ASP.NET vs PHP – In Search of the Right Programming Platform for Your Project

April 26, 2020

Nowadays the question of what platform to choose for more efficient web app development still remains pressing for developers and project managers alike. To help them answer it, we highlighted the main pros and cons of both platforms and specified some points to consider when choosing ASP.NET or PHP for a project.

Both PHP and ASP.NET have wide capabilities and a vast number of developers using them. These factors make it difficult for new developers to choose between them. On the one hand, PHP is a common scripting language that developers heavily rely on; on the other hand, ASP.NET has such a juggernaut as Microsoft behind the platform.

Since both of these technologies are quite popular in the programming world, the disputes about which one is better do not subside. In this article, we present you with an unbiased comparison of the two platforms, but before comparing ASP.NET vs PHP, let’s reveal some essential aspects of each platform.

ASP.NET at a Glance

At the moment there are two versions of ASP.NET — the initial version and Core, also called Core MVC. The initial version has limited functionality compared to ASP.NET Core and is used less frequently, while the Core version, launched a few years ago, is now actively updated and maintained by Microsoft and the community. ASP.NET Core is open-source unlike the initial version, and also cross-platform, i.e. it can be launched equally well on Linux, Windows, and macOS. Moreover, starting from version 2.1, ASP.NET Core can be launched in Docker.

ASP.NET is a backend web development tool launched by Microsoft to provide developers with the way to create dynamic web applications and solutions. The ASP.NET framework can be used with C# and Visual Basic (VB) programming languages, but the former is used more frequently. The Core version of the framework is also compatible with the initial version of ASP.NET.

Working with ASP.NET and ASP.NET Core MVC on a large variety of software projects, Mbicycle’s developers have defined several pros and cons of the platform.

The Pros of ASP.NET

  • ASP.NET Core is cross-platform
  • The platform allows implementing any number of web forms on a page
  • ASP.NET has a strong dedicated community support, as well as a big brand name — Microsoft — behind it
  • ASP.NET is easy to set up and offers the flexibility of adding and removing features
  • The platform has a pretty similar architecture to non-Microsoft frameworks, such as Ruby or Python
  • ASP.NET is compatible with other .NET frameworks

The Cons of ASP.NET

  • Working with ASP.NET requires expert knowledge of HTML and other frontend languages
  • Its Undefined Application Architecture lacks Separation of Concerns (SoC)
  • Of the ASP.NET family, only the ASP.NET Core MVC version is open-source
  • Support of testing and SEO features is limited
  • Web pages are complex enough to cause performance issues
  • Insufficient code reusability decreases parallel development options
  • It has a steep learning curve

PHP at a Glance

PHP (stands for hypertext preprocessor) is an open-source programming language used for developing web applications and can be embedded in HTML. The PHP framework is great for beginners because it provides simple and easy coding methods. At the same time, PHP is great for experienced developers too as it offers a large number of advanced features.

The PHP platform includes a variety of free open-source libraries. You can also efficiently integrate a huge number of popular databases with an application built in PHP. This platform also supports Java and distributed object architectures, as well as major protocols such as POP3, IMAP, and LDAP, which helps organize multiple-tier development in the PHP ecosystem.

Similar to their ASP.NET developing colleagues, Mbicycle’s experienced PHP developers highlighted some pros and cons of PHP.

The Pros of PHP

  • Due to being open-source, it is free to use and is constantly updated by a large community
  • A lot of renowned companies — such as Facebook, Wikipedia, Flickr, WordPress, Tumblr, and Mailchimp — chose PHP to launch and maintain their web services
  • This programming language is well-suited to organize content management systems because it allows accessing and interacting with different types of databases
  • PHP is easy to scale and allows developers to customize it with ease according to their arising needs
  • This programming language is quite easy to learn and implement; moreover, beginners can speed up the learning process in professional communities online

The Cons of PHP

  • PHP-made apps tend to run slower in comparison to apps developed with other programming languages
  • While working with PHP, it may take longer to identify a piece of code that needs debugging
  • Newcomers to PHP need to learn to recognize good code from bad one, which can be not that straightforward because of its complicated syntax
  • PHP is not very suitable for desktop application development
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PHP vs ASP.NET – Why Choose Among These Two?

Both ASP.NET and PHP are great platforms for web development, so their comparison is much welcomed in today’s market realities.

According to W3Techs data on ASP.NET vs PHP usage as of March 10, 2020, the PHP platform is used by 78.8% of all the websites in which server-side programming language is precisely known, whereas ASP.NET is used by only 10.5%.

Website usage

In terms of their similarities, both platforms have widespread communities and open-source versions for a smooth and easy start.

When talking about PHP vs ASP.NET, it is also fair to note that in standard PHP builds you can find various functions familiar to C#.

ASP.NET vs PHP – Points to Consider

Comparing these two programming platforms and choosing PHP or ASP.NET for your project, you’d better keep in mind the following differentiators of each platform:

  • PHP is a completely free open-source platform, while ASP.NET has a web hosting fee to pay, except for the Core version, which is open-source.
  • PHP combines the characteristics of both a programming language and a web framework, whereas ASP.NET is only a framework for app development.
  • The ASP.NET platform is primarily used for large enterprise-level websites, CRMs, intranets, and ERP applications, while PHP programming is suitable mostly for light websites for small businesses and content management systems.
  • Both ASP.NET and PHP platforms provide security tools available to developers. However, ASP.NET has built-in security features such as SQL injection while PHP doesn’t.
  • ASP.NET provides a variety of programming languages to choose from — such as C#, Visual Basic.NET, C++, etc.
  • PHP has gained more popularity and a far larger pool of developers in the market than ASP.NET.
  • The websites built with PHP — such as Facebook, WordPress, Flickr, etc. — have been ranked among the Top 10k sites, Top 100k sites, and Top 1M sites.
  • The developers working with ASP.NET are usually paid much better than any PHP developer because of the shortage of ASP.NET expertise in the market.

The following diagram shows the percentages of websites using ASP.NET vs PHP, broken down by ranking: top 1,000,000; top 100,000; top 10,000; and top 1,000 websites.

Website usage broken down by ranking

To better illustrate the showdown of ASP.NET vs PHP, here is a comparison table:

ASP.NET vs PHP: points to considerASP.NETPHP
CostASP.NET has a web hosting fee to pay, except for the Core version which is open-sourcePHP is a completely free open-source platform
Project sizeASP.NET is primarily used for large enterprise-level websites and CRMs, intranets, and ERP appsPHP is suitable mostly for startups, light websites for small businesses, and CMSs
Platform structureASP.NET is an app development frameworkPHP is both a programming language and a web framework
Professional communityDedicated community of highly-paid developers, characterized by the skill shortage on the marketPHP has higher popularity and a larger pool of developers than ASP.NET
SecurityASP.NET is primarily used for large enterprise-level websites and CRMs, intranets, and ERP appsPHP has fewer built-in security features than ASP.NET
PerformanceGood performance, fast enough for implementing desktop applicationsSlower performance; might be unsuitable for desktop applications
Learning curveRather steepRather steep This programming language is quite easy to learn and implement

PHP vs ASP.NET – Summing Up

Well, we hope that at this stage you have clarified the questions you had or refreshed your knowledge about PHP vs ASP.NET. Based on the pros and cons highlighted in this article, as well as a few points to consider we marked above, we believe that developers, team leads, and project managers can now choose the right platform — ASP.NET or PHP — for their web software solution much more easily.

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