MEAN Vs. LAMP: Which is Better?

March 16, 2021

Introduction

Technology stacks consist of individual components built on top of each other to create a web or application server environment. The basic components required for a web stack are:

  • An operating system
  • A web server
  • A database
  • A script interpreter

Two of the most popular open-source web stack solutions are MEAN and LAMP. They incorporate different backend technologies, database solutions, and server environments.

In this article, you will learn the difference between MEAN and LAMP, their pros and cons, and the most common use cases to help you choose the stack that best suits your needs.

MEAN stack vs. LAMP stack differences

MEAN vs. LAMP: Overview of Differences

LAMP was introduced in 1998, meaning that it incorporates older technologies. On the other hand, MEAN is fairly young and uses newer technologies to function.

The two web stacks are used in different scenarios and utilize different components.

MEAN vs. LAMP: Comparison Table

Web StackMEANLAMP
TechnologiesMongoDB   Express.js Angular.js Node.jsLinux   Apache MySQL PHP, Perl, or Python
Programming Language SupportJavaScriptPHP, Perl, or Python
Database SupportNon-relational database (MongoDB)Relational database (MySQL)
Server RequiredNode.js + Express.jsApache
Frontend FrameworkAngular.jsNo frontend framework
OS SupportAny OS that supports Node.jsLinux

What Is the LAMP Stack

LAMP stack features compared to MEAN.

LAMP is a collection of technologies combined to carry out tasks without relying on external software or data.

LAMP is an acronym that stands for:

  • Linux (OS)
  • Apache (Web Server)
  • MySQL (Database Management System)
  • PHP, Perl, or Python (Programming Language)

These components integrate seamlessly with each other and allow for a smooth web app development solution.

LAMP has been around for a long time, which means it has a large community, library availability, and tools to enable fast development of prominent, high-performing web applications.

LAMP Programming Languages

The main programming language of LAMP is PHP. Developers can replace PHP with Python or Perl. However, MySQL offers better support to PHP in comparison to Python and Perl.

Each language has its pros and cons, and each is used in different scenarios. PHP has undergone major revamping in its recent releases, including language and performance improvements. Python has a huge advantage over Perl when it comes to code readability.

LAMP Database Support

LAMP uses MySQL, which is an open-source relational database management system. Relational databases support highly complex structured queries and perform well when working with complex data calculations.


Note: Learn how relational and non-relational databases stack up against each other in our article SQL vs NoSQL.


LAMP Use Cases

Use LAMP when you want to easily build something and need it up and running fast. Since its programming languages are relatively easy to learn, it is the recommended choice for beginners.

LAMP uses RDBMS (Relational Database Management System), making it a good choice for growing, fixed format data. The downside is that updating a relational database is slow and inconvenient.

LAMP shines when used for developing or hosting large, performant web applications.

LAMP Popularity

LAMP has been a very reliable and effective stack for developing enterprise-level web apps. It has a long history and provides room for customization. LAMP’s mainstream supporters are Oracle, Zend, and the Linux Foundation.

LAMP is popular among novice developers as MySQL and PHP are easy to learn and use, and its open-source nature allows developers to adjust LAMP to their specific needs.

LAMP is also popular due to its speedy deployment of web apps. It uses PHP as a standard Apache module and uploads PHP files through a MySQL database to an Apache server.

LAMP Pros and Cons

LAMP caters to specific use cases, meaning it has its pros and cons.

LAMP stack pros:

  • One of the greatest benefits of LAMP is its firm and continuing support.
  • PHP and MySQL are supported by several hosting providers and allow access to popular CMS engines, such as WordPress and Joomla.
  • LAMP offers versatility and customization. Developers can choose between different web servers, such as Nginx instead of Apache, different database solutions, or even a different programming language.
  • LAMP is convenient for novice developers because PHP and MySQL are easy to learn.
  • LAMP is faster to develop due to its non-block structure storage allocation.

