The Best 10 Backend Programming Languages

The usefulness of backend programming languages is increasing day by day. However, selecting the right backend programming language is challenging whether you are a learner, startup or a big business. In this regard, we are sharing the best backend languages with their features and limitations here.

What is Backend Development?

All server-side operations and interactions between the browser and database are referred to as backend development.

Servers, databases, communication protocols, operating systems and software stack are the core tools used in backend development.

JavaScript, PHP, Python, Java and Ruby are the known backend programming languages that most backend developers are using nowadays.

A survey of W3Techs claims that PHP is the most used backend language. Around 79.2% of web applications are using PHP as server-side applications.

On the other hand, Stack Overflow’s 2020 Developer Survey shares that JavaScript is the top most used scripting language. Indeed, JavaScript got 69.7%, Python earned 41.6%, and PHP received 25.8% votes from professional developers in this survey.

Types of Backend Programming Languages

Backend programming languages are usually categorized into two major types. We are going to discuss these types below!

  • Object-Oriented Programming

This backend development approach emphasizes object or data formations instead of using logic. With uncommon characteristics, the object is considered a data field in functional programming.

The object-oriented programming technique is the best approach when developers work in teams on big and complex projects.

PHP, Java, Ruby and Python are the common examples of OOP backend programming. Regardless of many benefits, experts criticize OOP because of its complex scripting style. It also takes more time when it comes to assemble and write the code.

  • Functional Programming

It is another type of back-end programming focusing more on declarations and results than the programming procedure.

FP backs parallel, immutable data and doesn’t have any side effects. So, FP is the answer if you want to improve productivity & modularity and to sort out scripting issues in the simplest ways.

SQL, R, Haskell and F# are the famous FB backend programming languages that you can consider using. On the contrary, this backend programming language also has some limitations. Practicing difficulty for beginners, complex maintenance and reuse are some major cons of using functional programming languages.

Top 10 Backend Languages

Backend Programming Languages List

There are several backend programming languages that developers are using nowadays for their projects. However, we are sharing the most reliable and well-reputed top 10 backend languages here.

1. JavaScript

JavaScript is one of the most trustworthy backend programming languages. Coders use this language for both server-side and front-end tasks.

This backend language was initially launched 25 years back in 1995 and usually denoted as ‘JS’. Withal, you shouldn’t mix it with Java because both Java and JavaScript are completely different languages.

JavaScript offers many advantages, including rich interfaces, online availability of numerous resources and Interoperability. Moreover, it is also considered one of the most popular programming languages.

Undoubtedly, 69.7% of professional developers said they are using JavaScript for their projects, according to the 2020 Developer Survey of Stack Overflow. JS is holding this top position for the last 8 years in a row.

JavaScript Features

Dynamic Data Type — In JavaScript, data types of variables are not predefined. It indicates that you can reuse variables easily for any kind of data type. You can store any type of data in a variable, like if you have stored string “ABC” in variable x. Later you can store any integer or array in the same variable. It means that you do not need to declare an extra variable for another type of data where the previous variable is not being used. It helps in saving memory & improves coding practice, and reduces lines of codes as well.

Lightweight — JavaScript is a lightweight scripting language that is mostly used for data handling on the browser side. Programmers usually use this language for client-side execution which is the reason that it is fast and lightweight.

Async Processing — Async processing is one of the most useful features of the JavaScript language. Using JavaScript, a block of the script won’t be able to stop or let the other block of code wait for the response to get started. If a request is being processed, then others will also work in parallel with the previous request instead of waiting for the response for the previous request. It saves a lot of time by running scripts in parallel.

Divide Server Processing Load — JavaScript allows you to perform basic functionalities on the client-side. This means that the server will not have to process the basic functionalities that improve server performance.

How to host a JavaScript application?

There are multiple ways you can host a JavaScript application. The options include setting up servers on cloud providers like AWS or Digital Ocean, using PaaS platforms like Heroku, or backend as a service providers like Back4App.

