5 Best PHP Frameworks
PHP is the web’s most widely used programming language, powering popular websites such as Wikipedia and Facebook. It’s simple to learn and allows you to quickly build web applications.
Countless developers around the globe use PHP and application frameworks built on top of it by third parties. On a stable and well-tested basis, PHP frameworks allow you to be more productive and build robust applications.
Some weaknesses of the PHP language can also be mitigated by frameworks, which makes them a safe bet even for demanding applications.
The development of software is becoming increasingly complex and requires the use of modules, design patterns, and tools in a reasonable timeframe to create reliable applications. This is where it can make a big difference to frameworks.
We’ll go through the best PHP frameworks in this article, and have a look at their core strengths and weaknesses. You’ll have a good understanding of which PHP frameworks can cover your particular needs for web development by the end of reading.
The most popular PHP framework is Laravel. It has since grown to be a mature framework with hundreds of contributors and millions of installations, initially released in 2011 by Taylor Otwell.
It uses its own templating language called Blade and is based on an MVC architecture, which makes it easy to create HTML layouts. Laravel uses Eloquent ORM, which is easy to understand and use in terms of accessing databases.
Eloquent ORM is an object-relational mapper that allows you to define PHP models and relationships that are translated and executed as SQL afterwards. This keeps your code clean and simple, while allowing you, if you choose, to easily switch to another database system.
The enormous variety of features, packages, and applications that make development faster and easier is what makes Laravel stand out.
Queues, for example, allow you to asynchronously run certain heavy tasks, without straining your application and delaying your users’ loading time. Other features, such as caching, broadcasting events for real-time web experiences, and authenticating users, are all supported out of the box.
Laravel is used by 50 percent of PHP developers, according to a survey by Jetbrains. You can use it to build any type of project, including SaaS, eCommerce, and other kinds of applications. Small companies choose it because it’s easy to learn, while large enterprises rely on it because of its powerful features.
Thanks to its great documentation and large community, it’s a great starting point for beginners.
The syntax is simple and it can be so intuitive that “magic” works like your code. With no previous experience, this makes it easy for Laravel to learn and understand.
Thanks to Laravel Forge and Laravel Envoyer, you can deploy easily on AWS or other cloud providers.
You can install a large variety of packages and applications to add new features (such as built-in subscription billing with Laravel Cashier).
It contains almost every feature, along with being highly robust and secure, that advanced applications may require.
Laravel is highly viewed by many developers because the syntax and project structure are enforced.
Due to its many characteristics, it’s a somewhat heavy framework, making it slower than other alternatives.
Eloquent ORM may require raw SQL statements to function efficiently when databases and queries become complex.
Symfony is a mature framework that revolutionized PHP development. Apart from being a framework, it offers a set of reusable components that can be used directly in any PHP project. These components are used in countless open-source tools, including Laravel. SensioLabs maintains and supports Symfony, has hundreds of contributors, and has a vibrant developer community.
It is based on the pattern of the MVC and uses Doctrine ORM to offer object-relational mapping. It uses the Twig template engine when it comes to creating views to help you render HTML.
Due to its variety of features, large community, and robustness, Symfony rightfully belongs to the list of the best PHP frameworks.
It ‘s ideal for more complex web projects where predictability, support, and optimization are required. Symfony has multiple enterprise database drivers, which also makes it a great choice for enterprise projects.
Symfony is a mature framework that you can trust (see the release calendar for LTS versions) to provide long-term support.
It has 50 standalone components that can be used in any project and is highly customizable.
Thanks to its built-in testing capabilities, advanced functional and unit testing is possible.
Maintaining your project is easier because Symfony has a well-designed codebase.
Symfony has great documentation and a big community of developers on which you can rely for answers.
Symfony has a steeper learning curve, and understanding many of its components is required to master it.
When it comes to dependency injection, it’s somewhat lacking, as it does not work in an intuitive way.
Doctrine, Symfony’s ORM, is considerably more difficult than other ORMs to learn and work with.
Phalcon is an interesting framework because it’s not written in PHP but delivered as a PHP extension written in C. Does this mean that you’re going to have to write C on your own? No, not, of course. But since it’s not written in PHP and is compiled directly from C, it’s unbelievably fast! By a wide margin, Phalcon can handle more requests per second than any other framework.
Phalcon provides many features, such as an ORM, caching, templating, and security, along with its blazing-fast performance.
When high performance is important, Phalcon is recommended, so it’s used by many large companies.
Note: Not to be confused with Falcon in Python.
As it is written in C and is pre-compiled, Phalcon offers great performance.
It adds very low overhead to your application.
It includes its own SQL dialect, called PHQL, which allows you to write queries for relational databases that can be used in various database systems.
As compared to other PHP frameworks in this collection, Phalcon has a slightly more complex syntax.
It ‘s considerably harder to install and deploy because it must be installed as a PHP extension.
It only supports 3 database adapters: MySQL , PostgreSQL, and SQLite.
CodeIgniter is an MVC framework based on PHP that helps developers rapidly create new projects. One great thing about it is that it is not a restrictive framework and can be used as a development-accelerating toolkit.
Most PHP frameworks require you to follow the MVC approach, and it does not enforce it, even though CodeIgniter also encourages the use of the MVC pattern. It provides caching, multi-database support, routing, and other features that are common in modern web applications. These features are packaged neatly and can be used in a flexible manner.
For building APIs and lightweight web applications, Codeigniter is used by small and large organizations.
Since it has fewer built-in features, CodeIgniter has a small overall footprint.
It has great out of the box performance, fast loading times, and needs less optimization.
The MVC pattern is enforced in most PHP frameworks, but you can choose any design pattern you prefer from CodeIgniter.
CodeIgniter allows a lot of flexibility, but because code maintenance can be hard to achieve, this is also a double-edged sword.
In general, when you compare it to more popular frameworks, it has fewer libraries and packages for building new features.
CodeIgniter does not offer a stable release calendar, which means it can take time to tackle even security issues.
Yii is an open-source framework on top of PHP for building applications. It is based on patterns of OOP and MVC and adds less overhead by concentrating mostly on core functionality.
Since Yii is much quicker than other frameworks, it is recommended for efficient web applications to be built. It can be used all the way to social media websites to build anything from blogs to SaaS applications. Check out the YiiPowered website for a list of projects made with Yii.
With the aid of its Gii visual tool, Yii provides automated CRUD generation.
It is a full-stack framework and uses AJAX to support many front-end activities, such as validating inputs.
Thanks to its low weight, it offers great performance and fast loading times.
For complex relationships and queries, the ORM used in Yii has weak support. This may force you to write raw SQL while losing some of the benefits of using an ORM.
Many features are not supported by default, such as queues and broadcasting, and require additional configuration and installation.
Yii, particularly for less experienced developers, is harder to learn.