You’ve probably heard people talking about scripting languages and programming languages. They have existed for a while now but the sheer expansion that the internet has seen over the past decade has really brought them to the fore.

Many might find the subject to be daunting but what’s more important to realize is that they’re the building blocks of a lot of services that we use on a daily basis.

A scripting language is simply a language that provides written instructions for a run time environment. These instructions don't require compilation as they're interpreted. All scripting languages can be called programming languages.

The biggest benefit of scripting languages is that they're relatively easy to learn even for those who don't have pre-existing knowledge of web technology.

What is PHP?

PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. It's one of the most widely used open-source scripting languages. A Danish-Canadian programmer called Rasmus Lerdorf originally created it in 1994.

It's often used for web development as it can be embedded into HTML. This server-side scripting language can be used to create both static and dynamic websites as well as web applications. These scripts can only be interpreted on a server on which PHP has been installed while users that access the scripts only require a web browser.

So why do so many people use PHP? One of the biggest reasons for its popularity is that it's open-source and free. It also has a much shorter learning curve which means that it's a great starting point for beginners. PHP is also a very cost-effective option for developers as most web hosting servers have default support for PHP.


  1. Support for multiple platforms

    PHP has support for multiple platforms. This cross-platform support is one of its biggest advantages. Applications based on PHP can be executed on several different platforms and most operating systems also support this scripting language. These operating systems can not only be used to write PHP code but also to view pages or applications created with PHP.
  2. A large community of specialists

    Given that it’s widely used, there’s a massive community of PHP specialists that actively engages to provide support and guidance. Companies looking for PHP developers can easily find highly skilled candidates at competitive rates.
  3. Faster load times

    Many website developers prefer PHP because it makes the pages load faster compared to other technologies used for web development. For example, PHP is almost three times faster than Python for most use cases. Faster load times aren't just great for the user experience but are also believed to help the website achieve a higher rank in search engine results.


  1. Fewer dedicated libraries

    PHP does come with its own set of libraries but they can often feel insufficient, particularly with regards to modern technologies. For example, artificial intelligence in undoubtedly the future, and while Python is a great option for web apps that need machine learning, the same can't be said for PHP.
  2. Poor Error Handling

    Many developers are of the view that the error handling quality of PHP is quite poor. It doesn't have robust debugging tools that are required to search for these errors and any associated warnings. There are nearly not as many debugging tools for PHP as there are available for other programming languages.
  3. Security weaknesses

    There's no denying that the open-source nature of PHP is great but over the years, this has led to some security concerns, particularly revolving around code vulnerabilities. Since it is open-source, code vulnerabilities can be widely reported soon after they're found. That means that in the time that they have been revealed and subsequently fixed, any programmer can exploit those vulnerabilities.

What is Javascript?

JavaScript is one of the core web technologies as it enables developers to create interactive web pages. It debuted back in 1995 after Brendan Eich was hired by Netscape to devise a new language that had syntax similar to Java.

Unlike PHP, JavaScript is a client-side scripting language, meaning that it’s executed on the device that’s being used to access the page. This presents its own set of benefits for the developers. Most common web browsers have a dedicated JavaScript engine to execute the language.


  1. Speed

    JavaScript doesn’t require quite as much server interaction as other programming languages. It's possible to validate the user input before the page is sent to the server. This results in a reduction of traffic on the server, less load on it, and thus faster loading times.

    Since JavaScript is run immediately within the user's browser, it tends to be very fast, as long as no outside resources are required. The added benefit is that most browsers now have support for just in time compilation of JavaScript, which eliminates the need to compile the code before running it.
  2. Familiar Syntax

    Developers who already have experience with other popular languages like C++ will find it relatively simple to work with JavaScript. That's because its syntax is inspired by Java's. This makes it relatively easy to learn, particularly for those who are used to coding.

    There's an abundance of resources available to developers who want to learn this scripting language. It's backed by a thriving community as well, further driving a sense of familiarity for developers.
  3. Versatility

    The sheer versatility of JavaScript is why many developers love this scripting language. Backend developers are increasingly using it with Node.js. It's also possible to bootstrap Node.js with Express, use MongoDB, and then JavaScript on the front end as well. This will result in an app that uses JavaScript only from front to back.

    It's also possible to create rich interfaces with the language. This can include drag and drop features, interface components like buttons, sliders, and more to enhance the look and feel of a web page.


  1. Security concerns

    Many security researchers are of the view that JavaScript attacks remain a big threat for web applications. That's partly due to the rise of third-party code libraries that are included as JavaScript code in web apps. This expands the attack surface for those looking to find a vulnerability.

    This is also because of its client-side nature as any security oversight could enable an attacker to exploit a vulnerability. This is one of the reasons why a lot of people just disable JavaScript entirely in browsers to mitigate any potential attacks.
  2. Browser support issues

    Most modern web browsers work with JavaScript just fine, however, it's not uncommon for some browsers to interpret this programming language a bit differently than others. That's not a problem that developers face with server-side scripts as they always produce the same output.

    Therefore problems can arise with certain browsers, particularly older browsers, that don't have support for some new functions. The best way to go about this is to test across all major browsers just to ensure that there would be no problems for the user.
  3. Keeping track of libraries

    If your JavaScript app relies on the code of other projects, they're what we commonly refer to as libraries, then it can be a bit of a nuisance trying to manage them all. That's because it's hard to keep all of the libraries in their current versions as changes can be made to them quite frequently.

    For developers, this can result in additional work since they will need to put in additional work on their project just so that it can adapt to the changes that were made to the libraries.

Which should you use?

There's a clear difference between PHP and JavaScript. The former is only meant for back end development and while JavaScript may have been launched as a front end development language, it became a full stack language with Node.js. It's possible to develop an entire app with JavaScript, both client and server-side included, but not possible with PHP.

If you want to develop large projects, look at JavaScript as it's particularly suited for that because it has dedicated server hosting. However, it's a bit difficult to learn than PHP so a beginner developer will need to have more knowledge about the language before they can become proficient.

If only web pages need to be made, then consider PHP. Even though it’s a general-purpose programming language, PHP is now mostly used for developing dynamic web pages because some of the most popular content management systems like WordPress use it as well.

Need help with development? Contact Zibtek, a software development services company, with more than a decade of experience working with both Fortune 500 companies and startups.

Zibtek has offices in Salt Lake City, Utah, and access to a global pool of highly talented developers that are all managed from within the United States. This gives clients the flexibility to scale their projects with Zibtek's resources in the US and then leverage international talent to reach greater heights.

Its expert developers are highly proficient in creating custom software solutions for businesses that help reduce cost, drive revenue, and help businesses transform their workflow to improve performance.