Node.js vs Ruby on Rails: Which to Choose

Node.js vs Ruby on Rails: Which to Choose - Plesk

Choosing between Node.js and Ruby on Rails when you select your development platform is a key decision. It will impact the way your project unfolds over time and how much server resources you’ll need. Both languages can support web applications of great complexity, but each has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Knowing these pros and cons will help you pick the optimal solution to fit your intended project.

A Quick Intro to Node.js and Ruby on Rails

What’s the background and purpose of each of these languages? Let’s take a quick look.


In short, Node.js is a runtime environment that allows you to execute server-side, what used to be essentially client-side, code. The “js” in Node.js, of course, stands for JavaScript. A scripting language that’s been in use on the client side since the late 90s.

So, Node.js, built on version 8 of the Chrome JavaScript engine, lets you execute JavaScript on a server. It was originally intended to make it easier to create push capability for real-time websites. But Node.js is an expansive platform. And it includes native modules that can manage everything from files to computing resources and security. Both PayPal and Uber use Node.js.

Ruby on Rails

Built on the Ruby programming language, Ruby on Rails ( RoR, or sometimes just “Rails”) is a fully-fledged website framework which includes everything you need to complete a website project including the ability to manage logic, routing and applications, all out of the box. These handy tools also include database integration and controllers which makes it easier to facilitate web development on an end to end basis. Popular applications running on RoR include GitHub and AirBnB.

Node.js vs Ruby on Rails: Where Node.js Wins

node js vs ruby on rails - where node js wins - Plesk

Fast Execution

node js vs ruby on rails - node js fast execution - Plesk

Node.js is best known for its speed. Partly thanks to a combo of programming centered events and programming which is not synchronised. Plus, input output that avoids blockages. All of which maximises the use of a single processor core and computer memory.

Effectively, Node.js can handle more requests at the same time, and by definition, the workload of many web servers. Node.js allows programs to keep working even the input, output demands when a server is high. Keeping app performance up no matter the load.

One Language Only

node js vs ruby on rails - node js one language only - Plesk

It’s obvious what the advantage of this point is. If you code in only one language on both the front-end and server-side, you progress quicker. Node.js came composed out of JavaScript. So, it’s easy to line up with front-end techniques to make effective second-gen web apps with less hassle. Your team can be smaller and more efficient while also delivering faster results.

Node.js is also good for Scalability

The mix of Node workers and clusters can easily create additional Node.js processes, all depending on the workload. This makes Node.js applications easy to grow. The way Node.js is designed means that what you can do is really only limited by the number of server processors you have access to. Making Node.js a good platform if you’re planning on rolling out enterprise apps.

Points to watch out for with Node.js

Points to watch out for with Node.js - Node js vs Ruby on Rails - Plesk

Efficiency when operations are CPU intensive

Node.js is great for applications which involve small, frequent and simultaneous requests. However, it can struggle with applications which create high CPU usage in each thread. Because Node.js is single-threaded. If you’re going to manipulate images and video on your server, you may find that Node.js bogs down. There are workarounds. But it adds to development time and cost.

Quality of modules and documentation

Node is flexible but this can be a problem. Sometimes modules are low-quality and the documentation on offer can be short on specs. As the developer, you have a choice of modules with Node.js. And it’s not always obvious which module is best. Choosing a template engine, for example, can take time.

So Node.js is less of an out-of-the-box solution compared to RoR. Modules can be tricky to integrate too, while also being buggy and introducing unexpected behavior for devs. It’s, therefore, key to have an experienced Node.js developer on your team who can help solve issues.

Ruby on Rails vs Node.js: Where Ruby on Rails Wins

Ruby on Rails vs Node js - Where Ruby on Rails wins - Plesk

Web Development Best Practices

Where Ruby on Rails wins: Web development best practices - Ruby on Rails vs Node js - Plesk

Rails comes with a view to create best practice for web development. The creator intended to make it easy to develop sites according to a set framework which puts convention before configuration. As such, Ruby On Rails ships with every necessary library and module. And they all implement the model, view and controller paradigm. The intention is to make web development as predictable and smooth a process as possible.

