What is better; PHP or ASP.NET?

What is better; PHP or ASP.NET?

By Sadie on

php vs asp

Is PHP better for SEO than ASP.NET?

Many people ask us what is a better programming language to use for SEO, PHP or ASP.NET, popular opinion is that for an SEO friendly website you should use PHP but is this correct?

Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing rely a lot on page content and the relevance of the sites content to determine how your site should appear for certain keywords. By emphasising certain keywords in header tags like H1, H2′s and H3′s these keywords will stand out like a headline in a newspaper.



ASP and ASP.NET are the programming languages usually used on Microsoft servers and are server-side scripting languages, PHP is also a server-side scripting language but more often used with Linux servers. Traditionally Linux servers and PHP have been associated with being more Search Engine friendly. This is mostly due to the fact that 301 rewrites for SEO friendly URL’s are quicker to do on a Linux server, also a lot of PHP developers are involved in open source SEO platforms such as WordPress. Some of the most SEO friendly Open source platforms such as WordPress and Magento are built using PHP and are not compatible with Microsoft servers.

When a search engine is crawling your website they will only see the outputted html and not the scripts that output the html (unless specifically stated by the (runat=”client”) JavaScript only), therefore there is no reason for the search engines to prefer PHP to ASP or ASP.NET. Search engines prefer SEO friendly URL’s (although even Google admits they will work it out so don’t mess around with unfriendly URL’s if there is a chance you may break it), typically older ASP and .NET Content Management Systems output a stream of characters rather than a user and SEO friendly URL. Newer CMS websites built in ASP and .NET can be built to output friendlier URL’s and as long as they are built to consider accessibility and control over Header tags, Title tags etc there is no reason for search engines have difficulties crawling.

From sites I have worked on I see no reason not to use ASP and ASP.NET when building a website, the only reason we tend to prefer PHP is it is cheaper to develop in as a lot of software is already available in open source that has everything needed therefore the development time is reduced considerably.

If you are interested in SEO friendly content management systems built in either PHP or ASP.NET then contact us. We have developers around the UK who can build high quality websites at freelance prices, that combined with the expertise of our Manchester SEO consultants can give you a website and SEO campaign that will work for your business needs.

About Sadie

Sadie is the head of online marketing and SEO. She likes the colour purple & crisps (especially monster munch).

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Comments (8)
  1. Maximus

    Great post! I’ve always been a long term believer that Open Source platforms provide much greater support for search engine optimising websites. It seems like much harder work to get the same results with Microsoft technology, but that’s just me.

    I was interested by the pie chart of jobs from Monster – what date is this data from?

  2. Burk

    This question has always raised contradiction among the developers . But, Sadie ur point of view is agreeable. Search engines preference for SEO friendly URL and the compatibility factor does make PHP favourable option.Some of the recently launched opem source search platforms like Solr which provide faceted navigation and relevant search actually promote better optimization. I got a detailed overview of these concepts in the referral guide of Solr1.4 at

  3. Chad

    Great write-up. This question has seemed to come up quite a bit lately where I work, and this is one of the better explanations I’ve found on the topic. Thanks!

  4. Farhan Fawzer

    Sadie, fair enough but I still insist that ASP built sites have a slight advantage over PHP. I’ve seen in quite a number of occasions, could be even due to the expense factor (more expensive more reliable) like the Yahoo! paid directory links and domain age on Google’s eyes.

  5. Sadie

    Hi Farhan,

    Thanks for commenting and raising a valid point, I don’t agree that more expensive means better – or that PHP is always cheaper. We often use an open source platform as a basis but depending on the project build in lots of added functionality.
    The expense factor of .NET is mainly because of demand many larger companies prefer to work in .NET (although we have seen this change in recently since this post was published) also there is a lot more support for upcoming developers in PHP so .NET developers tend to be rarer and have more formal training (in my experience please let me know if you have more or contradictory information).
    I admit we are biased as we tend to use PHP more but see the value in well built .NET sites.
    I work with both programming languages for optimisation and find as long as the servers and the code is done well both are secure and reliable.