BaaS platforms deliver ready-to-use and scalable hosting, out-of-the-box building blocks to speed up backend development, and SDKs to facilitate server-side and client-side integration. JavaScript hosting is generally easier to achieve using a managed backend platform.

The guide Easy Steps to Host a Javascript App is helpful and explains how to easily host static pages and use a JavaScript application to register and log in users. The second guide worth reading is Setup CRUD Operations in a JavaScript environment. 

Developing a backend using raw virtual machines will give developers more flexibility and control over most infrastructure components, but they will require to manage servers and monitor the infrastructure around the clock.

JavaScript Limitations

  • JavaScript is not suitable for the development of networking apps.
  • Although it was designed as a lightweight coding language, but its weak language design becomes a headache in some cases.
  • Complex maintenance is also a con of using JS as a backend.
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2. PHP

PHP is another known server-side programming language that was officially launched in 1997. This backend language is entrenched in HTML and normally used for session tracking, designing eCommerce sites and administering databases and dynamic content.

Most web applications prefer to choose PHP as their server-side language. W3Techs reveals around 80.1% of websites were using PHP as a backend language in 2017. In 2021, this usage is around 79.2%. Furthermore, it is also easy to find a PHP developer when businesses decide to go with a PHP backend.

PHP Features

Simple & Common — PHP is one of the simplest backend programming languages. The simplicity of this programming has made it one of the most commonly used languages, especially for web development. You can learn this language easily as compared to other languages like Java etc.

Platform independence — PHP is a platform-independent language. It means PHP can work for all operating systems and platforms.

Loosely Typed — In the PHP programming language, you don’t need to mention the data type of a variable before assigning value. The data type of the variable will be based on the data stored in it during the execution.

Interpreted Language — PHP is an interpreted language. Indeed, with PHP, there is no need for compilation before executing the code. PHP code is interpreted line by line, which saves time of compilation, and all lines are being executed one by one & display the results.

Flexibility — PHP is a flexible language, and it can be used very easily & effectively with HTML, XML & JavaScript. This language can be embedded & integrated with these scripting languages easily to create an application.

Multiple Web Frameworks — There are multiple PHP frameworks available for web applications development. Programmers can write structured code in MVC (Model View Controller) structure. It helps in defining the functionalities in a specific structure. PHP frameworks include Laravel, CakePHP, CodeIgnitor etc.

PHP Limitations

  • It is seamless to misuse the script’s weakness because PHP is open-source.
  • Because of poor maintenance, it is not suitable for big projects.
  • Inadequate error handling and unavailability of dedicated libraries are also limitations of using PHP language.

3. Ruby

Ruby is another popular and anticipated open-source backend language. Yukihiro Matsumoto initially introduced this scripting language in 1995.

Time efficiency is the main advantage of using Ruby as a backend language. Yes, it offers a variety of coding tools to speed up your backend development process.

Availability of numerous libraries and support from active communities are also some benefits of using Ruby server-side languages.

Ruby Features

Mixins — This is a unique feature of Ruby where modules and classes are mixed. Ruby is a programming language that has classes and modules. In Ruby, modules only contain methods without any instance. Programmers can use the modules in the classes which means those methods of the modules will be added to the class. It is similar to inheritance but easier and more flexible.

Naming Conventions — Ruby defines the specific naming conventions for variables, classes, etc.

  • The constants in Ruby should start with a Capital letter
  • A global variable must start with a dollar sign ($)
  • An instance variable should be started with @
  • A class variable should be started with double @ (@@)

These naming convention rules help the programmers to write and read with effective coding. It is more helpful when a team of multiple members working on the same project because understanding the code becomes easy with these naming conventions.

Dynamic Data Types — Ruby is a convenient programming language where data types should not be defined while declaring the variable. A variable can contain any kind of data that saves the memory & reduces the lines of code by not declaring different types of variables for different types of data. You can use a variable for any kind of data according to your program requirements without declaring multiple variables.

Ruby Limitations

  • The runtime speed of Ruby is comparatively slower to other languages. Surely, complex programs might take time to complete their execution when coders use Ruby.
  • Ruby is a new programming language. That’s why the community of Ruby language is limited. You will have to search a lot to find issues regarding complex errors.

