PHP vs Java: Differences & Similarities, What To Choose

03 Oct, 2022

The debate of which programming language is better than the other has been going on for several years. One of the most popular topics of debate is Java vs PHP. To decide to choose one language over the other. One must before understand the nuances of each one of them. So, we come to the question What is Java and What is PHP what are the differences and similarities? We have covered all these and much more in the blog.

What is Java?

Java is one of the most popular programming languages and a platform. It was created in 1995, by sun microsystems, and even after two decades, it is one of the most prominent languages. Java is an object-oriented, multi-platform, open-source language. There is a wide range of applications of java like web applications, desktop applications, enterprise applications, mobile, and embedded systems. Java was developed with the core concept of Write once and run anywhere be it desktops or mobile across all platforms.

What is PHP?

PHP is an acronym that stands for Hypertext preprocessor. PHP is a server-side, cross-platform, open-source programming language. It is an interpreted language which means it does not require compiling before execution. The first version of PHP was launched in 1994.The major operating systems like Windows, Linux, Unix, and Mac support PHP. PHP is a prominent choice for creating dynamic web pages due to the wide range of frameworks.

Cost of development

There is a budget allocated for each project it has to be completed in the same for its successful completion. The cost of development in Java is higher than in PHP. The reason being Java is not an open source or free programming language. One would need to buy a license for using the Java programming language. This adds to the cost of development of the product. On the other hand, PHP is a free and open source language reducing the cost of development.


Globally, the cases of cyber-attacks are on the rise, and businesses are taking up measures to ensure safety and security. Security of the code or project is one of the major concerns for developers. Java has in-built features that enhance security, and PHP requires an external framework for security. The latest version of Java has advanced security features that increase the security level of an application built with Java.


Whether it is a web application or mobile application business’s end goal is to optimize its business operation and increase productivity. It is hard to pick any one of the languages in terms of performance. Since both languages have different foundations for code. Java earns some extra points for its optimization tool.


Time is one of the most important considerations for the business. They are looking for on-time project completion to market on time which ultimately affects the project’s success. Java is an object-oriented language that uses threads to manage codes and needs to compile before execution also adds time to the speed. PHP has better time efficiency in terms of coding.


Both languages have their own tools, and the tools make the development process easier and quicker. Java and PHP both have a good number of tools available to them. Java has better debugging tools and a richer set of APIs compared to PHP. In PHP only packaging files are used whereas in Java there are packaging tools incorporated.

The discussion of which language is better than the other is a futile exercise.

Both languages are extensively used in software development. The choice of language is dependent on the requirement of the project and its complexity. For reference, Java is a high-level language mostly used for complex projects whereas in cases of lesser complexity PHP is a preferred language, PHP being a general purpose language.

We have compared the features of Java and PHP in a simplified manner. Based on their functionality developers have preferred language depending on the type of the project. The list below will give you some idea of when to choose Java and when to choose PHP.

Java works best for:

  • Android application
  • Enterprise application banks, schools, government organizations
  • Web application shopping cart, online forms
  • Software tools like NetBeans, IDE, Eclipse

PHP works best for:

  • Website development
  • Ecommerce application
  • Scripting

Both the languages are two decades old and the mere fact that developers are choosing them for their development even in 2022, reflects their popularity and efficiency of them. So, both languages are good and have their advantages, application, and functionality. We have discussed in depth the features of Java and PHP that could work as a guide to choosing between the two programming languages. According to research, 77.4% of websites are built using PHP. PHP is also used by some big companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Wikipedia and is as well a popular choice in start-ups.

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