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10 Reasons Why Python Scores Over PHP for Web Development

Python vs. PHP

When it comes to backend development, PHP and Python web development are two among the most popular choices that businesses, as well as developers, make. However, choosing one among the two is always a tough call. While a massive number of websites are programmed in PHP, Python has been witnessing a steep upward trend in the past 2 years.

If you, however, are leaning towards choosing Python over PHP as your language of choice, this blog is here to clear any doubts that you may have regarding Python vs. PHP.

How has Python been Doing?

According to Datanyze, though in the total websites developed over the month of November 2018, PHP far exceeds those in Python, the websites that dropped PHP as their development language was a whopping 136,55. While PHP once used to rule the roost, it is now certainly witnessing a downward trend, since Python now offers itself as a better alternative.

After its adoption for product platforms by some of the biggest app names like YouTube, Instagram, Quora, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, Google, Netflix, and Spotify, Python has become the new favorite.

According to Stack Overflow, From 2016 to 2017, the year over year growth of Python in the US and UK market has been a steady 27%, much higher than the rate at which PHP has been growing.

Both the languages have their own advantages and disadvantages besides some distinctive features. However, in the recent past, an increasing number of people have switched to Python from PHP, owing to several benefits like robustness, better design, and readability, to name only a few, that the Python programming language provides.

As statistics and trends suggest, Python is certainly one of the programming languages that are looking up, unlike PHP that faces stagnation now. The table below sums it up rather well.

How has Python been Doing?

Nevertheless, since selecting any language over another, in this case, Python over PHP, cannot simply be based on a growth rate, there are a number of reasons which a programmer should look for while making a decision.

So, we are going to compare PHP and Python programming languages for you to help you decide as to why Python may be a better choice for your application.

So, How does Python Compare to PHP?

Given the strong following that PHP has enjoyed for a long time, and maybe it still is, here are a few insights that justify the rapid growth of Python and the proposition that it can be a better language than PHP.

Python has better design than PHP

1. Well-Thought-Out Design

The design refers to the pattern or simply put the way to code. The design of python is well-thought-out when compared to php. Any programmer will find backend programming much easier in python as compared to php, the reason being the flexibilities which python provides such as the absence of pre-defining data types of variables, dynamically bindness and many others.

Though php isn’t an elegant language like Python, although it is completely workable. Any developer having a good experience in programming and software development can also develop in PHP but to be efficient and agile a lot of time and hands-on practice is needed.

A developer who is trained classically, Python gets a lot of things right in terms of being a robust programming language. Not only is that but python much easier to have a grasp on. This is because of the way in which reflection is implemented as well as how functions are treated as first-class objects.

2. In the Ease-of-Learning, Python Wins

Well, on the face of it, it’s easy to work with both PHP and Python. And both are quite well-documented. Both of them also have IDEs for Windows, Linux, as well as MacOS.

But, here’s the deal; if you are a developer, you should consider what is likely to create the maximum value for you in the long term. You would obviously want to work with a language with which you can form a deep, rich, and long-lasting relationship.

In terms of that, Python fits the bill much better than PHP since the uses of the latter are more sophisticated, stand-alone programs but not versatile. Python uses are simpler and thus, more popular. Here is a list of world-class companies that use Python.

So, when its Python vs. PHP, the former wins not only because it’s easy to learn, but also because of a terrific number of tutorials available online.

Python is a better framework than PHP

3. Superior Framework

Frameworks can be defined as pre-built structures which are sort of to-go mechanism. Frameworks allow millions of goals to be achieved and provide much more ease of use as well as they handle a lot of things on their own rather than burdening the coder/programmer to do them.

Python provides many frameworks including Django, Flask, Electron, Pylons. However, Django provided by python is considered the best framework for web development around the programmer’s community in the globe.

The reason why there is so much hype about Django is that it is incredibly simple to utilize, secure, and is quick. It is entirely steady and renders itself usable for various applications. Most new designers lean toward utilizing Django, especially for its shorter development time and simplicity of the arrangement.

Apart from Django (since some consider it too strict as peruse), there is also Flask for people who want to work in web development and have not used any framework before. It is said in Python community that “Django is used by the Navy while the Pirates use flask”. Reason being Flask gives much flexibility to programmers that are not used to working on frameworks.

