MEAN Stack vsLAMP Stack

Once you have your product idea ready, one of the most important questions that you face is: What technology should I use for my product?

Choosing the right technology stack between LAMP and MEAN for your product is very important and equally difficult in this age when you see people advocating the benefits of one over the other. This dilemma can be eased a lot if you have some basic insights and true information on the matter.

In most of the cases, contradiction is between some mature technology stack and a young newcomer with a lot of promises and buzzwords everyone is talking about.

In this discussion, we are comparing a long term leader LAMP Stack and a highly promising and modern MEAN stack but a lot of this applies to others as well. Understanding this can help you make an informed decision choosing the technology stack for your next good product.

Since we are discussing web applications, let’s first understand how web applications work and critical aspects in technology context.

In general, a web application can be divided into 4 parts. The first two of these points apply to Backend and API development as well.

  1. Server Side Scripting: for application logic programming
  2. Database Management: to store and retrieve the data using server side programming
  3. Presentation/UI: Display the data to the users
  4. Client side programming: to make it more interactive

LAMP stack stands for Linux Apache MySQL and PHP/Pearl/Python. On the other side, MEAN means MongoDB, Express.js, Angular and Node.js. Let’s discuss all of these 4 parts of a web application one by one with respect to LAMP stack and MEAN stack.

Server Side Scripting

The server scripting part of MEAN Stack vs. LAMP Stack is PHP/Pearl/Python vs. Node.js. Here, we’ll discuss PHP vs. Node.js for easier understanding! PHP is an open source server side scripting language designed specifically for web application development in 1994. It has got a lot of love from developers and businesses alike for a really long time. According to different surveys, around 80% of websites are developed with PHP.

Through its initial phase, PHP had some bad reputation about security but it was more because of bad programming practices followed by some programmers than its core features & capabilities. But later on, it has improved a lot and gained a good reputation among the community.

Because of very vast usage and so long period of dominating the web development domain, PHP has a lot of libraries, frameworks, packages, resources and a huge community for help.

Node.js was initially released in 2009. Node.js is an open source server side runtime JavaScript environment built on Chrome’s JavaScript engine V8. Since its birth, Node.js has received a warm welcome from developers for being a JavaScript language which almost every web developer is familiar with.

One great appreciation Node.js received since starting is its faster performance compared to PHP thanks for being asynchronous in nature. In 2015, PHP7 was introduced. Thanks to the PHPNG engine used in PHP7, performance of PHP increased up to 2 times and memory consumption improved up to 50%.

And after that, differences in performance of PHP are no longer a significant issue when compared to Node.js. Being asynchronous in nature and non-blocking I/O model, Node.js is ideal for applications where you need real time communication between browser and server. The example use cases might be chat rooms, stock trading, live streaming etc.

Hence, it is clear that both PHP and Node.js have their own advantages and it depends on your application which technology is better suited for your application/product. When in doubt, your developer may better understand which technology is better fit for your requirements.

While show-down between MEAN Stack & LAMP Stack unfolds, comparisons are also widely made between Angular & React JS. Want to learn who wins the battle? Read our coverage on Angular vs React JS!

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Database Management

In LAMP stack, MySQL (or Mariadb, Postgre-sql etc.) is used for database management while the counterpart in MEAN stack is MongoDB. MySQL is a Relational Database Management System while MongoDB is a NoSQL. Both are completely different by nature and have their own pros and cons.

MongoDB (or NoSQL databases in general) stores the data in JSON like documents that can vary in structure while MySQL stores the data in tables with defined structure. Though, later versions of MySQL supports JSON data type where JSON documents can be stored but if your entire database is unstructured, NoSQL databases would be a preferred choice.

Another famous advantage of MongoDB is its capability to handle huge data with horizontal scaling which normally influences a lot of decisions. But you should mind the amount of data which MySQL can easily handle.

We at Techosquare Solutions have developed and maintained applications with up to 5GB of database with AWS t2.small instances (having only 2GB of RAM) and it never lags or causes any problems even generating very complex reports. And that is not the limit.

Several developers claim to be using up to 10TB of databases with MySQL easily. So, don’t be impressed with the claims (though true) that MongoDB can handle comparatively larger databases. More important is what type of data your application will have and what operations on that data will it be performing.

There are several cases where developers chose MongoDB for the sake of faster operations on huge data but later on regretted when they found it more difficult to do complex transactions and faced data integrity issues. So, if you have a good size database being managed with RDBMS like mySQL and it lags in performance, don't rush to shift to noSQL based databases. Get in touch with database managers and check the reason.

An experienced and mature developer is the right person to suggest which database management system is better suited for your application based on your application needs.

With a better understanding of MEAN & LAMP stack in terms of database management, let’s move on to the next critical factor.

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This part is done with HTML and CSS which is common with both LAMP and MEAN stacks being discussed here. In case of backend development as APIs or Microservices, the output is normally formatted as JSON or XML. So, there is not much to discuss on this topic when choosing between MEAN Stack & LAMP Stack!

Client Side Programming

JavaScript is the language to be used for client side programming. MEAN stack uses Angular which is a JavaScript framework to reduce the efforts of the developer and create more interactive applications easily. On the other side, LAMP means all the server-side stack and allows Angular or any other JavaScript frameworks like React and Vue to be used on the client side. So, here again none of the frameworks make any difference.

Context Switching for the Developer

While developing a web application, the development team deals with different languages and contexts i.e. server side scripting, database query language, HTML and client side scripting. In the case of LAMP stack, it translates to PHP, SQL, HTML and JavaScript. On the other hand, with MEAN stack, it becomes JavaScript, JavaScript (almost), HTML and JavaScript which is a good reason to go towards MEAN stack. But it depends on the development team, their working style and the libraries/resources they have developed over time. For example, we at Techosquare Solutions have developed a library where we deal only with PHP which itself generates SQL and general purpose JavaScript wherever needed.

For purely client side programming, in a mature team structure, server side and client side development is done separately (by different or maybe same developer) and hence there is not much context switching. But still the advantage of using the same programming language on the server as well as the client side cannot be ignored.

Can’t find amazing web developers for your venture? Read our guide on hiring developers for startups!

More Aspects

There are more aspects to be considered while picking the technology stack for your product/application, be it LAMP or MEAN. For example, availability of hosting services and availability of developers. PHP has been a leader in the web domain for so long, you get hosting and developers very easily for LAMP stack as compared to MEAN stack.

MEAN Stack vs LAMP Stack: Conclusion

Both, LAMP stack and MEAN stack have their own advantages and which one you should choose for your application depends on the requirements. So, consult an experienced development company to make a decision. Email us at to discuss your web and app development goals.

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