PHP and Python are popular programming languages for web development and general-purpose scripting. While there are some parallels between them, there are also extreme variations in language syntax, fields of application, and preferred communities.
Table Of Content
- What is Python?
- Eight Reasons Why Python is Popular in Development Industry
- Python Application Areas
- What is PHP?
- Six Reasons Why PHP is a Great Fit For Your Projects
- PHP Application Areas
- Popular PHP Applications
- Python vs PHP: The Similarities
- Python vs PHP: Comparing the Two Options
Python vs PHP has been an ongoing debate in the web development industry. Both languages have strong supporters who present various features of their preferred language to prove they have the upper edge in the Python vs PHP debate.
In this comparison piece, we’ll go into the strengths and benefits of the two languages and then discuss the main points in the Python vs PHP discussion.
Let’s start with an overview of the two languages, starting with Python.
What is Python?
A flexible and compelling high-level programming language, Python is renowned for its clarity and readability. The language was initially created by Guido van Rossum in 1991. It is a simple language with an easy learning curve because of the clean syntax that emphasizes code readability.
Eight Reasons Why Python is Popular in Development Industry
Python is well-liked by developers due to its versatility, simplicity, and extensive ecosystem. It has a massive community of talented developers and creators contributing to Python’s development by creating libraries and providing support through tutorials, forums, and documentation.
Let’s look at the reasons Python enthusiasts give in the Python vs PHP performance and related topics.
General Purpose Language
Python can be used for various purposes since it’s a general programming language. In fact, you’ll find Python the preferred choice in cutting-edge applications such as data analysis, scientific computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, automation, and advanced shell scripting.
Python syntax emphasizes readability and indentation (white space) rather than brackets or keywords to form code blocks. This decision makes reading and understanding Python code easy, even for beginner coders.
Comprehensive Standard Library
Thanks to the comprehensive standard Python library, Python programmers can use a variety of standard modules and functions for everyday programming tasks. The standard library covers file I/O, networking, regular expressions, data serialization, database connectivity, and security.
Vast Third-Party Ecosystem
Python has a very extensive lineup of libraries that support almost every application area you can think of. For instance, you can use NumPy and Pandas for data analysis, TensorFlow and PyTorch for machine learning, and Django and Flask for web development. This vast ecosystem of third-party packages and modules enhances Python’s capabilities and ensures it fits all popular use cases correctly.
Python’s support for multiple operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and *nix, is a great feature that makes developers’ life easy. This compatibility allows the developers to write code once and run it on different platforms without worrying about the complexities of the target OS.
Object Oriented Programming Support
One of Python’s strengths is its dedicated support for OOP. Python has out-of-the-box support for all OOP ideas, including polymorphism, encapsulation, and inheritance. This allows developers to bring the power of OOP and organize project code into classes and objects that have data and behavior.
The code execution process in Python is quite simple. The code is executed line by line without compilation, as Python is an interpreted language. This feature makes Python highly interactive and suitable for rapid prototyping, scripting, and debugging.
In the Python vs PHP debate, this is perhaps one of the most vital points in Python’s favor.
Python has a wide range of frameworks and tools that you can use for everything from web development to AI. For instance, Python is a popular web development option because frameworks like Django, Bottle, and Flask accelerate project development. Similarly, Jupyter Notebook offers an interactive environment for quickly testing ideas in solving problems in data analysis and related areas.
Python Application Areas
Versatility is a fundamental reason behind Python’s popularity. That’s why you’ll find Python in such diverse areas as:
- Web Development
- Data Analytics and Big Data
- Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence
- Scripting and Automation
- Game development
- Internet of Things ( IoT)
- Mobile platform app development
What is PHP?
PHP is perhaps the best-known server-side scripting language out there. It was primarily developed for web development. However, you’ll find PHP almost everywhere on the Internet in the form of web apps and dynamic web applications. Developers prefer using PHP for adding server-side functionality to static HTML pages.
Six Reasons Why PHP is a Great Fit For Your Projects
Here’re six reasons behind the popularity of PHP over other options for server-side scripting.
Powerful Server-Side Scripting
PHP code is processed on the web server rather than delivered to the client’s web browser. This model of executing PHP code on the server allows developers to generate and add dynamic content by extracting data from databases and local processing.
Easy Integration with HTML
Is PHP code frequently written within specialized <? php and ?> tags that are integrated within HTML markup. This makes it simple for developers to transition between PHP and HTML while still generating the desired HTML output. As a result, developers can quickly generate and server dynamic content and interface with databases.
In Python vs PHP debates, PHP fans often present PHP’s support for all popular databases as a powerful argument. PHP plays great with databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and SQLite. Additionally, PHP provides specialized extensions and tools for operations involving databases, such as data retrieval, query execution, and secure database connections.
