Home / Web Development / PHP vs ASP.NET



Yes, the war is still on! And it has intensified ever since.

Arrived in the late 90s, PHP came as a cool breeze and saved programmers from tedious, time-consuming Perl coding. The earlier version of PHP was just a sample set of Perl scripts created by Rasmus Lerdorf to automate a few processes. PHP 3.0 was the first version that closely resembled PHP as we know it today. One of the biggest strengths of PHP 3.0 was its strong extensibility features. In addition to providing end users with a solid infrastructure for lots of different databases, protocols, and APIs, PHP 3.0’s extensibility features attracted dozens of developers to join in and submit new extension modules. Arguably, this was the key to PHP 3.0’s tremendous success. Other key features introduced in PHP 3.0 were the object-oriented syntax support and the much more powerful and consistent language syntax.

ASP.net on the other hand got into life in the early 2000s with the release of .net framework 1.0. The important thing to note here is that ASP.NET is the next-generation ASP, but it’s not an upgraded version of ASP. ASP.NET is an entirely new technology for server-side scripting. It was written from the ground up and is not backward compatible with the classic ASP. Over the last few years, ASP.NET has gone through a few evolutions, from ASP.NET 1.0 to 1.1, 2.0, 3.5, 4.0, and now to ASP.NET 4.5 with the release of Visual Studio 2012 and Windows Server 2012 for Windows 8


Now, the comparison…..

Let’s cover point by point the weakness and strengths of both before we arrive at a conclusion.

Easy of use
PHP is definitely the easiest to learn and adapt to among the two. It also requires less system resources to code in PHP – a simple windows notepad would do.
ASP.net is not very tedious though, but is a bit difficult to learn when it comes to direct comparison with PHP. It also needs more powerful computer to work in Visual Studio Environment.
Database Support
PHP provides native support for a number of popular databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, DBM, Oracle, Informix, MSSQL, etc.  In case your database isn’t natively supported, you can connect via protocol-based functions (ODBC, LDAP, etc)
ASP.NET only provides native support to the MSSQL database. For other databases, you can use protocol-based functions.
Execution Speed
This is the area where ASP.NET has a marginal edge over PHP. PHP is programmed without the benefit of connection pooling, or an in-memory session state. Unlike precompiled code in ASP.NET, PHP is interpreted on-the-fly which also contributes to a slowdown. There are contrasting opinions, and benchmark results available on the internet claiming one language to be better than the other but it seems the difference is not very huge and should not affect your selection process of selecting either of the languages for a given project.
ASP.NET provides persistent connection pools, better session management, and precompiled machine code which helps it score over PHP.
Here, PHP clearly wins over ASP.NET. The main reason for it is that PHP is open source and its support comes from across the world which also means that bugs are fixed almost instantly. There is also a large repository of reusable code and third party applications available scattered through out the net.
ASP.NET, though very well supported by Microsoft and its users across the world fails by a margin to PHP.
Development Time
This comparison goes in favor of ASP.NET. PHP has a number of rapid application development environments like Zend, CakePHPetc but they stand no where in comparison to Microsoft’s Visual Studio.
Excellent development environment and default web form architecture helps code faster in ASP.NET in comparison to PHP. Other application suits like Visual Source Safe or Team Suite help better code management and allow multiple developers to work simultaneously on a project.

As you can see, both the platforms are equally comparable and go neck to neck in all the comparisons. So, which language to choose for your web design project? I would suggest you to choose a language based upon your constraints e.g. if delivery time is your point of concern than you can go for ASP.NET and if you worried more about support than go for PHP. If you are an end client and not sure about the above technical jargon then simply pick any of the above – you can never be wrong with either.