Is Python faster than PHP?

PHP and Python are two different programming languages. So they differ from each other in terms of features, functionality and performance. PHP was originally designed as a server-side scripting language for web applications. Hence, it comes with built-in web development features. But many programmers nowadays use PHP as a general purpose programming language for developing both desktop and web applications.

On the other hand, Python is a high level and general purpose programming language. Its simple syntax rules enable programmers to express concepts with less and readable code. So many programmers prefer using Python for web application development. But Python does not come with built-in web development features like PHP. That is why; many developers compare the performance and speed of Python and PHP to pick the right web programming language.

Comparing the Speed of Python and PHP

  • The code compilation process affects the performance and speed of these two programming languages. A just-in-time compiler converts the Python development code into bytecode, each time a file is created or modified. So the Python files need not be recompiled again in future. The Python interpreter can easily access and fetch the precompiled bytecode (.pyc files). The code compilation process makes Python faster than PHP. However, the PHP programmers can easily enhance the speed of PHP applications by installing various caching systems.
  • The programmers can easily enhance the speed of PHP code by focusing on the implementation of algorithm. They can further implement the algorithm in a number of ways to decide the most appropriate way to enhance the application’s performance. However, the developers do not have any option to implement Python applications in various ways as the programming language requires them to follow certain coding conventions. The lack of option to implement algorithm affects the speed of Python adversely.
  • The performance and speed of both Python and PHP applications is impacted by certain input/output (I/O) operations. For instance, the amount of time required to access database or files will affect the speed of web applications written in any programming language. Likewise, the speed of the web application will also be impacted by the time required to send and receive HTTP requests and responses. As none of the programming language can control the common I/O operations, the speed of the web application will be impacted by various external systems and factors.
  • Both Python and PHP implementations use extensions written in C or C++. So the amount of time required by commands to access these extensions will affect the speed of each programming language directly. No other built-in features of PHP or Python can reduce the amount of time required by the commands to access the C or C++ extensions. So many programmers consider that speed of the two popular programming languages does not indicate their effectiveness for developing modern web applications.
  • At present, developers have option to use either Python 2 or Python 3. The performance and speed of each version of the programming language vary. At the same time, PHP 7 is delivers explosive performance improvements through new Zend Engine 3.0. In addition to making PHP 7 two times faster than its predecessor, Zend Engine 3.0 further helps the server-side scripting language consume less memory. So the latest version of PHP helps programmers to build web applications that can handle a higher number of user requests concurrently without requiring additional hardware.

The developers cannot pick the right web programming language. So they need to keep in mind the features and functionality of both PHP and Python, while comparing their speed. At the same time, they also need to focus on the picking the right Python, or PHP development framework to reduce the amount of time and effort required for building modern web applications.