Last Updated on May 4, 2022

With the increase in digitization, website and app development technology has improved. Developers are always looking to upgrade their programming language skills to remain high in the competitive development markets. Choices are always tricky, and when it comes to PHP versus Java, every developer faces this question in their career.

Let us help you solve this dilemma of PHP versus Java with a detailed understanding of both languages. We’ll start with the similarities and define the critical parameters for comparing these two popular languages. Let us start our simple yet detailed take on PHP versus Java. 

PHP VS JAVA Google Trends Worldwide

What Is Java?

Sun Microsystems introduced Java in 1995. It gained popularity and has been used for over 25 years with the simple and effective logic of “Write once, run anywhere.” Hence, developers prefer Java codes that, once written, can be used on multiple desktops, mobile devices, etc., without any issues. 

Java is a cross-platform, class-based, general-purpose, and high-level programming language. Java codes are converted into bytecodes using a compiler, while the Java Virtual Machine converts Java for use on multiple devices. 

It is easy to download Java software from java.com, giving developers Java Runtime Environment (JRE) version 8. It consists of Java platform core classes, supporting Java platform libraries, runtime portion of Java software, etc. Java application development tools are available to developers as part of the Java Development Kit (JDK). 

Statistic: Most used programming languages among developers worldwide, as of 2021 | Statista
Source Statista

The popularity of Java is immense, with 35.35% of developers using Java in their projects. More than 8 million developers currently use Java. Multiple big names use Java in their websites, including Google, Uber, Netflix, etc. 

What Is PHP?

PHP stands for Personal Home Page but soon got a new explanation of Hypertext Preprocessor. It is a general-purpose language that can be embedded in HTML is an open-source and server-side programming language. RasmusLerdorf introduced PHP in 1994, but it was pretty basic and different from the current PHP version. 

PHP is widely used to create responsive portals and offers a wide range of highly productive frameworks, and is quick to use. Hence, developers prefer PHP to create dynamic web pages at affordable costs. Further, the standard PHP interpreter is powered by a Zend engine released for free under the PHP license.

PHP 8 is the current in-use version of PHP that has some groundbreaking features compared to previous versions. These features include just-in-time compilation, the addition of the match expression, type changes, type additions, syntax changes, syntax additions, standard library changes, standard library additions, etc. PHP 8.1 introduced enumerations, array unpacking with string keys, and read-only properties.  

Most popular technology skills in the PHP
Source: Statista

The popularity of PHP is immense, with 78.1% of developers using PHP as the server-side programming language. Multiple big names use PHP in their websites, including Facebook, Wikipedia, WordPress, etc.  

PHP Vs. Java: Similarities

Before jumping to the comparison of PHP and Java, it is essential to understand that both are programming languages and come with certain similarities. A quick look at PHP and Java similarities reveal that:

1. Object-Oriented Programming

All the object-oriented programming (OOPS) concepts like encapsulation, polymorphism, inheritance, etc., are followed by both PHP and Java. Hence, it is easy to understand both PHP and Java as the codes can be reused in other programs. 

2. Ease-To-Learn

It is easy to learn both PHP and Java. Many developers entering the world of programming prefer to start with PHP and Java only based on ease of learning.

3. Open-source programming languages

Both PHP and Java are available to developers without restrictions or payment amounts. Hence, it is easy for developers to modify and distribute PHP and Java-based on project requirements.

4. Syntax

PHP and Java both have similar syntax. Hence, these languages share a common platform and have similar looping structures, classes, member functions, data member’s definition, etc. 

Why Should We Compare Them?

why

The clash of titans is expected in the modern competitive world, and hence the same applies to web application development. PHP versus Java is one such comparison that can offer developers a single language to trust and work with. The increasing number of websites operated globally has increased the pressure on the developers to look for the optimized programming language to create dynamic websites. 

Website developers can’t wait to excel in different programming languages before starting a new project, and hence it is crucial to have a top-rated programming language. Hence, website developers need a quick but effective comparison between PHP and Java based on different parameters. Let us start with a quick comparison. 

PHP & Java Comparison

With more than 700 global programming languages available in the market, it is essential to nail any comparison based on development basics. So, here is the head-to-head comparison between PHP and Java-based on the key nine parameters. 

