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A PHP framework provides developers with a template for making PHP-powered software applications. Some frameworks suit certain projects, which means that knowing which PHP framework to pick can involve some thorough research.

Though PHP isn’t as popular as JavaScript or Python in name, but in usage, it is quite common. Nearly 78% of all websites use PHP on their server side.

It’s clear that many sites are using PHP and presumably for good reason, this should only push your interest more. Utilising PHP is a fair choice, but a question that you need to remember is what’s the best PHP framework to use?

So what Is a PHP Framework?

PHP Frameworks extends the supporting structure for building an application. They simplify the web development process by filling the foundational functionality of a program into your application before you even start coding.

So using a PHP framework means less code to write. And also, there are fewer discrepancies regarding how to start your project. There’s also risk mitigation as opposed to writing your app from scratch.

The programming language of PHP is a well-respected back-end technology for web development. Thus, many PHP frameworks guide developers in creating web applications.

Why Use a PHP Framework?

First of all. Having a general understanding of why you would want to use PHP in the first place. As a general-purpose scripting language, PHP performs well in web development environments.

Unlike other web scripting languages like JavaScript. PHP executes on the server side generating HTML that gets sent to the client.

With that, PHP leads to more responsiveness among web apps and sites that utilise the language. However, the larger point is that businesses should optimise using a PHP framework to speed up development.

Here are 8 PHP frameworks.

Deciding to use PHP for development should be easier enough, due to the sheer amount of sites that use PHP. There’s no question that PHP is a useful asset to any web development project. With this said, little about the specific PHP framework can be best to complement your project. Below is a list of PHP frameworks.

1. Laravel

Laravel Php Framework

Initially released in 2011, Laravel is the most popular PHP framework by Taylor Otwell. It has since grown into a well-aged framework that has hundreds of contributors and hundreds of thousands of installations.

As it’s based on an MVC architecture, it uses its templating language called Blade. That makes it easy to create layouts in HTML. For accessing databases. It uses Eloquent ORM which is easy to understand and use.

But what is Eloquent ORM?

It’s an object-relational mapper. That allows to define models & relationships in PHP. Then it’s get translated & executed as SQL. This keeps your code clean and simple. While letting you easily switch to a different database system (if you choose to).

But what makes Laravel stand out is the huge variety of features, packages and applications that can make developing faster and easier.

For example, Queues allows you to run certain heavy tasks asynchronously without your application getting strained and delaying the loading time for users. You have other features such as caching, broadcasting events for those real-time web experiences, authenticating users are right out of the box.

With Laravel, you can use it to build any type of project, including SaaS, eCommerce, and other kinds of apps. It’s easy to learn so smaller companies can choose it, but larger companies can rely on it due to its powerful features.

Let’s talk about some pros and cons


  • It’s great for beginners, due to its documentation and large community.
  • The syntax is straight-forward. Also, it is intuitive that your code can work like magic.
  • You can deploy it easily to AWS or other cloud providers.
  • There’s a variety of packages and applications that you can install to add new features.


  • Some developers see Laravel as “unreasonable” due to its syntax and project structures get enforced.
  • It’s kinda a heavy framework, mainly due to its large amount of features which can make it slower than alternative PHP frameworks.

2. Lumen

Lumen Framework

Known as a PHP micro-framework. Lumen has been developed by Laravel and it’s maintained by the community. As it’s developed by Laravel it has similarities to it. So if you have experience with Laravel you feel right at home. It’s ideally for modern apps as it is lightweight and performant.

While it also can be used for building APIs to support single-page apps, micro-services and also other back end services where low-latency and high performance are important.

Let’s talk about some pros and cons


  • It is easy to learn, particularly if you have experience with Laravel.
  • Lighter than Laravel. Requires minimal configuration to get started.
  • It is a modern framework that is highly suitable for modern web development.
  • If you grow too complex you can convert it to a Laravel project with ease.


  • Limited documentation is available for this framework
  • Missing out on some key features from Laravel that will need to add manually if you need them
  • Not as actively supported and maintained as Laravel.

3. Symfony

Symfony is a well-developed framework that improves PHP development. From being a framework, it does offers a set of reusable components. That can be used directly in PHP projects. These components are used in countless open-source tools.

Being based on the MVC pattern. It does offer an object-relational mapping using Doctrine ORM. Also, it comes to creating views, it uses the Twig template engine to help you render HTML.

Plus, it has a variety of features, a large community, and robustness. Ideally used for more complex projects where predictability, support, and optimisation are required. It has multiple drivers for databases. This framework is a great choice for large projects.

Let’s talk about some pros and cons


  • Symfony is a long term framework you can trust to provide long-term support.
  • Highly customisable and contains 50 standalone components which can be used in any project.
  • Maintaining your project is easier as Symfony has a well-designed code base.
  • It has great documentation and a large developer community that you can rely on for answers.


