Choosing the right tech stack in web development is critical when starting a new project. Your tech stack directly impacts your entire system’s scalability, maintenance, and overall performance. Two of the most popular options are LAMP and MEAN. Both are open-source stacks offering flexibility and ease of use, acting as powerful bases for building dynamic web applications.
This article compares the strengths and weaknesses of these stacks to help you choose the right one for your project.
The Right Stack for the Right Project
It’s important to note that there is no objective “best” technology stack — only the best one for your project’s unique needs. The following sections explore the background, components, and use cases of LAMP and MEAN to help you make a more informed decision.
What Is a LAMP Stack?
LAMP is a widely used, traditional stack that’s been around since 1998. As one of the first tech stacks available, LAMP is well-regarded for its stability and support for various web applications and frameworks. Its PHP-based ecosystem is particularly well-suited for smaller, content-driven systems.
Its primary components include:
- Linux — Linux is the LAMP stack’s operating system (OS). Free and open-source, Linux is a popular choice for many developers who can choose any version they need, optimized for any project.
- Apache — Apache is the web server of the stack. Despite being an older server, it’s still highly customizable, offering familiarity and robust features.
- MySQL — MySQL is a relational database optimized for web development. Reliable, easy to use, and compatible with multiple languages, MySQL is a familiar tool that’s been around for over two decades, making it easy to integrate.
- PHP — PHP is a general-purpose language for front and backend web development. It boasts a wide range of features and libraries familiar to developers.
What Is a MEAN Stack?
MEAN is a more recent technology stack. It was first released by Valeria Karpov in 2013 and has grown in popularity ever since. This stack can handle large numbers of connections simultaneously, making it great for large-scale, real-time applications driven by data.
Its primary components include:
- MongoDB — MongoDB is a database that offers powerful tools for querying and indexing data to help applications handle large requests. Based on NoSQL, it uses document collections instead of tables to store data. MongoDB stores the documents in JSON-like data structures hierarchically.
- Express.js — Express.js is a fast, flexible backend framework and HTTP server for Node.js. It features tools for building web applications and APIs, including routing, middleware, and templating.
- Angular — Angular is an open-source frontend framework developed by Google. It allows developers to build dynamic, single-page web applications using HTML, CSS, and TypeScript. Angular allows for rapid development and easy testing and offers modular code development.
You can learn more about MEAN by checking out our article on MEAN stack.
Comparing LAMP and MEAN Stacks
While you can use both LAMP and MEAN to run dynamic web applications, they’re each better suited for different types of software. Therefore, it’s important to understand the differences between the two stacks to choose the best one for your project.
Languages and Ecosystems
When choosing a tech stack, consider which programming language you’re more familiar with or which may be easier to learn. Using your preferred language can help improve your motivation and productivity.
LAMP uses PHP, a mature and versatile language with a large community. PHP has a rich ecosystem with numerous libraries, frameworks, and tools. Its developer community also offers resources and support to ensure a smooth learning curve for new users.
MEAN and LAMP offer two completely different default databases. LAMP primarily uses MySQL, a popular and reliable relational database that stores data in tables using a predefined schema. In contrast, MEAN uses MongoDB, a flexible NoSQL database that stores data in collections.
The key difference between the two is scalability. MongoDB allows for easy horizontal scaling through sharding, which involves distributing data across multiple servers. On the other hand, MySQL allows for vertical scaling, which involves adding more resources such as CPU, memory, or disk capacity to the server. While vertical scaling is easier and less complex than sharding, it’s also more limited and less cost-effective.
Check out this article for a detailed comparison between MySQL and MongoDB.
Performance and Scalability
Developers have refined LAMP over the years to offer excellent performance on many applications, including popular systems like WordPress or Joomla. However, more complex applications with high traffic may experience certain limitations.
MySQL may have trouble scaling beyond a certain point, limiting the stack’s overall scalability. Apache can also struggle to handle large concurrent connections, leading to further performance issues.
Meanwhile, MEAN offers enhanced performance for applications of all sizes due to the non-blocking I/O and asynchronous processing in Node.js. This high concurrency allows the MEAN stack to handle multiple requests simultaneously without impacting performance. MongoDB’s horizontal scaling also makes it well-suited for handling large amounts of data.
Use Cases for LAMP and MEAN Stacks
While both stacks have their pros and cons, the most important factor when choosing between them is what you’re using them for. Although LAMP and MEAN can build similar applications, each has unique strengths.
LAMP Stack Use Cases
The LAMP stack is best used for small to medium websites and web applications, but it can handle larger sites with some extra preparation.
The combination of Linux and Apache provides the security and stability that these use cases rely on. You can also use PHP to develop and integrate custom features such as payment gateways and plugins. LAMP’s reliable database is well-suited for the data these sites generate.
MEAN Stack Use Cases
The MEAN stack is particularly well-suited for single-page applications (SPAs) and web applications with real-time features. Node.js is great at handling real-time communication using WebSockets, while Angular can provide a quick loading time and easy maintenance.
Tech Stacks and Kinsta
Regardless of your chosen tech stack, you still need a place to host it. With Kinsta, you can deploy any web application, regardless of your stack. Kinsta supports major programming languages such as PHP, Java, Python, and Node.js. It also allows you to host popular databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Redis anywhere in the world.
Kinsta is powered by the Google Cloud Platform, ensuring your hosted services never run out of RAM or CPU resources. It also offers security measures to safeguard your application against DDoS attacks for all sites hosted on the platform.
Ultimately, the choice between LAMP and MEAN depends on your project requirements, language preferences, and scalability needs.