Aman Goel | 25 Jan, 2024

Python vs PHP in 2024

Backend development is one part of the two-part harmony that is web development, and it is a highly sought-after skill in the market. Almost any new business/startup needs a website and a mobile app — both of which connect to a server in the backend.

As such, backend developers are in high demand and companies are willing to throw large sums of money to developers who have the necessary skills and experience. In this post, we’ll cover the differences between PHP vs Python, two programming languages that are used for backend development.

But before we examine the finer details of Python vs PHP, let’s take a look at what the programming language choices are for backend development, and a brief overview of both Python and PHP. If you’d like a quick glimpse of how the two stack up, there’s a table below that covers the essentials.

Python vs PHP for Web development: Summarized




Ease of Learning

Easy to learn. Many beginners pick Python as their programming language.

Not developed as a general-purpose language, but fairly easy to learn

Community Support

Excellent community support

Excellent community support


Comprehensive documentation

Comprehensive documentation

Library Support

Exceptionally well-developed library support for almost all types of applications

Vastly fewer libraries,, Packagist being a notable library

Database Connectivity

Database integration is not as strong as that of PHP

Provides access to more than 20 different databases


Can be slow depending on the application

Comparatively faster


Django, Flask, Pylons, Pyramid

Codeigniter, Zend, Laravel, Symfony


PDB (Python Debugger)

XDebug package for debugging

Programming Languages for Backend Development

Now before we look at some criteria in analyzing PHP vs Python, let’s take a look at programming languages in general. Specifically, we’ll look at various languages, including Python vs PHP for backend development.

For new developers, the question of which backend framework to learn is always a matter of confusion. With so many new programming languages offering so many features, libraries, and frameworks, how does one actually decide on which web framework to learn?

The following is a brief summary of the various programming languages for backend development.

  • Python: One of the most popular choices of backend programming. It is relatively new and has enormous library support
  • PHP: PHP has been in the market for a long time and is still widely used. For example, Facebook has its substantial backend developed in PHP in the initial days
  • JavaScript: With powerful web frameworks like NodeJS, JavaScript has captured a huge chunk of the market and emerged as one of the most popular backend programming languages
  • Ruby: Ruby on Rails is another popular web development framework and several startups use it
  • .NET: Microsoft’s .NET framework was initially more of a proprietary one, but the company has been open sourcing it as of late. It is mostly used in enterprises because of its Microsoft backing.

What is Python?

what is python



  • Comprehensible syntax that is also easy to debug and easy to maintain
  • Runs on various platforms as it is a portable language
  • Many prebuilt libraries, which makes development easier
  • Python is developed in a way that it can internally deal with memory addresses and garbage collection
  • Has an interactive shell that helps developers test the things before implementation
  • Database friendly and offers database interfaces to all major commercial DBMS systems
  • Supports GUI applications and has a framework for Web. Example: tkmter, WXPython, Django
  • Comparatively high memory consumption
  • Functional programming can be less than ideal
  • Dynamically typed, which can result in runtime errors
  • Python for mobile development isn’t the best choice

Developed by Guido van Rossum and released in 1991, Python is an interpreted high-level functional programming language. Python has its uses in web development, software development, and system scripting. It is a favorite of many programmers and data scientists as it offers features like support for different platforms, the ability to run on an interpreter, and English-like syntax.

Although Python has an ample number of uses, the most popular ones relate to web application creation, database systems reading and modification, big data analysis, and complex mathematical calculations.

Recommend Python Course




Features of Python

  • A beginner-friendly language
  • Python can be executed on various platforms using the same interface
  • Low-level modules can be included in the Python interpreter
  • Python provides support and an ideal structure for large codebases.
  • Automatic garbage collection
  • Python offers interactive testing and debugging sessions
  • High-level dynamic data types are offered and also supports dynamic type checking
  • Integrates with Java, C, and C++

What is PHP?

what is php



  • Supports several Operating Systems, including Windows, Unix, Linux, and Mac OS
  • Compatible with almost all servers
  • Supports a range of databases
  • Works efficiently with databases
  • Efficient unit testing
  • Open-source
  • Weakly-typed language
  • Unsuitable for large-scale content-focused web applications
  • Difficult to modify core behavior
  • Extra features can impact performance

Created by Danish-Canadian programmer Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, Hypertext Preprocessor, aka PHP, is a widely used, open-source scripting language. PHP is capable of generating dynamic page content, and can create, open, read, write, delete, and close files on the server. It can also collect form data and also can send and receive from cookies.

