PHP vs Python – What Are the Differences & Similarities?

PHP and Python are two very popular coding languages that have been around for a really long time. PHP is one of the most used programming languages for web development, while Python is a powerful general-purpose programming language that allows prototype testing as seamless programming. Both of them are open source and can be freely used by anyone. Both of them are easy to learn, thanks to the massive amounts of documentation available and their huge communities.

Both of these programming languages differ in terms of functionality and features and they are used widely for different purposes. Each of them has great languages for web development, depending on what kind of web development you wish to do. But if you wish to do web development with Python, you’ll have to use add-on modules and frameworks like Django or Flask.

Python is a language heavily used in graphics, engineering and science. It allows fast and seamless writing of applications and prototype development.

If you’re seeking to expand your programming skills, learn your first programming language or learn a new one, here you can find out most of the things you have to know to set you off on the right foot and to help you choose the language you should learn. But the best thing would be learning both of them, since PHP is straightforward and an amazing web development tool, while Python is just useful and fun!

What Is PHP?

PHP or Hypertext Processor is a general purpose and a server-side scripting language, mostly used for accomplishing web development tasks, such as creating dynamic web pages. Being an object-oriented programming language, it lets programmers handle creative tasks more easily than other languages. It shares a similar syntax with C and C++. You can distinguish a PHP file from others by looking at the .php extension. It can be also embedded into HTML webpage, which makes it easy to develop dynamic webpages.

Since it’s a server-side scripting language, it runs on a server, instead of the client’s computer. Operations are executed on the server and they are returned to the end user. It is used on Linux servers in most cases. It can be integrated with a lot of popular databases such as Oracle, MySQL, Postgre SQL, Sybase, Microsoft SQL Server and Informix. PHP currently has 82% of the market share, making it one of the most popular server-side scripting languages. It is very simple for any newcomer and offers a lot of advanced features for experienced programmers. Although PHP focuses mostly on server-side scripting, you can do a lot more with it.

For example, PHP lets you do things like:

  • Easily generate dynamic webpages and files.
  • Send emails to users from a form. Users can fill out a form on your website as a way of contacting you and sharing their information with you. You can give them all the information they require in the email you send back to them.
  • Automatically collect data from the Internet. You can gather stuff like images, various content, user information, and credit card numbers and so on.
  • You can track your website’s users. PHP lets you easily send and receive cookies that allow you to track how visitors interact with your website.
  • Create a membership login. PHP lets you create a special area for your site’s members if you want to host paid content or just want to have registered users.
  • Write desktop applications. It isn’t the best language to choose for developing desktop applications with a graphical user interface, but if you know how to use PHP well enough, you can easily do it.
  • Create a clock, calendars and a lot of dynamic stuff. You can dynamically process all the information you want, so the sky is the limit, in how you use PHP for developing your website.

Advantages of PHP

  • Cross-Platform compatibility – PHP runs on most major operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS and almost every kind of database.
  • Speedy Performance – A script written in PHP performs much faster than those written a few other scripting languages like JavaScript or ASP.Net.
  • Deep code based programming language – PHP can be used to create very complex Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and Magento. There is no need for a code processor or compiler.
  • Almost every hosting provider supports PHP – It is one of the most popular programming languages and almost every hosting provider supports it, since it doesn’t have any compatibility issues when a PHP application has to run live.
  • It is stable – PHP has many developer’s support as its backbone, so if there are any problematic bugs, someone will be well on the way to fixing it, once they’re discovered.

Disadvantages of PHP

  • Security – Since PHP is an open source programming language there is room for anyone to discover any inherent bugs or loop holes that they can exploit.
  • Slower than New competitors – PHP is fast but not faster than newer server-side scripting languages like Node.js.
  • PHP is ideal for eCommerce solutions but not as good for larger application – It would be difficult to program a large scale application with PHP and would be difficult to maintain.

What is Python?

Python is a high-level, interpreted and object oriented programming language that is combined with dynamic binding and dynamic typing. It can be used to develop applications at a rapid rate and can also be used to bind the existing components of a larger application together. It has a very simple syntax that’s easy to learn, which is why it is used all over the world for teaching students to program. About 60% of schools use Python as an introductory language to programming. The indenting of Python’s source statements make its code much easier to read and understands all together.

There is no need to compile python, which offers an immense amount of productivity, making the edit-test-debug-cycle much faster. It’s very easy to debug Python programs, since in case of a bad input; a bug will only raise an exception, once the interpreter discovers the error. If the program doesn’t catch the exception it will print a stack trace.

