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5+ Best PHP Framework work in 2021


When we think about web development, aside from HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, PHP is one of the names that come to mind. According to W3Techs, PHP is used by around 79% of all websites. It is eight times more popular than other programming languages.


What is PHP?

PHP (Hypertext Pre-processor) is a server-side scripting language. that is used to develop a static or dynamic web application.  PHP helps developers create high-quality and popular websites such as Facebook, Flickr, Wikipedia, Mail Chimp, Twitter, etc. This framework is the first choice for every professional developer.


What is PHP Framework?

PHP framework helps in developing PHP web applications. This platform includes solutions that help developers solve problems they face while designing a website. The reason why this platform has become popular is its ability to make repetitive tasks easy. You can reinvent the tasks without impacting the responsiveness. Furthermore, it increases productivity and reduces errors.

Why use PHP Framework?

Faster development

PHP comes with built-in libraries and tools, the time required for development less. Several popular PHP frameworks have the PHPUnit library integrated for easy testing.

Write less code

Using functions that are built-in to the framework means that you don’t need to write so much original code.


Used library for a common task

Many tasks that developers will need to do within web apps are common ones. For that having to write your own functions for these tasks, you can simply use the ones that are part of the framework.


More secure than writing your own app

There are many PHP security threats including cross-site scripting, SQL injection attacks, and cross-site request forgery. To solve this problem writing secure code is not enough, but it minimizes the chance of hacker exploits. Good frameworks have data sanitization built-in and defences against the common threats mentioned above.


Better teamwork

Using the PHP framework, you can set clear ground rules for your project. Even if another developer isn’t familiar with the framework, they should be able to quickly learn the ropes and work collaboratively.


Easy to maintain

PHP Frameworks encourage refactoring of code and promote DRY development. The resulting leaner codebase needs less maintenance. You also don’t have to worry about maintaining the core framework, as that’s done for you by the developers.


In this article, we’ll go through the best PHP frameworks, and have a look at their core strengths and weaknesses.




Laravel is the most popular PHP framework. Initially released in 2011 by Taylor Otwell. Laravel helps developers in building web applications by simple tasks like coaching, security, routing, and authentication. It provides you with the best training materials as well as a simple unit for testing purposes.


Technical requirements:

  • PHP >= 7.2.5 (or use Laravel Homestead)
  • Composer installed
  • Database support for MySQL 5.6+, PostgreSQL 9.4+, SQLite 3.8.8+, SQL Server 2017+.



  • It’s a great starting point for beginners, thanks to its great documentation and large community.
  • The syntax is straightforward and it can be so intuitive that your code works like “magic”.
  • You can easily deploy to 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 that advanced applications may require, along with being highly robust and secure.



  • Laravel highly opinionated because the syntax and project structure are enforced.
  • It’s a somewhat heavy framework because of its many features, making it slower than other alternatives.
  • When databases and queries become complex, Eloquent ORM may require raw SQL statements to function efficiently.

Who used the Laravel framework?

  • Vogue archive – fashion
  • Ascot – racecourse
  • Camping World RV & Outdoors – retail
  • – search engine for restaurants
  • Barchart – stocks and shares




Symfony was launched in 2005. It consists of a set of reusable PHP components and codes which mainly used for large-scale web applications. This platform is quite reliable and stable, a significant reason why thousands of programmers across the globe prefer it over others.


Technical requirements:

  • PHP >= 7.2.5
  • Composer installed



  • It is open-source, it allows you to develop without any constraints.
  • Symfony frame is more powerful and flexible.
  • Symfony combines preventive security measures to overcome attacks, SQL injection. It integrates these security processes as built-in measures.
  • It maintains complete up-to-date documentation.
  • Component code reliability.



  • In Symfony, the security mechanism is a bit hard
  • File parsing is very hard to handle.
  • Mainly used for the development of large-scale web applications and not small-scale.


Who used the Symfony framework?

  • Sainsbury’s Magazine – publishing
  • Intelius – search for public data about people
  • Sony VAIO UK site – retail
  • Sabatier Shop – retail
  • Foot District – retail




CodeIgniter is an MVC framework based on PHP that helps developers rapidly create new projects. One great thing about it is that it’s not a restrictive framework and can be used like a toolkit that speeds up development. Developers all around the globe consider this platform useful. Plus, the community of the Codeigniter framework is enormous, ensuring you can find solutions to your problems.


Technical requirements:

  • PHP >= 7.2
  • Database support for MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite3



  • Easy to learn, adapt and deploy
  • Easy handling and customizing.
  • New functionality has been applied without affecting the customization at all.
  • Offers flexibility and easy management With MVC based framework.
  • Active Record Implementation is simply superb and easy to remember.
  • Provides easier configuration and customization of configuration files.
  • Enables to incorporate its own existing scripts as well as develop core libraries for the system.



  • Its PHP based only and not very object-oriented in some parts.
  • Company-driven instead of community-driven.
  • Irregular releases.
  • The framework itself has no built-in ORM


Who used the Codelgniter framework?

  • sG-Shock – retail
  • WooBox – marketing
  • Buffer – technology
  • TestandTrack – education
  • Casio – technology


Zend Framework / Laminas Project


It is an object-oriented framework that allows developers to incorporate functionalities that suit their projects. Zend also allows developers to choose their desired components to increase their app functionality.

Technical requirements:

  • PHP >= 5.6 (Zend) or >=7.3 (Laminas)
  • Composer installed
  • Database support for MariaDB, MySQL, Oracle, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and Informix Dynamic Server.



