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PHP vs Java: What is the best language?

July 12, 2023
php vs java

It’s a clash of the titans: PHP vs Java. Which language is better? As usual, it depends on what you’re looking for. And, unfortunately, the consequences of choosing the wrong language can be catastrophic. Have your project’s scope, vision for the future, and use cases ready, and read on!

First, we’ll look at what Java and PHP are, then what they each do well, and, lastly, what type of project fits best. This information will help you decide for yourself what benefits you need for your project.

But, as always, if this decision is too overwhelming, our experts here at WillDom can answer the PHP vs Java question for you. Just tell us about your project and we’ll give you our recommendation. We can even build you a team of specialists for either language. 

What is Java?

Java is an object-oriented, client-side programming language that has been around since 1995. Based on the concept of WORA (“Write Once, Run Anywhere”), you write code once and use it on many different platforms, as it is compiled.

What is PHP?

Hypertext Preprocessor (formerly Personal Home Page) is a free, open-source, server-side scripting language. Originally designed for web development in 1994. PHP is interpreted.

Why PHP vs Java?

Both are titans of the programming language space: popular languages to learn but difficult to fully master. And they both produce amazing results. Let’s take a look at PHP vs Java performance and highlight the strengths of each.

Java Strengths

More Secure Than PHP

Java is compiled into bytecode and runs on JVM. It doesn’t get interpreted by a runtime engine like PHP. This basic advantage makes Java less susceptible to some attacks.

PHP vs Java Speed

Because it is compiled, Java can run faster than PHP in complex programs and multi-platform projects. It is also faster to write.


Java Performs more than one task simultaneously within one program. This is the complexity we’re talking about.

Desktop Apps

Java is the most widely used language for desktop apps and it isn’t going anywhere. If you’re building a desktop app, this is a major consideration.


Java is widely considered as one of in the top 3 programming languages. Many people are familiar with it so, likely, you’ll have no trouble finding someone to work on your project.


Due to the wide variety of businesses and people using Java, there is a huge data set of debugging solutions available.


Java’s popularity also breeds a host of APIs to choose from.


It can work across and within networks, managing data, and resources. Multi-TierMulti Tier architectures are no problem.


Java has more robust and sophisticated documentation than PHP.

PHP Strengths


80% of tech company startups use PHP for web apps.


PHP has lower development costs than Java. This can be a huge plus for startup companies with limited capital.

Java vs PHP for Web

Made for the Internet and web development, PHP is the clear favorite for e-commerce sites. Though Java’s code is optimized for higher speed, PHP is faster in a real-world web scenario. PHP also uses less memory.


Facebook is a great example of PHP that scaled easily. Early Twitter is an example of Java that didn’t scale and had to adjust. Growing pains with PHP are almost nonexistent.


PHP is more dynamic because it can be embedded in HTML code. It doesn’t need external files for data processing.


PHP is around the 4th most popular language, which is still high on the list.

PHP 7 vs Java

When looking at PHP vs Java performance, PHP 7 is the newest and fastest PHP offering. PHP 7 introduced a lot of features developers needed. Like scalar type hints and the spaceship operator. What this means for a non-developer is that PHP is being improved all the time. PHP’s focus is almost completely on web development while Java is more general-purpose.

Scenario #1

You’re a startup business with a small-to-medium- sized project. You have plans for a scaling, web-based future but you don’t have a huge budget. Security is a concern but you aren’t planning to handle more than addresses and payment methods. Your main concern is a quick and easy web experience.

Verdict: PHP

Scenario #2

You’re an established, big-business company with a huge project. You have a good-sized budget and safety is of the utmost importance. You’ll be handling sensitive, identifiable information across multiple networks and platforms (like Android). You need easy-to-read code and clear documentation.

Verdict: Java

Scenario #3

You’re some wild mixture of Scenario 1 and 2.

Verdict: Talk to a consultant like us over here at WillDom.

Overall, Java tends to win the popularity contest based on stability and security, but don’t count out PHP if you are running an eCommerce or web-based operation. Starting your project with the best language for the job is extremely important. Don’t rush or guess at this huge decision. 
The consequences of choosing incorrectly go beyond the time and dollar cost of rewriting code – being hacked or having a site incapable of scaling can be catastrophic for your business. Enjoy the empowerment of knowing what you should choose or give us a call and we’ll take it from here! reach out to us at or on LinkedIn.

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