The best programming languages for web development

by Meike Müller

Nowadays, no company can do without web development. Digitalization is now also taking place in SMEs, which is why the demand for good web developers is growing. So a web developer will always find a project to work on. But which programming languages should he 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 different web development programming languages and show you what advantages and disadvantages as well as areas of application there are for the individual languages. At the end we will of course draw a conclusion, 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 to expect
  1. We briefly explain again 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 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 and explain what is meant by web development. Because it means the programming of web applications and websites, but also the web design itself. You can hardly distinguish web applications from normal web pages. However, there is often a featured login area that you can only access with the right data. Web applications are often referred to as web applications or web apps for short. In principle, web development is all applications that you can access through 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, and depending on what kind of web app it is and what purpose it is supposed to serve, some programming languages are more suitable than others. To help you figure out which of the many languages are appropriate for your project, we've listed the most popular web development languages and show you which application area they are intended for.

Which web development programming language should you learn?

Which language you should learn if you are engaged in web development always depends on the application area. Not every language is the best choice for every application. To give you an overview, we have selected different web development programming languages for you as a programmer, explained them and show you what their advantages are and what they are best suited for. You'll learn all this 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 mainly necessary for structuring and formatting a 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 move on to a programming language for web development. You can use markup languages to specify what properties text sections have and how they are displayed, for example.

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

What is PHP?

You've probably heard of PHP before. In fact, it is the most popular programming language used for developing dynamic web applications. Dynamic web applications are web pages that are constantly changing, such as pages that display the weather of various locations. Here, among other things, the current temperature changes, which leads to changes in the database. These changes should also be visible on the web page.

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 HP code and create a web page from it when the browser makes a request to the web server.

PHP Advantages PHP Disadvantages
  • Is an open source language
  • It is always under development
  • It is relatively easy to learn and therefore well suited for beginners
  • Can be integrated with HTML
  • Has good performance
  • Extensive documentation available
  • The language has been around for a long time and some web applications still run on old versions

Mainlyused to create dynamic web pages and web applications - suitable for customers who want a web page that can constantly retrieve data from the server.

Application area: Network applications, modern websites

More info about PHP on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von PHP

What is Java?

Java is an object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems, which can be used to create programs. Very popular is the use of Java to develop apps for the Android operating system, which was constructed by Google. In general, complex projects are relatively easy to implement with Java. This is due to the high number of web frameworks and libraries. Moreover, Java projects can be easily extended and maintained with additional features.

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

Application area: web applications, apps and desktop applications

Application area: Network applications, modern websites

More info about Java on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von Java

What is JavaScript?

Although the name is reminiscent of Java, JavaScript is a programming language for web development all its own, which in itself has no overlap with Java. Except for the small feature that both have C as their base. It came to the name JavaScript, because at the time of development (1995) Java was already gaining popularity. One wanted to take along this upswing by the name also for the new programming language.

However, JavaScript is primarily a scripting language for making websites particularly interactive. Through JavaScript, animations and advertisements can be created and videos can be integrated.

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 in HTML code
  • Not always search engine friendly when used for web pages

Application area: For web browsers - meanwhile Javascript is actually used by all websites (client side)

Application area: Network applications, modern websites

More info 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 the static JavaScript and can handle multiple requests simultaneously without performance loss. For this reason, Node.js is also one of the most sought-after web development programming languages or application frameworks.

Node.js Advantages Node.js disadvantages
  • Very good performance
  • Allows backend programming with JavaScript
  • Not good backward compatibility
  • Not so good for CPU heavy projects

Application area: network applications, modern websites

More info about Node.js on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von Node.js

What is Ruby?

Ruby is a simple programming language that can 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 quick to learn. In combination with the Ruby on Rails framework, even web apps can be created in no time.

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

Fieldof application: Mainly web apps and complex projects in a very short time

Application area: 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 mainly suitable for rendering user interfaces and even sophisticated UI can be easily implemented with React. Moreover, the programming language for web development can be used well with JavaScript, HTML and also Node.js.

Originally, Facebook developed React for its own use and the programming language is still used there today. It is open-source with MIT license and hence can be used by all programmers as well.

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

Application area: Web applications that require a special user interface (UI)

Application area: Network applications, modern websites

More info about React on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von React

What is R?

R is a flexible language that is open-sourced. It is particularly suitable for Big Data, static analysis of data, and graphics creation. It was developed in the USA in the 70s by John Chambers and some of his colleagues. With R, you can easily create web applications that will work and can be customized in the future.

R Advantages R Disadvantages
  • Better and faster than mySQL
  • Well suited for complex webapps
  • Also suitable for beginners
  • Open source code
  • There is no great or helpful user interface

Application area: Suitable for Big Data and data analysis, especially for web apps

Application area: Network applications, modern websites

More info about R on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von R

What is Python?

The Python programming language could be called an all-rounder. It can be used in web development as well as in software development. The syntax is very reminiscent of the English language, which is why Python is also easy to learn. The programming language is ideally suited for web applications and websites. Especially data sets can be processed without any problems.

In addition, Python can 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
  • No high performance speed

Application area: Especially suitable for lists and data structures in web applications

Application area: Network applications, modern websites

More info about Python on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von Python

What is Perl?