4. Renders Itself More Readable

Where php codes can be extremely complex and messy if the programmers don’t take care of the proper indentation and are a bit careless, python enforces the programmers to use proper indentation hence making the code much more readable and hence easily understandable. 

This helps purely when a new programmer has to work on the work done by some previous developer. The code and the way things work is easily understandable in python.

Python has a simpler syntax than PHP

5. The Syntax Is Much Simpler than PHP

The syntax of python is much simpler than php, in many cases, the organizations working closely with the developers to get their products developed cannot fully understand the code even if they have a little technical background. 

The reason for this being many languages involve many symbols or reserved words in their syntax that are hard to comprehend. Of all the languages developed python is clearly the one which is the closest to the English language in a sense of its usage. Even a person with a little technical background can easily understand and comprehend the code.

6. Simpler, Easily Available Tools Debugging Tools

Debugging relates to a process of finding bugs/errors in an application and resolving them. This is one of the major issues faced by developers in everyday programming. Debugging usually requires a lot of time to identify the error and then resolving it takes even more time which costs start-ups and growing organizations a lot.

Python has an easily available very efficient debugging tool which makes finding errors much more easy, simpler and quicker and hence saving a lot of time for both developers and the organization as well. The debugger provided by python (PDB) is well-documented and very easy to use.

PHP also offers a debugger package called XDebug, which is great. The only margin by which Python wins is that it requires fewer debugging tools than PHP. The download package in python suffices more often than not.

Python's package management is better than PHP's

7. Package Management

Package management acts as the glue between various projects. With its help, you can write, build, and share packages in such a format that other developers can easily plug into other applications.

Package management does exist in PHP, but there probably aren’t any code bases using it to the extent that PIP (a tool for installation and management of Python packages) does.

It enables you to install, uninstall, upgrade, and use a broad range of sources for internal and external libraries. It is rare to find a list of all third-party libraries and the version numbers in use, written in one file.

In Python, the package managers neatly organize the code and keep backups as well as the version numbers. The package management in python enables developers to see their progress and helps organizations to visit regular updates on the work, hence keeping a better track of how things are actually moving forward.

8. Front-end feasibility

Since many of the web programmers are feasible with developing the front-end or the layout of their web sites or web portals using tools and languages such as Angular, React, CSS, Bootstrap, etc. Python does provide feasibility for the developers to adapt the very same techniques and join it with Python code via its frameworks. 

So a designer can design/make the same elegant website while the backend developers would be at ease because they can still use it with a much simpler and easier language i.e python.

9. Python is More Versatile than PHP

Nowadays the web applications are not only restricted to developing simply portals or websites for information but AI is also becoming an essential part of the web these days. All of the businesses that have online portals which provide services to the customers are using advanced AI and machine learning algorithms.

Such algorithms not only help them in identifying their users more accurately but also analysis with machine learning tells the organizations which specific domains of their business they should funnel their investments in. 

Python has many libraries which are very strong and powerful as compared to libraries being provided by PHP. These libraries include assistance in all domains including NLP (Natural Language Processing), image processing and many others.

Python Software Foundation

10. Vast Support and Community

Each language has a specific community which can be thought of as the people who use that language and also includes the people who work for the betterment of that language. The betterment usually includes updates and introduction of libraries which make the work much easier. 

Both python and php have excellent community support. Since PHP has been in the market, for php web development, much longer than python so it has a huge community of PHP developers which are ready to provide support.

Python even though, being introduced much later is matching very closely with PHP. There are many python developers and the community of python is growing very rapidly. As a result, community support is outstanding.

Python became much popular only after Google started using it for developing some of its applications such as YouTube. Many popular startups of this era such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Reddit use Python-based web applications. Having said all that it must be kept in mind that the biggest social media platform i.e Facebook was built purely in PHP backend.

Summing Up

Both PHP and Python have their own advantages. While PHP is the one which is being used for web development for a long time but python is taking over very rapidly. 

In the end, it is not PHP or Python. The best PHP framework will be the one that suits the requirement of your project. Both languages are easy to learn and are backed by large communities, elaborate documentation, and support. However, Python is the one that is seeing an upward trend and becoming the more popular choice.