Comparison AreaJAVAPHP
Speed Of Coding Time Taking process Takes less time
Performance higher then PHP Lower then Java
Stability Stable after the project rolloutStable at every stage of the project
Documentation Well-Documented Programming Language Than PHP. PHP documentation is outdated, inconsistent, and riddled with many developers
Popularity More Popular than PHPLess popular than Java
Talent Pool Large talent pool Small talent pool than Java
Easiness to Learn Easy to learn Easy to learn
Security More secureLess secure than Java
Cost of Development ExpensiveCheaper
Syntax public class Main {
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println(“Hello World”);
}
}
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<body>

<h1>My first PHP page</h1>

<?php
echo “Hello World!”;
?>

</body>
</html>

1. Speed Of Coding

If the same software needs to be coded in PHP and Java, coding in PHP will take less time than Java. The latest versions of Java have increased the speed of the coding process and decreased memory consumption. PHP takes over the different threads available in Java responsible for managing and processing instruction sequences efficiently and quickly. Hence the speed of coding is more in PHP. 

2. Performance

PHP needs a specific time to comply with every requested byte code. The latest PHP versions focus on reduced memory consumption and optimizing the code writing, but Java steals the show with its optimization tactics. It is a precompiled programming language that leaves no space for delayed processing. Hence Java is high performing compared to PHP. 

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3. Stability

The well-written and extended code in Java promises high levels of stability when compared to the applications with small codes. On the other hand, PHP has shortcodes and can’t offer comparative stability. Hence, multiple Fintech companies and banks prefer to go with Java to ensure their apps work with reduced crashes. Hence Java is comparatively more stable than PHP.

4. Documentation

Java and PHP have sufficient documentation based on their extended stay in the market. However, the PHP documentation is outdated, inconsistent, and riddled with many developers. Java documentation, on the other hand, is maintained by Oracle. It is offered with multi-language support, making it easy for developers from any corner of the world to get the best out of the Java documentation. Hence Java is a more well-documented programming language than PHP.

5. Popularity

When it comes to the popularity of Java or PHP, Java is in great demand currently. It is estimated that 19.1% of developers are willing to learn Java compared to 6.2% for PHP development. The hiring requests for Java developers are in top demand while the same for PHP developers is in 7th place. Coming to the choice of the developers, it is estimated that 44.1% of developers prefer to continue with Java while only 37.3% prefer to continue with PHP. Hence Java is quite popular compared to PHP.

Infographic: Python Remains Most Popular Programming Language | Statista Source Statista

6. Talent Pool

It is estimated that 38.4% of developers use Java, while 25.8% of developers prefer to go for PHP. Hence, Java has a large talent pool compared to experienced PHP developers. Hence Java has a promising talent pool compared to PHP.

Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages

7. Easiness to Learn

Both Java and PHP are easy-to-learn programming languages. Many developers feel that Java’s syntax is simpler than PHP, while others feel that Java’s library is complex. With Java’s syntax close to English and PHP’s open-source community support, it is easy for developers to go for Java or PHP based on project requirements. Hence, both Java and PHP are easy-to-learn languages.

8. Security

Java has built-in security features that make it a perfect programming language for public and private enterprises. PHP development requires quick integration with other frameworks for ensuring security. Java is hence the first choice for complex projects as it blocks low-level programming and protects the devices. Hence Java is secure programming language than PHP.

9. Cost of Development

Businesses aiming to launch applications at reduced cost prefer to go for PHP-based applications. On the other hand, Java comes as an expensive option that takes significant time and effort for app development. Hence PHP has fewer costs of development compared to Java.

Main Advantages & Disadvantages Of Java Vs PHP

Let us move to the step-by-step advantages and disadvantages of Java and PHP for a crystal clear understanding of what these programming languages can bring to the table. 

Advantages Of JAVA:

  • It is an object-oriented programming language.
  • It is one of the highly secured programming languages available in the market.
  • It offers automatic memory management.
  • It can run on any platform irrespective of any specific requirements.
  • It has a simple and easy-to-learn syntax.
  • It is a high-level language that is used to create complex applications.
  • It is a stable language while offering complete flexibility to developers.
  • It is a distributed programming language that offers better remote cooperation.

Disadvantages Of JAVA:

  • Development using Java is expensive.
  • It has poor performance at the start of the application.
  • It has a longer code compared to other programming languages. 

Advantages Of PHP:

It is an open-source programming language and hence has a free license.

  • It is a highly flexible web application programming language.
  • It offers a variety of databases.
  • It has unparalleled synergy with HTML.
  • It offers improved page loading at different stages.
  • Thanks to global community support, it offers plenty of documentation and learning materials to developers.

Disadvantages Of PHP:

  • It has inconsistent documentation.
  • It is less secure when compared to other programming languages.
  • It is prone to errors frequently. 

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When Java & PHP Are Used?

It is essential to know the specific use cases of Java and PHP to understand the apparent differences between the two leading programming languages. Java is used in complex projects for enterprise-level, while PHP is used in projects with less complexity and is ideal for start-ups. Java comes as a general-purpose language, while PHP was created to make dynamic web pages and is serving multiple uses now. 

