The best programming languages for web development

by Meike Müller

Nowadays, no company can avoid web development. Digitization is now also taking place in SMEs, which is why the demand for good web developers is increasing. A web developer will always find a project to work on. But which programming languages should they know best in order to be able to work on as many projects as possible? In this article, we want to introduce you to the various web development programming languages and show you the advantages, disadvantages and areas of application for the individual languages. At the end, we will of course also draw a conclusion as to which programming languages a good web developer should know in order to be able to develop almost any web application. If you have any questions about web development, we at EXWE will be happy to assist you as a strong partner. Feel free to contact us!

Reading time 6 min

What you can expect
  1. Let us briefly explain what web development actually is
  2. So that you know which programming languages you should learn, we will introduce you to different ones and tell you their advantages and for which use cases you can best use them
  3. Then we'll show you which web development programming languages are used for the most popular websites
  4. and which programming languages we use at the EXWE web development agency
  5. FAQ
    1. How can I program web applications?
    2. Which programming language can be used for game development?
    3. What is Kotlin?
    4. What is source code?
    5. What is meant by interoperability?
    6. What is a database language?
    7. What is a web server?
    8. What are dynamic web applications?
    9. What are network applications?
    10. What are web apps?
  6. Conclusion

What is web development?

Before we introduce you to the best web development programming languages, we want to briefly pick you up again and explain what is meant by web development. This is the programming of web applications and websites, as well as web design itself. You can hardly tell the difference between the look of web applications and normal websites. However, there is often a login area that you can only access with the correct data. Web applications are often referred to as web applications or web apps for short. In principle, web development refers to all applications that you can access via a browser. These are, for example, normal websites that you can use to obtain information or online stores, content management systems, software as a service and scripts.

Web applications are created by developers with the help of programming languages. Depending on the type of web app and its purpose, some programming languages are more suitable than others. To help you find out which of the many languages are suitable for your project, we have listed the best-known web development languages and shown you which area of application they are intended for.

Which web development programming language should you learn?

Which language you should learn if you are involved in web development always depends on the area of application. Not every language is the best choice for every application. To give you an overview, we have picked out various web development programming languages for you as a programmer, explained them and shown you what their advantages are and what they are best suited for. You can find out more in the next section.

Which programming language is the best for web development?

When you start with web development, you will probably first learn a so-called markup language. This is a language that is primarily used for structuring and formatting text. You will probably have heard the terms HTML and XML before. HTML and XML are both markup languages. You should learn HTML in particular before you start working with a programming language for web development. You can use markup languages to define which properties text sections have and how they are displayed, for example.

For a brief overview, we have listed the various web development programming languages:

What is PHP?

You've probably heard of PHP before. It is the best-known programming language used to develop dynamic web applications. Dynamic web applications are websites that are constantly changing, such as pages that display the weather at different locations. Among other things, the current temperature changes here, which leads to changes in the database. These changes should also be visible on the website.

The abbreviation PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. It is a scripting language and requires a web server such as Apache to run successfully. Apache can interpret the PHP code and create a website from it when the browser makes a request to the web server.

PHP advantages PHP disadvantages
  • Is an open source language
  • It is always being developed further
  • It is relatively easy to learn and therefore suitable for beginners
  • Can be integrated into HTML
  • Has good performance
  • Comprehensive documentation available
  • The language has been around for a long time and some web applications still run on old versions

Area of application: Mainly creation of dynamic websites and web applications - suitable for customers who want a website that can constantly retrieve data from the server

Area ofapplication: Network applications, modern websites

More information about PHP on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von PHP

What is Java?

Java is an object-oriented programming language from Sun Microsystems that can be used to create programs. Java is very popular for developing apps for the Android operating system, which was designed by Google. In general, complex projects are relatively easy to realize with Java. This is due to the large number of web frameworks and libraries. Java projects can also be easily expanded and maintained with additional functions.