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Sunil Goyal

About the Author

Sunil finds his forte in defining software architectures. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, he has contributed to several leading projects. He loves spending time with friends and ensures to do so even on a hectic day.

Leave a Comment

Rafael

7:51 PM, Sep 17, 2019

I'm a python/php developer and Love both languages. I'd suggest anyone who is starting to try Python over PHP but.. I strongly desagree wehn you say that PHP comunity is no as large as Python's.

Khoa Pham

3:10 PM, Aug 27, 2019

The funny thing is this website was built by WordPress :))
Anyway, i love both PHP and Python

jenster

2:17 AM, Jul 26, 2019

So far the only thing that really turns me off from Python are the endless stream of articles like this and every IT person I've ever met insisting that it is just so superior to PHP. Python pushers aren't really doing the language much of a service with their superiority complex.

If you want to promote Python, how about supporting (or starting) hosting companies that offer Python-specific servers and services. Or help to develop Python's web- and security-related tools and functions to make it more viable for straight web development. Better yet, take your case to CEOs and Project Managers - you know, the people who actually decide which types of projects to develop (and usually which languages to develop them in).

The fact is, PHP is the clear winner because it dominates 99% (or more) of the market - and has done so for well over a decade. A budding developer has choices. He can learn PHP and have thousands of jobs to choose from developing real projects in the real world to solve real problems (no matter how ugly). Or he can learn Python and feel good about himself for writing "pretty" code. I agree, it might be more elegant code - but that doesn't much matter much if nobody is buying it. At least for those of us who care about supporting ourselves (and our families).

In summary, savvy developers react to market forces and learn to do what the market actually desires - and create things in the real world. Idealists, educators, and commentators then get the luxury to sit back in their high towers and criticize them for daring to create something because they didn't use the most ideal tools to do it. Tale as old as time.

Antoine

3:46 AM, Jul 10, 2019

While PHP7 kill Python eaaaasily, look for PHP8.

It will be a game changer.

I can't say it will better than an node backend, but this will clearly kill a couple of web backend language.

PS: this is so much funny people think that PHP is ONLY for web ?.

I just finished an React Native project using PHP rest API (my backend was already made) and this is now on Android, iOS and Windows using PHP as backend.

Fast and secure.

Bart

10:21 PM, Jun 28, 2019

I work in php webdev about 13 years, for about 6 I use python for iot and ml. I relay have to say few words:
1. Each language is so elegant as developer is, and if you look around You can see both good and bad examples. So point 1 is not true. (no winner)
2. My first language was C so in my case PHP was VERY easy and i think in general for anyone whit C-like background PHP wins. So in point two it's depend of individual background. (no winner)
3. I use Symfony, Django and Flask. Picking winner is easy and it is Symfony. Why? Easy, robust, well documented, clean. (PHP winner)
4. Most people says that python is easy to read - probably they did not see code that was written as "write and forget". But it is same as first point - developer depend. It true that python force you to do indentation, but ( it may by my C background ) i relay prefer " { } " (no winner)
5. Are we again in point 2 or in 4? :) (no winner)
6. Did you use debug in Symfony ? Probably no :) (PHP winner)
7. Did you ever see composer? Get it on https://getcomposer.org/ :) But its true PIP is awesome (Python winner)
8. OK, lambda is great, in php you have anonymous functions ;) (no winner)
9. True, php is mostly for web, while python is good for prototyping everything else. (PHP winner)
10. Python have big community around python and everything, php have smaller community around php and webdevelopment :) (no winner)
11. You forget about hosting (PHP winner)
12. You forget about security (PHP winner)

Let's say this clean webdevelopment - PHP (plus JS on fronend :) ) else ( if writing in C/C++ take to long ) Python.

Ravi Kumar

1:37 PM, Jun 25, 2019

With the help of python programming you can easily makes your website in a better way. As its a advanced programming you will get to also work in AI, Machine Learning.

Mitesh Sharma

7:15 PM, May 17, 2019

Python and Php both are great langages. Php is much more in web development but Python has much wide sectors like web development, ai, machine learning etc.

Christoper Stalin

12:59 PM, May 13, 2019

very useful blog, nice explanation, but little difficult to understood the content.

