Php Vs Asp Web Scripting Computer Science Essay

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This paper examines the difference between the two server-side scripting languages i.e. PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) and ASP (Active Server Pages). Both these languages are used to create dynamic web pages that allow interacting and exchanging information with databases. ASP is a type of program that requires a Microsoft Server for the website to work. On the other, PHP can either run on Linux or Unix Server or NT Server. We will discuss about the various factors like cost, speed, features, platform compatibility and many more by comparing both of these languages. Furthermore, we will discuss about advantages and disadvantages of both languages. In conclusion, we will recommend which one is better depending on the situation.


Server side scripting languages is becoming a popular choice among the web developers. Languages such as Perl, PHP, ASP, JSP, Cold Fusion are few options that are found in web development solutions. These languages were all created to do advanced programming on the Internet. Using these languages, we can do various kinds of things such as transforming a basic web page into a web application. Among these options, PHP and ASP are more widely used for creating dynamic websites that allow interacting and exchanging information with databases. Moreover, the choice between these two server side scripting languages is a constant source of heated debate on the Internet today. ASP and PHP are both website designing languages that run on backend servers like Apache Server and Windows OS. ASP is a type of program that requires a Microsoft Server for the website to work. On the other, PHP can either run on Linux or Unix Server or NT Server. We will discuss about the various factors like cost, speed, features, platform compatibility and many more and compare both of these languages. Furthermore, we will discuss about advantages and disadvantages of both languages. In conclusion, we will recommend which one is better depending on the situation.


According to Webopedia, “PHP is an open source, server-side, and HTML embedded scripting language used to create dynamic Web pages.” PHP was created and originally designed in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf and later modified by various developers. PHP is one of the most popular languages used for web development today. PHP allows you to collect, process and utilize data to help build websites that a user desires to obtain. It is an extremely capable language, with a vast array of built-in functions to do everything from tracking user sessions to generating dynamic graphics. It is able to perform multiple tasks including printing data, making numeric calculations, making comparisons, and creating more complex loops and functions to generate more specialized data.

PHP and ASP depict large scale differences in form of various factors like cost, features, speed, platform compatibility, and many others. The cost of PHP is absolutely free which in turn attracts majority of independent web developers. PHP belongs to a free software community and since it is not single handedly owned by any individual or any corporates, it can be used at no cost. Also, PHP uses databases such as MySQL which are freely available as well. Comparatively, PHP code runs faster than ASP because it runs in its own memory as opposed to ASP which is a COM based architecture. PHP can run on various platforms like Linux, Unix, Windows, and Solaris. PHP is based on C++ language and the syntax used in PHP is quite similar to C/C++.

PHP has many advantages compared to many other languages. One of the advantages of using PHP is its easiness to learn and user friendly features, especially for developers with C/C++ experience. It also offers many levels of security to prevent malicious attacks from internal or external threats. These security levels can be adjusted in the .ini file. Another advantage to PHP is its connective abilities, i.e. uses a modular system of extensions to interface with a variety of libraries. A huge advantage to PHP is its free community that allows one to communicate, share and interact with other users making it easier to ask for help. PHP has an ability to support multiple databases including MySQL and mSQL. It allows access to the databases directly through SQL statements. PHP is a full-fledged language which allows one to write many complex applications. Development in PHP is quick and since it is loosely typed language, it makes basic scripts much faster to develop with less attention to design. Like we discussed earlier, PHP is free and runs on various platforms which provides flexibility to users by not limiting the platform to Windows only.

Along the lines of advantages of PHP, let us take a look at few disadvantages as well. One disadvantage of PHP would be complexity in large projects that demands a certain level of experience. Since PHP is a loosely typed language, it allows room for unanticipated behavior to developers due to programmer error. If you have sensitive information that needs to be shared or stored securely, PHP might not be a good choice because of its security flaws that are extremely well known. Error handling is a common problem in PHP because of its poor ability in correcting errors. Language wise, PHP lacks the full object oriented capabilities that can be found in other languages such as private variables, multiple inheritances, and so on.


Active Server Pages (ASP) was developed by Microsoft and because of that, any websites that are created using ASP language must be hosted only on Microsoft Server in order to function properly. Generally, most of the servers running Windows today are using Windows NT, Windows Server 2000, and Windows Server 2003. ASP works with the most popular scripting languages such as JavaScript, VBScript, PerlScript Java and C. Moreover, it can connect to all databases such as Access, Oracle and so on. ASP is browser- independent i.e. all the scripting code runs on the server. Just like with most HTML code, ASP does require both opening tags and closing tags. Failure to add these tags in appropriate places would lead to error in loading the pages. ASP is closely linked to the Windows operating system and Internet Information Services (IIS) web server.

In order to run ASP language, one needs to have Microsoft Server or IIS installed which can be obtained at some cost. Unlike PHP, ASP software is not freely available for download. Comparatively, ASP runs much slower than PHP because it does run on its own memory. Platform compatibility is limited to Microsoft Windows only. However, sometimes ASP can run on Linux using ASP-Apache software on the server. ASP does not come with pre-installed components like ftp, email from a web page, and so on. This adds to extra cost for acquiring these additional components. Lastly, ASP uses majority of Visual Basic kind of syntax which is again closely related to Microsoft products.

Now, we will discuss about the advantages of ASP. There are numerous advantages of ASP, among these one of them would be its well supported technology backed by Microsoft community. This community provides technical articles and support materials for ASP developers. Another advantage is that it is easy to learn, and programmers can utilize simple dynamic features to create websites. ASP is more convenient and efficient compared to other languages such as CGI/PERL. ASP scripts have a feature of writing software and keeping hold of any proprietary programming. In other words, no VBScripts code can be viewed if you click on View Source on your browser. Hence, this adds an extra level of security to ASP development. ASP contains many of the compiled components that are sold by third party application vendors. Usually, the cost of ASP is included in the software you already own. Personal web server can be downloaded for free from Microsoft’s website. With the use of ASP, any contents of a dynamic web page can be edited, updated or changed easily.

Similar to PHP and other scripting languages, ASP has its own disadvantages. Since script code is interpreted at runtime, it provides poor performance as compared to PHP. The biggest disadvantage of ASP is that it is not free unless you decide to run on a Windows Server. Relatively, there is no room for flexibility in platform compatibility. It is specifically designed to run on Microsoft Server only. Another disadvantage of ASP is that it puts additional work on the servers, and poor written code can significantly affect performance of the server. The error messages that are produced from incorrect coding are sometimes difficult to read. Finally, it is more expensive to maintain Microsoft Server because it requires much more resources compared to PHP. Like any Microsoft products, ASP requires a large amount of resources and hardware.


Both languages have their own advantages and disadvantages specific to users. PHP is preferred by many programmers and developers because of its simple features and easiness to use in comparison to ASP. PHP is known to be more reliable than ASP since PHP requires few resources and hardware to function properly. Unlike PHP, ASP is not an open source language which makes it difficult for anyone to modify or make improvements. Any changes, updates or improvements to ASP scripting language can only be made by Microsoft employees. You can easily find thousands of PHP scripts available for free to download for Linux. Unfortunately, that is not the case for ASP.

It completely depends on the nature of the operating system on what kind of scripting language should be used to create dynamic websites. PHP has higher advantage over ASP when we break down the comparison to platform compatibility. Because of its flexibility, PHP also offers web development solution by connecting to various popular databases such as MySQL. In conclusion, PHP offers much more features than ASP at no cost which makes it a good choice for novice programmers.