PHP versus ASP comparison

February 16th, 2003

by Stephan Spencer


PHP is cheaper to implement that ASP.


PHP gives us additional capability than if we were to code with ASP.

“Open Source”

We are strong proponents of the “Open Source” movement. Open source software is a collaborative effort amongst a worldwide community of volunteer programmers with a passion for technology. People of disparate backgrounds and experiences join together to solve problems in new ways, thus resulting in better software.

Open source software is free to use, copy, and modify, which makes it a great deal for our clients.

It is also highly flexible, because it allows us to extend the software and customize it for our clients’ requirements.

We don’t have to reinvent the wheel when we embark on a project for a client, as there is an amazingly extensive library of software written in PHP that’s free and available in source code form. Whenever possible, we repurpose our own extensive code library. But if we haven’t already built a similar web application before, we look for the best open source software to meet the functional requirements and pick up where that software left off. Adding such enhancements and customizations to the software’s source code wouldn’t be possible with proprietary closed-source software.

There are no requirements to purchase commercial licenses and pay continuously for upgrades. For example, to perform binary file uploads, retrieve a file via FTP or HTTP, encrypt passwords in MD5, or send email from a Web page require 3rd party commercial software packages in ASP. It’s all available for free in PHP.

PHP is platform-agnostic

It will run on Linux, Solaris, Windows, and other operating systems as well. With ASP you’re also forced down a path that is very costly and painful to extricate yourself from. For example, what if you wanted to switch web hosting providers to one that was more reliable and had better customer service but was Linux-based? ASP only runs reliably on Microsoft Windows-based web servers.

PHP is the most popular web programming language on the planet

It’s more popular than ASP, Cold Fusion, Perl, or any other web programming language.

All else being equal, PHP is faster than ASP

ASP supports multiple programming languages. This architecture is inherently slower and more memory intensive that PHP’s model because each ASP language compiler runs in its own process. So when ASP detects a Begin ASP tag () it will do a context switch back to the HTML parser.

PHP is secure

IIS Server is notorious for its security holes.

Coding in PHP is more efficient than in ASP

Typically the same functionality can be accomplished in less code with PHP than with ASP. This is because the HTTP GET and POST variables are created automatically by PHP as global variables, thus eliminating the step of extracting them from the ASP Request object. PHP’s HTTP header manipulation functions are easier to use than in ASP.

Want more?

More justifications can be found at


  1. daniel says:

    thanks guys . i was having this debate about asp outsmarting php and i think you have been a great help for me to stick to php

  2. This isnt exactly correct now is it!

    What has IIS got to do with ASP?

    If we’re talking classic ASP which we must be considering the statements you’ve made then, ASP can run on Apache just as easily as IIS.

    Actually most of the statements made dont really make any point, other than to say one is open source and the other is not.

    And the statement that everything is PHP is free is just wrong. There are commercial companies making PHP things, they arent free! Nor are commercial ASP things.

  3. A nice concise overall comparision of why PHP is better than Classic ASP!

  4. limo hire says:

    Thanks for the comparison. I was considering whether it was better to switch to asp as sites such as digg don’t seem to like php pages. I think I’ll stick with php.

  5. tim says:

    I think it’s funny that you say PHP is more secure in one breath and then turn around and say it’s faster to code in because HTTP GET and PUT variables are automatically created as global variables.

    Open source is fine as long as you don’t mind inconsistent function naming (is it str_xyz() or strxyz()?) and functions that are implemented depending on the OS platform (i.e. you must be careful to write portable PHP).

    Oh yeah…and if you want to ADD any of those fun open source free features, don’t you have to recompile PHP on those open source platforms? 🙂 At least on a Windows platform you can just copy in the DLL files and tweak the php.ini file….

  6. Tom says:

    As a new developer (and quite poor), the fact php is free to use and host meant I was able to learn the code and use it immediately. There also seems to be a bigger community providing tutorials etc, though I am biased I guess.

  7. Tom P says:

    Both languages are very good at enabling you to create functional…even powerful…websites. While a lot of it comes down to personal choice, there are two main areas to consider:

    1. Price. Both languages are free to use. Different components for each language cost money, so it’s a wash. However, Windows hosting is typically more expensive, especially if you use MS SQL for your database. Advantage = PHP

    2. Power and stability. Both languages are powerful and relatively stable. However, multiple tests have confirmed ASP is inherently more stable and executes faster than PHP. The fact that PHP is OpenSource is simply a personal preference for some people, not necessarily a benefit. Advantage = ASP.

    In summary, both languages will do the job quite well. One costs a bit more to support, but it does have a bit more stability. Pick your poison…you’ll be happy with either.

    Good luck!

  8. TexasStar says:

    Tom P,

    Thanks for your message. It is a really unbiased opinion. Do you know how much it would cost if one chooses ASPï¼? I mean to purchase the advanced modules.

  9. by TexasStar — July 31, 2009 @ 9:56 am