Speed of code execution: ASP.NET-MVC versus PHP


I have a friendly argument going on with a co-worker about this, and my personal opinion is that a ASP.NET-MVC compiled web application would run more efficiently/faster than the same project that would be written in PHP. My friend disagrees.

Unfortunately I do not have any solid data that I can use to back up my argument. (neither does he)

To this, I tried to Google for answers to try and find evidence to prove him wrong but most of the time the debate turned into which platform it is better to develop on, cost, security features, etc... For the sake of this argument I really don't care about any of that.

I would like to know what stack overflow community thinks about the raw speed/efficency of websites in general that are developed in ASP.NET with MVC versus exactly the same website developed with PHP?

Does anyone have any practical examples in real-world scenarios comparing the performance of the two technologies?

(I realize for some of you this may very well be an irrelevant and maybe stupid argument, but it is an argument, and I would still like to hear the answers of the fine people here at S.O.)

8/30/2009 7:29:53 AM

Accepted Answer

It's a hard comparison to make because differences in the respective stacks mean you end up doing the same thing differently and if you do them the same for the purpose of comparison it's not a very realistic test.

PHP, which I like, is in its most basic form loaded with every request, interpreted and then discarded. It is very much like CGI in this respect (which is no surprise considering it is roughly 15 years old).

Now over the years various optimisations have been made to improve the performance, most notably opcode caching with APC, for example (so much so that APC will be a standard part of PHP 6 and not an optional module like it is now).

But still PHP scripts are basically transient. Session information is (normally) file based and mutually exclusive (session_start() blocks other scripts accessing the same user session until session_commit() or the script finishes) whereas that's not the case in ASP.NET. Aside from session data, it's fairly easy (and normal) to have objects that live within the application context in ASP.NET (or Java for that matter, which ASP.NET is much more similar to).

This is a key difference. For example, database access in PHP (using mysql, mysqli, PDO, etc) is transient (persistent connections notwithstanding) whereas .Net/Java will nearly always use persistent connection pools and build on top of this to create ORM frameworks and the like, the caches for which are beyond any particular request.

As a bytecode interpreted platform, ASP.NET is theoretically faster but the limits to what PHP can do are so high as to be irrelevant for most people. 4 of the top 20 visited sites on the internet are PHP for example. Speed of development, robustness, cost of running the environment, etc... tend to be far more important when you start to scale than any theoretical speed difference.

Bear in mind that .Net has primitive types, type safety and these sorts of things that will make code faster than PHP can run it. If you want to do a somewhat unfair test, sort an array of one million random 64 bit integers in both platforms. ASP.NET will kill it because they are primitive types and simple arrays will be more efficient than PHP's associative arrays (and all arrays in PHP are associative ultimately). Plus PHP on a 32 bit OS won't have a native 64 bit integer so will suffer hugely for that.

It should also be pointed out that ASP.NET is pre-compiled whereas PHP is interpreted on-the-fly (excluding opcode caching), which can make a difference but the flexibility of PHP in this regard is a good thing. Being able to deploy a script without bouncing your server is great. Just drop it in and it works. Brilliant. But it is less performant ultimately.

Ultimately though I think you're arguing what's really an irrelevant detail.

11/18/2013 4:27:41 AM

ASP.NET runs faster. ASP.NET Development is faster. Buy fast computer, and enjoy it if you do serious business web applications

ASP.NET code executes a lot faster compared to PHP, when it's builded in Release mode, optimized, cached etc etc. But, for websites (except big players, like Facebook), it's less important - the most time of page rendering time is accessing and querying database.

In connecting database ASP.NET is a lot better - in asp.net we typically use LINQ which translates our object queries into stored procedures in SQL server database. Also connection to database is persistent, one for one website, there is no need for reconnecting.

PHP, in comparison, can't hold sql server connection between request, it connect, grab data from db and destroys, when reconnecting the database is often 20-30% of page rendering time.

Also whole web application config is reloaded in php on each request, where in asp.net it persist in memory. It can be easily seen in big, enterprise frameworks like symfony/symfony2, a lot of rendering time is symfony internal processess, where asp.net loads it's once and don't waste your server for useless work.

ASP.NET can holds object in cache in application memory - in php you have to write it to files, or use hack like memcache. using memcache is a lot of working with concurrency and hazard problems (storing cache in files also have it's own problems with concurrency - every request start new thread of apache server and many request can work on one time - you have to think about concurrency between those threads, it take a lot of development time and not always work because php don't have any mutex mechanisms in language, so you can't make critical section by any way).

now something about development speed: ASP.NET have two main frameworks designed for it (Webforms and MVC), installed with environment, where in PHP you must get a open-source framework. There is no standard framework in php like in asp.NET.

ASP.NET language is so rich, standard library has solutions for very much common problems, where PHP standard library is ... naked... they can't keep one naming convention.

.NET has types, where PHP is dynamic, so it means no control about source code until you run it or write unit tests.

.NET has great IDE where PHP IDE's are average or average-good (PHPStorm is still a lot worse than VS+resharper or even without it)

PHP scaffolding in symfony is fired from command line when ASP.NET scaffolding is integrated into environment.

If you have slow computer like my (one core 2,2ghz), developing asp.net pages can be painfull because you have to recompile your project on any change of source code, where PHP code refresh immediately.

PHP language syntax is so unfinished, unsolid and naked compared to C# syntax. Strong types in C# and many flexible language features can speed up your development and make your code less buggy.

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