Best PHP Frameworks

Best PHP Frameworks

PHP is one of the most popular server-side programming languages. It has a large user base as it is the favorite choice of most coders for the wide range of features that it offers.

What makes PHP so popular?

  • It is easy to learn
  • New CMS platforms are being built using PHP
  • Good documentation and friendly community support
  • PHP offers a high level of security
  • Flexibility
  • PHP is known for the most modern features that any developer needs

Though PHP offers all these features, yet sometimes, coding in PHP, or any other language, can become monotonous and repetitive. This is where a PHP framework can be used.

PHP frameworks help with rapid app development. With PHP frameworks, you get a basic structure for streamlining the development of web apps. This involves less code and faster development, which brings us to the list of some of the best PHP frameworks:

1. Laravel

Laravel is yet another PHP framework which is popular among the developer communities for the flexibility that it offers. This open-source framework was launched in the year 2011. It helps to develop apps that are simple and elegant.

Regardless of whether a single developer or a team is involved, Laravel helps to keep everyone in sync with its database migrations and schema builder.

Laravel’s problem-solving ability combined with high-level abstractions of its common web development pattern and shortcuts for common programming tasks make it one of the most preferred choices of developers.

Some of the most exciting features of the Laravel framework are listed below:

  • Artisan (a built-in tool for command line for handling repetitive programming tasks, which are, otherwise, performed by developers manually)
  • Eloquent object-rational mapping (ORM)
  • MVC architecture support
  • Unit testing
  • Highly secure
  • Migration system for databases
  • Libraries and modular
  • Well documented

To find more about the Laravel framework or its features, click here.

2. CodeIgniter

The CodeIgniter framework is an open-source and agile PHP framework that is highly in demand for building websites. It also helps developers to build dynamic, custom web apps. This framework has very few server requirements. When compared with other PHP frameworks, it can work with PHP4 and PHP5.

The goal of CodeIgniter is to help you develop projects faster than when writing codes from scratch.

Some of the most interesting features of the CodeIgniter framework are listed below:

  • Lightweight
  • Highly secure
  • XSS filtering
  • Form and data validation
  • Database classes with support for several platforms
  • Data encryption
  • Application profiling
  • Error logging
  • Localization
  • File uploading class
  • Session management
  • Query builder database support
  • Unit testing class
  • Pagination
  • User-agent class
  • Flexible URI routing
  • Search engine friendly URLs and more

For more details on CodeIgniter, please click here.

3. Zend framework

Zend is a popular old-school PHP framework. This open-source model-view-controller (MVC) framework helps with the rapid development of modern web apps. Because of Zend’s component-like structure, it is also referred to as the ‘component library’.

This framework implements ‘Composer’ as a package dependency manager. It uses PHPUnit for testing all packages and Travis CI as a continuous integration service.

As this object-oriented framework is based on features, such as interfaces and inheritance, it is also an extendable framework. Being based on agile methodology is another highlight of the Zend framework. It helps you to deliver high-quality applications.

Also, you can customize this framework to add project-specific functionalities.

Listed below are some of the interesting features of the Zend framework:

  • Well suited for complex and enterprise-level projects
  • Secure
  • Simple cloud API
  • Data encryption
  • Session management
  • Error handling
  • URI routing
  • Code reusability
  • Advanced MVC implementation
  • Supports multiple databases
  • RESTful API development support
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Well documented

The Zend framework has over 413 million installations. To find out more about Zend, click here.

4. CakePHP

The CakePHP framework has been gaining a lot of popularity recently. This framework offers an environment where the designer and developer can work together on a project, which saves time.

It is based on the create, read, update, and delete (CRUD) aspect. With the CakePHP framework, you can build simple web apps, faster, with lesser code. This framework is licensed under the MIT license, which is why it is the perfect choice for building commercial apps.

Some of its features are listed below:

  • In-built tools for SQL injection prevention, form tampering protection, CSRF protection, input validation, and XSS prevention
  • Clean MVC conventions
  • Well-documented
  • Built-in translations, caching, database access, validation, and authentication
  • There are no complicated YAML or XML files
  • CRUD scaffolding
  • ORM
  • No configuration
  • Expandable with plugins and components

For more details on CakePHP, please click here.

5. Yii framework

This open-source web app development framework can be used for both large and small projects. It is flexible enough to allow developers to embed third-party codes. The Yii framework is fast, secure, efficient, and yet pragmatic.

