PHP or Node.js for backend

While most websites still use PHP on their backend, Node.js is quickly becoming the “hot new backend technology”. It’s also becoming the most popular backend language for rapid prototyping with, for example, the Express framework. Both PHP and Node.js are open-source, but which one should you use?

If you’ve been debating whether to use PHP or Node.js on the backend, now is the time to figure it out. Here are our conclusions from running both on real projects:

Pros of Node.js

  • It is fun and easy to start a small project with.
  • Node.js gives you fast startup times.
  • You can scale your Node.js projects as quickly as you like.
  • Node.js can perform many of the same functions as PHP.
  • It doesn’t take much server time to setup Node.js.

Pros of PHP

  • It’s built into every major CMS and it’s easy to find a team with experience.
  • There’s a larger pool of developers and support.
  • There are a lot of tools for developing PHP projects.
  • The codebase is solid, has a good ecosystem, and it’s easy to run it on a server.
  • PHP is popular and easy to learn.

What to choose – PHP or Node.js

PHP is a mature and reliable language that’s been around for ages. With solid tooling and libraries that run on the most widely used and supported platform for the web today, PHP offers you less of a culture clash, and it’s easier to find a team with experience.

Node.js, on the other hand, is relatively new, but very promising. It is easy to get started with and has lots of resources, including a huge community, good tooling, and lots of tutorials. Node.js is great for small and medium-sized projects, but it also offers significant benefits for large applications.

PHP might make sense for the following:

  • Want a quick product to launch? PHP is the right choice.
  • Don’t want to take your time learning Node.js, and want to get a working version of your app as soon as possible? PHP is the way to go.
  • Don’t want to put a ton of development resources into a product that’s unlikely to be successful? PHP.

On the other hand, Node.js is an excellent choice for one of the following reasons:

  • You have an established app, and want to leverage the awesome Node.js ecosystem.
  • If you want to put a ton of time and energy into a product that’s likely to be successful.
  • When you have a team that is familiar with Node.js and you’re excited about the possibilities that this language can offer.


I hope this article has given you some food for thought about how Node.js is a great alternative to PHP for the majority of web projects. Now that you know the benefits of using Node.js in your web development, you can decide if it’s the right fit for your project. If you don’t know what to choose, go on with PHP. I find it more beginner-friendly. Good luck!

2 thoughts on “PHP or Node.js for backend”

Leave a Comment