LAMP stack cons:

  • It only supports Linux OS.
  • It is challenging for developers to switch between coding in PHP and Python for the server-side and then to use JavaScript for the client-side.
  • LAMP uses MySQL relational databases, which scale vertically. Non-relational databases are faster and easier to scale in case of traffic peaks.

What Is the MEAN Stack

MEAN stack features compared to LAMP

MEAN is an open-source and user-friendly bundle of JavaScript software for building dynamic websites and web applications. MEAN is built entirely in JavaScript, making it a full-stack development language used for everything from front-end to back-end.

MEAN is an acronym that stands for:

  • MongoDB (NoSQL database)
  • Express.js (Server-Side Framework on top of Node.js)
  • Angular (Client-Side Framework)
  • Node.js (JavaScript Runtime Environment)

Stacked together, these components create a clean and effective single-language mechanism that powers a website or web application.

Compared to LAMP, the MEAN stack is relatively young, first introduced in 2013.

MEAN Programming Language

MEAN uses JavaScript both on the client-side and server-side. Despite being originally designed as a client-side language, JavaScript has now made its way to the server-side.

Since it implements JavaScript through and through, MEAN allows a single developer to master the whole stack at once, making it the preferred choice of new developers.

The downside of MEAN using JavaScript for all stack levels is that it is harder to maintain long-term because JavaScript is rapidly evolving.

MEAN Database Support

MEAN uses MongoDB, a Non-Relational (NoSQL) database program. NoSQL databases excel at managing operational data, for example, a list of objects in a system. The lack of schema allows for fluid object definitions which don’t require major code changes.

MEAN Use Cases

MEAN is used for modern web apps and hybrid apps. JavaScript makes MEAN ideal for making dynamic websites and applications and offers a user-friendly framework.

MEAN is a good choice for progressive web apps and apps where a lot of business logic happens on the client-side. Due to its scalability and capability of handling a large number of users simultaneously, the MEAN stack is also a good choice for cloud-native apps.

MEAN offers more flexibility than LAMP when it comes to data storage thanks to NoSQL.

MEAN Popularity

MEAN appeals to developers because it uses JavaScript only. MEAN makes it possible for one developer to manage the entire stack.

MEAN provides developers the benefit of speedy data retrieval and flexibility in deployment.

Mainstream backers of the MEAN stack are Google, IBM, and Samsung.

MEAN Pros and Cons

Being newer and better suited for modern web apps and websites, MEAN has several benefits over the LAMP stacks. However, MEAN also comes with its own set of disadvantages.

Pros of the MEAN Stack:

  • One of MEAN’s biggest benefits is that it is not dependent on a single OS.
  • MEAN uses JavaScript on all stack levels. It allows developers to use the same language on the back-end and the front-end.
  • MEAN is adaptable for a wide range of web apps.
  • MEAN is scalable and can handle plenty of users at the same time.
  • Node.js uses less memory to handle more connections.
  • MongoDB is used as a cloud database for modern applications.

Cons of the MEAN Stack:

  • MEAN is not the best choice for large-scale applications.
  • JavaScript tends to make websites slower to load on low-end machines.
  • MongoDB isn’t as reliable and secure out of the box as relational databases.
  • It poses a great challenge for novice developers to take full advantage of JavaScript.
  • If users disable JavaScript, it renders the web app unusable.

Conclusion

After reading this comparison article, you should know the basic differences between MEAN and LAMP, as well as their use cases. It will help you decide which web stack suits you better.

If you have made up your mind, follow one of our guides to install MEAN on Ubuntu, install LAMP on Ubuntu, or install LAMP on CentOS.

Boško Marijan
Having worked as an educator and content writer, combined with his lifelong passion for all things high-tech, Bosko strives to simplify intricate concepts and make them user-friendly. That has led him to technical writing at PhoenixNAP, where he continues his mission of spreading knowledge.
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