Python vs PHP: Which One to Choose for Web Development?
- by Kumarpal Nagar
- 15 minutes read
- 11.0k Views
Choosing the right programming language is very important for any development project. The technology you choose for your project creates a major impact on the end results.
Python and PHP are two of the most popular programming languages that most businesses like to use for web development projects.
Choosing one of these programming languages is quite a difficult and challenging choice for businesses. As both languages are created to offer their own set of benefits and drawbacks. In such cases, understanding which technology is apt for your project is the need of the hour.
Python or PHP? In this blog post, we will discuss a detailed comparison of these two programming languages and which programming language is suitable for your project’s requirements. So, let’s get started!
What is Python?
As of 2023, Python is still one of the most popular and widely used programming languages in the world. It is an interpreted, high-level, general-purpose language that is versatile and easy to learn. Python has continued to grow in popularity in recent years, thanks to its simplicity, readability, and the vast ecosystem of libraries and frameworks available to developers.
Python is used for a variety of applications, including web development, data analysis, scientific computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and automation. In the web development domain, Python is often used for server-side scripting and building web applications using frameworks such as Django, Flask, and Pyramid.
In data science and machine learning, Python has become a dominant language, thanks to the availability of powerful libraries such as NumPy, Pandas, Scikit-learn, and TensorFlow.
Python remains a widely used and important programming language in 2023, with a large community of developers and a wide range of applications in various domains.
According to StackOverflow, Python is one of the most loved, dreaded, and wanted technologies. Rust has also tied with Python as the most wanted technology with TypeScript running a close second.
What is PHP?
PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is still a widely used server-side programming language for web development. It has evolved over the years with new features and updates, and it continues to be supported by a large community of developers.
If we talk about the performance of PHP over the last few years, PHP has become more performant, scalable, and secure thanks to various improvements and additions to the language. For example, PHP 8, which was released in November 2020, introduced numerous new features, such as JIT compilation, union types, and attributes, which have made PHP code faster and easier to maintain.
Additionally, PHP is often used in combination with other web technologies, such as databases (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL), front-end frameworks (e.g., React, Vue.js), and content management systems (e.g., WordPress, Drupal). As a result, PHP remains a popular choice for web development projects, particularly those that require dynamic content generation and server-side processing.
Latest Features of Python
Here are some top features of Python that you need to check while considering Python for your project requirements.
Python is a simple and easy-to-learn programming language
Python is known for its simplicity, and that’s the reason why many beginner developers choose Python as their first programming language to start with. Its syntax is absolutely simple and the learning curve of Python is very smooth.
Python is an open-source language
The best part is Python is an open-source programming language, so the developers can download it for free from Python’s official website. Instead of being an open-source language, python provides high-level dynamic types of data and support for dynamic type checking.
Python is an interpreted language
Python is an interpreted language, the language that can be interpreted without compiling a program into machine instructions. The instructions are read and executed by some other program, called an interpreter, rather than directly by the target machine. A development environment, called IDLE (Interactive Development Environment), is bundled with Python.
Well, It is nothing but an interpreter that is similar to the structure of REPL (Read Evaluate Print Loop) structure just like in Node.js.
Hence, it pops up errors when developers run a line of Python code and displays the whole stack trace for the error.
Dynamically typed language
Python is a dynamically typed language. In Python, developers are not instructed to declare the data types of the variables which are defined. A variable type is determined during run time instead of at the beginning.
Hence, developers don’t necessarily need to specify the variable type like int, char, long, double, etc. It helps developers keep lines of code succinct and makes the programming simpler for developers. Moreover, you can integrate Python with C, C++, and Java programming code.
Desktop GUI creation
The Python programming language has a modular architecture and works with several operating systems, including UNIX, Windows, OS X, and Linux. The most popular text processing tools and frameworks are PyQt4, PyQt5, WxPython, PySide, PyGUI, Tkinter, etc.
Latest Features of PHP
Here are some of the latest features of PHP that you must not miss to check out. Take a look below:
PHP is an object-oriented programming language
PHP strongly supports object-oriented programming features such as data encapsulation, inheritance, abstraction, polymorphism, etc.
The Object-oriented programming feature was added in PHP5. This feature of PHP allows developers to build complex reusable web pages and makes PHP stand out along with powerful object-oriented languages like Java and Python.
PHP is an open-source programming language
PHP is an open-source language which means developers do not need to acquire a license before using it. Also, PHP is easier to employ and code than other scripting languages.
PHP scripts are generally way more seamless and faster than other scripting languages. Users can load their web pages faster, and they find it pretty convenient as they do not have to put in any effort.