Thanks to the community of talented PHP developers, PHP continues to be a popular language for many server-side applications. Many frameworks, modules, and tools that developers use every day are the outcome of community-led projects. In fact, Laravel, Symfony, CodeIgniter, and Yii are well-known PHP frameworks offering ready-to-use components, MVC architecture, routing, and other capabilities the community maintains.
PHP supports most web servers and multiple operating systems. In particular, it works flawlessly with Windows, Linux, and macOS. It can be used effectively on web servers like Apache, NGINXx, and Microsoft IIS.
Integration with Web Servers
PHP is frequently used as a module or CGI (Common Gateway Interface) executable on all popular web servers. Thanks to this integration, the server can build content dynamically before sending it to the browser by executing PHP code whenever a client requests a web page.
PHP is well-known for detailed documentation of the core language feature. This allows everyone from the novice to expert codes to grasp feature usage. This trend is carried over to the frameworks and tools; you can read the documentation in the form of manuals and videos. You’ll find a wealth of online training, documentation, forums, and other tools that help you build your PHP skills.
PHP Application Areas
Typically, PHP is a popular option for server-side scripting and creating websites and apps with dynamic online content. In particular, you’ll find PHP for creating:
- Dynamic web pages
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
- e-Commerce Apps
- Web APIs
- Database Driven Apps
PHP is often used in web development, so you’ll find many popular apps and platforms written in PHP. Here’re a few notable examples:
- Wiki (including the Wikipedia platform)
Python vs PHP: The Similarities
Now that you have read in detail about the two sides of the debate, let’s discuss the similarities between Python and PHP
- Both languages are open-source and free to use.
- Both have excellent native debugging capabilities.
- They both have bespoke IDEs compatible with all major operating systems.
- Both boost off an active developer community that happily assists with questions.
- Support for dynamic typing and method chaining.
At this point, we’ll go into the Python vs PHP debate details and compare the two languages on several criteria.
Ease of Installation
Let’s start with the first step of working with a programming language.
Installing PHP is relatively simple. It runs smoothly on multiple operating systems like Windows, Linux, and macOS X. Because of this; you can find many providers offering PHP on shared and dedicated hosting platforms.
Setting up Python can be a problematic task. A typical scenario is when you try to set up Python on macOS X, if you already have another Python version installed. Another problem is that this pre-existing Python version would also need to be updated. Even installing Python on Windows can be difficult. We highly recommend using package management like Chocolatey to minimize conflicts and other problems.
However, installing Python on Linux on a PC platform is straightforward.
When discussing performance, you need to realize that in addition to the language you choose, factors such as speed and performance might vary due to factors such as hardware resources, memory, storage space, the complexity of logic, hard disk access time, and data path width affect performance.
PHP’s early versions were slow, especially PHP 5. x, which required a long time to execute programs. With PHP 7. x, the dev team worked hard to improve the language’s performance and speed. It is far faster than many other programming languages, including Python. Zend Engine 3.0 was also launched alongside PHP 7, making the programming language twice as fast as its predecessor.
Python’s code compilation process is meant to be faster, even without installing caching solutions. This code is converted into bytecode when a file is created or updated. Python was far quicker than PHP before introducing PHP 7. x.
For example, if you’re creating a banking app that receives significant traffic daily, you need the app to be very responsive. Even minor delays can have a significant impact on system performance. In this situation, PHP 7 would be preferable to Python.
However, if you want to create a basic application where speed and lag are not critical, you can use Python or PHP without worrying about performance penalties.
Debugging is often overlooked in many PHP vs Python discussions, but it is essential to developers and many users.
As a developer, you must be ready when things break or don’t work as intended. In many cases, these issues can escalate into security challenges.
In such cases, a good debugger is essential for determining what went wrong with your code.
PHP debugging can be difficult. You may need to do some extra work to complete the debugging process. However, working with a PHP debugger like XDebug is simple, so you may begin and finish the debugging process sooner.
Regardless of the skill level, developers always need documentation, from checking the syntax to discovering a new way to solve a problem.
Documentation provides comprehensive information and updates you on the newest additions and deprecations.
That’s why looking at how well-documented each programming language is is an essential factor in this Python vs PHP comparison.
PHP and Python have a wealth of documentation in both official and unofficial channels, such as forums, websites, discussion boards, tutorials, and courses.
PHP has a solid documentation page that covers information in ten languages. It covers all PHP features developers can improve by adding comments to help clarify complex ideas with examples. The downside is that once submitted; these comments remain permanently on the page for all visitors. As a result, even older comments about previous PHP versions appear at the top.
This means most of the older comments are no longer relevant. This is a limitation of the native PHP documentation.
You don’t come across scenarios like these when using Python. You’ll find detailed documentation for every feature, including a table of contents, new improvements, installing Python modules, a full tutorial, usage, library reference, extensions, and a FAQ section.
