PHP vs Java – Which One Should You Use For Your Next Project?

Some say that comparing Java to PHP isn’t actually correct, because Java is a general-purpose programming language, while PHP is a server-side scripting language. But we are going to attempt to do so anyway because these two are the most popular programming languages on the Internet today, making up most of the dynamic web.

Both PHP and Java are frameworks for creating web applications.

Every programming language has its own strengths and weaknesses and it wouldn’t be fair to announce which one wins over the other. Yet comparing them will put emphasis on the pros and cons each of these have, enabling us to have a much clearer picture of which one would work best for your upcoming project.

So without further ado, let’s see how these two compare!

A Bit of History

Both Java and PHP were created in 1995.

Java was created as a part of the Java platform, originally designed for the creation of in-browser applications and client software. It is now the programming language used to create many web applications.

PHP on the other hand was created strictly for the web and server-side scripting. It was meant to be imbedded into HTML pages, making them dynamic webpages. It has been developed through 5 different versions and has reached up to PHP 5 with PHP 6 being in development right now. It is free and particularly easy to learn and use.

What Is PHP?

PHP (Hypertext Processor) is a programming language and interpreter designed for open source server-side scripting and general-purpose programming.

It is freely available for every one and is used on Linux Web servers most of the time. PHP can be called the programming language of the people, as everyone is free to use it!

PHP has paved the way for the dynamic websites as we know them today. Without it, we would only be viewing static HTML webpages.

The usage of PHP is similar to C and C++ in terms of syntax. Usually, PHP is embedded within a webpage along with HTML. Before the user can display the webpage he/she has requested, the web server will process the PHP script and return the results of the operations performed within that script. This gives way to dynamic webpages as the displayed texts, images or any other information on a webpage.

A HTML webpage that has a PHP script included is has its .HTML extension changed to .PHP.

For this reason, PHP is the base of many web frameworks and web content management systems. With the ever increasing amount of Internet technologies and ecommerce websites, PHP is gaining more importance. It can be used for most purposes as it can do everything other web technologies can do. It is used widely to develop very efficient websites.

Currently PHP has 82.6% of market share on the Internet. This number speaks for itself. If you properly write your code, PHP will become the most efficient web language you can use.

The Benefits of PHP

  • Open Source (Free)
  • Easy To Learn
  • Has Plenty of Support
  • Has a lot of documentation
  • Efficient Coding Language

What Is Java?

Java is a popular and excessively used general-purpose, high-level, objected oriented programming language.

Java is very similar to the C++ programming language but it is much simpler. By simple, we mean that it is a class-based, object-oriented programming language that was made to have as few implementations as possible. It can be used to create and develop complete applications that can be executed on a single computer or on a network. It can be distributed among clients and servers within a network.

It is a robust programming language as it operates on a “write once and run anywhere” basis, meaning that once the code is complied, it can run on all platforms that support the Java runtime environment. Java programs aren’t run directly by the operating system; they use the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) instead, which can be run on a number of platforms such as Windows, Mac OS and UNIX.

Well suited for the World Wide Web there have been a lot of applications developed called Java applets that can be used by Java-compatible web browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome. Java software also runs on laptops, game consoles, data centers and even scientific supercomputers.

Java is also a key pillar in the well-known mobile operating system Android. Android uses the Java language as the base of all of its applications.

The Core Principles of Java

The Java programming language has become so widely used for many reasons. The following characteristics have played a major part in its success.

Java Programs Are Portable Within a Network

Once the source code of a Java program is compiled into bytecode, it can be moved to any client or server within a computer network. The Java Virtual Machine (JVM) interprets this bytecode into a code that is going to run on computer hardware.

Robust Code

One reason that this portability is possible is that Java doesn’t create references to any data outside of itself. This means that it doesn’t use any data that is stored in the operating system or in another application.

Object Oriented Programming

Objects have the advantage of being a part of a certain class of objects and inherit the same code that is common for that class.

Applets Are Flexible

Because operations aren’t executed on the client’s device rather than a server, Applets can run really fast.

The Benefits of Java

It’s a near impossible task to write down all the benefits that Java has to offer, so we’ll cut it short.

  • Easy to create reusable code
  • Easy to Learn
  • Independent of platforms
  • Object Oriented
  • Robust code

Major Differences Between PHP and Java


PHP has a really good documentation on their official website and third party websites. The latest PHP update brought a lot of changes improving the core significantly and also the documentation.

Java, also has some well-defined core libraries to help users. These meet quality standards and offer detailed information on every notable aspect of the language.


Java is based on static typing, which means variables must have a declared type, while PHP uses dynamic typing. This means that the variables assume the type of the value which is currently contained within them. They are able to change their type in order to satisfy implicit conversions and casts.

The primary structural difference between Java and PHP is the difference between weakly-typed and strongly-typed languages.

PHP is a weakly typed language, as it is a lot more flexible and reliant on the programmer’s “common sense” when he approaches a task. In the PHP 7 version there has been a huge improvement in typing support.

Java however is a strongly typed language, so it requires the programmer to use explicit statements of his intent in order for it to function. It has explicit expectations for writing the code and if they’re not met the compiler won’t run the program until the issue is resolved.

Web and Infrastructure

PHP can be deployed simply in its most basic form but the everyday developer still has to use frameworks to build some standard infrastructure features over a basic PHP interpreter.

Interestingly enough, Java’s framework is similar. Java has much less native features built into its language and it isn’t too strictly oriented on the web.

PHP vs. Java – Who Wins?

A lot of people would say that it all depends on the programmer’s preference, as both Java and PHP have some of the most important benefits and they’re both very powerful. But a lot of people will also tell you that PHP is a much better choice and rightly so. There is a reason why PHP takes up 82,6 % of the Internet’s share. But the main reason they choose PHP is the sheer speed of development.

Applications are developed much faster and PHP tends to have fewer issues when it is used on shared hosting, making it a more cost efficient solution. While Java works best on a dedicated server, making it a lot more costly.

Does the above mentioned stuff mean you should prefer one over the other? Or should you avoid using Java? Absolutely not.

Yet PHP is easier to rebuild than Java and it is also, more cost effective. It doesn’t cost you anything to use PHP while some features of Java are paid for. But Java developers can earn a certification which will let them land jobs much easier, while PHP doesn’t offer any kind of qualifications.

To keep it short, both have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages so your choice depends on which benefits would you like to leverage from these two programming languages.

Java can be a lot more reliable choice when there is a complicated development task that requires professional developers to tackle. Thanks to the precisely defined standards, work is done a lot more easily and efficiently among teams of developers.

PHP on the other hand is more accessible for fresh developers. It works well for individuals or groups with their own defined coding standards and when it comes to creating applications with simple functions.

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