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6 minutes read

PHP Replacement: What Other Languages Are Available?

By Jose Gomez
By Jose Gomez
App Development
6 minutes read

Is there a PHP replacement language? Whether you could never get the hang of PHP, are concerned about its age and performance levels, or noticed that it has slipped in terms of overall popularity, it is not a bad idea to consider PHP alternatives for your web development project. 

Even the most ardent PHP supporters know that there is no one perfect programming language. Technology is constantly evolving, and PHP is over 25 years old now. This post will briefly explain PHP for comparison and then review some of the most popular PHP alternatives being used today. 

Is It Time to Replace PHP?

PHP was first developed in 1995. Despite this programming language being over 25 years old, it is still widely used for server-side scripting in web development projects. In addition, PHP can be used in other ways since it is a general-purpose language. PHP code is embedded in HTML and can be used with various content management systems, powerful frameworks, and templates. 

Web developers like PHP because it is easy to learn, highly scalable, embeds in HTML, and has a large community of developers. The common critiques of PHP are that it lacks the security and reliability of more modern languages, doesn’t perform as well as newer languages, and PHP’s error handling is bad. Furthermore, PHP has been dropping in overall popularity. In 2020, it was the fifth most popular language. In 2021, PHP was the sixth most popular language. 

PHP Alternatives 

What other languages can be used for server-side development? The most popular PHP alternatives include:

  • Node.js 
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Go
  • Rust 
  • C#

Node.js 

Technically, Node.js is not a programming language. Instead, Node.js is a server-side run-time development environment for JavaScript. This tool gives web developers the ability to use JavaScript for server-side development. If the only thing Node.js did was allow developers to write server-side code in JavaScript, it wouldn’t be rapidly growing in popularity like it is. 

Node.js also runs asynchronous code on the server. By running asynchronous code, Node.js boosts server performance making it faster and giving it the ability to handle more requests. The Node.js community of developers is not as large as PHP, but it is growing steadily. Plus, the Node Package Manager includes over six hundred thousand packages that can be used to build web applications. 

Python

In recent years, Python has overtaken PHP for server-side development. Python is likely the most accessible programming language on this list to learn and use. Python is often used in tandem with powerful web frameworks like Django and Flask. Django’s main selling points are security and scalability, and Flask boasts flexibility, simplicity, and minimalism. 

In addition, Python is used for more than server-side development. For example, Python is frequently used to write Machine Learning algorithms. When compared with PHP, Python is commonly chosen because it is easier to use and it has more applications. When you consider powerful frameworks like Django and Flask, Python outperforms PHP convincingly. 

Ruby 

Ruby is a dynamic programming language that focuses on simplicity and performance. Like Python, Ruby is far easier to learn and use than PHP. Ruby is one of the most user-friendly languages you will ever use. Ruby’s robust MVC framework Ruby on Rails, offers web developers additional capabilities. Rails took Ruby to new heights, and while it is not the only Ruby framework, it is the most popular and widely used. 

When compared to PHP, Ruby allows developers to build projects faster. The web development process is further aided by Ruby on Rails which prioritizes convention over configuration and simplifies rapid prototyping. As a result, Ruby is a better choice whether you want to build an eCommerce application or a custom database solution. 

Go

Go, or Golang, is a programming language created by the team at Google. Go is far younger than PHP, Python, or Ruby. Many web developers argue that Go is even simpler to learn and use than Python, and it is more scalable. This language is primarily used to build large distributed applications. Go can handle high loads, which is why media platforms like Netflix and Youtube choose to use this language. 

While Go is simpler to learn and use than PHP, there is very little documentation. In addition, PHP has a large support community, while the community for Go is still relatively small. However, Go outperforms PHP in all testable benchmarks, including CPU utilization, memory usage, and testing time. 

Rust 

Rust is a trendy programming language, but it is the newest language on our list. As a result, it is not mature enough to be an adequate PHP replacement, but it is an exciting technology that you should keep your eyes on. It can be used in several ways, including web app development. 

The main reason developers love Rust is that it is a secure language. The threats posed by cyberattacks are well-documented and at the forefront of many developers’ thoughts. Using Rust, many of the current cyber threats can be avoided altogether. Rust is not yet ready to fully replace PHP, but this programming language shows a lot of potential in web design and development. 

C#

C# is a logical programming language that most developers agree is well-designed. In addition, C# is very closely related to the robust web framework ASP.NET. This makes C# one of the best choices for writing applications for the Windows operating system. It can also be used to develop cross-platform apps that run on Linux. 

Some web developers argue that C# is too complex, but it can be used for more than web applications. C# is also used for mobile apps and desktop applications. You likely won’t replace PHP with C#, but if you are already familiar with C++ or Java, C# will be easy to understand and use.

Final Thoughts 

Despite its waning popularity, PHP is still widely used in server-side development. However, there are several quality alternatives available too. If you’re unsure which programming language is best suited for your present and future needs, reach out to an app development partner. It might not be time to start looking for a PHP replacement, but it is good to understand your options.

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