Furthermore, the documentation does not include comments, so there is no confusion. However, some people may find the explanations challenging to comprehend.
When each advantage and negative are weighed, Python still comes out on top due to the obsolete comments that confuse PHP.
MySQL is a trendy choice for web projects, and so in this PHP vs. Python comparison, we’ll compare MySQL compatibility with PHP and Python.
Combining MySQL with PHP offers virtually limitless possibilities for creating almost any project, from a corporate portal to a small-scale contact form. MySQL is the most often used database in PHP-based web products because it is open source, freely available, very configurable, simple to use, fast, dependable, and uses standard SQL.
Developers extensively use the PHP and MySQL combination to create cross-platform programs running on all operating systems. One important reason behind this successful combination is the fact that PHP is designed to connect to MySQL automatically.
To communicate with a MySQL database, Python requires a specific driver. These drivers can be obtained from third-party vendors. Before using any of them, it is advised that you study the Python documentation and ensure that these drivers adhere to their standard interface. Note that MySQL documentation substitutes “connector” for “driver” to emphasize that it connects and interacts with the database.
Python uses MySQL Connector, a driver or connector used by multiple computer languages. You can use PIP to install MySQL Connector to establish the connection. Then, test the database connection and then run SQL queries, retrieve results, notify the database of changes, and terminate the relationship.
When compared to PHP, many developers find these steps complicated. As a result, PHP wins hands down.
Websites and App Development
PHP and Python are both appropriate for web and app development. So it all comes down to what you will develop, how complex it will be, and the scale of the project.
PHP was created with web development in mind. As such, PHP is appropriate for creating small to medium-scale projects.
PHP’s feature-rich ready-made tools also speed up and simplify the development process. It is also a good option for seamlessly creating CMS and e-commerce websites using third-party API.
On the other hand, Python has significant native functions that make it ideal for developing apps based on AI, ML, data science, and Big Data. You can choose from several alternatives like TensorFlow, Pandas, and Django.
Python and PHP are each excellent in their own right. Which one you choose is heavily influenced by the specifications of your project.
Community and Support
Developers need an active, supportive community that helps clarify doubts and answer questions.
PHP and Python have been on the market for decades and have an active developer community on several platforms and forums. You can also find training courses (paid and unpaid) that help developers quickly acquire information about the new additions to the languages.
Here is a table that summarizes the above discussion
|Free and open source, with frequent updates and easy deployment
|Simple coding, dynamic typing, and speedy development
|It is more challenging to learn than Python.
|Easy learning curve.
|Multiple frameworks supported like Laravel, Symfony, CakePHP
|Fewer frameworks compared to PHP, like Django, Flask, and Pyramid.
|It is database-friendly, with the ability to connect to 25+ databases smoothly.
|Database connectivity is possible through third-party drivers.
|Primarily used for web development,
|They are mainly used for general programming, including web and app development, AI, ML data science, etc.
|Although well documented, older documentation can be a problem for new users.
|Complicated Syntax that uses curly braces and semicolons
|The straight and clear syntax that’s easy to understand
|PHP debugging is substantially slower.
|Python debugging is faster than PHP debugging.
|The latest versions of PHP 8. x are faster than Python
|Python programs are slightly slower than PHP.
From the above table, it’s clear that PHP is better than Python. However, it’s not to say that you should select it over Python. Both PHP and Python are excellent programming languages for web and application development and have unique features.
This article covers the essential points in the Python vs PHP debate.
No doubt, PHP has been there for a long time. However, Python is steadily making its reputation as the go-to language for high-end science-based applications.
Ultimately, choosing between Python and PHP depends upon your project requirements, skills, knowledge, and expertise in PHP or Python. You can go with either of them if you’re an experienced programmer and need the special language features you need for your project.
But if you’re a beginner, try learning Python first, and then you can shift gradually to PHP or other languages.
Again, if you need to develop science-based applications and sites like AI, ML, Big Data, etc., Python is better.
Q. How is Python better than PHP?
Python is safe because it includes built-in security mechanisms. PHP is mainly used for web application development. Python may also be used for online and app development, data analytics, AI, and machine learning.
Q. How different is PHP from Python?
The primary distinction between Python and PHP is that PHP is widely used in web development, whereas Python is a general-purpose full-stack computer language. In contrast to Python, which is object-oriented, PHP is a server-side scripting language.
Q. Can Python and PHP work together?
You must use the shell_exec method to call a Python file from within a PHP file.
Q. Can PHP be replaced with Python?
Python, one of the most popular programming languages in the world, is a capable alternative to PHP for a wide range of web development applications. This is because it offers enhanced capabilities for exceptional efficiency, particularly in processing and managing massive data volumes.
Q. How much faster is Python than PHP?
PHP 8.1 is significantly quicker – over three times faster than a typical Python program. In performance-critical applications, speed is frequently a significant component.