Java advantages Java disadvantages
  • Versatile
  • Platform-independent
  • Open source
  • Projects with Java can be easily extended
  • Difficult to learn compared to other programming languages for web development

Areaof application: Web applications, apps and desktop applications

Area ofapplication: Network applications, modern websites

More information about Java on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von Java

What is JavaScript?

Although the name is reminiscent of Java, JavaScript is a completely separate programming language for web development, which in itself has no overlaps with Java. Except for the small feature that both are based on C. JavaScript got its name because Java was already gaining popularity at the time of its development (1995). It was hoped that the new programming language would also benefit from this upswing.

However, JavaScript is primarily a scripting language used to make websites particularly interactive. JavaScript can be used to create animations and advertisements and to integrate videos.

JavaScript advantages JavaScript disadvantages
  • Comprehensive frameworks
  • Versatile language, as there is a choice between functional, procedural and object-oriented programming
  • Suitable for online marketing to create ads
  • Performance has improved over the years
  • Possibility to write in script file or HTML code
  • Not always search engine friendly when used for websites

Area of application: For web browsers - Javascript is now actually used by all websites (client side)

Area ofapplication: Network applications, modern websites

More information about JavaScript on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von JavaScript

What is Node.js?

Node.js was developed and introduced in 2009 by Ryan Dahl with the purpose of creating scalable network applications. Node.js is a runtime environment based on JavaScript. However, it is much more powerful than static JavaScript and can process multiple requests simultaneously without any loss of performance. For this reason, Node.js is also one of the most popular web development programming languages and application frameworks.

Node.js advantages Node.js disadvantages
  • Very good performance
  • Enables backend programming with JavaScript
  • No good backwards compatibility
  • Not so well suited for CPU-heavy projects

Area of application: Network applications, modern websites

More information about Node.js on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von Node.js

What is Ruby?

Ruby is a simple programming language that can also be used for complex projects. It was invented in the 90s by Yukihiro Matsumoto. Although Ruby's syntax is unusual, the web development language is easy to learn. In combination with the Ruby on Rails framework, even web apps can be created in a very short time.

Ruby advantages Ruby disadvantages
  • Offers more possibilities and is faster than PHP
  • Powerful
  • Is easy to learn
  • Available for all common operating systems
  • Unusual syntax
  • Difficult to maintain
  • Error messages are not easy to understand

Areaof application: Mainly web apps and complex projects in the shortest possible time

Area ofapplication: Network applications, modern websites

More info about Ruby on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von Ruby

What is React?

React is a library for web development based on JavaScript. It is particularly suitable for rendering user interfaces and even sophisticated UI can be easily implemented with React. The programming language for web development can also be used well with JavaScript, HTML and Node.js.

Facebook originally developed React for its own use and the programming language is still used there today. It is open source with an MIT license and can therefore be used by all programmers.

React advantages React disadvantages
  • Sophisticated UI can be implemented
  • Library is constantly being expanded
  • Syntax takes some getting used to

Area of application: Web applications that require a special user interface (UI)

Area ofapplication: Network applications, modern websites

More information about React on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von React

What is R?

R is a flexible language that is offered as open source. It is particularly suitable for big data, the static analysis of data and the creation of graphics. It was developed in the USA in the 1970s by John Chambers and some of his colleagues. With R, you can easily create web applications that will continue to work and can be adapted in the future.

R Advantages R disadvantages
  • Better and faster than mySQL
  • Well suited for complex web apps
  • Also suitable for beginners
  • Open source code
  • There is no large or helpful user interface

Areaof application: Suitable for big data and data analysis, especially for web apps

Area ofapplication: Network applications, modern websites

More information about R on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von R

What is Python?

The Python programming language could be described as an all-rounder. It can be used in both web development and software development. The syntax is very similar to the English language, which is why Python is easy to learn. The programming language is ideally suited for web applications and websites. Data records in particular can be processed without any problems.

Python can also be used as an object-oriented, functional or aspect-oriented language. Due to its dynamic nature, Python is often used as a scripting language.

