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Amy Parker
Amy Parker

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PHP Vs Java: Who takes the Cake in this Battle of Web Development Languages

Java and PHP are the two most popular programming languages out there, but which one is right for you? They both have their upsides and downsides, but also many similarities that make it difficult to decide between them. Let’s take a look at what they each have to offer and see if we can figure out which one of these two popular programming languages is right for you.

Basic Information :

  • PHP

PHP is a server-side scripting language most commonly used to create dynamic web pages. You can use PHP code to generate HTML elements on a website, add content or even enable users to interact with your site in real time. PHP is free and open source, and is currently being used by more than 240 million websites.

PHP began as a single script written by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994 for his online resume. The name comes from two common acronyms for PERL (PHP's predecessor) and HTML - PHP was originally intended as an acronym for Personal Home Page, but it officially stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.

  • Java

Java is a general-purpose, object-oriented computer programming language that is concurrent, class-based, and specifically designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. Java was originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems (which has since merged into Oracle Corporation) and released in 1995 as a core component of Sun Microsystems' Java platform.

The language derives much of its syntax from C and C++ but has a simpler object model and fewer low-level facilities. Java applications are typically compiled to bytecode that can run on any Java virtual machine (JVM) regardless of computer architecture. As of 2016, Java is one of the most popular programming languages in use, particularly for client-server web applications, with a reported 9 million developers working with Java.

Which kind of apps are created using:

  • PHP

In general, PHP works well for smaller websites that do not require complex coding or speed. It is popular for creating WordPress sites and apps, which are especially easy to use due to their open-source nature. In addition, PHP has a variety of frameworks available for web application development.

These frameworks streamline different processes within an app's development and allow developers to focus on other tasks more quickly. While many developers are familiar with working in PHP already, a number of organizations have begun using Node.js as well because it allows them to create more complex apps faster than with traditional server-side languages like PHP and Python.

  • Java

Java apps are generally enterprise-level, database-driven programs that often require a high level of customization. Java developers use proprietary frameworks to build and maintain these types of apps.

They’re used to create e-commerce websites, airline ticket booking systems, payroll and accounting software, medical databases and more. The most recognizable of these types of apps include Adobe Photoshop Elements, Minecraft and OpenOffice.


  • PHP

Web apps are a huge part of programming, and PHP is one of our favorite languages for building these. What makes PHP so great? In short, it’s all about code readability. The syntax is simple, which means writing code in PHP tends to be pretty quick and painless. However, simplicity can also lead to vulnerabilities if you don’t do things right.

The good news is that PHP boasts some nice security features. The reason behind these vulnerabilities are various PHP functions that allow writing code in an unsafe way. Using some strict rules and making sure that your code structure is proper and error free can make your application more secure against XSS (Cross Site Scripting) and SQL Injection attacks.

  • Java

While Java is installed on millions of computers around, new and improved development techniques have made it possible for attackers to execute Java Web Application code. As a result, security has become a major concern for organizations which rely heavily on Java based applications.

Many developers have come up with solutions that allow them to secure their Web Applications against attacks. Though some claim that these methods are working fine, there is no universal cure available. Developers should make sure they research different solutions and choose one that works best in their individual cases. The following are a few steps you can take in order to secure your Web Application


  • PHP

No matter what your intended purpose is, if you’re working with PHP to create applications and websites, there’s a strong chance that at some point you will want to use it in a scalable way. Scalability has many different meanings depending on how you are using PHP, but one of its main uses is referring to your site's ability to handle more traffic or more users as time goes on.

In some situations, PHP can be scaled well but may require specific knowledge and programming knowledge of other languages or technologies in order to do so. For example, for several years PHP applications could only scale well through application-level caching; until 2015 when OpCache was introduced.

  • Java

Java applications have an impressive track record of scalability across different systems and environments. One of Java’s strengths is that it can be used on different platforms. It can also be used for a variety of applications, including multimedia, networking, and web applications. Java is highly scalable across a number of devices as well as having minimal security flaws.

If you use Java for your development projects, you’ll find that your applications are able to run seamlessly on any computer system or operating system. This is one more reason why many businesses are choosing Java when creating their apps and software. Thanks to its lightweight nature and multiple uses, you’ll find that Java is perfect for creating scalable applications.


  • PHP

When you run a PHP application on a web server, there is no actual code running on that server. Rather, all code is interpreted by PHP and executed in memory, then sent to and executed by your browser. This generally means PHP applications are high performing.

However, some people criticize PHP applications because of an old problem with how input was validated (not a problem now) and there’s a new kind of vulnerability called a timing attack that allows people to execute malicious code remotely through vulnerabilities in some default settings – but most developers don’t use those features anyway so they’re safe from those problems.

  • Java

Java applications are high performing when they are run on Java Virtual Machine. Applications written in Java can use any APIs available in JVM. This means that you can take advantage of native graphics, networking, file systems and user interfaces without having to directly implement them yourself.

Moreover, a Java application is easily distributed across multiple computers due to its pure-bytecode format for execution which makes JVM implementation independent of platforms.

Learning Curve

  • PHP

PHP is a fairly easy language to learn and use. Because it’s similar to HTML, you can use PHP to add more interactive elements to your site without knowing much about web development at all. On top of that, PHP has a very low learning curve and isn’t difficult to pick up if you already know how to code.

However, there are still certain features in some languages that can be used or don’t work with PHP so knowing what they are can save a lot of time when creating new code!

  • Java

Java’s learning curve can be fairly steep, particularly for people with a background in a strongly typed language like C++ or C#. But Java’s top-notch compiler and virtual machine make it easier to debug than C or C++, making it a good choice for programmers who want tools that make coding faster and easier.

To get started with Java programming, you will need a copy of Java Development Kit (JDK) installed on your computer. This is an essential first step since all other software development tools are designed specifically for writing Java programs.

Let's Wrap Up

There's no doubt that both these languages have their pros and cons. I do believe it depends on what kind of app you're trying to build.

If you need to build a server-side application, and are okay with dealing with some of its complexities, then hire PHP developers.

If you want to create desktop apps or use less of your processing power, hire Java developers.

Whatever choice you make, it'll still be one in a million—the coding world has hundreds upon hundreds of languages out there (I'm not even exaggerating). It all depends on your needs, so choose wisely!

Top comments (3)

nicholaswinst14 profile image
Nicholas Winston

Really a detailed article. Thanks.

docvominh profile image
Pham Duc Minh

Hmm, honestly I don't see many people use Java for desktop apps anymore
In my country's job market Java Developer always hire for web application
especial for API app for Mobile and Modern web application

luccaprado profile image
Lucca Prado

I also thought this before! But I saw some javafx presentations and I changed my mind. The companies that use java for desktop aren't startup-like companies, but some car manufacturers and things like this, so I think that is "normal" that these companies don't share too much that they're using javafx or swing