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.NET vs PHP: Demystifying the age old Saga

ketanchavda profile image Ketan Chavda ใƒป5 min read

The debate between .NET and PHP is eternal, with developers from both the camps swearing by their preferred mode of development. In this article, we shall discuss both these popular web development frameworks and try to clear the confusion in your mind regarding which one works for you.

.NET is a server-side web development framework released by Microsoft. Using .NET, the developers can build web services, web applications, and other dynamic websites quickly.

PHP is a server-side programming language that has been specifically designed for developing web applications. The specialty of PHP is that the developers can easily embed the PHP code in HTML files, and the HTML code can be easily written in a PHP file.

Key Differences between .NET and PHP

Let us have a look at the various scenarios where the efficiency of .NET and PHP are compared with each other for a better insight.


In terms of value, PHP has a plus point; being open-source, it is free while Microsoft charges a license fee for .NET.

The licensing costs of .NET can turn out of control if you need to run the site on many servers simultaneously. Another thing is that if you require various features like server clustering, hot standby, or load balancing, then you will need to shell out extra money in .NET.

Popularity amongst Developers

Being free, PHP is eventually more popular than .NET. This fact is ascertained by web technology survey firm W3tech. According to W3tech, while PHP is used by almost 79% of websites, only 11% of websites use .NET.


The scalability of your application does not depend upon whether you use PHP or .NET. Factors like the experience of the programmer, the programming practices used, and whether the programmer has followed programming guidelines and standards or not have an overbearing effect on the scalability of your application.

Speed and Performance

Many people believe that the speed and performance of your web app depends upon whether you choose .NET or PHP, which is not entirely accurate, there is a negligible difference in the performance of a website powered by PHP and a website powered by .NET.

Routine processes like finding images, displaying pages, and accessing various file systems, run equally well in both .NET and PHP. Instead, the speed of the website relies more on factors like database server, bandwidth, and the computer hardware used by the end-user.

Support of Developers

If you decide to build your website using PHP, then you will get the assistance of a large pool of developers as PHP is an open-source language. However, .NET also has a sizable pool of the .Net developers who regularly contribute to forums related to .NET development.

A supporting developer community is essential as when your development team gets stuck, this community can pitch in and help them. A lot also depends on the type of your query.

Although, as the number of contributors in PHP are more, you can expect a faster response to your query in PHP as compared to .NET forums.

Compatibility with Various Platforms

PHP is compatible with the LAMP stack model, which includes multiple software bundles like Linux, MySQL, PHP, and Apache. The LAMP stack is an open-source platform, and hence it gains from a large support community.

.NET, on the other hand, works only on platforms compatible with the .NET framework. It limits the level of compatibility of .NET with the platforms. This will be a neck-to-neck competition since both PHP and .Net support a wide range of platforms.

Ease of Learning

PHP is straightforward to learn, and this is the reason that new programmers prefer to learn PHP. Apart from being simple to learn, the PHP framework gives freedom to the PHP developers to work with very fewer lines of code. But based on the requirement of the application, some projects that require advanced level of understanding and implementation requires developers that are experienced and expert in PHP.

On the other hand, while .NET is mostly based on C#, a language that is comparatively hard to learn but once you understand the concepts and get a hang of it, it could turn out to be an interesting game. They say programmers need years of experience to master C#, but it differs from person to person based on the capabilities. Thus it is believed that it is hard for a business to find expert .NET developers but the actual situation is about the expertise.

Hosting Requirements

While Unix and Linux servers are used to host PHP, ASP apache is required for hosting .NET. It transgresses into a limiting factor for .NET.

Where to use PHP and .NET?

PHP was brought to existence with the motive to improve the look and feel of a website. Hence it would be wise to use PHP for a client-facing website. The developers can utilize their creativity to the full, using the tools provided with PHP.

It is the reason that PHP is used widely to build websites like Facebook and other personal as well as business websites. PHP fulfills the requirements of client-facing websites like aesthetics and performance.

In-case you need to build a website which is to be used within a company's intranet, then .NET should be your choice. Security and functionality take precedence over looks in this case, and hence you should go with .NET as both these traits are better in .NET than PHP. Thought it is not that the website or applications developed in .Net are not visually attractive, now thatโ€™s all a myth.

.NET is a managed code system. Thus, it proves to be a valuable asset while designing enterprise-level solutions. The developers can build web solutions in .NET, keeping the functionality of the application in mind. If you are using Microsoft products, then using .NET will significantly increase your productivity as the framework is well integrated with the systems.
Thus .NET can be used to build high-quality internal websites.

A befitting wrap-up
To conclude the following types of websites/ web solutions can be built in PHP:

  • Startups and Small Business
  • Websites Client Facing Websites
  • CRMs

While .NET is suitable for the development of:

  • ERP Websites
  • Internal Websites
  • Enterprise-level Websites...

Although both .NET and PHP are excellent to develop a website or web applications that can be accesses across multiple devices, the trick here is to know and choose the precise one that better suits your needs.

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