Usman

10:15 AM, May 11, 2019

Graeme you are 100% right

TK

11:56 AM, Apr 30, 2019

Biased much? I'm familiar with PHP and am learning python for its use in machine learning and blender scripting. This article caught my eye but did such a poor job of arguing that python is viable for web development that considering it over PHP is clearly just silly unless for some reason in particular python was needed for an unusual project.

And the irony of this trash being posted on a wordpress site is also a nice touch. lol

Ferdinand

4:26 AM, Apr 08, 2019

This article triggers me! It makes me cringe really. Badly written, no basis! Just bad. I bet whoever wrote this is a die-hard python fan, or not really programming in php.

BK

10:11 PM, Mar 15, 2019

I use both PHP and Python on a regular basis, You're going to have a hard time convincing me that a programming language that uses whitespace for structure is superior and more elegant. Sure, I'll give python credit in that it's maybe easier for someone with no previous experience in real structured programming languages to learn. That's really it's ONLY advantage though. Python is not more robust or powerful than PHP, it's just the latest fad for script kiddies and people with little to no actual programming experience.

j

12:42 AM, Mar 09, 2019

You don't even mention Laravel?? Halfway through this "article," I had to scroll up to look at the date because I figured it was 10 years, or more, older...I stopped reading when I realized it was written a few months ago. And... "but there probably aren’t any code bases using it to the extent that PIP...does" ... o.O are you high? You're trying to say pip is superior and in more production environments than composer?!? Wtf? You are clearly a python developer trying to get noticed and no nothing about modern PHP and seemingly not that much about OOP or web development in general, either.

Nwakasi Stephen

10:07 AM, Feb 25, 2019

Starting out web development with Django is probably not a good idea if you want to understand "web programming." A huge part of the work has been done for you. You don't even see the logic sometimes, but it works. So with Django, you do not need to write a lot of back end logic, just stick to the Django-rules.

I am going to say here that anyone who wants to program the web and also wants to know how and why things are done the way they are should start with something else, not a framework. And PHP is a good start.

Ananya Roy

7:54 PM, Feb 07, 2019

This is so ridiculous. Kindly read the benefits of PHP because there are many.

jim

9:46 PM, Jan 29, 2019

I am really surprised at how bad this article is. The author clearly does not have any knowledge of PHP, OOP or modern PHP frameworks. For instance, the use of lambdas. PHP does support lambdas but you simply don't need them in OOP.

Graeme

1:33 PM, Jan 10, 2019

And what about the disadvantages? Like the fact that PHP is easy to run on most modern hosting servers without much setup, yet Python is not and requires more expensive hosting packages to install the necessary software to compile and run your code? Not gonna lie, I was hoping for a more wholistic argument to help me with my problem, not your “python-is-better” article.

B Chast

12:47 AM, Jan 08, 2019

It is not PHP or Python, but which one works better for the project you are working on. People should have the freedom to choose for themselves whatever is going to work best for them. Both languages are easy to learn and a developer doesn't have to choose one or the other nowadays. Why not both? PHP has advantages over Python for simple websites and doesn't rely upon some IDE for web development like Python (unless you want to code all of that yourself).

Fang Hao

1:35 PM, Dec 17, 2018

You clearly dont know much about modern PHP

Sunday Adejoh

2:02 AM, Nov 03, 2018

Good evening sir, am a young aspiring developer from Nigeria, please just tell me which to learn PHP or Python??

Daniel Craig Jallits

7:31 AM, Sep 13, 2018

Most of your arguments regarding PHP are severely outdated. Since 2012, the language that has made the most significant advancements is PHP.

For instance:

Composer beats the snot out of PIP for package management.

PHP 7 is a complete smoke show compared to previous versions, and I’m stoked that a JIT compiler is finally being included in v8.

Laravel right now is the clear winner for PoC development and Symfony for Enterprise applications.

Forget Drupal, WordPress or Drupal as those are applications and do not properly represent PHP as a whole. Those are just segments of a much wider, active and thriving user base, that is not nearly as toxic as some of the other language communities I’ve been involved with.

