Speed test: PHP vs Perl vs Python vs Go vs C

Recently I have needed to run a cron job every minute on a high load web server. As am currently most fluent in PHP I naturally wrote my script in PHP. However, as it’s running every minute, I do want it to be as fast as possible. Seeing as the script was very simple, I thought that the most time required to run is in loading the PHP interpreter. Maybe i could use a compiled language instead? What about Google’s new language Go?

NOTE: This was not an overall speed test. I am just trying to find out which approach would be fastest for running a cron job every minute. None of the programs tested run through a web server.

Anyway, for my test I wrote a “hello, world” command line app in each language and ran the program 1000 times. Without any further ado, here are the results, from fastest to slowest:

C: 5.37 seconds

Go: 6.23 seconds

Perl: 7.97 seconds

Python: 20.64 seconds

PHP: 41.31 seconds

There you go! PHP is a bit slow for this kind of thing! But I’m not going to write all my scripts in Go or C now (what a hassle!). So, for me…. perl wins!

Ahh, good old perl, my faithful friend! I will never forget you!

UTF-8 checklist

Character encodings have been driving me insane lately….

– stuff pasted from word wont display properly

– funny square characters in the browser

– smartĀ  quotes from word don’t display properly

So here’ s a handy list of things i have been trying. Some things mgiht work for you, some might not. Let me know if you have anything to add!


AddDefaultCharset UTF-8


On connect – SET NAMES ‘utf8’

Convert: ALTER TABLE tbl_name CONVERT TO CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_unicode_ci;

$dbname = $argv[1];
if(!$dbname) {
print “no database specified\n”;
$dbh = mysql_connect(‘localhost’, ‘username’, ‘password’, 1);
$sql = “SHOW TABLES”;
$res = mysql_query($sql, $dbh);
while($row = mysql_fetch_assoc($res)) {
$sql2 = “ALTER TABLE $row[‘Tables_in_{$dbname}’] CONVERT TO CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_unicode_ci”;
print $sql2 . “\n”;


Also, once all of your databases are utf8 you could set these options in my.cnf:




<meta http-equiv=”content-type” content=”text/html; charset=utf8″ />
use htmlentities like this:
htmlentities($string, ENT_COMPAT, ‘UTF-8’)

Magpie RSS:
$rss = new MagpieRSS($rss_string, ‘UTF-8’, ‘UTF-8’, false);