PHP code runs faster than almost every programming language as it runs in its own memory space. Not just that, PHP’s connection with databases is also very smooth and efficient.
PHP is a case-sensitive language
PHP is a partially case-sensitive language. Although functions in this programming language’s names are not case-sensitive, other things in PHP are case-sensitive. Let’s check them out:
- Variable names
- Constructs (if, if-else, if-elseif, while, do-while)
- Keywords (such as true and false)
- User-defined functions and class names
PHP is Platform independent language
PHP is accessible on any device and operating system (Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, RISC OS, or Unix). Developers can easily connect it with multiple databases and are also compatible with almost all web servers that are used in today’s date (Apache, IIS, and others).
The language also supports a wide range of databases as well. Its cross-platform compatibility makes the language popular among its developers as it saves them a whole lot of time and energy.
Pros and Cons of Python
Here are the pros and cons of using Python programming language for web development:
Pros of Python
- A general-purpose, object-oriented, and versatile language to employ across different fields
- Features cross-platform code reusability
- Easy to use, read, learn, and maintain
- Features automatic garbage collection
- Develops GUI apps
- Can integrate easily with programming code of other languages like Java or C++
- Has libraries like Tensorflow for math-intensive tasks
- An open-source, uniformly unfolding language
- Highly graphic and makes amateur favorable
- WORA functionality makes it portable
Cons of Python
- Not much useful in mobile computing, browsers, and mobile app development
- It uses a massive amount of memory to offer ease to a developer
- Works slower than other website development languages
- Makes delays in the testing of web apps
- Error detection becomes difficult due to dynamic typing
- Gigantic for a simple and small app or website
- Duck-typing causes run-time errors
- A bit simpler for some specific tasks
Pros and Cons of PHP
Below are the top benefits and drawbacks of using PHP for web app development:
Pros of PHP
- Sustains top-notch debugging
- Features copious pluggable frameworks Open-source and object-oriented
- Features a large ecosystem
- Gives support for other database interfaces like No SQL, PostgreSQL, and so forth
- Get supports from several operating systems and works cross-platform
- Gives support for database collection modules
- Flexible and platform-independent
- PHP-based apps support all operating systems like Windows, Linux, and UNIX.
- Features in-built SQL support
- Many open-source PHP frameworks are available to use for free
Cons of PHP
- Impeded and wired performance
- You cannot change its core behavior
- Uses weak typing that can lead to wrong knowledge and data to users
- Not suitable for content-based apps
- No IOT alliance
- An inadequacy of security protocols and features
When to Choose Python?
Python programming language is becoming more popular nowadays. Below are some of the cases when you should opt for Python:
- Python is an excellent language for rapid prototyping and testing ideas quickly.
- The language’s ease of use and large library of modules allow developers to quickly build prototypes and iterate on them.
- Python’s simplicity and ease of use make it an excellent choice for scripting and automation tasks.
- It’s a cross-platform language, meaning that code written on one platform can run on another platform without modification.
- Python scripts can automate tasks such as file processing, data analysis, and web scraping, among others.
- Python is widely used in the field of data science and machine learning due to its extensive libraries and frameworks.
When to Choose PHP?
PHP is a popular server-side scripting language among developers. Here are some cases when you can select PHP:
- Many popular (CMS) such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are built using PHP. These platforms provide a wide range of features, such as themes and plugins, which make it easy to create and manage websites.
- PHP is commonly used for server-side scripting, it generates dynamic web pages on the server before sending them to the client’s browser. This implements features like login systems, data processing, and database interactions.
- Popular e-commerce platforms such as Magento, WooCommerce, and Shopify are built using PHP. So, it’s the top choice of big brands.
- PHP has a wide range of libraries and modules that make it easy for developers to interact with databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle.
- PHP has a large and active community of developers who contribute to the development of the language, create libraries, and provide support.
Python vs PHP: The Detailed Comparison
A detailed comparison will help you decide the most appropriate language for use, how easy and efficient it is to work with, and give the best result for your web development efforts.
Let’s start the cold war between Python and PHP!
1. Community Support
PHP and Python have excellent community support. Since PHP has been in the market for a long time for web app development, it has a large community of developers who can immediately offer support.
Here, Python matches with PHP closely. Since there are many Python developers who continuously build Python apps constantly, community support is excellent. So, none of them is a clear winner here.
