PHP or Java: Which One is Better for Web Development?

PHP or Java: Which One is Better for Web Development?
Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

The global development community is riddled with debates, especially about the best programming tools. PHP or Java there is always a debate around which language is better and the list is endless.  It is an unending debate as every developer has their point of view and arguments on what works best.

Therefore to get an absolute answer about what is the programming to learn and work with for web programming is difficult. Though, I’ll try to provide insights with possible resources to enable you to decide on what suits your project needs.

With this article, we will address the longest-running one, i.e. should you pick Java or PHP. Let’s start with a basic overview of each.

1. Java: It is a general-purpose object-oriented programming language.


  • Automatic memory management: Since it makes use of an automatic memory management system referred to as a garbage collector, programmers do not need to individually integrate an individual memory management logic in their apps.
  • Simple syntax: Java’s syntax is undemanding, easy to learn and write, offers the simplicity of maintenance, etc.
  • Object-oriented programming: As any programmer will tell you, OOP brings forth a world of benefits, such as modularity, the ability to reuse code, etc.


  • Expensive: Java isn’t open-source
  • Extensive coding: The programming code is long and complicated

2. PHP: PHP, on the other hand, is an open-source server-side coding language that was essentially the driving force behind globally-renowned content management systems such as Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, etc.


  • Agile: It is platform-independent and can be easily integrated with HTML, JavaScript, etc.
  • Loading speed: The new versions of PHP offer provisions to ensure top-notch performance


  • Prone to errors: Though easy to use, PHP is highly prone to errors 
  • Inconsistency in the documentation: While extensive in nature, the inconsistent nature of PHP documentation can be quite problematic.

Now that we have a fair idea of each of the two programming languages, let us also take a look at some of the key differences between PHP and Java.

  1. Speed: One of the fundamentals of success for modern web apps, or any digital offering for that matter, is speed, of course. While Java, as well as PHP, perform quite well in this regard, the fact remains that PHP trumps Java in this regard, even if slightly so. Sure enough, Java comes equipped with a variety of threads that help developers quickly and efficiently manage and process sequences of instructions. But PHP takes this round because the newer iterations of this language significantly accelerate the overall coding process, while also cutting down the consumption of memory.
  2. Documentation: First things first — both Java and PHP have been around for quite some time now. This means both of them are accompanied by extensive, in-depth documentation to assist developers in their endeavors. However, compared to each other, the documentation you get with Java is far more substantial and offers better details than what you get with PHP.
  3. Security: As you know, security is a key concern for any digital entity, including web apps one may create using Java or PHP. In this regard, Java wins hands down, for it is celebrated across the globe as one of the most secure programming languages. It offers better features for security, though it would ideally be better for large-scale and more complex languages.

There is no denying that both Java and PHP are potent programming languages in their own right. However, a close analysis of the two reveals that between the two, Java indeed has a little bit of an advantage. We would say custom Java software development is the winner. With that being said, no matter which one of the two you choose, it would be advisable to carefully select a development partner.

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