If you’re about to start a web development project, chances are that you’ll think of PHP as the language to code it on the backend. It makes sense. PHP is a widely popular and established programming language that has a proven track record of success. In fact, PHP is one of the most popular server-side programming languages, as it’s used by 79.1% of all the websites that use this kind of programming.
So, seeing PHP as the go-to language for web development isn’t a surprise. Yet, there are many people that still wonder if it’s the best choice for their projects. There are numerous reasons for that, which explain why they are looking for better alternatives. Are you among this group? Then you’ve come to the right place. I’ll provide you with a bird’s-eye view of the most popular alternatives to PHP and why you should consider them.
Why Wouldn’t You Use PHP?
But before getting to the alternatives, I feel like I should start with the obvious question: why not use PHP, a good programming language that has proven its value time and time again? Like I said above, there are some reasons that can lead you to that. Maybe you have personal preferences for other languages, or you may have had a bad experience with using PHP in the past.
Aside from personal perspectives and tastes, some of the recurring reasons why companies reject PHP for web development include the following:
- Forgiving language. One of the most recurring opinions among web developers is that PHP is a forgiving language. That means that is less focused, which allows PHP developers to avoid defining variable types when they code. This could easily lead to multiple errors that could cause multiple problems to performance and security.
- Slow performance. Though some developers might argue that PHP’s out-of-the-box performance is decent enough, the reality is that PHP is slow in execution. That’s mainly because it’s an interpreted language and not compiled. But that’s not all – the forgiveness I mentioned above can also lead to problems with loops, cache usage, and string manipulations.
- Lack of a clear philosophy. This might be a more arguable opinion but many people see PHP as lacking a clear approach to coding. To some, that’s one of its strengths, as they can take PHP anywhere they want. But, to others, that’s a huge issue, as it quickly becomes an obstacle that prevents PHP from actually helping developers during the development process.
An experienced team or a PHP development outsourcing company with enough projects under its belt can quickly navigate these issues and overcome them. But it’s true that they call for expert professionals to do that, which means that PHP can become rather problematic in the hands of inexperienced developers. That’s why some companies are looking for PHP alternatives like the ones included below.
The 3 Most Powerful PHP Alternatives
One of the most popular programming languages in the world, Python is a highly powerful alternative to PHP for a wide range of web projects. That’s because it provides advanced functionality for superb performance, especially when it comes to processing and management of large data sets. That power takes the spotlight when your project contemplates numerous automation scripts and analytic systems.
Besides, Python has an interesting array of built-in functions specifically tailored to web development that allows you to build your project quickly while reducing the overall costs of development. Finally, Python is one of the languages used for developing machine learning algorithms, which means that your web project can get even more sophisticated with smart features.
The other big contender in the programming world, Java is a strongly typed language that provides the discipline developers lack with PHP. In other words, Java gives you the ability to build cleaner and more structured code, which reduces the possibility of introducing the errors that PHP is more prone to introduce (especially in the hands of inexperienced engineers).
Highly portable and cross-platform, Java also has an impressive performance, thanks to its parallel task execution and its support for concurrency. What’s more – the language is better positioned when it comes to modularize your web applications, which ultimately impacts how easy it’ll be for you to create and update your applications. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that Java has plenty of powerful frameworks that make developing projects easier and quicker.
If you prefer to pick a newer option than Python or Java, you can always choose Go, a relative newcomer to the web development field. Created and supported by Google, this programming language has a simple goal: to provide you with efficient tools and features to build highly scalable applications in the easiest way possible.
To achieve that goal, Go boasts a streamlined syntax that nonetheless supports task concurrency and parallelism. This is especially useful to build distributed applications, which are perfectly suited for optimal performance in cloud-based environments and corporate networks.
Picking the Right Alternative
Before choosing the best PHP alternative, you should have a clear understanding of which issues are driving you to it. Why? Because the issues you have with PHP might be easily solved with the right PHP development team by your side. Experts can help you navigate through the challenges and show you that the things that are pushing you to the PHP alternatives aren’t as complicated as you think they are.
Once you have the issues clear in your mind, you might still want to go with another programming language. That’s perfectly fine and, thankfully, you have some pretty powerful options to go to. The 3 I’ve listed here are probably the safest bet, as they can help you easily tackle PHP’s known issues. That doesn’t mean they are the only alternatives, but they are the best places to start your search for the right alternative.