PHP Or Python - Which Language Should You Learn In 2018?

2018-03-27by Philip W

Nowadays, if you are a newbie who knows little or nothing about the world of programming, there are dozens of alternatives available to learn to program from scratch. It is a huge world. However, if we enter the most specific niche of back-end web development, the main alternatives are PHP and Python.

PHP Technology Overview

Let's talk about  PHP first. PHP was created by Rasmus Lerdorf to specifically build dynamic web pages.  PHP came out in 1994 and was a radical revolution in its time. Important pages such as Facebook, Tumblr, Yahoo and Wikipedia were made using PHP, and 83% of websites around the world use PHP.

Python Technology Overview

Python is older than PHP and was created by Guido van Rossum in 1989, as a successor of the ABC language. However, it only became popular among programmers when it incorporated full Unicode support in the 2000s. It is a multi-paradigm language for thousands of uses, from Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and scientific research, to web, mobile and desktop development. Despite being used by giants such as YouTube, Reddit and Spotify, less than 1% of the websites are made in Python. Nonetheless, it is quite popular in other work fields.

PHP Vs Python Technology

PHP and Python are multi-paradigm languages that support imperative programming, procedural programming, object-oriented programming, and even functional programming.

In terms of web programming, PHP has greater advantages, despite its shortcomings. It has dozens of frameworks such as Symphony, Laravel, CodeIgniter, Banshee, Zend, etc., and is quite adaptable, compatible with almost all existing hostings and the most popular CMS on the planet, like WordPress, is built in PHP. Two of the main open source e-commerce platforms, Magento and WooCommerce, are also made in PHP.

Python offers a more limited offer, being compatible with few hostings (which incidentally tend to be more expensive than those compatible with PHP projects). It has a smaller but quite varied offer of frameworks for web development, with  Django and Flask being used the most. Python also offers several CMSs based on Django that have a modest number of followers.

Both languages are excellent options when programming web pages. Unquestionably, the most appropriate for a noob programmer is Python, because their interpreter forces you to write and correctly devise your code to execute it correctly, unlike the messy and often poorly written PHP code.

For its part, PHP is harder to learn and less welcoming for a new user. Another advantage of Python is that it is very tolerant of syntax errors and its interpreter doesn´t usually break code for minor errors. It is very easy to learn. That's why it's strange that Python isn´t in the majority of schools of computer science schools in India, unlike many countries of the world. Interestingly, most Indian developers do know how to use PHP.

PHP Vs Python Technical Aspects

Technically speaking, executing a PHP code is slower than executing a code in Python, and if you use a framework like Laravel it doesn´t generate an intermediate bytecode during execution. Also, you must write more lines of code to do the same task as in Python.

PHP is less secure than its rival and requires additional security software to develop an app, unlike Python, which by itself is quite safe without add-ons.

Among other advantages, Python programmers are better paid and more demanded, due to the scarce offer available to Indian programmers in Python. In fact, recently one of the top app development companies India firm was forced to pay thrice of billing rate to American freelance Python programmers to build the platform of a US bank, because they didn´t have enough own programmers for the task. Outsourcing companies such as Infosys, TCS or Wipro are very reluctant to use Python, preferring to use Java, C ++, PHP or .NET.

On the other hand, a PHP developer must face greater labor competition and worse salaries because the supply of labor is much greater. Both languages have an excellent community ready to help you in everything you need, and good and extensive documentation.


In summary, when analyzing both the languages, if you want to learn to program in all existing development environments today, without limitations, your best option is Python. Especially if you are thinking about specializing in Artificial Intelligence or scientific research. It’s true that it´s more difficult to find good hostings and quality supplements for web development in Python, but the effort is worth it.

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Philip W

Philip works in a technology industry. He spent a lot of time learning about new technologies and writing tech related articles! View Philip W`s profile for more

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