4. Python

Python is a high-level interpreted programming language. It is one of the most commonly used programming languages that follows multiple programming paradigms, including OOP, structured & functional programming.

This programming language is being used in advanced level programming such as data analytics, machine learning, web apps, etc.

Python Features

Easy to Learn & Code — Python is a high-level programming language that can be learned easily than other languages like C++, C# or Java. You can learn its syntax & start coding in a few hours if you have a basic understanding of programming.

Object-Oriented Language — Python supports the programming paradigm of object-oriented programming. It means you can define classes and objects to write structured code for your program or applications. It helps in better understanding the code and clean code as well. Coders can reuse the classes and functionalities easily by using the concepts of OOP. This procedure reduces the lines of code as well.

Platform Independent Language — Python is a portable and platform-independent programming language. You can run the same python code in Windows, Linux, Unix, etc.

Python Libraries — Python provides a wide range of libraries, including different kind of functionalities. You will not have to write code from scratch when finding built-in libraries for the same functionality. For example, OpenCV is a Python library for Computer Visions & Selenium is widely used for web automation and scraping.

Python Limitations

  • Python is relatively slower than other programming languages. Complex programs might take more time than normal time to execute a code.
  • There are multiple versions of Python, and the code written in one version might cause some errors in other versions, especially when using libraries.

5. Java

JAVA is another one of the most widely used backend programming languages which specifically follows the object-oriented programming paradigm.

Java is most often used to build large enterprise-level applications. It is one of the oldest languages as well with multiple extraordinary features.

Java Features

Object-Oriented Language — JAVA is specifically focused on object-oriented approaches. It means you cannot work without classes while using Java. OOP helps the programmers to write structured and well-organized code. The understanding and readability of code become easier through object-oriented programming.

Multi-Threaded — Java allows programmers to write code where multiple tasks can be executed simultaneously. It can be very helpful when you need to execute a program in less time by running different operations in parallel.

Secure — Java is considered a very secure programming language. Public encryption keys are used for authentication to make it safer for data-sensitive applications.

Java Limitations

  • The code of Java is complex, especially when a large application is developed in it.
  • Java requires significant memory space that may affect the performance of the application.

6. Rust

Rust is another one of the most famous and powerful programming languages initially launched in 2010. It is a multi-paradigm programming language that is similar to C++. Memory safety is guaranteed by using a borrow checker for validating the references in Rust.

Rust Features

Clear Error Messages — The error messages are clearer in Rust compared to other programming languages. Formatted error messages are displayed, and spelling issues are also suggested.

Fast & High Performance — Rust is relatively efficient and provides higher performance than other programming languages like Python & Ruby, etc. You can write complex programs with different functionalities to be executed in less time.

Rust Limitations

  • There is no garbage collection in the Rust programming language.
  • Rust is not an interpreted language. That is why it needs a compiler to compile the whole code before execution. The compiler takes more time than other languages before executing the code.

7. Solidity

Solidity is another beneficial backend programming language used to write complex programs and applications. It is high-level programming that is contract-based. This server-side language is statically typed that also supports inheritance to implement real-life scenarios.

Although Solidity looks very easy for learners but according to experts, it is challenging for new learners. If you are willing to develop blockchain or contract applications, you should choose this impressive back-end programming.

Solidity Features

Inheritance — You can implement inheritance using solidity to carry out real-life scenarios. Real-life scenarios in applications require inheritance to be implemented in a structured form. The code structure becomes seamless to understand.

String & Hash Types — Solidity allows the programmers to convert the string into hashes and vice versa. There are built-in functions available for this conversion.

Solidity Limitations

  • Solidity provides static data types for variables. It means you would have to declare a variable for a specific data type before storing the data. You cannot reuse that variable for any other data type.

8. Go

Go is another valuable backend programming language that was developed in 2008. It is a statically typed programming language. Moreover, Go is a compiled programming language that is similar to C syntactically. It provides the useful features of Garbage collection, structural typing, etc.

