PHP or Python: Which language is best for Server Side Development?

PHP or Python: Which language is best for Server Side Development?

Python and PHP are two of the most popular high-level programming languages. PHP is usually used as a server-side scripting language, while Python is valued for its dynamics, availability, and effortlessness. Despite their almost identical popularity among developers, these two languages have many specifics and differences. The wide occurrence and use of these languages lead to the question – which of them is better and more convenient?

In order to give a full answer to this question, it is necessary to carefully consider the features, functionality, and scope of Python and PHP in software development. Also important is to understand main differences and their relation. Choosing the best language for server-side development between PHP and Python based on the product properties is, probably, impossible. In this article, we struggle to at least explain clearly the similarities and differences between these two languages. To intentionally select Python vs PHP for your project, it is worth looking at origins of these languages and the goals their creators pursued first.


The start of the development of this programming tool can be attributed to 1994 when Rasmus Lerdorf created a number of components and extensions that extended capabilities of the most popular than C language. Initially, the components were created in order to facilitate the management of the Rasmus’s own website. However, other developers quickly appreciated the new features of those components and began to actively implement them. As a result of the constant use and extension of PHP, the appearance and growth of the community, the new language has become not just popular: over 80% of the modern websites are based on it. PHP is constantly evolved and complemented by the developer team and members of a large user community together. We can safely say that PHP is on the peak now and it is still very early to talk about the decline in its popularity.


Five years older than its competitor, Python was developed by Guido van Rossum back in 1989 as the ABC language replacement. The main popularity among developers Python got in the 2000s, after the release of Python 2.0, one of the main features of which was the complete Unicode support.

Unlike PHP, Python from the start was engineered as a full stack programming language, irrelative of web development. That’s why it’s not so popular on the web – today less than 1% of websites is created and managed using Python.


For years, debates have been going on about which of the languages is more user-friendly and most applicable to various tasks: PHP or Python? Despite the many differences between these tools, which consist in a different syntax, different spheres of application and logic, these languages, nonetheless, have a number of common properties.

They are convenient, easy to learn and use, have many useful libraries, broad communities, and detailed documentation.

However, to choose the best of two, it all eventually comes down to the purpose of development. Same as in the creation of PHP and Python, before starting to learn the language and developing your own product, it is important to ask the question “what exactly do I want to get in the end?” To create simple working sites and web applications, as the experience of developers around the world and statistics confirm, PHP would be the best solution. However, Python would be the most optimal and suitable tool for the development of complex flexible products.

When it comes to choosing PHP or Python for mobile development, take into consideration that Python is not limited to the web development capabilities, which make it more flexible than PHP. All the major mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Mobile) have some kind of Python port or framework that allows developing native and web applications with a help of Python. Thanks to its regulations and logic, PHP is better applicable for web development exactly. Though there are ways to build mobile web applications over the PHP server-side backends, it is much harder as compared to Python. Not to mention that the simplest way – using the solutions by Zend company, is commercial, though not very pricey.


By: Dextra Technologies

1 year ago
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