Additionally, PHP is database friendly and can add, delete, and modify data in the database. It can also be used to control user access and to encrypt data.

Features of PHP

  • One of the easier scripting languages
  • Supports many databases, such as Oracle, MySQL
  • More efficient compared to other scripting languages, e.g. ASP and JSP
  • Has predefined error reporting constants to generate an error notice or warning
  • Offers access logging by creating a summary of recent accesses of the user
  • Open-source

Is Python or PHP Easier?

Opinions on this question can vary, and both languages are similar in learning difficulty. There’s a lot of context that goes behind answering these sorts of questions when it comes to programming. Are you moving from PHP to Python or starting from scratch? What is your target purpose?

For web application development, PHP may be better as it is designed for that, but Python isn’t so difficult that you should dismiss it.

The bottom line, as far as learning difficulty goes in Python vs PHP, it is fairly matched, so focus on what you want to build and work on.

Should I Learn PHP or Python in 2024?

The answer to this question is a lot more straightforward: Python is a better language to learn in 2024. It pays more and the job opportunities are far more plentiful.

The median annual salary for Python developers in the US is around $97,000. For PHP developers, the average annual salary is around$79,500.

python developer and php developer salary

Can PHP be Replaced by Python?

No. They both have their own uses, and perform some tasks better than the other. Python is better suited for many applications, but it may be more resource-efficient to use PHP for some web application target purposes. In terms of web application development, the difference between PHP and Python comes down to what you are trying to build.

Should I Learn PHP or Python First?

Most popular programming languages

Most popular languages, as surveyed by StackOverflow

This depends on what your goal is. If you’re looking to learn your first programming language, then Python may be a better choice because the salaries are better and it is one of the most popular programming languages.

Python vs PHP

Now that we have a basic understanding of both Python and PHP, let’s take a look at how they fare against each other based on essential criteria that goes into picking a language. With this, we’ll get a better understanding of which is better, PHP or Python.

Ease of Learning - Python Wins

Python is easier to learn, though PHP is not difficult. Python is a general-purpose programming language, and can be picked up very quickly. Python programs are much shorter and easy-to-write as compared to other programming languages and as a consequence, it has become a preferred choice for a lot of applications. The syntax is comparatively much simpler and the code extremely readable.

PHP isn’t meant to be a general-purpose language. It was designed specifically for web applications which are definitely more sophisticated than simple, stand-alone programs. As a result, it could take more time to learn PHP than it takes to learn Python. Having said that, PHP isn’t particularly difficult itself.

Community Support - Tie

Python and PHP, both have excellent community support.

PHP has been in the market for quite a while, particularly for developing web applications. As a result, there is a large community of PHP developers that can provide support.

Python is the same here. Community support is outstanding.

Python became popular when Google started using it for apps like YouTube. Many powerful startups like Instagram, Pinterest, and Reddit also use Python-based web applications.

Having said that, it must be noted that the world’s largest social network, Facebook, has been written using PHP as the primary backend.

Documentation - Tie

Extensive documentation is available for both programming languages. There are innumerable websites, forums, and discussion boards that provide excellent tutorials on how to develop applications using Python or PHP.

Pricing - Tie

Python and PHP are both completely free and open source. Both win here as well. In fact, both Python and PHP here win significantly over other paid web frameworks.

Library Support - Python Wins

Now, this is one point where Python significantly beats PHP. Python has exceptionally well-developed library support for almost all types of applications. PHP lags here, but Packagist (PHP packages repository) is a strong backbone holding PHP.

Currently, many startups and even large organizations are developing Machine Learning backed web applications. Python provides some excellent Machine Learning libraries like TensorFlow, Keras, Theano, Scikit Learn, etc. These libraries are fast, easy-to-use and, most importantly, they integrate brilliantly with the web framework. As a result, developing such types of applications using Python is far simpler as compared to almost any other programming language.

Speed - Tie

This one is a tie because it depends on context.

PHP 5.x versions were quite slow, taking a lot of time in execution. However, the latest major release, PHP 8.1, is much faster — almost 3 times faster than a typical Python program.

Speed often becomes an important factor in performance-critical applications. For instance, in a core banking system that gets a million hits on a daily basis, a delay of 3 times might create a significant impact on the overall system performance. Therefore, talking about speed, PHP wins by a significant margin over Python.

