What is the fastest programming language? It will vary depending on what you need to work on. Plus, the only way to confidently say that Language A beats Language B for a specific program is by running experimentation over a given dataset. Instead, we’ll base the ranking on which specific tasks they complete more efficiently and why.
So if you started looking for the fastest language because you wanted to save time to work on some side hustles, you’ve come to the right place. No clickbait — just helpful information. We’re dividing the languages between those faster to write code (which got leveled up thanks to AI) and those faster to compile code.
The fastest programming languages to write code
The fastest programming languages to compile code
- C and C++
1. C and C++
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C is considered to be the fastest programming language for low-level development. C is optimal for low-level programs, and C++ is best for commercial applications. These languages have similar syntax but C++, a C subset, is considerably broader.
“There isn't much that's special about C. That's one of the reasons why it's fast.”
C is the archetypal widespread low-level language. You can use it for memory management that is efficient, close-to-hardware operation, and broad library support.
C has endured the test of time, with compilers adjusted for optimal efficiency over decades. To beat C's efficiency, a new language must outperform years of compiler advances and optimizations. It’d be like beating Linux and its millions of lines of code.
When C and C++ code is compiled, it is converted into machine code, which is the direct set of instructions that the computer's CPU understands. In terms of functionality and paradigms, C++ outperforms C. However, because of the increased complexity, comparably sophisticated programs in C may frequently have a runtime advantage. One of the up-and-rising successors to C might be Zig, the best-paying programming language of 2023.
byu/Worth_Talk_817 from discussion
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Rust is the fastest programming language for anything backend which is both secure and of high-performance, including web backends and WebAssembly-based applications.
Rust is going to let you write the fastest code with high-security standards thanks to its memory safety. Code written here is easy to work with, you can reuse existing libraries, write tests, refactor, and use multi-threading.
Plenty of online users bring up statements that show why Rust is the fastest programming language (after C, obviously):
- Rust compiles to LLVM IR, which is then optimized by LLVM and translated to machine code.
- By default, Rust places data on the stack for faster access.
- Rust optimizes generic code during compilation, so it runs faster.
- Rust doesn't come with a built-in runtime, which can reduce overhead.
Some online users already claim that Rust is even faster than C but that it doesn’t need to. So for very quick language that is concerned about security, this is your pick. Numerous Rust open-source projects are proving their point.
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Java is the fastest language to build portable backend services, enterprise applications, or mobile apps.
A mature ecosystem makes it easy to compose a system to process large-scale data. It is one of the most widely ported VMs, meaning it has the chance to run virtually anywhere.
Nothing beats convenience and productivity. Computing speed is not the only factor that makes a language the fastest. Startup time, ease of writing, and unifying the language between your development platforms and its ecosystem are what make Java stay at the top.
byu/onenotwowt from discussion
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Python is generally considered to be the fastest programming language for rapid prototyping. It’s a high-level, general-purpose language that can be used in many areas, including:
- Server-side web programming
- Scripting for games and other applications
- Scripts for automation (software build, server maintenance).
- Data analysis.
Python has tons of widely used and well-tested libraries for data analysis. Python allows developers to express complex ideas succinctly and prototype intricate functionalities quickly.
Python's developer-friendly syntax makes development speedy. You can quickly start any project using this application and then migrate to another language when necessary. It has been developed continuously under a rigorous set of specifications, and because of these, the libraries created for use inherit a similar level of reliability.
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Assembly is considered to be the fastest programming language if you’re dealing with the hardware directly. Ideal for highly optimized tasks, CPU architecture design, drivers, reverse software engineering, and more. It’s a language for Hardware Engineers.
Direct mapping to machine instructions, allowing granular control over hardware.
Assembly is fast for one simple reason: you can prefetch data so that it's available in the nearest cache by the time you need it. This can produce code significantly faster than in any other language.
byu/AndreasBWagner from discussion
You also have assembly commands for bypassing the cache entirely and writing directly to RAM, thus avoiding polluting the cache and discarding data that you require.
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Go (known as GoLang) is generally considered to be the quickest programming language for backend novices who need to deal with concurrent applications. You can use it for web backends, microservices, cloud applications, containerization tools (like Docker), APIs, and even some simple data processing tasks.
Go is a server language. It’s efficient for tasks that need parallel processing. It has a robust standard library, particularly for building web servers and other networked applications. Its syntax is easy to read and write, and that’s why beginners don’t grapple with it.
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Ruby is generally considered the fastest backend language for users who want to stick to web development and not delve into Python. It’s not as quick as Python, but it’s better for commercial web applications.
Ruby on Rails — Ruby’s star framework — has been called the fastest web framework, but programmers agree that Ruby is not the fastest language. Airbnb, Bloomberg, and Shopify use it. Twitter used it in its beginnings. It has a “convention over configuration” approach, meaning that if developers follow specific conventions, they won’t need to repeat configurations. So, it’s a language that sacrifices being the most performant for the sake of being the quickest to write in and to get a web app going.
Which language is the fastest?
C is the fastest programming language for developers. Still, when deciding which language you should go for, it’s not only about the speed. Newer languages that allow garbage collection, dynamic typing, and other features make it easier for programmers to write code, even if they’re not as nimble as C. Also, if you’re programming in a more bulky language with an AI assistant, you might not even care that you’re not with the fastest language out there. Maybe your language of choice is not as quick as C, but it’s faster to write code in.
We wanted to make sure you’re saving time on learning the fastest and most valuable languages available. Most times, the best advice you can get comes from others who have gone through the same thought and question process as you. So go and check company reviews, and have a look at the top developer communities to join and grow as a developer — even if you’re using an oldish language like C.