Each programmer has option to write websites and web applications in a number of programming languages. But the developers have to put extra time and effort to write custom web applications according varying and complex business requirements. The web frameworks help programmers to accelerate development of web applications, web services, and web APIs. The developers can take advantage of web frameworks to reduce development time by reusing code and simplifying common web development tasks like database access and session management. A developer has option to choose from several programming languages and web frameworks according to his choice of programming language. Many Beginner Developers ask me about how RoR fares as compared to PHP, So today we will try to compare RoR vs PHP.

The usage statistics posted on various websites depict that PHP is currently more popular than other server-side programming language. The programmers have option to embed PHP code directly into HTML code. But many programmers execute PHP code through various web frameworks to save time. Ruby on Rails (RoR) is one of the widely used web frameworks. RoR is written in Ruby programming languages. The developers also have option to choose from several web frameworks written in Ruby. Hence, comparingRoR vs PHP may seem like comparing apples to oranges. But the web developers still need to understand the major differences between these widely used web technologies.

Understanding Major Differences between RoR vs PHP

Server-Side Programming Language

PHP is currently a hugely popular server-side programming language. The PHP scripts are interpreted by the web server through a PHP interpreter which is implemented as a module. Likewise, the client computers can access the PHP scripts through a compatible web browser. The developers can deploy PHP applications on major platforms like Windows, Linux and Mac OS. They even have option to embed PHP code directly into HTML markup. But many programmers combine PHP code with various web frameworks to accelerate custom web application development.

Web Framework

While writing web applications in PHP, programmers have option to choose from many open source web frameworks – Laravel, Codeigniter, CakePHP, Yii, Symfony, Zend and Slim. Each PHP frameworks simplifies and speeds up web application development by providing several features. But the features provided by individual PHP frameworks differ. Likewise, the choice of PHP framework also differs from one programmer to another. At the same time, RoR is one of the most popular web frameworks for Ruby programming language. RoR is also written in Ruby. While using RoR, programmers can take advantage of the robust language features and frameworks for Ruby.


PHP is a server-side programming language, whereas RoR is a web framework. Hence, the performance of the web technologies cannot be compared directly. Unlike Ruby, PHP is designed with built-in web development capabilities. Also, PHP 7.0 comes with optimized performance and speed, while consuming less memory. But the performance of individual PHP frameworks differs. On the other hand, RoR is also effective in handling a large number of requests per second. But the web framework affects the performance of web applications by consuming more memory. The programmers have to change runtimes to make the RoR applications run faster.

Development Speed

The programmers have option to embed PHP scripts directly into the HTML markup. Hence, they can execute PHP scripts without using any web framework. But the web developers cannot accelerate development of custom web applications without using PHP frameworks. They have to write longer lines of code to add functionality to the web applications according to complex business requirements. Also, they will need additional time to debug and review the code. On the other hand, RoR comes with features to make it easier for programmers to write web applications in Ruby. While using RoR, the programmers can easily accelerate web application development by availing several Ruby gems and plug-ins. At the same time, RoR simplifies database operations by providing a robust ORM and facilitates unit testing through PUnit integration.

Development Tools

RoR is a mature web framework for Ruby. It also evolves continuously to meet the emerging web application development trends. But the users can avail only the features provided by RoR while writing web applications in Ruby. On the other hand, they have option to choose from several web frameworks, libraries, content management systems, and development tools while using PHP. Popular content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Magento further enable programmers to build a variety of websites and web applications rapidly. Also, PHP enables developers to choose from a wide range of development and testing tools according to precise needs of each project. Hence, many web application programmers find it easier to write custom web applications in PHP.

Community Support

PHP is an open source programming language, whereas RoR is an open source web framework. Each web technology is supported by large and active communities. But the PHP community is more robust and active than the RoR community. Also, each PHP framework is supported by large community. While writing web application in PHP, a programmer can refer to additional online resources. Likewise, he can resolve various web development issues quickly by availing the assistance of many experienced PHP programmers. The members of the community also contribute hugely towards making PHP the most popular server-side technology.

Learning Curve

PHP is considered as one of the simplest programming languages. A beginner can learn and use PHP within a short amount of time. He can further refer to the online tutorials, videos, similar resources to learn PHP without putting extra time and effort. On the other hand, RoR is considered as one of the complex web applications. Likewise, Ruby is not a straight forward programming language like PHP. It also has a steep learning curve.  That is why; the beginners have to put extra time and effort to learn Ruby and use RoR.

On the whole, PHP is a server-side programming language, whereas RoR is web framework written in Ruby programming language. Each of the popular web technologies has its own strengths and shortcomings. The developers need to accelerate web application development by using a robust PHP framework. Likewise, Ruby on Rails developers have to write code in Ruby. Hence, comparing RoR vs PHP is just like comparing apples to oranges.