Where PHP wins: Deep code base
The Web is filled with PHP code. The most popular platforms for building websites (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla) are written in PHP. Not only are the platforms open source, but so are most of their plug-ins. There's PHP code everywhere, and it's waiting for you to download it, modify it, and use it for your needs.
Where Node wins: Newer code means more modern features
Sure, there are thousands of great open source PHP files, but some are 8-year-old WordPress plug-ins hoping and praying that someone will download them. Who wants to spend hours, days, or weeks monkeying with code that hasn't been updated in years? Node.js plug-ins are not only newer; they were built with full knowledge of the latest architectural approaches. They were built by programmers who understand that modern Web apps should push most of the intelligence to the client.
Where PHP wins: Simplicity (sort of)
There's not much to PHP: a few variables and basic functions for juggling strings and numbers. It's a thin layer that doesn't do much except move the data from port 80 to the database and back. That's what it's supposed to do. A modern database is a magical tool, and it makes sense to leave the heavy lifting to it. PHP is the right amount of complexity for a job that's not supposed to be complex.
Where Node wins: Complexity of closures and more
Where PHP wins: No client app needed
Where Node wins: Service calls are thinner than HTML-fat PHP calls
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