I've used both extensively.
NodeJS and PHP both run server side.
Relative Features of Node:
- Typically run standalone without apache or nginx
- Is not multi threaded, but is defaulted as async (which makes it non-blocking)
- A lot of devs get super excited, build a library, then don't keep up with the next flavor of node
- npm is cool, until its not. It supports windows, but will break pathing after a while.
- hasn't been used a lot in ecommerce server side environments
- Make sure your Database has a module.
- Make sure you figure out how you are going to keep it running (as a service / cronjob?)
Relative Features of PHP
- Typically run behind apache or nginx (standalone is considered beta, not for production)
- Is not multithreaded and a single process is blocking (apache/nginex spawn multiple processes). Additional ReactPHP.
- Php syntax - just happens to be very clean.
- Composer is cool.
- much more mature in the e-commerce space.
- Your database is probably supported
I personally prefer PHP - it's more mature and I like the syntax.