Extensive Infrastructure

Ruby on Rails advantage: extensiveinfrastructure - Ruby on Rails vs Node js - Plesk

RoR’s built for quick site development. So, it includes an integrated web server. Plus, it has a database with generators and scripts. These are powerful and hence make it easy to put together a Rails application. You can automatically put all the necessary bits and pieces a functioning Rails site requires in place. It’s absolutely great for rapid development.

Exchange/Use Database Info

You can easily migrate Rails databases. Because the model that supports the Rails database, ActiveRecord, can easily translate the differences amongst the numerous SQL interactions. Instead of writing out SQL code, users of Rails can use the Rails language to describe changes to database tables.

So, in effect, the schema being created is agnostic of the database in use. Which means you can run your Rails application in many different database environments.

Points to watch out for with Ruby on Rails

Points to watch out for with Ruby on Rails - Ruby on Rails vs Node js - Plesk

Flexibility can be an issue

Often, for every advantage, there is a matching drawback. This is the case with RoR too. Due to Rails creator’s development vision, you may feel restricted with RoR if your particular application is too unique. The Rails platform imposes a lot of authority on the developmental process. So there can come a point where adjusting RoR to fit your requirements takes up a huge amount of your time. Whereas simply starting from scratch would have been quicker.

Performance is not always optimized

Again, a positive point that can also be a negative. Because of the large number of modules in the box, RoR can seemingly bog down when running in the real world. The overall framework is heavier than alternatives, including Node.js. So it’s not so efficient at managing a barrage of requests – typical of many website applications. You can add more server instances, but these use up your memory.

Debugging can be tedious

Because of Ruby on Rails’ complexity and multiple layers, it can be difficult to troubleshoot a Ruby application. Finding an error in the mix can be very time-consuming. So if something goes wrong, perhaps compounded by your application’s custom requirements, you can find Ruby on Rails a very tedious platform to develop on.

How to pick between Node.js and Ruby on Rails

how to pick between node js and ruby on rails - Plesk

The only thing that’s clear is that neither Node.js nor Ruby on Rails provides a solution ideal for every development situation. But each environment is suited to a specific kind of task. Let’s look at the types of tasks each environment is most appropriate for.

Where Node.js works better than Ruby on Rails

By now you may have gathered that Node.js is great for applications that are real-time. And which handle a lot of concurrent requests. Under these scenarios, data constantly goes between the client and server. These Real-Time Applications (RTAs) include chat apps, applications for collaborating and video conferencing.

Because Node.js is event-based, it’s great for handling these apps. Running on a single page (known as SPAs or Single Page Applications) involves a lot of processing on the client side. The main function for the back-end under these scenarios is to just provision a REST API. Whenever you’re worried about performance and scalability, you should turn to Node.js first before you consider Ruby on Rails.

Where Ruby on Rails is preferable to Node.js

As I said before, Rails is a better solution where your applications are very CPU intensive. And where development needs to happen quickly. Because Node.js is a single-threaded environment, it cannot cope well with handling data such as images and graphics. A computation on a big dataset in Node.js can simply block all the other requests that are coming in. Hence, rendering the advantage of Node.js void.

Second, Rapid Application Development, or RAD, is an important aspect of rolling out websites too. And here, Ruby on Rails is the clear winner. You can have a prototype in short thrift, with little work, when you use Rails. Whereas just starting out on Node.js involves quite a lot of choices. As much as Node.js provides generator scripts to speed up development, it’s simply never as fast as Rails.

When you pick between the two platforms, the main points you should consider are the development speed you need, and the server performance parameters. Are you running lots of simple, concurrent requests through the application? Or more complex, CPU intensive requests? Go with Node.js for concurrency, and Ruby on Rails for CPU intensive applications.

Plesk Onyx Hosting Platform with Node.js and Ruby on Rails

Plesk Hosting Platform with Node.js and Ruby on Rails - Plesk


We think Node.js is a great open-source platform that is great for developing server-side web applications. Even though it has only been around for a few years, it’s already gathered a lot of support. We also like that it uses JavaScript. So the learning curve is relatively shallow. Meanwhile, you can get super-fast apps with Node.js.

Plesk hosting platform helps because of all the following.

  • You activate Node.js applications for your website in just a few quick clicks
  • Manage Node.js Apps easily from the Plesk panel. Including restarting and stopping applications and adding npm packages. You can also run scripts and edit the Node.js configuration files on Plesk.
  • Under Plesk for Linux, you can also install multiple versions of Node.js.