Go Features

Object-Oriented Programming — Go supports object-oriented programming where you can design your code in a structured form using classes and inheritance. You can create classes and objects for implementing the application program. It reduces the code by reusability & also creates a better understanding of the code.

Testing Support — The testing support feature can be beneficial for the programmers to identify the issues and fix them. Go programming language provides the feature of unit testing in the language itself. The large applications development become more effective and easier by this amazing property of the Go programming language.

Go Limitations

  • Go is a young programming language, so it is still under development. All the areas of programming paradigms are not covered in this programming language yet.
  • Go language does not provide manual memory management to the users. It means that you cannot manually manage and access the memory that may cause overhead garbage collection.
  • The error handling of the Go programming language is not that perfect, which may cause issues for the programmers and the app users.

9. Kotlin

Kotlin is a very well-known programming language, especially for Android apps development. Kotlin is the language that can interoperate with Java. It indicates that you can use this programming language within already built applications in Java.

Kotlin Features

Java Interoperability — Java is the most widely used programming language for Android applications. If you have learned Kotlin and got a project half-built in Java, you can use Kotlin within Java to extend the functionalities of that application.

Extension Functions — Kotlin allows the developers to add extensions to the classes without modifying the source code. Programmers can add their own functionalities in the classes easily, which can help them code the application easily and effectively.

Efficiency — The efficiency of this programming is relatively high as compared to other programming languages. You can write complex programs that will be executed in less time, which increases the reliability of app usage.

Kotlin Limitations

  • Kotlin is a new programming language, so there are fewer developers available for this language. If you got your app developed in Kotlin, then you want to change developer, you might not find a new developer because of the small developers’ community.
  • It is also hard to fix issues with Kotlin.

10. NodeJS

NodeJS is one of the most famous backend JavaScript environments. It runs the JavaScript code on the server-side.

It allows the developers to write backend code in JavaScript. Fortunately, it is also an open-source programming language that owns cross-platform features.

According to W3Techs, around 1.3% of websites are using NodeJS for their server-side operations. LinkedIn, Uber, Netflix, NASA and Netflix are the leading companies claiming to use NodeJS for their backend functions.

NodeJS Features

Object-Oriented Programming — NodeJS is the backend JavaScript programming language that backs the object-oriented Programming paradigm. It means that you can implement the applications using classes and inheritance. It improves the code quality and program understanding. NodeJS also reduces the code lines through reusability.

Efficient — NodeJS is relatively faster, especially as a backend programming language. You can write complex programs that will run in less time to provide reliable app usage. It is widely used for web applications. Therefore, the faster and quick response improves the user experience.

How to host a NodeJS application?

Similar to JavaScript, there are mainly two ways to host a NodeJS app. The first one is creating and managing servers using large infrastructure providers—the second is hosting the application in backend as a service platform.

The first option will demand more time and engineering effort to set up and manage servers but will provide more flexibility and server control. The second option will allow a faster time to market and a fully managed service. On the other hand, it has lower flexibility than running a server.

To know more about how Back4App can accelerate NodeJS development and host, please refer to the guide NodeJS App Template. The template is free to use and will perform the Sign In process, send verification emails, and retrieve passwords. 

NodeJS Limitations

  • NodeJS does not support multi-threaded programming. Unluckily, you can run your tasks in multiple threads, which may be required at different levels of applications. In addition, it might affect the performance of the application as you are using a single thread throughout the program.
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This article presents one of the top server-side programming languages with their overview, core features and limitations. Indeed, this guide shares the top options, but it depends on your project’s requirements when it comes to the most suitable language.

Hopefully, you would pick the right and compatible backend programming language for your project.


What is Backend Development?

All server-side operations and interactions between the browser and database are referred to as backend development.

What are the types of backend programming languages?

– Object-Oriented Programming
– Functional Programming

What are the best ten backend programming languages?

– Javascript
– Ruby
– Python
– Java
– Rust
– Solidity
– Go
– Kotlin
– Node JS

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