My Two Cents About Why PHP Is the Best Bet for Your Project

Let’s say you have a dream web project that might revolutionize the internet (if you execute it properly). Where do you start? What technology is required? It can be very overwhelming when it comes to those details, and not everyone understands the technical aspects of the web. I’ll try to give my two cents about why PHP is the go-to technology for most web application development.

PHP can support very high traffic.

We had the opportunity to develop web applications with very high traffic (over 500,000 visitors per day) and they performed really well. PHP isn’t some new fancy technology so there are plenty of solid frameworks available with awesome communities and support. When Facebook was first created, it was on a LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) and ran on that for a while before they had to re-engineer the whole application. So let’s agree on something: Even if you build the next incredible product everyone will be talking about that eventually sells for $10 billion, you’ll have time and money to re-visit the technologies with your engineers. Your goal isn’t to make your product perfect but to respect your budget (assuming it’s realistic), launch it, and then plan the next steps.

There are plenty of developers who are great with PHP.

One of the major benefits I see is the number of PHP developers available compared to other technologies such as RoR or Python. If you let a RoR developer convince you to develop your web application in this technology, you’ll definitely get something well built, but you’ll be a slave to that developer and hustle to find another reliable one. And if the developer you work with isn’t honest, he’ll just abuse you. (I’ve personally seen it multiple times.)

There are a lot of great apps built on a RoR base, don’t get me wrong. However, at school, it’s not the first go-to technology. Take Shopify for example. It’s a great platform with hundreds of in-house developers (leaving very few developers for the rest of us–lol), but they can afford it. The rarity of RoR developers creates a lot of outbidding, making them very costly so that only a few large companies can afford their services. This applies to some other technologies as well.

Ignore most of what you hear denigrating PHP.

The best advice I could give you is to listen only to the people who are able to be positive about a variety of technologies–not just the one they work with. People who only like their own tech aren’t objective. In reality, there’s good in many programming languages; I personally find PHP to be the best entry point and there’s no reason for me to explore something else… unless I’m presented with millions in funding and a great team of engineers.

If you use something other than PHP, here’s some advice.

You read this article, did your due diligence, and you’re still ready to move forward with another programming language: Okay, good. Plan everything, including who will be your backup plan if you break up with your developer(s) or development company. Actually, have at least two backup options. A good way to do this? While interviewing developers and/or companies, do not make a decision until you have three options that you have a hard time deciding between, and keep the door open with all of them. This will prevent a lot of sleepless nights later.

If you work with a North American company, this might be less of a problem because most of them respect their clients. But you should easily have a hand on your credentials to make sure you won’t be in trouble if you part ways. It should be easy for you or the next partner to block your previous partner from all access points.

Surely I couldn’t get too deep in this article for fear people might not read it. You need to use your good judgment and be a real entrepreneur when it comes to outsourcing your project. Keep in mind there’s no shortcut; any professional programmers will take the time to do things in the best possible way according to the time he/she has. Pressing a developer to cut corners never gives good results, so use your common sense and don’t expect a billing module in your product done in two days. Many things take time to come to fruition, just like no matter how hard you try, a baby will take nine months to be fully “baked.”

If you want some advice on choosing your development partner, please have a look at this article.

Raph Leroux Co-Founder @ SimplyPHP
Sep 2018