It allows developers to write more code in less time with powerful APIs.

Here are some of the most interesting features of the Yii framework:

  • Error handling and logging
  • Ajax-enabled widgets
  • Form input and validation
  • Data access objects
  • MVC design pattern
  • Automatic code generation
  • Extensive library
  • Easy installation
  • Highly extensible
  • Detailed documentation
  • Caching
  • CRUD feature

Click here to get started with the Yii framework.

6. Phalcon

Phalcon follows the coding styles of C and C++, which makes it stand out from the rest of the PHP frameworks. It is a C-extension of PHP. And Phalcon is one of the fastest of the PHP frameworks.

Some of the most interesting features of the Phalcon framework are listed below:

  • Low overhead
  • Dependency injection
  • Autoloader
  • Router
  • MVC and HMVC
  • ORM
  • Object document mapping (ODM) for MongoDB
  • Caching
  • Template engines
  • Forms builder
  • Flash messages
  • ACL
  • Events

For further details on the Phalcon framework, please click here.

7. Symfony

This open-source MVC framework helps in the rapid development of web apps. It is a full-stack framework and comes with reusable components. The Symfony framework is inspired by Ruby on Rails, Django, and Spring web app. The clean code, well-organized structure, and good programming practices make web development easier using the Symfony framework.

Listed below are some of the interesting features of the Symfony framework:

  • MVC-based system
  • Flexible URI routing
  • Reusable and decoupled components
  • Database classes with support for several platforms
  • Highly secure
  • Session management
  • Reusable code
  • Easy maintenance
  • Error logging
  • High performance

Click here to get started with the Symfony framework.

8. FuelPHP

Inspired by the best ideas of other frameworks, the FuelPHP framework is fast, simple, and flexible. This framework is a combination of Kohana and CodeIgniter frameworks. Along with the features of other frameworks, FuelPHP adds its own unique features, which makes it further interesting, and versatile.

FuelPHP follows the MVC architecture as well as ViewModels.

Below listed are the features of FuelPHP:

  • Easy to use and configure
  • Reusable code
  • Exception handling
  • Session management
  • Autoloading classes
  • Extremely portable
  • Prevents SQL injection
  • Input filtering
  • Flexible URI routing

To get started with the FuelPHP framework, click here.

9. Kohana

The development of Kohana began in May 2007, when a few CodeIgniter community members started a community fork of CodeIgniter, which was named BlueFlame. In June 2007, it was renamed as Kohana. In July of the same year, version 1.0 happened to be released with no documentation.

In November 2007, version 2.0 was released. This was based on object-oriented programming and PHP 5.0 framework. In September 2009, version 3.0 got released. The latest version is 3.3.6 released in July 2016.

Some of the interesting features of Kohana are given below:

  • Easy development
  • Exception handling
  • URI routing
  • Easy configuration
  • Built-in templating
  • Robust ORM engine
  • Search engine friendly URLs
  • Libraries and third-party classes
  • Fully object-oriented
  • Uses the MVC pattern
  • Extremely lightweight

For more information on the Kohana framework, click here.

10. Slim

With the Slim PHP framework, you can quickly write simple and powerful web apps and APIs. It is also the fastest RESTful framework.

Listed below are some of the most interesting features of the Slim framework:

  • HTTP caching
  • Encoded treats
  • Format rendering
  • Middleware
  • Dependency injection
  • Logging
  • Slack integration
  • Make REST apps
  • PSR-7 compliant
  • Well documented
  • Easy learning curve
  • Supports code hooks

For further details on the Slim framework, please click here.


With PHP frameworks, developers belonging to all skill levels can enjoy the reduced need for repetitive coding and speed up the development of their web projects. The key to this lies in choosing the right framework based on the project.

Each project comes with different requirements. So, a framework that might be perfect for one might not be a great choice for another one. Sticking to simplicity is the best option. But as we already discussed, each project has varied requirements, so the choice of the framework depends solely on the project’s requirements.

It is always ideal to choose a framework that is actively developed, and supported. This will help futureproof your app.

Though you have to choose only one framework based on a project’s requirements, it is always ideal to get familiar with the other PHP frameworks as well. This will help to improve your skills and expertise at development while keeping you well-informed with the changing trends.  

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