If you are looking to get code written for your website, then it’s well worth understanding the difference between PHP and JavaScript. You can then decide whether to use PHP, JavaScript or even a mix of the two.

PHP and JavaScript are similar in that both are general-purpose languages used for scripting. This makes them a good choice when involved in web development. However, there is one big difference:

JavaScript – client-side scripting language

PHP – server-side scripting language

Web developers may choose to use them separately or together, harnessing the power of both. To give some idea of their capabilities, Facebook was created using both JavaScript and PHP, as is WordPress, one of the most popular web page design tools available. By knowing this, you should have a good understanding of the power of both languages.

PHP vs JavaScript for web development


This is a very popular and well-used scripting language used in web development worldwide. PayPal and Netflix have built their platforms using JavaScript. When it first originated, it was used predominantly to build interactive web pages.

Now it is used to create both mobile and web applications, games and real-time apps. Because it uses client-side scripting language, it is run on the browser with every browser having a JavaScript engine to run the code. As an example, the JavaScript engine in Firefox is called SpiderMonkey.

In Chrome, it is referred to as V8. JavaScript also fits with the specification standard ECMAScript.


PHP is just as popular as JavaScript and is an open-source scripting language. Used by PHP programmers to build interactive and powerful websites, it is well suited to working on the server-side.

So how does it differentiate from JavaScript?

With PHP, coding is carried out on the server and the HTML created then sent over to the client (browser).

The browser receives the script whilst the primary code is concealed. PHP scripts are run on the server-side. You often see them in command-line scripting. Scripts can also be written for use on desktop applications. PHP runs on all popular operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Linux and macOS and web servers such as Apache.

PHP programs can be used to generate page content, collect data from forms or even send and receive cookies. The list is endless. Comparing JavaScript to PHP

The differences between PHP and JavaScript

So now that you have a good idea of what both languages comprise, how are they different?

  • Type of language – both JavaScript and PHP are popular scripting languages.

    The main difference is that PHP is initiated on the server, resulting in an HTML code that is sent as a browser response. JavaScript is initiated on the browser, not the server. For this reason, you will often hear them referred to as server-side or client-side languages.

    JavaScript could only be run on the browser until the appearance of Node.js. This is an open-source, cross-platform JavaScript run-time environment. It runs the JavaScript code outside of the browser, enabling web developers to use JavaScript on the server-side.

    This way they can create powerful web content before the page being sent to the web browser. When operating Node.js, developers don’t need to use two different languages i.e. client and server-side.

  • Open source – PHP is open source, which means it is free of charge. A large community developed it; hence, it has good support and is well maintained. Because it costs nothing, it is very simple to begin working with PHP. All you need is a PHP parser, web server and web browser.

    JavaScript is not open source but open standard, meaning it is an implementation of ECMAScript. Because JavaScript downloads are free of charge, you will not need to pay anything for scripts produced using JavaScript.

  • Ease of use – unlike HTML or CSS, JavaScript is not a markup language – it is a programming language.

    If you wish to try using JavaScript and already know how to use other programming languages, then the changeover should not be too great. PHP also falls into the programming language category. For those new to programming who want to try it, there are plenty of tutorials online to help you.

    Alternatively, there are plenty of professional web developers around who will create your website for you using your programming language of choice. It’s interesting to note that both PHP and JavaScript are termed ‘interpreted languages’.

    This means that you can easily make changes to your code and run it to see the effect; there is no need to recompile the code.

  • Concurrency – PHP is a multi-threaded asynchronous language. Oppositely, JavaScript is an asynchronous single-threaded programming language. It is no problem to mix Ajax with JavaScript to make use of the asynchronous functionality.
  • Platform-independent – here they are similar as PHP and JavaScript are both platform-independent. This means that they can run on any platform. PHP is often used with operating systems such as Windows, Mac and Linux. Similarly, JavaScript will run on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Safari browsers.
  • Security – if security is key when building your website, then PHP may be a better choice. It is more secure than JavaScript. This is due to PHP code not being browser visible. The downside of JavaScript is that it can be subject to security risks. However, this can be overcome by making use of security analyser tools whilst complying with recommended development practices.

    All professional web developers building websites will take heed of this when building your website.

  • Access to databases – PHP makes it easy to access the database because it uses server-side language. JavaScript, as we already know, uses front-end language. This makes it more difficult for it to access the database.

    The way around this is to use Node.js. This enables JavaScript to perform server-side tasks, such as accessing databases.

    To summarise, the final choice is up to you. Both have pros and cons. Figures show that 94% of websites use JavaScript.

    Currently, it is an extremely popular language and is made use of by 10 million web developers globally.

If you plan to develop a website and host it, you may prefer to use PHP. This is because the code is incredibly simple, free to use and it can run on any platform. Being open-source, it also has a vast developer community.

After some in-depth analysis, you may decide to use either one or even a mix of both.

Much will depend upon the needs of your application development. If you are not going it alone to build your website but making use of the services of a website developer, armed with this knowledge, you can now discuss with them which will be the best language to use.

Get in touch with https://www.altagency.co.uk/ for further information.