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php development frameworks popularity and Comparison

PHP development frameworks: Popularity & Comparison

Taru M. Taru M.
Published: 26 Apr, 2022


Frameworks provide a structure to save developers’ time and offer convenience to create high-quality web apps. PHP development frameworks are designed to ensure below characteristics:

  • Execution speed
  • Simplicity of code implementation
  • Flexibility and reusability of code
  • Security
  • Code readability and maintainability

In this article, we will make a top PHP development frameworks comparison and see how the top PHP framework list stack up against each other.


Laravel is a free, open-source PHP development framework created by Taylor Otwell and intended to develop web applications with the help of model–view–controller (MVC) architectural pattern.

Laravel is powerful, providing tools needed for large, robust applications, and therefore, considered the best PHP framework. Some of the few features:

  • Simple, fast routing engine.
  • Powerful dependency injection container.
  • Multiple back-ends for session and cache storage.
  • Expressive, intuitive database ORM.
  • Orientation towards syntactic sugar.


  • There’s a huge community behind Laravel. So you have an almost unlimited number of resources to call upon for support.
  • The framework is free, so there’s no financial risk when starting a new project.
  • Laravel supports multiple database systems — MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite — one of the crucial advantage that makes Laravel the best PHP framework.
  • The framework makes it easy to create a RESTful API. Using HTTP verbs like GET and POST in your code, you can develop custom routes using middleware, which makes the administration of your site easier.
  • The built-in routing system creates routes by itself in an application, so that you don’t have to worry about writing logic to generate the URLs based on where the user is.


  • Laravel development requires a lot of initial configurations, which tend to make things a bit difficult if you are planning on doing rapid application development.
  • You may have to learn to set up the framework from scratch, which might not be that much of an issue for an experienced developers but could be intimidating for beginners.
  • Laravel does not come with many inbuilt functions and utilities, which means it relies heavily on external libraries to create complex projects. Thus, leading to unnecessary overheads and sometimes performance issues.


Symfony works as a set of reusable PHP components and is one of the excellent PHP development frameworks for web development. Symfony is one of the leading frameworks in terms of popularity, scale, and community.

Many companies all over the world use Symfony, including:

  • Google uses it in the Google Cloud Platform.
  • Yahoo! used it to build its web app platform Yegii.
  • Wikipedia uses it to power its API in Wikimedia Foundation.

Let’s talk about what makes Symfony ideal to be your PHP web development framework.


  • Symfony gives a clean syntax for outputting variables and creating loops and conditional statements. You can also define your own control structures using directives.
  • It has an advanced active record implementation for working with your database. Each database table has a corresponding model through which you interact with that table.
  • A migration system for database schema allows developers to easily modify and share the application’s database schema without re-creating it every time it changes.


  • Symfony has a lot of documentation and tutorials, but it can be quite difficult for novice developers to wrap their heads around its concepts and components.
  • Due to its large size, Symfony is not ideal for small projects that have limited requirements, fewer functionalities or pages.

The development of large-scale applications with complex functionalities is a challenging task. A good PHP development company can save you a lot of valuable time. We would love to offer you our PHP development services.

Zend Framework/Laminas Project

The Zend Framework is an open-source PHP development framework for web development. It supports a Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture and has a flexible architecture that lets you build modern, high-performing enterprise applications.

Zend’s Flexible Architecture and Extensibility enables you to independently use most of its components. Its important features:

  • Supports the latest PHP versions (7+)
  • Composer-friendly
  • Zend Server integration with over 80 + monitoring metrics

Here are some pros and cons to help you decide whether Zend should be your ideal PHP web development framework or not:


  • The Zend Db component provides a simple SQL abstraction layer. You can make use of most of its features without learning the specifics of the RDBMS.
  • Database migrations is quite easy in Zend PHP framework.
  • It is highly customizable because you can use the components separately and mix them with other frameworks. Consequently, you can pick only those components you need for your project without learning everything about the entire framework.
  • Zend provides a full model view controller (MVC) implementation to help you keep your code clean and separate your presentation layer from business logic.


  • The learning curve is steep. It’s definitely not easy to learn, especially if you’ve never used an MVC framework before.
  • The plugins of Zend are expensive. Though, PHP is an open-source and free language. But Zend Framework is not completely open-source.


CodeIgniter was one of the first PHP development frameworks to hit the market. It is based on the MVC architecture and includes libraries, tools, and helper functions that increase the speed of web development by minimizing coding.


  • CodeIgniter has Model-View-Controller Based System.
  • The system folder, which holds the core of CodeIgniter, is less than 2MB in size. Because of this, CodeIgniter is exceedingly quick to download and easy to install.
  • CodeIgniter is easy to learn because of its intuitive interface, rich set of libraries, and clear documentation. All of this enables developers to rapid development with CodeIgniter.
  • CodeIgniter has more than 20 built-in libraries that enable you to perform various functions like sending emails, uploading files, managing sessions, etc. These libraries are highly optimized for maximum performance.


  • Although there are many libraries available for CodeIgniter, it does not have a large community like CakePHP or Zend framework.
  • No Support for modular separation of code by default.

A lot depends on the framework!. A responsible PHP development company also offers guidance on choosing the right PHP development framework. Check out our PHP development services to understand better how we can help you.


CakePHP, an open-source PHP development framework is extensively used by top PHP development companies. The structured framework of CakePHP allows PHP users to rapidly develop and deploy web applications with flexibility.

CakePHP is a PHP web development framework that uses commonly known design patterns like Active Record, Association Data Mapping, Front Controller, and MVC.


  • If you know how to work with PHP and the MVC architecture, then you will find it very easy to work with CakePHP. The learning curve is not steep that makes it one of the best PHP framework in the industry.
  • Easy to set up on your local server using WAMP or XAMPP. It only requires you to copy the CakePHP files into the htdocs folder and create a database for your project.
  • There are several built-in tools in CakePHP, such as translations, database access, caching, validation, authentication, etc., which help you develop web applications quickly.


  • CakePHP is a large framework, which means more files need to be loaded during run-time. The extra data can slow down your pages.
  • If you get an error message from CakePHP, it’s not always clear. Accordingly, developers frequently use trial and error to find the exact point where an error happens.
  • CakePHP doesn’t have “the Cake way” of doing things as some other frameworks do. Instead, you need to seek out solutions yourself, either by looking at tutorials or asking other developers for help.

PHP development frameworks comparison table.


PHP is a highly popular server-side programming language used by many top web development companies to create dynamic websites and web applications.

PHP development frameworks for web development save your time and effort in the long run because:

  • They help increase the performance of websites by caching templates;
  • They help achieve scalability through MVC architecture;
  • And they help improve security by automatically escaping output that comes from untrusted sources before rendering it onto a page.

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Taru M. Author :
Taru M.

For over 18 years, Taru M. is a successful technology entrepreneur by profession and a tech enthusiast by spirit. She takes pride in offering expertise in her domain to business people's success across the globe. As a business woman and technology expert, she manages to keep her balance along with her family responsibilities. She did her masters in computers, and her work delivery shows the expertise of her education. Connect with her via Linkedin profile to know more about her exciting personality

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