PHP vs JavaScript: Understand the Difference

Both JavaScript and PHP are the most popular and versatile programming languages for website development. JavaScript and PHP are both scripting languages that are easy to use for beginners and favour programmer productivity. Although both have some similarities, they are also different as JavaScript is a front-end language and PHP is the backend language. Therefore,  both the languages can work together as a package.

JavaScript was first discovered in the year 1993. In December 1995, Netscape introduced and implemented JavaScript. JavaScript is usually known as the scripting language that works in the web browser and hence, is known as a client-side scripting language. It is used to make web pages more creative and attractive to users. Programmers use JavaScript mainly for game development, mobile app development, and desktop app creation. JavaScript’s programs can run without the need for compilation.

One of the most preferable and widely used scripting languages on the web is PHP. It is an open source server-side scripting language which is used to create highly interactive web pages, such as login page, forums, picture galleries etc. PHP is called a server-side script because the code does not execute in your computer, but in the computer that owns the page. If the URL of any website ends with a .php extension, then you should know that you are in a PHP running website. PHP is also used by IT firms in the designing of consumer web applications.

Initially, PHP was known as Personal Home Page and it was designed by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. Today PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor, a “recursive acronym” as Wikipedia explains it. As we know, PHP works at the server-side of things, and it has a level of control on what users can do in a website running a PHP script. PHP can set conditions that can validate, track, and authenticate users, among other important functions of it.

Although there are many similarities between JavaScript and PHP, they also have major differences that you need to keep in mind while working on any website development.

Difference between JavaScript and PHP

  • JavaScript is asynchronous and PHP is synchronous therefore JavaScript doesn’t wait for Input-Output (IO) operations and PHP waits for IO operations.
  • JavaScript is a client-side scripting language while PHP is a server-side scripting language. However, since the release of Node.js, JavaScript is also used as a server-side scripting language.
  • JavaScript can be combined with HTML, AJAX, and XML while PHP can be combined with HTML alone.
  • JavaScript is highly versatile and used for front-end development while PHP is a back-end scripting language and when used with the right framework, it is capable of almost anything.
  • Both need an interpreter to run. JavaScript’s interpreter is already inbuilt with all web browsers as its core component of web experience. PHP, on the other hand, is powered by the Zend engine and is readily straightforward to install and use on the server –side.
  • JavaScript is a single-threaded functional language which is based on an event-driven model. It is ideal for low latency applications. PHP, on the other hand, is a multi-threaded language that is synchronous by nature.
  • Syntax of JavaScript: JavaScript syntax is just some set of rules. For example-
var a, b;          // How to declare variables
a = 5; b = 6;      // How to assign values
c = a + b;         // How to compute values

Syntax of PHP: In the PHP language, you need is a “.php” file with some code wrapped between the tags <?php ?>. You just need to enter the URL into your browser, and you’re done.

For example-

<!DOCTYPE html>

<h1>My first PHP page</h1>

echo "Hello World!";


  • In JavaScript, all variables are global unless declared with ‘var’ keyword. On the other hand, in PHP, all variables are local in scope unless declared as global. So both languages are just opposite in declaring variables.
  • JavaScript is specifically designed to build interactive web interfaces and network specific applications. It can be used to design really good looks of any website through simple changes in HTML tags. In PHP, all functions work on the server side i.e. custom web content, handling the request, displaying results etc.
  • JavaScript is assumed to be a bit harder than PHP because of its complexity. PHP is more powerful than JavaScript because of its bigger library but is conceptually simpler than JavaScript. Functionally, there are some tasks that JavaScript does well in comparison to PHP.
  • JavaScript is a case sensitive language when it comes to variables, function and class declarations while PHP is not case sensitive in function and class declarations.
  • PHP is a fully open-source platform which means it is owned by the Internet community. So the changes can be made as per the needs of the community, not as per individual developer. This makes it more beneficial for people who are using PHP as there is plenty of support provided by ordinary users. Therefore, this makes it the more flexible and the more usable of the two languages.
  • Programmers prefer to work with PHP because of its higher efficiency as compared to JavaScript language. The major problem with JavaScript is shared hosting. PHP is the smoother of the two languages, therefore for many projects PHP comes with a clear advantage.
  • When it comes to rebuilding and customization, programmers prefer to use PHP over JavaScript as they can easily make the changes they want. In JavaScript, it’s not as easy as it is with PHP language.
  • As per Industry standards, companies use JavaScript for their projects. Whereas freelance developers use PHP when working with smaller businesses. The important aspect of JavaScript is that it’s a paid language that comes with a recognized certification system. If you have Knowledge of JavaScript, it allows you to have a recognized qualification, which simply isn’t available through PHP.

The Final Word

Some programmers argue that there is no point in comparing both the languages as both have different uses. PHP is a server-side scripting language while JavaScript is a general purpose language and so it can be used both on the client side and server side. This gives JavaScript an additional advantage. Also, JavaScript is superior when it comes to managing projects with larger scope web applications like online business phone service. This is the clear advantage of JavaScript. For advanced JavaScript tutorials, visit, a programming and design community.

Wish you all the best!

Keep learning

Write a comment
Cancel Reply