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

Perl Advantages Perl Disadvantages
  • Freedom in programming
  • Several ways for programmers to achieve their goal
  • Very efficient
  • Rarely used in projects that have a focus on speed and hardware
  • May be confusing for beginners

Application area: Popular for web applications, especially in the field of finance and bioinformatics

Application area: Network applications, modern websites

More info about Perl on YouTube:

Vorschau YouTube Video von Perl

What is C++?

C++ is a further development of the well-known programming language C. Meanwhile, C++ is very popular in web development, but it can also be used for software development. This makes it very versatile and attractive. Programmers who master C++ can implement many different projects. Thus, web apps can be programmed, but also classic software applications. The only difficult thing is the strict syntax, which exposes the option to maintain a lot of code at once, but is also very finicky with errors. So, perfect mastery of the C++ language is not that easy.

C++ Advantages C++ Disadvantages
  • Good performance
  • Versatile
  • Hard to learn
  • Strict syntax

Field of application: Suitable for web and software development

Application area: Network applications, modern websites

More info 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. By the way, 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 it and is mostly used there. C# is related to 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 well suited for Windows applications, but today can also be used for macOS, Linux and other systems
  • Is being further developed
  • Large selection of libraries
  • No obvious disadvantages

Application area: general purpose language used for web applications and web APIs

Field of application: network applications, modern websites

More info 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 features 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 avoid errors in the development phase and improve the quality of the code.

TypeScript Advantages TypeScript Disadvantages
  • Type safety: TypeScript provides support for types, which can help 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, allowing you to create more complex and reusable code structures.
  • Generics: TypeScript provides support for generics, which allow you to write functions and classes for different types of data.
  • 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 steal to learn the language and understand the concepts of type safety and object-oriented programming.
  • Compilation: TypeScript must be compiled before it can be run in a JavaScript environment. This may require additional steps in the development and build processes.
  • Browser support: Although TypeScript can usually be compiled easily into modern browsers, there may be situations where older browsers do not provide support for certain TypeScript features.
  • Code size: Since TypeScript code is usually larger than the corresponding JavaScript code, this can lead to longer load times and increase memory requirements.

Application area: General-purpose language used for web applications and web APIs.

Application area: Large and complex applications

Learn more 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 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 like 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 simplea language 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.

Application area: server applications, web applications, and desktop applications used.

Application area: used for iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS application development.

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 language. Client refers to a computer or the hardware that accesses various web pages. The server, on the other hand, is the place where the web page is stored. In server-side, the code is executed on the server and the result is sent to the client. While in client-side programming languages, the code is first executed on the client (e.g. browser).

These are the programming languages we use in our web development agency

You want a job in a web development agency and wonder what you need to know? We would like to give you an insight into our daily business and our already completed projects in web development.

Our web developers mainly deal with PHP and JavaScript when working on our customer projects. Often this is done in combination with the framework Vue.js and the markup languages HTML and CSS. With this they then develop, among other things, online stores, normal websites and webapps. If you have any questions about this, you can always contact us. You are still looking for a new challenge? Perfect! We would like to have more web developers in our team.(Here you can find our current job offers).



FAQ: Questions and answers about web development

If you still have questions, you can find some frequently asked questions and the corresponding answers or explanations here. You still 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 don't have any web development experience, I recommend using online tutorials and resources to learn the basics. There are also many books and courses that specifically cover web application programming that can help you get started.

  • What programming language can be used for game development?

    There are several programming languages to choose from for game development, which can be used differently depending on the 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 allows writing more efficient algorithms and speeds up code writing.

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

    Python is also widely 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 like Java. It was developed by JetBrains and has been publicly available since 2016. Kotlin aims to facilitate Android app development, but can also be used for server and desktop app development, as well as 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 extensibility 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 a source code?

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

    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 software development and allows developers to understand how a program works and to modify or extend it. The quality of the source code also affects 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 what technologies or platforms they use.

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

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

  • What is a database language?

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

    There are several 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 designed 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 languages 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 and responds to requests from web clients (such as web browsers) by sending web content such as HTML pages, images, and videos to those 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 typically run on specialized operating systems and use web server software such as Apache or IIS to process requests from clients and deliver the appropriate 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 that always look the same and always have the same features, dynamic web applications are created and assembled on the server when a user invokes them. They can include dynamic content and features such as user profile pictures, chat rooms, or personalized recommendations. Dynamic web applications are commonly 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 exchange information with each other over the network. Examples of network applications include 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 features over the Internet. Web apps can be developed in a variety of formats, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They are typically accessed through 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 downloading a separate application.


As you've seen in our breakdown 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 is more suitable than another. But we can speak mainly from our experience. For us, the use of PHP is simply essential. In combination with Javascript we were able to successfully develop all web projects so far! And as you can see in the table above, some of the most successful websites were developed using PHP.

In fact, it's also relatively unusual for a web developer to master only one programming language. With time and a lot of practice you will realize which language is best suited for which application. For starters, we can recommend PHP. Just start with it and see where the road takes you.

Was ist dein Projekt? Wenn du uns darüber erzählen möchtest, rufen wir dich zurück!

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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