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What is the Best Compiler to Use for C++?

    C is one of the most popular programming languages in the world. It is used in a wide variety of applications and is known for its speed and efficiency. To be able to use C, you need to have a compiler. There are many different compilers available for C, but what is the best one to use? In this article, we will explore the different options available and help you choose the best compiler for your needs.

    Popular Compilers

    When it comes to programming in C, a compiler is essential in order to turn your code into an executable program. Choosing the right compiler can be a bit of a challenge as there are many popular ones available. This section will look at some of the most popular compilers being used today, as well as their pros and cons.


    GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) is the most popular, open source and cross-platform C compiler for transaction processing applications, embedded and high performance computing, application development and other purposes. It is a key component of the GNU toolchain and widely used as a C programming compiler on Linux systems.

    GCC performs various optimizations to generate optimized machine code (assembly instructions) to be executed at run-time. Therefore, in order to develop an efficient software or program, it is essential to use an optimizing compiler like GCC that ensures that least amount of processor cycles are required to run the program.

    It supports multiple programming languages for development such as Ada, C++, Fortran, Java/Objective-C/Objective-C++, OpenMP etc., involving debugging information generation and enabling function inlining. It also provides flexibility of porting from one system architecture to another with better abstraction capabilities leading portability into heterogeneous environments like workstations & clusters running on UNIX & Linux platforms with ARM processor architecture & Windows platforms having Intel processors .


    Clang is a free, open-source C compiler developed by the LLVM Project. It is developed and maintained by an active community of developers worldwide, and used for many different languages and applications, including support for compiling C code into a binary executable format. The goal of the Clang project is to create a modern, high-performance C compiler that can compile code quickly without producing overly large executables or sacrificing optimization speed or accuracy. Additionally, it can perform low-level optimizations such as register allocation, instruction scheduling, and loop transformations at compile time to produce more efficient code. Additionally, it can provide integration with other tools such as Valgrind or LLDB to aid in debugging projects. Clang’s advanced analysis capabilities makes it an attractive choice for safety-critical development where thorough understanding of program behavior is desired.

    Visual C++

    Visual C++ is a popular compiler for C and C++ programming. It is a component of the Microsoft Visual Studio software package, which includes an IDE, code editor, and debugger. Visual Studio includes several tools to help simplify the development process, including IntelliSense — an advanced code-completion tool — as well as project management tools. Visual C++ offers full integration with Windows APIs, so you don’t have to worry about linking multiple libraries when creating Windows applications. Visual Studio also provides advanced debugging features that allow you to easily step through your code line-by-line. And since it is part of the Microsoft product family, it also supports open source technologies like Python and TypeScript. Thanks to its many features and ease of use, Visual C++ is a very popular choice among developers. If you are developing in C or C++, it’s definitely worth considering.

    Pros and Cons of Each Compiler

    When it comes to writing code in C, there are many different compilers available. Each compiler offers different advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to understand what each compiler can offer before making a decision. This article will provide an overview of the different compilers available and the pros and cons of using each one.


    GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) is the most popular and widely used open source compiler available. It has become the de-facto standard for compiling C code, and is maintained by the GNU Project. The primary benefit of using GCC is its versatility — it can theoretically compile any language for any target platform. The downside of that versatility is that it can take longer than other compilers to compile some programs. Additionally, because of its widespread use and diverse capabilities, it’s common for bug fixes and updates to be delayed.

    When using GCC to compile a program written in C, there are a few important things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to make sure you’re using the correct version of GCC (i.e., version 4 or higher) as older versions may have compatibility issues with newer libraries or technologies used in modern programs. Additionally, if you need optimal performance when compiling with GCC consider compiling with optimization flags (-O3) enabled or adding extra compiler flags such as -march=native or -fomit-frame-pointer, which should increase performance significantly.


    Clang is an open-source compiler that is designed to generate high-quality object code faster than alternative compilers, such as GCC and Microsoft Visual C++. It is the default compiler for Mac OS X and iOS, and it is gaining momentum in the Linux world due to its speed of compilation and better diagnostics. Additionally, Clang’s C++11 support surpasses that of GCC 4.7, making it attractive for developers wishing to work with the latest version of the language.

    The primary advantages of Clang stem from its diagnostics capabilities; warnings are more accurate and detailed than those provided by other compilers, making them easier for developers to interpret. Its code completion feature helps cut down on mistakes by suggesting solutions when code does not compile. Another advantage of Clang is its compatibility with popular IDEs like Eclipse, Visual Studio Code and Vim—this allows developers to incorporate custom settings into their workflow according to preference. Finally, Clang deals better with exception handling than some older versions of GCC.

    On the downside, Clang can be somewhat slower than GCC while compiling large projects—though this disparity has decreased in recent versions—and it bristles at templates more than other compilers do; this means that template data could take longer to process during compilation when compared to other compilers. Often times troubleshooting errors in this context can be difficult; although diagnostics efficiency has been a focus for the team developing Clang, catchup with industry standards could take a few years yet. Ultimately then there may be circumstances where reducing development time calls for using another compiler besides Clang despite its many advantages.

    Visual C++

    Visual C++ is a commercial, proprietary compiler by Microsoft that is used mainly to compile Windows and other programs built with .NET and C++. Visual C++ offers a wide range of features and tools, including a code editor, powerful debugger, integrated environment for creating user interfaces, and a large library of pre-compiled functions.

    Visual C++ has some pros compared to other compilers. Its main strength is the ability to build console applications quickly with great performance gains. Its debugger can be used to quickly identify issues in your code without having to comb through logs manually. The large library of pre-compiled functions makes programming easier while ensuring high reliability of the compiled code.

    However, there are some cons associated with Visual C++ as well. It relies heavily on Windows libraries and frameworks which can lead to issues when porting an existing application or writing cross-platform applications. Additionally, its proprietary nature means it does not support the latest language standards or libraries that are available in open source compilers like GCC or Clang/LLVM which may limit its ability when writing complex applications or keeping up with new language developments.


    After considering the pros and cons of different compilers for the C lang, it is clear that the best compiler to use for C is the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). GCC is an open-source solution and provides a high level of optimization, making it ideal for developing programs for high performance. GCC also has extensive documentation and a community of developers who are continually improving and adding new features. In conclusion, GCC is the best compiler to use for C.

    Summary of the Best Compiler to Use for C

    When looking for the best compiler to use when writing in C, there are a few factors to consider. It is important to find a compiler which is lightweight, fast and provides good code completion, as well as one which is compatible with operating systems like Windows, Mac and Linux.

    In summary, there are many available options when looking for a C compiler; however, the best option is the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). GCC is an open source compiler that supports a variety of systems and platforms and compiles efficiently with numerous optimization features. In addition, it produces high-quality executable programs and libraries in both native and cross-compilation environments. GCC allows for customization depending on the user’s needs, making it an ideal choice for developers seeking maximum control over their compilation process.

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