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Python vs. PHP – The comparison of two popular programming languages

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Python and PHP are two popular programming languages that have been made available under an open-source license.

Let's take a look at them and see which performs better in the Python vs. PHP clash.

Python (YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit) – advantages and characteristics

Why is Python so eagerly used? The list of advantages of Python is long, but the most important are: the ease of use, the high performance it provides to a developer and the quality of the software. This popular language, which developers use in stand-alone programs and scripts, will make work more efficient and enjoyable.

Easy code maintenance and efficient language

Python is easy to read, which makes it easy to maintain – the number of changes we'll have to make in the future will not be large. Moreover, it supports advanced scripting mechanisms that allow you to reuse the code. Python is a concise language requiring far fewer characters than, for example, C, C++, or Java.

Good, regardless of the platform

It doesn't matter if you use Windows or Linux: Python does well on all the major platforms. Suppose we need to transfer Python from Linux to Windows. That may seem time-consuming, but it's usually enough to copy the script code between computers.


Developing code in Python is faster because the software written in it runs instantly. So we don't have to use external tools and compilations. A compiler is a program that is used to automatically translate code written in one language into equivalent code in another programming language. Such a process is called a compilation.

A lot of coding options

Python offers numerous options for coding portable graphical user interfaces, database access programs, or web systems.

Extensive library

Python contains a rich collection of built-in and portable options. Such a library allows you to handle a wide range of programming tasks at the application level, from design pattern matching to network scripts (by script, we mean a program that doesn't require a transformation phase from text to executable form).

Developers also receive access to many extensions – small libraries and many programs that support applications. You gain a tool for constructing websites or creating video games, etc.

Youtube mascot dog
Python was used to develop YouTube | Photo: Travis Wise / Flickr.com

Simple and Readable

The simple and clear syntax speaks in favor of Python. On top of that, it comes with a consistent programming model. Python encompasses only a small number of basic concepts. That is why it's easy to understand, learn and remember.

Python makes operations easier for a developer because it usually offers one obvious course of action, although there are many ways of performing tasks. In addition, there is a small set of consistent interactions in each area of the language.

Communication with other parts of an application

Python communicates efficiently with other parts of an application, all thanks to the use of numerous integration mechanisms. What do we gain from this? We can use Python to extend and customize products according to our needs.

Enjoyable programming

From a developer's point of view, Python's huge advantage is the enjoyment of programming. It stems not only from its ease of use but also from its built-in collection of tools.

High quality and speed

With modules and object-oriented programming, Python focuses on quality.

Furthermore, Python performs well in terms of software speed. It achieves this with its simple syntax, dynamic types, lack of complexity, and built-in toolkit. Python is often called an object-oriented scripting programming language. That means that it combines support for object-oriented programming with a focus on scripting.

The essence of object-oriented programming is to create a model of a problem being solved. Object-oriented programming reduces the risk of making mistakes when writing a program and enables you to reuse the code.

PHP (WordPress, Facebook, Wikipedia, Tumblr) – advantages and characteristics

PHP is a scripting programming language used for web platforms, applications, and websites. However, it is most commonly used to generate code for websites.

Most web applications use PHP for the Back end (server side), and the language itself is constantly evolving. Today it can offer good performance and a substantial catalog of libraries.

Web applications

The main advantage of PHP is the efficient programming of web applications. PHP is optimized for use cases – and is constantly being developed in that direction.

Dynamically Typed Language

PHP also features high-level, loose, and dynamic typing, which means that a variable (an object in programming that stores various types of data necessary for a program to run) can change types and doesn't need to be rigidly specified.

Open-source code

Access to the open-source code that PHP gives us is essential. I should add that Facebook developed its own language based on PHP called Hack.

drawing showing Mark Zuckeberg
Mark Zuckerberg developed Facebook in PHP | Photo: Flickr.com

Easy to learn

PHP is relatively easy to learn because it uses a syntax similar to a language such as C, or C++, for example.

Object-oriented programming

As in Python, we also get support for object-oriented programming mechanisms.

Low cost of environment implementation

You should keep in mind the low cost of environment implementation. Implementation is the process of transforming an abstract description of a system or program written in a specific programming language.

Other advantages of PHP include high stability and speed, in addition to high performance when working with the various types of available servers and different database engines.

Python vs. PHP – The comparison

Ease of learning

Python is a much easier language to learn than PHP. It doesn't take much time to understand, and it’s perfect for learning the basics of programming. When we compare Python with other programming languages, we'll discover that writing programs in it is much faster and simpler. That stems from its simple syntax and readable code.

Today Python is the most straightforward programming language. However, it's worth noting that PHP was designed only for web applications, not for general-purpose use, such as developing simple standalone programs.

Community support

Programming often poses problems, so it's essential to have the help of the community that has gathered around a particular language. In this regard, both Python and PHP supporters have no reason to complain – both communities are vast and eager to help each other.


Both languages offer extensive documentation. In addition, in the case of PHP and Python, there is no shortage of numerous information sites and discussion forums, which are rich sources of knowledge.


Python and PHP are available for free under an open-source license that allows you to customize your code.


Python has well-developed support for libraries and almost all types of applications. And while PHP doesn't fare badly, in a Python vs. PHP comparison, Python definitely wins. A significant advantage of Python is libraries that support increasingly popular machine learning, such as TensorFlow, Keras, Theano, and Scikit Learn. They’re all fast and easy to use.

Mermaid Ariel strangled by a python
Python has a slight advantage over PHP | Fot. Flickr.com


In terms of speed, PHP performs better. The latest version of PHP is almost three times faster than a typical Python program. That can be especially important in the case of, for example, a banking system where millions of page views are generated daily.

Frameworks for web applications

Django, Flask, Pylons, or Pyramid are the most popular Python-based frameworks. In the case of PHP, these are Codeigniter, Yii, Laminas (Zend), Laravel, or Symfony.

Developers are particularly fond of Django because it's characterized by high speed, scalability, security, ease of use, and broad applicability. As for PHP, Codeigniter and Laravel are the most commonly chosen frameworks.


Python offers a PDB debugger, while PHP provides the XDebug package. Both packages rely on the most commonly used debugging functions, which puts them at about the same level.

Python vs. PHP – Summary

Python has a slight advantage over PHP, a more complicated and difficult language to learn. However, this shouldn't be a problem for an experienced developer.

You can use Python in any field – from simple scripts that "glue" other programs together through web development and video game programming, robotics, machine learning, and data analysis. Meanwhile, PHP will work well for, among other things, web applications.

Please also take a look at our article Wireframe, mockup, and prototype. Why are they important, and how do they differ?

Title image: laboutiquedupetitprince.com

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Author: Piotr Burakowski
Business and technology journalist, publishing since 2006.
Reviewer: Dymitr Romanowski

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