PHP vs. Java What’s The Difference, And Which Is Better?

php vs. java

PHP vs. Java What’s The Difference, And Which Is Better?

You’re in the right place if you want to learn which programming language is better, PHP vs. Java. PHP and Java are two of the most widely used programming languages in the world, and each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at PHP and Java so you can determine which programming language is best for your needs. We’ll take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each language, showcase common use cases, and suggest which language will be best for specific projects. If you’re just getting started with programming, then this article will help you determine which language, PHP or Java, will be best for your next project.

PHP vs Java: Side-by-Side Comparison

Common use casesDynamic websites, content-heavy websitesEnterprise applications, Android apps
php vs javascript
The PHP language grew without a written formal specification or standard until 2014.

What is PHP?

PHP is a scripting language commonly used on the server side for eCommerce, web development, and DevOps. PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor and is a general open-source programming language. it was founded by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, but the language today looks and operates much differently. It easily integrates with HTML to help make modern websites more interactive and dynamic.

It’s a relatively old programming language, being around for over 25 years. Even with this, it’s used in the development of nearly 80% of websites that are online today. Plus, it’s heavily used across content creation platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

It’s easy to run and integrates with a variety of different applications and frameworks. Plus, it’s highly compatible with nearly every operating system and web browser. As an open-source programming language, there are a variety of resources available online, for those thinking about learning the language. Companies like Etsy, Slack, Wikipedia, and Meta all utilize PHP.

Pros of PHP

  • Open-source programming language
  • Object-oriented
  • Low development costs
  • Easy integration with HTML
  • Optimized for page loading speeds
  • Wide range of learning resources available for developers

Cons of PHP

  • Not as many developers (compared to Java)
  • Can be more error-prone
  • Not as secure for enterprise-level

What is Java?

Java is an object-oriented programming language that’s used for web applications and other enterprise-level applications. It was introduced to the world in 1995 by Sun Microsystems and remains one of the most popular programming languages in the world to this day. The programming language is highly compatible and will work on any platform that’s compatible with Java.

Beyond web applications, it’s used across mobile apps, video game consoles, large-scale data centers, and even across supercomputing. Java can run virtually on any platform including Mac, Linux, and Windows. It’s used by popular companies like Amazon, Uber, Google, eBay, and more.

Pros of Java

  • Object-oriented programming language
  • Highly secure programming language
  • Robust memory management
  • Has a large and active online community

Cons of Java

  • Much higher development costs
  • Tends to have slower performance
  • Higher levels of memory consumption
php vs. java
Java is a class and object-based programming language.

PHP vs. Java: What’s the Difference?

Coding Speed

When developing a new web app, you’ll want to think about how long it’ll take to develop. Java is completely class and object-based and uses threads to efficiently process code, which means more time spent coding. While PHP uses less memory and uses less overall code. As a result, developing applications with PHP can be much faster.


If you’re trying to launch a business or web project with lower development costs, then PHP is going to be the best option. Launching PHP applications is much faster and requires less effort. Java requires extensive development, even for simple projects so it will be more expensive.

Learning Curve

Both PHP and Java are relatively easy-to-learn programming languages. Overall, there’s a little debate about which one is easier. For example, some developers believe that Java’s syntax is simple, but its library is overly complex. The syntax that Java uses is closer to the English language, but PHP has a very active open-source community. Depending on your existing skillset and willingness to learn, both languages are on the easier end of the spectrum.


PHP requires a specific amount of time to comply with every request. Newer versions of PHP are more optimized and reduce memory use, but it’s still not as fast as Java. Java is a precompiled programming language and has higher levels of performance, even though the codebase is more complex.

Loading Speeds

If you’re creating a website or web application loading speed is incredibly important. Slow-loading websites cause users to leave your website and create a poor user experience. Java relies on more complex logic, so in general Java-based applications have slower loading times. While PHP loads pages faster, since it requires fewer resources than Java.


Java is a well-written and extensive code, which means it has a higher level of stability. On the other hand, PHP uses shorter code and doesn’t have the same level of stability. For these reasons, companies that demand platform stability, like companies in the financial technology and banking sectors, opt for Java.


Java is a highly secure programming language that has a wide range of built-in security features. It’s suitable for and scales well for enterprise and private companies alike. Plus, Java can impede low-level programming and protect devices, which makes it a popular choice for complex projects. On the other hand, PHP requires integration with other frameworks to improve security.


In terms of popularity today, Java is in much higher demand. In general, over 19% of developers are willing to learn Java compared to just 6% of developers that will learn PHP. Also, more companies are looking for Java developers, when compared to PHP. So, if you want to learn a programming language that’ll increase your chances of being hired, then Java is going to be the better option.

Common Use Cases for Using PHP and Java

It’s important to take a look at the different use cases between PHP vs Java. In general, Java will be used at an enterprise level, while PHP is a more ideal programming language for smaller startups. PHP can be used to create dynamic web pages and apps, while Java is a more general-purpose language.

Here are a few common Java use cases:

  • Developing software tools like IDEs
  • Building enterprise-level web and mobile applications
  • Creating web applications like online forms, shopping carts, and more
  • Building applications for the Android platform

While here are the most common use cases for using PHP:

  • Developing eCommerce applications like ZenCart, UberCart, OpenCart, and more
  • Creating dynamic websites
  • Building smaller web and mobile applications
  • Websites or applications that run in isolation from other systems
  • Projects with short timeframes or small budgets

PHP vs, Java: Which One is Better? What’s One Should You Use?

There is no best choice between PHP and Java, but instead which one fits the needs of your project the best? Instead of being competitors, Java and PHP act more like alternatives. Mostly, the language you choose depends on the specifics of the project and the priorities of the stakeholders involved in the project.

Overall, Java is faster and more functional, but this comes at a higher development cost and is more complex. While using PHP means faster time to market and a smaller budget, you can only grow to a certain level of complexity. As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.

If you need high levels of security, then PHP requires multiple integrations and frameworks to achieve this, while Java has built-in security features. In terms of speed, PHP is faster than Java. However, PHP has faster page loading speeds when used for dynamic websites.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better PHP or Java?

Overall, it depends on the goals of your project. In general, PHP is better suited for dynamic websites and startups. While, Java is better suited for more complex projects and enterprise applications.

Is Java easier to learn than PHP?

Both languages can be pretty easy to learn. In general, it depends on your existing knowledge. Some developers prefer Java since it resembles English, however the library can be more difficult to use.

What’s the main similarity between PHP and Java?

Both PHP and Java are open-source object-oriented programming languages that use similar syntax.

How popular are PHP and Java in 2023?

Currently, Java has a higher market demand than PHP. Meaning there are more job opportunities available for those who program in Java compared to PHP.

Do Java or PHP programmers get paid more?

Today, Java developers earn an average salary of $109,851, while PHP developers have an average salary of $87,938.

Can you switch from PHP to Java?

From a career perspective, switching from PHP to Java can be a good financial decision. If you have existing PHP skills, then switching to Java can be quite easy. Plus, you’ll be able to command a higher income.

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