparadigmatic nature and supports functional, imperative, and event-driven styles. Most often, the language is used to create interactive web pages and applications.

The advantages of JavaScript include the following:

  • Indispensable in web development;
  • Full integration with the layout of pages and the server side;
  • Rationality of application and simplicity;
  • Work speed;
  • Ecosystem of supplementary tools.

PHP and JavaScript Similarities

Similarities of PHP vs JS go far beyond the general facts. Both PHP and JavaScript are scripting languages, which means they provide a script containing instructions to be interpreted at runtime. For example, PHP is a fully server-side language, which means that its scripts will be interpreted on the server. On the other hand, JavaScript scripts can be interpreted both in the browser and on the server.

Although both languages were not developed in an object-oriented manner, in both cases, object-orientation was added over time: PHP in 2004 and JavaScript eleven years later.

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PHP vs JavaScript: Key Differences

However, the differences between PHP and JavaScript are much more important for the decision between the two scripting languages. In addition to many minor differences, the following ones are the most important:

Usage for Web Development. The most significant difference between JavaScript and PHP is that PHP is strictly a server-side language, while JavaScript can be used for full-scale development. From a front-end perspective, JavaScript is executed in the browser as soon as the HTML and CSS appear on the website. In addition, JavaScript ensures that the client side presents new content inside the browser (which makes the website dynamic on the front-end). PHP is not suitable for front-end development.

Concurrency. PHP has a synchronous and blocking nature, like most traditional languages. A new thread spawns for every request sent to the server. JavaScript is asynchronous and non-blocking - the code is executed in a single thread with input/output operations processed in a dedicated event loop.

Runtime Environments. One of the key differences of PHP vs JS is that both are originally intended for variable environments and functions. The former is primarily used to generate HTML code on web hosting or a server, which is made up of various sources such as databases, external files, and scripts and is then transmitted to the client as a website. This only contains information about content and no code that can be executed directly on the end device. From an abstract point of view, however, JavaScript is a program that is embedded in a website and transmitted separately. To ensure security, this execution takes place in an isolated environment, a so-called sandbox, which restricts access to resources and data.

When to Use PHP vs. JavaScript?

PHP and JavaScript are both good for a variety of different purposes.

PHP is used particularly frequently to create dynamic websites. Especially the smooth work with databases benefits the language. Basically, back-ends with PHP are not only very common but also convincing with their security aspects.

We recommend using PHP if you:

1) have an existing infrastructure that uses a PHP stack;

2) want a battle-tested enterprise toolkit, for example, the Laravel framework.

JavaScript is even more versatile and is used for web servers, mobile applications, 3D games, AR and VR applications, or Internet of Things products. Due to the full-stack approach, JavaScript is also particularly suitable for large projects.

Use JavaScript if you:

1) write real-time applications;

2) have only JavaScript engineers who can write both front-end and back-end.


We at Axon believe each of the two technologies has its own strengths and weaknesses, which make them suitable for special situations. Also, in many cases PHP versus Javascript decision is unnecessary since they complement each other: some usages that are only complicated to master in one language can be solved comparatively easily in the other. When choosing PHP vs JS, it is therefore important to consider various requirements and project specifics.

You can contact Axon IT engineers and get a free consultation on your startup or any software project.

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