Java Use Cases:

  • Creating software tools like IDE, NetBeans, IntelliJ Idea, Eclipse, etc.
  • Designing web servers like Adobe JRun, Resin, Apache HTTP server, Rimfaxe Web Server (RWS), Apache Tomcat, etc.
  • Creating enterprise-level applications in charities, government bodies, schools, banks, etc., like Spotify, TripAdvisor, Pinterest.
  • Designing web applications like shopping carts, online forms, Google Sheets, Gmail, etc.
  • Developing Android applications

PHP Use Cases:

  • Creating scripting like automation, DevOps tools, etc.
  • Designing ecommerce applications like UberCart, ZenCart, OpenCart, etc.
  • Creating dynamic websites like MailChimp, iStock Photo, Flickr, Yahoo, etc. 

Java Vs. PHP: Which Language Has A Bright Future?

Java and PHP are both languages that have been in the development industry for years now, and hence it is essential to discuss their prospects. While Java and PHP have their features, advantages, and use cases, the future of programming languages is inclined towards increased security and high-level coding at affordable costs.

PHP needs the help of multiple integrations and frameworks to reach high-security levels as it is not a highly secure programming language. The security levels of Java make it a top choice for future projects having sensitive security needs. When it comes to speed, PHP wins over Java in multiple projects. Hence, depending on the key factors of the project, Java seems to have a slight edge over PHP in the coming future. Due to the rich language tools, security concerns, and increasing popularity.

Wrapping Up

After having a detailed look at the elaborative and straightforward comparison between PHP and Java, it is safe to declare that both have their different benefits and functions. PHP remains a server-side language, while Java is a preferred client-side language. PHP and Java both have their set of advantages and disadvantages. 

Hence, developers can go for any of these languages based on the project’s needs. Before selecting from PHP or Java, it is essential to define the speed of coding, documentation, performance, ease-to-use, security, cost of development, etc. Along with a clear idea of upcoming trends, developers can select a flexible and future-ready programming language. 

Frequently Asked Questions about PHP vs. Java comparison

1. Is PHP faster than Java? 

Java is supposed to be faster than any other programming language based on its design and architecture, but PHP runs the quick development race when executed. PHP is faster than Java in web development and offers mainstream and advanced server-side content. 

2. Can I replace PHP with Java?

Skillful developers can replace PHP with Java using JSP. JSP is the java version of PHP, and hence the JSP tutorial can help implement Java in web applications.

3. Is PHP good for the future? 

With one of the top choices for web applications, PHP stays in the developing world for years. The use of PHP in resource management systems, customer rights management, e-commerce, content management systems, etc., is promising for the future. 

4. Should I switch from PHP to Java?

Switching from PHP to Java is a good option for the developers from a career point of view. A developer with PHP skills can quickly learn Java and can start creating both applications based on project requirements. Likewise, both PHP and Java have different features.

5. Is Facebook still in PHP?

Facebook still uses PHP but offers a built-in compiler for converting PHP into native codes on different web servers. This is helping Facebook boost its website performance while serving the increasing digital population.

6. Is PHP is suitable for a career?

PHP is a good career option as many websites still use PHP, and it comes as a top choice in server-side scripting languages. Further, PHP developers are paid well based on their experiences, and hence learning PHP can be a good option from a monetary point of view.

7. Are PHP and Java the same?

PHP and Java are not the same as PHP is the server-side scripting language while Java is the general-purpose compiled programming language. PHP creates web applications and dynamics, while Java also powers dynamic web apps. Further, PHP comes as an open-source programming language with strong community support.

8. Can Java and PHP work together?

Yes, Java and PHP can work together in two different ways. It is possible to integrate PHP into a Java Servlet environment by providing a SAPI module interfacing with the Servlet server that comes out to be an effective solution. The second option is integrating Java support into the PHP environment using Java extension.

9. Is PHP easier than Java?

PHP and Java are both easy-to-learn programming languages. However, PHP is an open-source language and hence comes with large community support for developers facing any issues while using it. Hence, developers usually consider PHP easier than Java.

10. What big companies use PHP?

Some big companies that rely on PHP for the best user experience include Wikipedia, Slack, Etsy, Facebook, WordPress, MailChimp, Tumblr, etc. The total number of companies using PHP is over 45,081 companies.

Author

I am an eCommerce consultant, a member of the Forbes technology council with a decade of experience in the ecommerce development segment. My expertise can make your business overcome any obstacles while you are dealing with the Magento ecommerce platform!