Python vs PHP for Web Development: What to Choose for Custom Backend
It is very difficult to find a good backend developer nowadays since pretty much every business needs a website or a mobile app that must be connected to the server. Companies all over the country are offering top dollar to developers with the necessary skills to manage the backend. The most commonly used languages to build the backend of web apps are:
- Python – fairly new and has a huge library support
- PHP – has been around for a long time and is being used by many large companies such as Facebook
- .NET – used mostly by enterprises
In this article we will take a look at only the first two and which of them would work better for you: Python or PHP.
Python vs PHP Performance
One of the reasons that people prefer Python instead of PHP is because it is easy to learn. In fact, most coding courses begin by teaching their students Python so they can learn all the fundamentals. Such simplicity has to give Python the thumbs up from both beginning and experienced developers alike since the code is so much more readable when compared to other languages.
In terms of community support, they are about equal. Even though Python is newer, it still has a very impressive community of developers ready to provide support. Python started to gain popularity when Google began using it to build some of their best-known apps such as YouTube and many other big-name companies have followed suit and began using Python to build their web apps. This list includes Instagram, Pinterest, and Reddit among others.
As far as debugging is concerned, Python has a very powerful debugger called the PDB. There is a lot of documentation available on it and it is very easy to use, even for someone who is just starting out. PHP also provides a debugger, but just like the language itself, it is more difficult to use.
Python vs PHP Speed
In terms of speed, PHP is faster than Python which will significantly improve performance. Such speed is particularly useful when dealing with a lot of data. For example, a banking app that uses a lot of data will require such speed in order to prevent a backup that will be noticed by the users. However, that most simple apps do not require such speed and even if there is some kind of delay in the processing time it will not be noticeable.
In terms of frameworks, Python is often used with Django and Flask while PHP often uses Laravel, YII
Python vs. PHP for Web Development
So far, we have talked a lot about how easy it is to use Python and why a lot of companies love it. However, we need to remember that PHP was specifically designed to create web apps. The difference between PHP and Python is that PHP was created with one purpose in mind and was never intended to be used as a multipurpose language. Web apps are more complex than stand-alone programs, therefore PHP needs to be more advanced in order to accommodate its original purpose. With this point in mind, PHP should be the clear favorite for web development.
While it is true that PHP was created for web development, you still have to consider other factors, such as the experience of your team and which expertise they have. If you have a team that does not have a whole lot of experience, you should stick with Python to avoid problems down the road. It is not possible to learn PHP on the fly and you find some bugs in the code, it will require more advanced expertise than what you have available to you.
You also have to consider another advantage of Python which is its library. Python’s library is very well documented, and you can find support for almost any application. This way even if you do run into some trouble, you will be able to find the answers without bringing in anybody from the outside. However, if you have an experienced team that can handle more complex coding you might as well use PHP since it was specifically designed for that purpose.
A lot also depends on what you are making, how much data it will require and how much data you will be using. If your web app requires handling lots of bytes of data than you will have no choice but to use PHP. Gather all of the requirements for your app, then see which specialists you have on your team and make an informed decision from there.