  • It follows the PHP Framework Interop Group (PHP-FIG) standards, meaning that its code can be ported across to other frameworks without difficulty.
  • You can use Zend to build RESTful APIs.
  • The Laminas community has a forum and Slack group for collaboration and support.



  • The code isn’t that easy to understand.
  • The learning curve compared to other frameworks is bigger.


Who used the Zend framework?

  • BBC – media
  • BNP Paribas – finance
  • Cisco Webex – videoconferencing


Yii Framework


Yii is an open-source framework for building applications on top of PHP. It’s based on OOP and MVC patterns and adds less overhead by focusing mostly on core functionality. It can be used to build anything from blogs to SaaS applications all the way to social media websites.


Technical requirements:

  • PHP >= 5.4.0, 7+ recommended
  • Composer installed
  • Database support for SQLite, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL, or Oracle databases



  • Yii is an open-source platform and provides the developers with the fastest option for building large-scale web applications.
  • The developers have the ability to develop smart web applications because of the MVC (model-view-controller) architecture of this framework.
  • It offers a set of highly intuitive and extensible tools for speedily generating code through features such as CRUD and form inputs.
  • It allows third-party interfaces by merging different frameworks with it. The code from PEAR and Zend framework can be used in Yii.
  • It allows systematic learning.



  • The Ajax features are not well-drafted and require the help of JavaScript whenever needed.
  • It does not provide AR queries or building up of multiple relations.
  • The dependency on static methods is what makes the developers go against the framework.
  • It requires previous knowledge of PHP programming language and other add-ons.


Who used the Yii framework?

  • Crowdcube – a crowdfunding platform
  • WordCounter – editing tool
  • Which? – consumer website
  • Purple – retail
  • YMCA – nonprofit




CakePHP lets you create PHP applications quickly, with less configuration. It offers built-in features that help you code your application’s business logic. It also comes with a flexible database access layer and powerful features that allow you to build both simple and complex software systems.


Technical requirements:

  • PHP 7.2 (minimum), 7.4 recommended
  • HTTP server with mod_rewrite preferred
  • Database support for MySQL 5.6+, MariaDB 5.6+, PostgreSQL 9.4+, SQLite 3.8, SQL Server 2012+.



  • CakePHP is very easy to understand.
  • CakePHP depends on MVC (Model-View-Control) model which distinguishes the business judgment from the data presentation coating.
  • CakePHP allows the practice of creating codes that can be conveniently reused.
  • CakePHP is an open-source PHP platform that assists in web application development. Developers can make robust, effective, and affordable websites easily.
  • It is free to use for website and application development.



  • The documentation of CakePHP is not as comprehensive as other platforms and requires some more definitive guidelines.
  • CakePHP often proves to be a disadvantage because of one-way routing as compared to other frameworks.

Who used the CakePHP framework?

  • Visit NC – tourism
  • 10 Fast Fingers – education
  • Coconala – e-learning marketplace
  • GoodFirms – software marketplace
  • Printivo – eCommerce




It is considered a highly modular and extendable PHP MVC framework for developing applications. The features of Fuel PHP include HMVC implementation, RESTFUL implementation, a URL routing system, vulnerability protection, and also a caching system.


Technical requirements:

  • PHP 5.4+
  • Any webserver



  • FuelPHP uses MVC but also supports HMVC (Hierarchical Model View Controller).
  • You can choose the file and folder structure you want for your project as there are few constraints.
  • FuelPHP has its own command-line utility, oil, which you can use to run tasks, debug code, and generate common components.


Who used the CakePHP framework?

  • Wan Wizard – Harro Verton, one of FuelPHP’s developers
  • Front Desk – property management system





Phalcon is different from other PHP frameworks because its coding style is based on C and C++. Phalcon framework is very easy to understand and gives you massive features such as asset management, caching universal autoloader, and so on.


Technical requirements:

  • PSR extension
  • PHP 7.2 + (latest version recommended)



  • Low-level architecture.
  • One-time load of Zephir, C extensions, and PHP.
  • Code is compiled rather than interpreted, so it is faster.
  • Memory resident, meaning that it can be called upon whenever it’s needed.
  • Does not use file reads and file stats, unlike most other PHP frameworks, resulting in improved performance.



  • Installation is somewhat complex; the extension is impossible on shared hosting.
  • Debugging C code will be difficult if something goes wrong.


Who used the Phalcon framework?

  • Learny Online – learning
  • Outsmart – analytics
  • Marchi Auto – car dealership


Slim Framework


Slim is a PHP micro-framework. It includes features such as routing, middleware, and advanced request handling to help you build applications quickly.


Technical requirements:

  • PHP 7.2 +
  • Web server with URL rewriting



  • Slim is easy to learn.
  • It has excellent scalability.
  • It comes with useful classes for managing requests, responses, cookies, etc.
  • It supports code hooks.



  • Since it is open, everyone can see the source code. If there are worms in the source code, then people can use them to detect their weaknesses.
  • Not suitable for a large application.
  • There is not a proper solution error handling for developers.


Who used the Slim framework?

  • Top Web Comics – publishing
  • Canine Principles – training
  • CG Forge – education
  • Betterplace Academy – education



In conclusion, I hope you are well aware of the pros and cons of all major PHP Frameworks. All PHP frameworks are similar to some extent, but they differ when it comes to performance, security, advanced features, and the level of community support.


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