The debugger is written in Python itself, and testifies to Python’s outstanding introspective power.

Python’s Advantages

  • Programs are easy to read – Thanks to Python’s elegant syntax it is much easier to read and write than a lot of other languages out there.
  • Easy to use – Getting a program to work is simple and straightforward, which is why Python is widely used for prototype development.
  • Easy to extend – You can always add new modules that are implemented and compiled in a language like C or C++.
  • Supports object-oriented programming with multiple inheritance and classes.
  • Advanced programming features – Python has list comprehensions, generators and many other useful features.
  • Has many specialized interest groups – Python has a large community and many widely varying parts that all focus on different things, such as scientific endeavors or prototyping.

Python’s Disadvantages

  • Python is slow. Much slower than C++, PHP and a lot of other programming languages.
  • Python is not suited for multi-processor/multi-core work.
  • Has a lot of limitations with database access.
  • Not a good language for mobile development.
  • Has a lot of design restrictions. Python is a dynamically typed language, so it has more errors that only show up during runtime and thus requires a lot more testing.


These two programming languages are different from each other in terms of usage, features and functionality, but they also have a lot of common ground. Developers have to understand these in order to know which languages they should use to better accomplish certain tasks.

It’s important to note right off the bat that while PHP has web development features built into its core, Python relies on add-on modules.

Common Features of PHP and Python

  • They can be used for general purpose programming and scripting.
  • Both languages are interpreted, high-level languages that have dynamic typing.
  • Both are Open Source languages supported by large developer communities.
  • Both of them are easily understood and easy to learn.
  • Both languages have support for method chaining.
  • Both of them are easy to extend in Java, C and C++.
  • Both have support for variable number of function arguments.
  • They have single statements for all data types.

Differences Between PHP and Python

We have finally got to the peak of our comparison. It’s time that we look at the core differences between PHP and Python which set them apart.  Without further ado, let’s get down to it!

Python Has a More Readable and Minimalistic Code – Python’s design philosophy emphasizes on code readability. This makes it easier for developers to write organized and clean code, regardless of the project’s scale or the program’s size. It’s easy to build complex applications in a minimal amount of time with Python.

Paradigms – Both languages have similarities and feature a number of common programming paradigms. Python features support for aspect-oriented, object oriented, functional and well-structured programming styles. PHP has a functional, object-oriented, reflective, procedural programming style.

Python is More Flexible but isn’t as good for developing web-applications – It can be used to develop all kinds of software and applications. It is also perfectly suited for creating scientific applications, prototyping and applications that have to process huge amounts of data. It has a lot more flexibility than PHP but isn’t as good for developing web-applications.

PHP is better for Web-Development – PHP was designed with web-development in mind, thus it comes with loads of embedded web development features. Writing websites is easier to write in PHP than Python, since Python is a general-purpose programming language. But with the right third-party modules, Python can be a very effective web-development tool as well.

Python is More Secure – Python is considered to be one of the most secure programming languages out there right now. It has numerous security features that make it great for rapidly writing complex applications with specific goals and functions in mind.

PHP applications have a lot of security issues that can be tackled with additional tools that enhance their security.


Deciding whether PHP or Python is better is a difficult challenge, even with having the necessary knowledge at hand. At the end, it all depends on the tasks you have at and your personal requirements.

PHP is the prime choice for developers who wish to develop modern websites and Internet applications. These have a lot of stability and can be developed at a rapid rate. It’s also easier to find web hosting with support for PHP than Python. While almost every hosting company supports the newest version of PHP, they have various Python options. PHP is embedded into the web-server. Python applications can be embedded into the web-server or can run in a separate process, which could make it less stable and slower in the end. This is because it is a non-persistent process, which means that a new process will be spawned at each server request.

Python on the other hand is more focused on general purpose programming, prototyping and robust code. It offers the possibility for developers to build scalable software applications. It is also good for web-development, although requires a number of add-on modules.

So, before starting out on a new project, it’s important for every developer to evaluate the features of both Python and PHP to know exactly what will work best for them. Once you know the exact features and requirements of your project it becomes easier to find a programming language that compliments them.

3 Best PHP and Python Hosting Providers

Whether programming language you choose to start your next web project, you will need a reliable service. We’ve made a list of the best hosting companies that are great for both PHP and Python.

Company Promo Price
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$3.49 / mo
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$3.95 / mo
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$3.95 / mo
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