10 Best PHP Frameworks for Web Developers

In this article, we are going to cover PHP and which frameworks to use in order to achieve fast, complex and professional development of websites and web apps.

PHP that originally stood for Personal Home Page, and now stands for Hypertext Preprocessor, represents a side scripting language, and it is mostly for web development. Since its introduction in 1995, PHP came a long way and it is now the most popular server-side scripting language. It is also used as a general-purpose programming language.

Building complex websites and web apps from scratch can be difficult and time consuming, so instead of using raw PHP code, developers use frameworks that help them work faster, and to have structured code that can be reused.

Also Read: Building Your Website Using PHP

We chose 10 frameworks to present in this article, and these frameworks are the most popular among developers, and they are also actively maintained.

Reasons To Use A PHP Framework

Now we are going to see why so many developers use PHP frameworks and how these frameworks help us in web development processes.

  • Fixing the most common technical vulnerabilities
  • URL routing
  • Achieve integration with mail services, and tools that can make web applications run faster
  • File and code organization for creating reusable and well-structured code
  • Increased security of a site
  • Apply MVC pattern to PHP applications
  • Plenty of libraries and plugins that can help us with databases, input/output filtering, forms

10. PHPixie

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PHPixie is a young framework that started as a micro framework but it quickly transitioned to a very popular full stack PHP framework. This is a high performance framework, but it is very easy to master, and has a humble and friendly community.

PHPixie has a HMVC design pattern and it is made out of independent components. Some of the features that PHPixie possesses are ORM (object – relational mapping), authentication and authorization capabilities. It also enables the use of the HAML markup language, and it has a sophisticated routing system among other things. There are many tutorials on the PHPixie website, and they also claim that they can teach you PHPixie in 30 minutes, which is certainly intriguing.

9. FuelPHP

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This framework is very flexible, it has a built-in modular structure, and also it has strong community of users. FuelPHP Oil is a nice command line feature, and it enables fast development, and also ability to test your application, and do multiple tasks. This also provides several other functions such as package, testing, refine, and others.

FuelPHP is full stack framework that uses HMVC architecture. One of the features that are added to FuelPHP is ViewModel, also known as presentation models and this enables you to add a layer between Controller and the View. FuelPHP is extendable and it includes features like URI filtering, and output encoding. Like we said it has a strong community, and great documentation that you can check out on the official website.

If you want to develop small, simple and flexible apps, Slim is the perfect framework for you. It is minimalistic in design, straightforward and you are not going to spend much time on learning it.

Slim is PHP micro framework and it is best suited if you want to build, simple API’s while maintaining full flexibility. Slim also comes with some cool features such as session- and cookie encryption, URL routing, client- side HTTP caching, and also flash messages across HTTP requests.

It is nicely documented, and we are still waiting for a full release of Slim 3.0

7. Zend Framework

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Zend Framework is without a doubt one of the greatest PHP frameworks of all time. This framework is complex and very difficult to learn, and it is mostly used for more complex projects. Zend Framework is used by some big companies like BBC, CISCO WebEx, and BNP Paribas. Also some of the partners include IBM, Microsoft, Google and Adobe.

The current release Zend Framework 3.0 has some new features like a XML to JSON converter, a JSON RPC server and compatibility with PHP 7. It is also 4 times faster than the previous version.

6. CakePHP

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CakePHP is an open source project that’s introduced in 2006, and it is modeled after the concepts of Ruby on Rails. Much is improved with the latest version, CakePHP 3.0, and this older framework is back in demand. Some of the features that you get with the new version are enhanced session management, standalone libraries, and decoupled components for better modularity.

Pretty remarkable fact is that CakePHP, is used to power websites of some of the biggest corporations out there, such as BMW, Hyundai, Zumba and Express. Also, it implements high levels of security in apps. It can achieve that with security features such as SQL injection prevention, cross site scripting, CSRF protection and others.

5. Phalcon

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Phalcon is a high performance PHP web framework released in 2012 and for a relatively short period of time it gained a lot of popularity among web developers. This framework is written in C, but you can use if you don’t know C language because it contains PHP classes that can be used for any application.

This framework offers many modern features like controllers, query language, view templates and so on. The great thing about Phalcon is that it speeds up performance and it runs on pretty much any server. It is a very well documented framework, and we recommend that you try it.

Yii 2 is one of the most commonly used PHP frameworks at the moment. It offers a wide array of very useful features and there are many reasons why developers use it. Yii 2 is simple and easy but also very powerful and fast, you can bring up your website in a very short period of time.

Installation is pretty easy and you can use the Composer for the installation process. Yii 2 is an object oriented programming framework that has a simple and clean code. With this framework you utilize some great features such as late static binding, SPL classes and interfaces and anonymous functions, and it is also highly extensible. For somebody who is coming from a frontend background Yii 2 is useful because it contains jQuery and also AJAX enabled features.

When using Yii2 you don’t have to worry about security, because it comes with a security application component that assists you in creating a more secure application. Yii 2 will also help you to spend less time on some tasks, with a tool called “Gill”. This tool will help you to develop templates for forms, models, and extensions.

3. CodeIgniter

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CodeIgniter was released in 2006, and it seems that it is becoming less popular with time. CodeIgniter’s biggest strength is the fact that it simple, light and straightforward. It takes only about 2MB, so it is easy to install, and it is very simple to learn.

CodeIgniter is not forcing you to use MVC, so it gives freedom to developers in terms of coding and naming conventions and it is supporting simplicity. Also, it allows you to download plugins for more complexity. It supports most common used databases, including MySQL. The current requirement is PHP 5.3.7 but it also works on almost all shared and dedicated hosting platforms.

2. Symphony

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Symphony framework can be used if you have a large scale project to complete. Symphony consists of reusable components and it also has a very active and wide developer community.

With reusable components that Symphony has to offer you can do many things such as, high customization, a templating engine, e-mail library, unit testing, form creation. Also, the Symphony framework is used in many important projects like Drupal, PHPBB, PIWIk, and also “Twig”, one of the most popular templating engines are powered with Symphony components.

Symphony was created in 2005, and it is available under MIT license.

You can visit Symphony.com to read more about Symphony.

1. Laravel

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According to online surveys Laravel has become the most popular framework among developers. As a relatively young PHP framework (released in 2011) Laravel positioned itself as the king of frameworks thanks to simplicity, a huge and supportive community with loads of free tutorials, and other learning resources.

Laravel is simple to learn and comes with many features that enable us to work quickly and execute large scale projects fast. Laravel comes with “Blade”, which is its own templating language that enables you to write regular PHP code in template. Laravel also has “Lumen”, a micro PHP framework recently released that can build very fast API’s.


PHP frameworks are certainly very useful tools for creating complex web applications and other projects. One of the most important things in web developing is of course speed, with maintainable and reusable code. The world of web development is constantly changing, and improving and that applies to frameworks also. So here we tried to present some of the PHP frameworks that are the standards of quality in web development today.


David Cross

David is the chief editor at WebHostingMedia right from the beginning. He has a great passion for building and managing websites and creating helpful content. He is also interested in programming - currently learning python.