PHP vs JavaScript: Which one is the best?

Anirudh Kamboj

Anirudh Kamboj

03 November 2021

Some programmers argue that there is no point in discussing the difference between PHP and JavaScript. This is because all of them support various uses of website development. When it comes to PHP and JavaScript for website development, the answer is incredibly simple. PHP is a server-side scripting language, and JavaScript is a client-side scripting language. PHP and JavaScript work together to create a dynamic website. However, with the advent of Node.js, Angular.js, and React.js, JavaScript can be applied to server-side scripts as well.


PHP Hypertext Preprocessor is a server-side scripting language. Most websites are one of the basic web technologies that use this language. Developers can build websites that are running dynamically. PHP includes some precise and great features that allow developers to create feature-rich web pages and database-based sites. The framework helps build highly interactive web pages such as photo galleries and login pages. Because PHP is open-source, it can run on most operating systems available today, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and UNIX. Learning PHP and using it is very simple.

In other words, it is a programming language that contains HTML for various tasks, such as creating custom web content, sending and receiving cookies, and evaluating form data sent from the browser. Databases such as PostgreSQL, Oracle, Sybase, SQL MySQL, etc. PHP also supports major protocols such as IMAP and POP3 LDAP.

PHP allows you to process forms, store data in files and collect data from files, return data to users, and more.

Example: Imagine a website that allows users to see the status of their orders after logging in. It queries the database via PHP coding and outputs information about a particular user based on the information in the database.


JavaScript was designed to create network-centric applications. With JavaScript, web pages are no longer static HTML, but allow programs to interact with users, control the browser, and dynamically generate HTML content. The advantage of JavaScript is that it has less server interaction, so it can validate user input before submitting the page. JavaScript allows instant feedback to visitors.

In other words, it is a lightweight language often referred to as a client-side scripting language, which creates interactive and dynamic web pages that typically run in a browser. It is widely used not only for building user-friendly creative web pages but also for non-web projects such as game development, mobile apps, PDFs, etc. It is time-efficient because no recompilation is required. There are also advanced server-side versions of JavaScript, such as Node.js and Angular.js, which allow you to design websites with more features as well as download files.

Example: When you hover your mouse over the menu tab of the web page, the drop-down effect is executed via JavaScript.


Before we dive into the PHP-JavaScript conflict, we need to understand some of the similarities between PHP and JavaScript. Both object-oriented and interpretive languages. It is open-source, platform-independent, and provides memory management capabilities. Variables are case sensitive, support the framework, and always require HTTP execution. It is famous for its object-oriented scripting capabilities in PHP. JavaScript, on the other hand, can mimic these features using encapsulated functions that PHP recognizes in local variables and methods.

In addition to the similarities between PHP and JavaScript, these two languages ​​are a powerful combination when used together. Many websites combine PHP and JavaScript. Front-end JavaScript and back-end PHP have a lot of community support and a vast code base of different libraries and frameworks. Developers building online gaming sites typically combine PHP and JavaScript to provide a reliable and secure platform to host a variety of games.


Server Side vs Client-Side Scripting:
PHP is a server-side scripting language. This means it runs on the web server, not on the client machine.
Server-side programming helps to deliver dynamic content (usually a database) to the user, such as a welcome message ("Hello, Alex!") when the user logs in.

JavaScript is a client-side language, it runs on the user's laptop, phone, or tablet.
JavaScript manipulates the DOM representing the Document Object Model and can be thought of as a tree-like structure formed from the HTML of a web page.
You've probably stumbled upon the accordion and toggle as part of the FAQ plugin, and you've probably seen client-side JavaScript in action. When a question is clicked or tapped, a JavaScript event handler shows CSS, sets display properties, or hides/shows answers related to unwinding.

Frontend vs backend:
PHP runs on the backend of your website. This is the part that is not visible to visitors. This means PHP doing all the work on a given web server and its admin.

JavaScript was running on the old front-end, but that changed in 2009 when the back-end runtime, Node.js, was launched. JavaScript today is truly a full-stack language.

The Runtime environment:
Both PHP and JavaScript cover different runtime environments. However, both can be easily integrated with your HTML code. Each requires a different interpreter to run the code. PHP uses ZendEngine as its compiler and runtime engine with a simple installation method. Zend Engine's reliability, scalability, and performance play a major role in PHP's growing popularity. With the introduction of Nodejs, a JavaScript runtime environment, JavaScript brings the ability to do things that other server-side programming languages ​​can, such as controlled access to content, data analysis, custom user experiences, and more. Browser JavaScript and Node.js all run on the V8 JavaScript runtime engine.

If you are in the middle of choosing the right back-end technologies, consider the following points:

Pick PHP as your backend language when your project covers:

  • Solution stacks like LAMP (Apache, Linux, MySQL, PHP).
  • CMS like Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, etc.
  • Servers like PostgreSQL, MariaDB, Oracle, Sybase, etc.

Choose JavaScript when your project covers:

  • Front-end technologies like Angular js, React js, Backbone.js, Ember.js, etc.
  • SPAs (Dynamic Single Page Applications)
  • Server Technologies like MongoDB, Express.js, Node.js, etc.
  • Solutions Stacks like MEAN (Express js, Angular js, MongoDB, etc.)

Comparing PHP and JavaScript, PHP can take a slight advantage due to its open-source availability and simplicity. Instead of comparing these languages, combine PHP and JavaScript better to get the benefits of both.

Read the manual page on predefined variables as it includes a partial list of predefined variables available to your script. A complete list of available variables (and much more information) can be seen by calling the phpinfo() function. Be sure to read the manual section on variables from outside of PHP as it describes common scenarios for external variables, like from an HTML form, a Cookie, and the URL.

The functions header(), setcookie(), and the session functions need to add headers to the output stream but headers can only be sent before all other content. There can be no output before using these functions, output such as HTML. The function headers_sent() will check if your script has already sent headers and see also the Output Control functions.

The security model of IIS is at fault here. This is a problem common to all CGI programs running under IIS. A workaround is to create a plain HTML file (not parsed by PHP) as the entry page into an authenticated directory. Then use a META tag to redirect to the PHP page, or have a link to the PHP page. PHP will then recognize the authentication correctly. This should not affect other NT web servers.

DOM stands for Document Object Model and is responsible for how various objects in a document interact with each other. DOM is required for developing web pages, which includes objects like paragraphs, links, etc. These objects can be operated to include actions like add or delete. DOM is also required to add extra capabilities to a web page. On top of that, the use of API gives an advantage over other existing models.

Events are the actions that result from activities, such as clicking a link or filling a form by the user. An event handler is required to manage the proper execution of all these events. Event handlers are an extra attribute of the object. This attribute includes the event's name and the action taken if the event takes place.

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