Ruby on Rails

Rails is still very popular, so we make it easy to get going with Ruby on Rails via an extension to Plesk. The extension allows users to very quickly deploy Rails apps on a domain, including the Sinatra framework. Our extension lets you do the following.

  • Enable the support of Ruby on Rails on any virtual host.
  • Pick the Ruby version you want to use on your domain.
  • Get maximum conformity for both UI and CLI calls via the rbenv utility.
  • Install gem dependencies using a UI with the Bundler tool.
  • You can edit configuration files and supply custom environment variables.

Finally, we strongly suggest that, when using Ruby on Rails, you install the tools required for building Ruby gems components. In order to easily and quickly facilitate a Ruby gem installation. These components let you relax and forget about the decency difficulties that users often experience with Ruby. Because our bundled tools automatically resolve dependencies for you.

Ruby on Rails vs PHP: Which one’s right for your needs?

Ruby On Rails vs PHP

Write sites and apps in any language and they’ll be versatile enough to fit the complicated requirements of most businesses. But for custom app builds, the extra effort’s time-consuming. So shorten deployment time of web services, apps, and APIs by using frameworks. You’ll be able to reuse code and simplify common tasks like database access and session management.

Rasmus Lerdorf, PHP creator, never would have thought in 1994 that his scripting language would go on to be the most widely used server-side worldwide. Same for David Heinemeier Hansson, author of the Ruby on Rails framework that began in 2005. Both languages have become well-known programmer options. But now the question arises: Ruby on Rails vs PHP, which wins?

Ruby on Rails vs PHP – What’s the difference?

PHP has evolved over the years, thanks to the ongoing input of an active community. This explains why it’s now become the most popular server-side language, having built over 80% of current websites. You can embed it straight into HTML code or execute it through different web frameworks as a time-saving measure.

Not to be confused with the Ruby language it’s in, Ruby on Rails is an equally popular web framework. So holding a Ruby on Rails vs PHP contest may seem like comparing chalk and cheese. But it’s important to explore their differences if you’re a serious web developer.

Back-end Programming Language

Backend Programming Language - Ruby on Rails vs PHP

As of moment of writing, PHP reigns supreme as a server-side programming language. PHP applications are versatile enough to work on the most prominent platforms. Like Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.

You can directly embed PHP code into HTML markup, and clients can view this in their web browsers. The web server understands this too – thanks to an interpretation module. It’s now common for programmers to accelerate creating custom web apps by using PHP in various web frameworks.

Ruby On Rails or PHP – The Power of Frameworks

Frameworks - Ruby on Rails vs PHP

Web app development is a time-consuming task. And frameworks exist to give PHP programmers tools to speed it up. Many open-source web frameworks exist, with Laravel, Codeigniter, CakePHP, Yii, Symfony, Zend and Slim being amongst the most well-known. However, features vary from framework to framework.

Ruby on Rails is a widely-used web framework, owing its popularity to the fact that it’s written in the robust Ruby language.

PHP vs Ruby on Rails – Performance

Optimizing Speed and Performance - Ruby on Rails vs PHP

PHP 7.0 has built-in web development capabilities and has been configured to perform better, without gobbling up more memory. But despite this, PHP frameworks still vary in the actual performance they deliver.

In contrast, Ruby on Rails is good at speeding through a great many requests each second. But at the expense of greater memory consumption – which effectively holds the brakes on web apps. Developers have to compensate for this slowdown by changing the runtimes.

So here, with pluses and minuses on both sides, the question of PHP vs Ruby on Rails seems unclear.

Ruby on Rails vs PHP – Development Speed

Development speed - Ruby on Rails vs PHP

Programmers can embed PHP scripts directly into HTML, which means they can execute without the need of a web framework. Although, unfortunately, web developers can’t get their custom web applications up and running quick enough, without using PHP frameworks.

Customers often ask for demanding features that require longer lines of code. And on top of writing this code, programmers also need time to review and debug it.

You can develop web applications quicker when you write in Ruby. Ruby on Rails has handy gems and plug-ins to speed up the whole process and also simplify database operations. It offers robust ORM and allows for unit testing via PUnit integration.