However, it has to be noted that for most simple applications, the scale is quite low and so, there is not much of a noticeable time lag. For instance, for all practical purposes, 10 milliseconds is not much different from 30 milliseconds given that the application isn’t latency-critical.

Choice of Web Frameworks - Python Wins

Python and PHP are both quite close on this point given that both provide equally good choices. New developers, however, enjoy using Django given that the development time in Django is quite low and it is easy to set up.

The most commonly used Python-based web frameworks are Django, Flask, Pylons, Pyramid, etc. The most used PHP based web frameworks are Codeigniter, Zend, Laravel, Symfony, etc.

Django is known to be extremely fast, scalable, secure and easy-to-use. It is quite robust and powerful and is used widely in a large number of applications. Similarly, Codeigniter and Laravel are very widely used in the market and almost all PHP applications today use one of these two frameworks.

Debugging - Tie

Python provides a powerful debugger called PDB (Python Debugger). PDB is well documented and is easy to use, even for beginners. PHP, on the other hand, provides the XDebug package for debugging. Both PDB and XDebug provide the most commonly used debugging features — breakpoints, stacks, path mapping, etc.

Both Python and PHP are similar here, and none is a clear winner.

Should You Learn Python or PHP in 2024?

To summarize, for most points, both Python and PHP are similar to each other. But Python wins on some critical factors. On top of that, the median salaries for Python are higher, as are the job opportunities.

So, in many ways, Python is a winner over PHP, and the question of PHP vs Python is kind of moot. But here’s what we would recommend:

  • If you are an experienced PHP programmer, stick to PHP since you already know it in and out. PHP certifications may help.
  • If you are an intermediate programmer, moving from PHP to Python shouldn’t be difficult. You might want to learn Python and shift to it for better job opportunities.
  • If you are a novice programmer who wants to learn backend development, start learning Python and eventually move to Python-based frameworks.


Backend development, a vital aspect of web development, is witnessing high demand for skilled developers, with PHP and Python emerging as prominent choices. Python stands out for its simplicity and extensive library support, making it an attractive option. In contrast, PHP, although not as easy to learn, maintains a dedicated community and robust documentation.

I explored their strengths and weaknesses in areas like ease of learning, community support, documentation, and more. Python's versatility extends to web app creation, database management, big data analysis, and complex calculations, while PHP excels in compatibility and efficiency.

For career prospects in 2024, Python prevails with higher salaries and job opportunities. Both languages have distinct use cases, and the choice depends on project needs. Experienced PHP developers should stick to PHP, intermediates can transition to Python, and beginners can start with Python-based frameworks.

Ultimately, the choice hinges on individual goals and project requirements, offering rewarding opportunities in web development.

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By Aman Goel

Entrepreneur, Coder, Speed-cuber, Blogger, fan of Air crash investigation! Aman Goel is a Computer Science Graduate from IIT Bombay. Fascinated by the world of technology he went on to build his own start-up - AllinCall Research and Solutions to build the next generation of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing based solutions to power businesses.

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Hackr Team

Very apt points, Romina. I think we went overbroad in mentioning the complexity of PHP. We have fixed it now. Thanks a lot for highlighting this.

4 years ago

Hackr Team

Thanks for your detailed comments, Larry. Reading your comments, I truly feel that we should have done more homework and dig deeper before publishing the article. We will look into all the points you've highlighted and fix the article asap.

4 years ago

Hackr Team

Ohh, we thought we have fixed it! Can you please point out the issues that are still there, Bob? Thanks a lot for your time and help.

4 years ago

Hackr Team

Here are the performance comparisons of PHP vs Python: And yeah,, is a great Packages repository for PHP.

4 years ago

Hackr Team

This is a valid point, Yuri. We have edited "there is no significant point" part. Thanks for pointing this out.

4 years ago

Hackr Team

We didn't mean Dot Net's age relative to Python but in general. 2 decades is a long time in tech:) But, yes it can be interpreted relative as well especially the way article is written hence we have corrected it. Thanks for pointing it out.

4 years ago

Vijay Singh Khatri

Python as its more scalable and Easy to learn.

4 years ago

Napil Al-ashphat

I enjoyed your article brother Aman Goel so thank you^^, but there something i'm my mind that i wondered and keep questioning my self a lot of time, because i see a lot of people when they talk about programming languages the mention that python (here in your article for example) is a new language, but in fact if you refer to wikipedia for example you notice that it is pretty old and even older than PHP?!!

4 years ago

Vijay Singh Khatri

I would suggest according to the trends, you need to go with Python then.

4 years ago