Python advantages Python disadvantages
  • Python is versatile
  • Almost any task can be implemented
  • Good performance
  • Suitable for web development and software development
  • Easy processing of data
  • Simple syntax and easy to type
  • Python is strong on server and desktop platforms, but not so much on mobile platforms
  • Not high performance speed

Area of application: Particularly suitable for lists and data structures in web applications

Area ofapplication: Network applications, modern websites

More information about Python on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von Python

What is Perl?

Perl is a scripting language or interpreted programming language that was published in 1987. It is used in combination with PHP, JavaScript, Ruby and Python. It is particularly powerful and can process text files efficiently. Perl gives programmers almost free rein when it comes to writing a program. However, this can be confusing for amateurs or beginners, as there are hardly any guidelines to follow.

Perl advantages Perl disadvantages
  • Freedom in programming
  • Multiple ways for programmers to achieve their goal
  • Very efficient
  • Rarely used in projects that focus on speed and hardware
  • May be confusing for beginners

Area of application: Popular for web applications, especially in the fields of finance and bioinformatics

Area ofapplication: Network applications, modern websites

More information about Perl on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von Perl

What is C++?

C++ is a further development of the well-known programming language C. C++ is now very popular in web development, but can also be used for software development. This makes it very versatile and attractive. Programmers who have mastered C++ can implement many different projects. Web apps can be programmed as well as classic software applications. The only difficulty is the strict syntax, which opens up the option of maintaining a lot of code at once, but is also very meticulous with errors. Perfect mastery of the C++ language is therefore not that easy.

C++ advantages C++ disadvantages
  • Good performance
  • Versatile in use
  • Difficult to learn
  • Strict syntax

Area of application: Suitable for web and software development

Area ofapplication: Network applications, modern websites

More information about C++ on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von C++

What is C# (C Sharp)?

C# is an even newer programming language that was completed in 2001. Incidentally, it is pronounced "C Sharp" and is an object-oriented language that runs on all platforms. However, it was developed to be used in the .Net strategy, which is why it is particularly well tailored to this and is mostly used there. C# is related to the Java and C++ programming languages and is used to create web applications and web APIs.

C# (C Sharp) Advantages C# (C Sharp) Disadvantages
  • Good combination of depth and functionality
  • Particularly suitable for Windows applications, but can now also be used for macOS, Linux and other systems
  • Is being further developed
  • Large selection of libraries
  • No obvious disadvantages

Area of application: General-purpose language used for web applications and web APIs

Area ofapplication: Network applications, modern websites

More information about C# on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von C#

What is TypeScript?

TypeScript is a programming language that builds on JavaScript and extends it with additional functions and type safety. The syntax of TypeScript is very similar to JavaScript, making it easy to learn for JavaScript developers.

TypeScript was developed by Microsoft and was first released in 2012. Since then, the language has become one of the most popular tools for developing JavaScript applications. A major advantage of TypeScript is the ability to use types to ensure the integrity of variables and functions. This can help to avoid errors in the development phase and improve the quality of the code.

TypeScript advantages TypeScript disadvantages
  • Type safety: TypeScript offers support for types, which can help to avoid errors in the development phase and improve the quality of the code.
  • Object orientation: TypeScript supports concepts such as classes and interfaces that are used in other object-oriented languages and make it possible to create more complex and reusable code structures.
  • Generics: TypeScript provides support for generics, allowing functions and classes to be written for different data types.
  • Integration: TypeScript is well integrated with many popular JavaScript frameworks and development environments, making it easier to develop applications.
  • Learning curve: For developers who have never worked with TypeScript before, it can be a steep learning curve to familiarize themselves with the language and understand the concepts of type safety and object-oriented programming.
  • Compilation: TypeScript must be compiled before it can be executed in a JavaScript environment. This may require additional steps in the development and build processes.
  • Browser support: Although TypeScript can usually be easily compiled into modern browsers, there may be situations where older browsers do not provide support for certain TypeScript features.
  • Size of the code: Since TypeScript code is usually larger than the corresponding JavaScript code, this can lead to longer loading times and increase memory requirements.

