Yeah, sure, Facebook, Wikipedia and etc all started with PHP and some are still mostly written in PHP but today it's a different web & keeping the focus of fastest and low cost development and easy to go to market and making adjustments, what language [& frameworks] would you suggest for backend of a web-based service? What is your experience with it?
"Web-based service" can mean anything. I agree with Greg Navis. It's completely dependent on your requirements. After all, it's engineering - solving a specific problem in context.
I would add this:
The goal in the early stages of the product is to enter the market, get some feedback on your idea from (potential) customers, and figure out a way to sell it. These are the biggest risks that aren't affected by your technical choices. That being said there are a few things you should take into account:
After answering these questions you'll be left with a bunch of feasible languages/technologies. Don't introduce unnecessary technical risks. Pick something you know well, that has been on the market for a long time and has a large supportive community.
Ruby on Rails has been my choice for 12 years, and continues to be. Here is why:
Although there are newer frameworks that show promise (Phoenix on Elixir for scaling) or are gaining popularity (Node.js), the most important aspects you need to consider is the time to implementation and support effort. Rails has proven its viability in both areas.
The trend is node.js. While C++ may be 10x or even 100x faster than an interpreted language, it takes more engineering chops.
As others correctly point out, the conventional path is what every startup takes under pressure to get to market. The technical debt gets kicked down the road. If someone actually wants to choose C++, contact me directly. I can help.
I think the way of implementing your idea, your logic, your algo matters most, instead of language.
Good code written in any language can make application better.
I have worked on LAMP stack and its great. Laravel, Lumen, Symfony, Zend are good frameworks. You can develop amazing applications over these platforms.
I have moved from LAMP -> MEAN -> MERN. Low-learning curve once you get off the ground. Full-stack JS. Safe to say the tech will be around for a long time and constantly improved on. I still use PHP but only for already built sites that need maintenance.
Node.js for the APIs, its much faster than PHP; many times! We use node.js across many of our apps and they respond better compared to what they could when web services are done using php. Also, not all fb, wiki started with only "php" as such, there were many layers (on front end, backend) then also, and now its altogether diff level. The best part about Node.js is that your front end developer would be able to quickly scale on that.
Please read this as we wrote about benefits of node.js - https://www.agicent.com/blog/why-hiring-nodejs-development-company-for-web-or-mobile-development
"Best alternative language to PHP to lunch a startup from garage? " - The BEST is vague term - but if I am to interpret this in terms of speed of development, stability, and integration with 3rd party services, my choice is Python. Hands-down the accelerates the development speed. Plus if you are building a data product, you can have a universal language between your engineering and data teams and that alone is a big leg up.
For Startups technology selection depends on the Tech cofounder
or available tech team's skill set.
Ruby on rails is super fast product development tool for web apps, it has full stake tools to ship your product idea.
I would like to support George Feil 's reply. He really wrote very good about rails.
No one can answer this for you -- no one can offer anything of value -- without knowing what the web-based service is.