PHP vs Ruby on Rails – Tools for Developers

Tools for developers - Ruby on Rails vs PHP

Ruby on Rails may be a mature Ruby web framework that continually evolves with emerging trends in web app development. But its benefits are obviously limited to that language. Meanwhile, many web frameworks, CRMs, libraries, and tools exist for PHP.

These days, it’s names like WordPress, Joomla, and Magento that have become common knowledge. And they gained their considerable popularity because of their ease-of-use. Which drove it to be adopted worldwide, quite rapidly.

PHP also lets developers select from a broad palette of testing and development tools to fit the needs of each project. So, PHP is popular among web application programmers because it allows them to create custom web applications with ease.

Ruby on Rails vs PHP – Peer Support

Peer support - Ruby on Rails vs PHP

Both PHP and Ruby on Rails enjoy strong ongoing support from their widespread and enthusiastic communities. But those who champion PHP are by far the more vocal and active group. Within that community, there are equally lively advocates and supporters of each discrete PHP framework too. Meaning, from a programmer’s perspective, there’s almost always someone ready to answer any technical questions you may have.

The importance of this extra informal layer of support cannot be overemphasized. Because it’s allowed PHP to become the more favorable server-side technology. Programmers know that they’ll never be stuck for long. Because there will be a horde of minds ready to help them overcome any problem. And that really is a blessing when time has left your side.

Regarding support, PHP vs Ruby on Rails has one winner – PHP.

PHP vs Ruby on Rails – Learning Curve

Learning curve - Ruby on Rails vs PHP

PHP is simple for beginners to pick up compared to other programming languages. Moreover, the web has plenty of free videos and step-by-step programs to help neophytes get up to speed. With Ruby on Rails it’s a different picture, because this language is much more complicated. So it’s considerably more difficult to become fluent in this one that PHP.

Both PHP and Ruby on Rails have their own strengths and weaknesses. Developers need to speed up the development of the web apps they produce, and they need a strong PHP framework to do it. Ruby on Rails developers code in Ruby, so Ruby on Rails vs PHP is not a straightforward comparison. But perhaps in terms of learning, PHP wins by way of its simplicity.

Ruby on Rails, PHP – and Plesk Onyx Hosting Platform

ruby on rails, php and plesk onyx hosting platform

Ruby on Rails

Because it’s a popular programming language among web developers, Plesk Onyx fully supports Ruby on Rails as an extension. This lets users deploy Ruby apps on their domains quickly and easily. It supports both Ruby on Rails and Sinatra frameworks. This extension allows you to:

  • Facilitate Ruby support on virtual hosts.
  • Select which version of Ruby to use on a domain. Both UI and CLI calls use the rbenv utility to facilitate the highest level of conformity.
  • Install gem file dependencies using the Bundler tool in the UI.
  • Stipulate custom environment variables.
  • Manage configuration files.

We strongly advise you to install the tools you need to build the Ruby gems component. This should significantly enhance the process of installing Ruby gem. This component handles most dependencies automatically. So it’s the pill to cure dependency headaches and to ensure mercifully swift gem file installation.


Plesk offers comprehensive, built-in, ready-to-go support for multiple PHP versions and handler types. Not to mention, it lets you select which versions you want to setup during installation. The usual PHP handler types for whichever PHP versions you install are automatically configured.

Plesk lets you choose which PHP version you want to combine with which PHP handler type, as customer preference dictates. Plus, you can individually configure settings for each PHP version.

The final verdict on PHP vs Ruby on Rails

The PHP vs Ruby On Rails comparison has a lot of subjective moments to take into consideration including the future scope of tasks to solve and initial professional experience. Each has its strong and weak sides, but Ruby On Rails continues to gain popularity for business-critical and e-commerce applications because of its scalability, versatility and upgradability.

PHP Ruby On Rails
  • Open-Source
  • Easy learning process for beginners
  • Wide support across multiple web servers like Apache, Nginx, Microsoft IIS
  • PHP is extremely popular and accepted widely in the industry compared to the other programming languages.
  • Large developer pool
  • PHP is fully about OOP nowadays
  • Many frameworks available
  • PHP7 is extremely fast
  • Problems in maintaining legacy applications
  • Open-source
  • Great language design
  • Ruby was always 100% object oriented language
  • Gem libraries of Ruby make it easier for a programmer to develop a project by borrowing from the libraries.
  • Runtime speed could be faster