Area of application: General-purpose language used for web applications and web APIs

Area ofapplication: Large and complex applications

More information about TypeScript on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von Typescript

What is Swift?

Swift is a programming language developed by Apple and first introduced in 2014. It is a modern, powerful and easy-to-learn programming language that is used to develop applications for Apple platforms such as iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS. Swift combines features of C and Objective-C with modern programming paradigms such as safe typing and functional programming. It is also open source software and runs on Linux platforms.

Swift advantages Swift disadvantages
  • Security: Swift has built-in security features that help prevent errors and crashes.
  • Easy to learn: Swift is a simplelanguage that is easy to learn.
  • Performance: Swift is a faster language than Objective-C and performs many operations faster.
  • Open source software: Swift is open source software and can be improved and extended by developers and the community.
  • Strict dependency on Apple: This can limit the use of Swift in cross-platform applications
  • Complexity: Although Swift is easier to learn than Objective-C, it can be perceived as complex due to the extensive functionality of the language and its many concepts.

Area of application: Server applications, web applications and desktop applications.

Area of application: For the development of iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS applications

More info on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von Apple Swift

How can I distinguish between client-side and server-side programming languages?

There are differences between client-side and server-side programming languages. A client refers to a computer or the hardware that calls up various websites. The server, on the other hand, is the place where the website is stored. With server-side programming languages, the code is executed on the server and the result is sent to the client. Whereas with client-side programming languages, the code is only executed on the client (e.g. browser).

We use these programming languages in our web development agency

Are you interested in a job at a web development agency and wondering what you need to be able to do? We would be happy to give you an insight into our day-to-day business and our completed web development projects.

Our web developers mainly work with PHP and JavaScript when they work on our customer projects. This is often done in combination with the Vue.js framework and the HTML and CSS markup languages. They then use these to develop online stores, normal websites and web apps, among other things. If you have any questions, you can contact us at any time. Are you looking for a new challenge? Perfect! Because we are looking for more web developers to join our team.(Click here to see our current vacancies).

FAQ: Questions and answers about web development

If you still have questions, you can find a few frequently asked questions and the corresponding answers or explanations here. Do you have a specific question or need help choosing the right programming language? Then don't hesitate to contact us.

  • How can I program web applications?

    To program web applications, you usually need basic knowledge of a programming language such as JavaScript, HTML and CSS. You should also have a basic understanding of web development technologies and concepts such as HTTP, DOM and Ajax. If you have no previous web development experience, I recommend using online tutorials and resources to learn the basics. There are also many books and courses that deal specifically with web application programming that can help you get started.

  • Which programming language can be used for game development?

    There are various programming languages to choose from for game development, which can be used differently depending on requirements and platforms. The choice of language also depends on the developer's programming skills.

    One option is to program games directly in machine language, but this is very time-consuming and error-prone. Instead, most developers use a high-level language such as C++, C#, Java or Python, which makes it possible to write more efficient algorithms and speed up the writing of code.

    C++ is a popular choice for game developers as it is an efficient language that allows direct access to hardware and graphics cards. C# and Java are also popular as they offer a higher level of abstraction and make writing code easier.

    Python is also commonly used for game development, especially for indie games and prototypes. Python is easy to learn and has many libraries and frameworks that can speed up game development.

  • What is Kotlin?

    Kotlin is a modern, statically typed programming language with a lower level of difficulty compared to older computer languages such as Java. It was developed by JetBrains and has been publicly available since 2016. Kotlin aims to facilitate the development of Android apps, but can also be used for the development of server and desktop applications as well as for web development.

    Kotlin was developed as an alternative to Java and offers many advantages, such as better readability, zero security, support for functional programming and extension features, and easy interoperability with Java. In addition, Kotlin is open source and has an active community that contributes to the development of the language.

    Overall, Kotlin is a promising language with a wide range of applications and a lower level of difficulty compared to older languages, making it easier for developers to quickly create productive and efficient applications.

  • What is source code?