  • There is a steeper learning curve with Symfony and grasping it requires comprehending many of its components.
  • Doctrine is considerably more difficult to learn and work with.

4. Code Igniter

As an MVC framework based on PHP, CodeIgniter helps developers create new projects rapidly. One thing about this framework is that it is not a restrictive framework and can be used like a toolkit that speeds up development.

Like with most PHP frameworks it requires you to follow the MVC approach and even though this framework encourages the use of MVC pattern. It really doesn’t enforce it. CodeIgniter offers caching, support for multiple databases, routing, and other features that are found in modern web apps.

These features are packaged and can be used in an adaptable way. It’s can be used by either small or large organisations for building APIs and lightweight web apps.

Let’s talk about some pros and cons


  • It has a small overall footprint due to fewer built-in features.
  • Brilliant performance right out of the box. It has fast loading times and requires less optimisation.
  • With most PHP frameworks, MVC pattern is enforced. But with CodeIgniter you can choose any design patterns you want.


  • It allows for loads of flexibility. But maintainability can be difficult to achieve.
  • It has fewer libraries and packages for building new features when you compare it to other popular frameworks.
  • A stable release calendar doesn’t exist. This means security issues can take time to be addressed.

5. CakePHP

Cake Php

With this PHP framework. You can create PHP applications quickly and with less configuration. So if you want these reasons, you should choose CakePHP.

CakePHP offers built-in features that help you code your application. It comes with a flexible database access layer. And powerful features which allow you to build both simple and complicated applications.

This framework was among the first MVC framework to come into the PHP development ecosystem way back in the 2000’s. And since then it has grown into an excellent framework with heaps of features.

The reason why CakePHP is designed to stand out as it offers a convention-based setup. By setting up a database with specific naming conventions. It can automatically work without any configuration.

Let’s talk about some pros and cons


  • It’s a convention-based set up so it is easy to build new apps. You just need to master the PHP framework.
  • It has features, like authentication, validation, localisation, and more.
  • The codebase has been audited by the Mozilla Secure Open Source program so it has all the modern security features.


  • The community is a bit small, so it could be hard to find an answer to your issue.
  • Upgrading to either newer or older version so developers encounter issues.
  • It’s convention-based so you have less freedom.

6. Phalcon

The following framework is a bit different from the usual PHP framework. Phalcon is not written in PHP. But it’s delivered as a C-extension. It doesn’t mean that you need to write it in C yourself. Since it isn’t written in PHP and is compiled from C, so it is exceptionally fast.

So Phlacon can handle more requests per second than a typical framework by a wide margin. Along with its fast performance. It offers more features like caching, security, templating and ORM.

So this framework is recommended when performance is important to build.

Let’s talk about some pros and cons


  • It offers great performance due to being written in C. And it’s pre-compiled.
  • Adds lower overhead to your app.
  • Contains its own SQL language called PHQL which helps you write relational database queries that can be used in multiple database systems.


  • It’s slightly more complex syntax than compared to other PHP frameworks.
  • Considerably harder to install and deploy. Due to being a PHP extension to install.
  • Only MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite are supported.

7. YII Framework

Yii Php Frameworks

Yii is an open-source framework for building an app on top of PHP. It’s based on OOP and MVC patterns. It adds less overhead by focusing more on functionality.

Since this framework is a lot faster than others. it’s recommended for building a performant web app. So, use this framework to build anything you want like a blog to SaaS’ app and all the way to social media sites.

Let’s talk about some pros and cons


  • Offers automated CRUD generation.
  • It’s a full-stack framework and supports many front-end operations that use AJAX.
  • Amazing performance and fast loading times due to its small weight.


  • Some features like queues and broadcasting isn’t supported by default, so it requires some extra config and installations.
  • It’s hard to learn, this is more true for new developers.
  • As ORM is used in Yii it has weak support for complex relationships and queries. This could force you to write raw SQL while loosing some benefits of using an ORM.

8. Slim Framework

Slim Framework

The last PHP framework on the list, Slim is a micro-framework that has little features than a typical PHP framework. Yet, it helps you create simple power web applications and APIs.

The framework includes features such as routing, middleware, and advanced request handling. Which is there to help you build the app quickly.

Those features are commonly found in other frameworks like database access tools which aren’t included in Slim. But easily can be installed as outside dependencies using the Composer

The framework is suitable for building micro-service, restful APIs for single-page apps and scalable systems.

Let’s talk about some pros and cons


  • Develop fast and lightweight APIs with few lines of code.
  • Fast loading times, and it can handle many requests per second.
  • As it’s a modern framework it follows the most up to date development practices.


  • There’s no ORM by default. You can use an ORM of your choice but you have to install it independently.
  • It’s fast but Lumen (the other micro framework) can handle it a bit better.

8 PHP Frameworks for Web Developement