Why PHP is so much more popular for web-development

Jeff McNeil jeff at jmcneil.net
Thu Jul 26 03:18:15 CEST 2007

On 7/25/07, Steve Holden <steve at holdenweb.com> wrote:
> Jeff McNeil wrote:
> > Unfortunately, I also find that PHP programmers are usually more
> > plentiful than their Python counterparts.  When thinking of staffing
> > an organization, it's common to target a skill set that's cheaper to
> > employ and easier to replace down the road if need be.
> >
> Right, that's why hospitals are replacing their surgeons with butchers.
> There are so many more of them available. It's only cutting meat, after all.

I prefer Python by a long shot, but I'm confident there are a lot of
shops making the PHP vs. Python decision every day and this is up
there on the list of PHP's benefits.  Of the 10 guys I've interviewed
in the past two months, I think one had Python experience. In digging
a bit deeper, it turns out he got that installing Anaconda packages.

> > Also, larger hosting shops are hesitant to run things such as TG and
> > Rails that require an additional server process.  The name of the game
> > is density.  Sure, it may be easy to manage and run a TG project, but
> > it's a pain to set one up on a shared hosting server.
> >
> Virtualization will solve that problem.

It will help, sure.  I run a few things in a FreeBSD VPS right now,
actually. I really like the freedom it brings.

The problem again goes back to density, though.  I work for one of the
large web hosting firms.  When talking straight shared hosting, we can
put well over 50,000 web sites on a cluster of servers.  On our VPS
products? That number drops down to about 1,000 on the same hardware
configuration.  If we start talking about hardware virtualization,
divide by ten again.

The technology is getting there, but it's still just not feasible to
hit the same scale with virtualization that one can hit when building
a standard shared hosting platform.

All of that said, we *do* offer Python on our products. We just don't
provide additional support for things such as TurboGears, Zope, or
Django. All of our provisioning and management infrastructure is in
Python as well.

> > Lastly, I personally think it has something to do with the fact that
> > so many of the popular, free, web applications are PHP based. It's
> > easy for the average Web Administrator to get started with your
> > standard PHP package. From there, picking up the language is the next
> > logical step.
> >
> There's some justice to that.
> regards
>   Steve
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