Mohammad Ashrafuddin Ferdousi

3:59 AM, Aug 19, 2018

Nice writing and I am writing you at 2018! :)

I agree with you only with the last point. But I seriously think you should look at 5.6 or greater, specifically php 7.2. You may also check PSR. In context of programming and better programming practice php 7 is playing a great role. Now-a-days php libraries are glue and exchangeable! These all are amazing for programmers' community.

The main problem I find is lack of good php developers. As php is a forgiving language even now, lots of people start programming in php and able to make something visible! They need to be trained up with professional software engineering technique and best practices.

Otherwise, php has lots of features like type hinting, interface, traits and obviously class. If someone follow the correct techniques, this is even better language than ruby or python in context of web development.

In theory, lots of people says about needle haystack issue. But with a good IDE its not so much bigger issue! Even python have "self" which is a design mistake and its not a big deal. At day end, we produce softwares by writing codes. If we have enough knowledge, we make things correct!

Thanks!

William Taylor

2:21 PM, Aug 17, 2018

I have been a programmer since 1974, just looking too deepen my Python experience as I think about converting some Php AI applications to Python to too merge too chatbot technologies together.

While I did enjoy reading this piece, but it was way short of providing anything more than opinion. If you do update it with some references or examples, please email me.

Cheers,

Harry Corner

7:26 PM, Aug 03, 2018

I liked the post. However, I felt during my read as though few of those points are rather opinionated than comparatively defined.

Ali

6:42 AM, May 08, 2018

I have spent 2 years building my online reservation system and backend Administrator portal using HTML/CSS on the frontend, javascript/jquery with ajax functions and php scripts. I understand Python is so popular now a days but I am having a tough time understand what part of my html + css + javascript/jquery + ajax + PHP I would replace with Python? And why would I replace it with Python?

Rik Roos

3:26 AM, Apr 04, 2018

I've learned Django and I agree that this is not something you will do on one rainy Sunday afternoon. But the logic of the framework is very consistent. After a couple of days you can build a library-site or a blog-site with authentication (login) and authorization (perform special tasks) options. But before learning Django you should learn HTML, CSS and Javascript well; my advice is ignore the frameworks like JQuery and Bootstrap; start with the basics.

James Patricia

5:36 PM, Mar 14, 2018

PHP is Server Side Scripting Language compatible with all known OS like Windows ,Linux etc .Nowadays, PHP frameworks are being extensively used by programmers to address to performance tuning issues faster and with ease.Thank you for sharing this amazing blog with us.It was very informative blog.

noshad

8:34 AM, Feb 28, 2018

that haha moment when you build your website with php wordpress just to write php is bad compare to other language

jc

9:50 PM, Dec 22, 2017

I agree to some of your point but package management in php is still light-years ahead of Python even at this time.
Look at composer and packagist and compare that to pi, pipy and virtualenv. good lord.

Gaurav

7:34 PM, Dec 14, 2017

Could you provide me some online websites names to learn python free of cost.

Paul Wakhungu

5:57 PM, Oct 11, 2017

The article seems to have been written by someone who has not had a first hand experience with PHP. Readability of code for example depends on how the code is structured, which of course is dependent on the developer. The entire article seems full of opinions rather than researched work.

Ram krishna

5:59 AM, Jun 03, 2017

I went through the content and portfolio, I am new in both the langs, i.e PHP & python.

I have a simple question to ask you.

By using any language, why not a 100% standalone product get build, without post support work?

EBIOWEI

1:02 PM, May 19, 2017

I am a total beginner who hasn't even known how to start, I want to know if Python can be used single handedly to build a cloth shopping website. Is it thesame Python 3 I want to start learning that I'll use, or is it that python for web development is a different thing than Python for normal apps like mobile? Please if this question is silly forgive me, I just need to know what's what.

Jayan Gopinath

7:08 PM, Apr 10, 2016

I agree with Python's ever increasing popularity. And innumerable no. of third party libraries in several different verticals are available for Python.
Thanks to Guido van Rossum.

Nope

9:23 PM, Oct 03, 2015

Nothing you've written about PHP is actually accurate, and the rest is opinion. But wonderfully "objective" little article you've written.

erm3nda

4:54 AM, Sep 02, 2015

Definetively yes, that's why i move from PHP to Python.

But for novices, PHP is the quick way to create their little app's :D