Machine Learning powered web apps are in high demand these days. And ML is a significant point of Python also. Hence, Python provides excellent machine learning libraries, such as Pandas, Tensorflow, Theano, and Scikit-learn. These libraries are rapid, robust, and unique, and most significantly, they can perfectly function with a web framework.
Remember that Python is beneficial in several fields and not just in web development, whereas PHP is significant only when it comes to web development. So, here, Python scores more than PHP.
3. Ease of Use
Python is an open-source, portable, and versatile programming language that is easy to employ. Moreover, python syntax’s programming is also simple. Compared to PHP, coding is easier to grasp with Python.
PHP is not an ordinary programming language as it’s used only for designing dynamic website pages with HTML. It makes PHP less productive than Python. Hence, in terms of ease of use, Python triumphs over PHP.
4. Speed to Market
Python features a great set of third-party libraries, packages, and modules to finish a project quicker. For example, Django is one of the popular web frameworks written in Python. It drags the MVC pattern to enable developers to build apps fast using a great division of concerns and reusability.
PHP also boasts its set of tools, incorporating frameworks and libraries. For example, Laravel is the most famous PHP framework that accepts the MVC pattern and arrives pre-packaged with several helpful features for web development like templating, routing, authentication, and so forth.
5. Web Frameworks
Both PHP and Python provide powerful and well-designed web development frameworks. Many big companies use web frameworks that PHP offers. For instance, Symfony and Laravel are mature frameworks, and a large community supports them. Thereby, PHP makes web development easy.
Python also provides many extraordinary frameworks. The two most famous Python-based web frameworks are Flask and Django. These are highly scalable, fast, easy to use, and secure. Developers usually prefer Django over PHP-based frameworks to enjoy an easy setup and shorter development period.
6. Library Management
Python employs Pip for dealing with packages. Pip makes sure that Python app development is rapid, easy, and fulfills all development needs.
The library management of PHP is less potent than Python. Python has a broader assortment of packages and handy tools for easier web app development. Hence, Python is the clear winner here.
In terms of security, Python is a preferred option for businesses. For example, Django boasts many pre-built security features that help safeguard the apps from different security threats. Moreover, different government entities also depend on Python as their secret hacking tool.
Although its robust community support has addressed most of the security problems, PHP is less robust than Python in terms of security. Therefore, Python triumphs over PHP at this point.
8. Environment Management
Python has been the best programming language when it comes to handling environments. Its Virtualenv system helps install different versions of the language and move among them immediately.
PHP cannot compete with Python in this matter. VirtPHP, an analog for PHP, is there, but it’s archived and not quite maintained. Hence, developers like to use containers with PHP. So, Python is a clear winner here.
9. Ease of Learning
Python is undoubtedly easier to learn. You can pick up this general-purpose programming language very quickly. It is easy to choose a programming course for beginners. Python programs are shorter and easy to write as compared to other languages.
On the other hand, PHP is made for sophisticated web apps, unlike stand-alone, simple programs. It is not a general-purpose language at all. Hence, it takes more time to learn PHP as compared to Python.
PDB or Python Debugger is an in-built debugger of Python. It uses many debugging strategies. PDB features dynamic typing and allows developers to work effortlessly without announcing things straight at the beginning of a program.
PHP also provides an XDebug package for addressing bugs and error-checking the codes for developers. However, PHP development is significantly slower in discovering and removing bugs. Hence, it experiences many security problems.
11. Use Cases
PHP is used primarily for web development, while Python is used for a wider range of applications, including scientific computing, data analysis, and machine learning. Python is also popular for scripting and automation.
PHP and Python both have different syntax structures. PHP uses curly braces to define blocks of code, while Python uses indentation. Python is considered to have a more readable and consistent syntax, which can be easier to learn for beginners.
In conclusion, both PHP and Python have their own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice of language largely depends on the specific requirements of the project. PHP is the preferred language for web development, while Python is a more versatile language used for a wider range of applications.
Although both PHP and Python perform great in web development, Python triumphs over PHP in many ways. However, this does not imply that you have to select Python and neglect PHP. Both PHP and Python are excellent programming languages for developing web apps.
At last, it largely depends on your project needs as well as your PHP or Python abilities, knowledge, and expertise when you are building your web apps.
FAQS About PHP vs Python
There are many reasons to prefer Python over PHP for modern web app development like flexibility, security, high performance, easy to use, simple syntax, etc.
When it comes to security, Python is a preferred choice for businesses. It has many security features to develop complex apps. Where PHP has had a dreadful history when it comes to security.
Python, a general-purpose programming language has a broader usage including web development, AI, ML, big data, mobile app development, game development, etc.