    A source code is a human-readable text file that is created by a programmer and contains instructions that can be executed by a computer. The source code is written in a special programming language that contains syntax rules and keywords to tell the computer what to do.

    The source code is written by the programmer to create a software application, script or program. The source code is then compiled or interpreted into an executable file or bytecode that the computer can run.

    Source code is important because it forms the basis for the development of software and allows developers to understand how a program works and to modify or extend it. The quality of the source code also influences the efficiency, maintainability and scalability of the final program.

  • What is meant by interoperability?

    Interoperability refers to the ability of systems or applications to communicate and work together, regardless of which technologies or platforms they use.

    In software development, interoperability usually refers to the ability to integrate software components from different sources or in different programming languages. This can mean, for example, that a Java-based system can communicate with a C++-based system or that different data formats can be exchanged with each other.

    Interoperability is important to facilitate collaboration between different systems and applications and to simplify the integration of technologies. It also enables the reuse of code and reduces the cost and time required to develop applications.

  • What is a database language?

    A database language is a specialized programming language used to communicate with databases and store, retrieve, modify or delete data. Database languages are specifically designed to execute database queries and perform data manipulation.

    There are different types of database languages, including relational database languages such as SQL (Structured Query Language), NoSQL languages such as MongoDB query language and graph languages such as Cypher.

    SQL is the most commonly used database language and is supported by most relational database systems. SQL is a declarative language, which means that the user gives a statement of what they want and the database system decides how to execute it.

    NoSQL languages are a group of languages developed specifically for non-relational databases. They differ from SQL languages because they use a different data structure and query syntax.

    Graph languages are a special type of database language used to manage graph databases. Graph languages use graph structures to represent relationships between data points.

  • What is a web server?

    A web server is a computer that receives requests from web clients (e.g. web browsers) and responds by sending web content such as HTML pages, images and videos to these clients. Web servers are used to provide websites and web applications that can be accessed by users from all over the world via the Internet. Web servers usually run on specialized operating systems and use web server software such as Apache or IIS to process requests from clients and deliver the corresponding content.

  • What are dynamic web applications?

    Dynamic web applications are web applications that can change over time depending on who is using them and what they are doing on the application. Unlike static web applications, which always look the same and always have the same functions, dynamic web applications are created and assembled on the server when a user accesses them. They can contain dynamic content and features such as user profile pictures, chat rooms or personalized recommendations. Dynamic web applications are often used by e-commerce websites, social networks and other applications that need to be customized for each user.

  • What are network applications?

    Network applications are programs that operate in the context of a network and allow users to communicate and share information with each other over the network. Examples of network applications are e-mail programs, instant messaging services and file sharing applications. Most network applications are based on the client-server model, where a client program runs on one computer and connects to a server program on another computer to use the network services.

  • What are web apps?

    Web apps are applications that run in a web browser and allow users to access various services and functions via the Internet. Web apps can be developed in various formats, including HTML, CSS and JavaScript. They are usually accessed via a web browser and do not require any special software or plug-ins on the user's computer. An example of a web app is an online store that opens in the web browser and allows users to browse and purchase products without having to download a separate application.


As you've seen in our list of different programming languages, it's not that easy to call out a best programming language. Depending on the application you want to program, one programming language may be more suitable than another. However, we can speak mainly from our experience. For us, the use of PHP is simply essential. In combination with Javascript, we have actually been able to successfully develop all web projects to date! And as you can see in the table above, some of the most successful websites were also developed using PHP.

In fact, it's relatively unusual for a web developer to only be proficient in one programming language. With time and practice, you will realize which language is best suited for which application. For beginners, we can recommend PHP. Just start with it and see where it takes you.

What is your project? If you want to tell us about it, we'll call you back!

from 04.03.2022

Hello, my name is Meike. I take care of the EXWE back office and am responsible for our social media channels. All of our articles are meant to make your life easier and help you make decisions. Nevertheless, it can happen that something remains unclear, so: If you have questions about this article you can easily reach me at +49 231 93149827.

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