PHP is an incredibly powerful and popular tool for creating dynamic websites and web applications. With more than 75% of all websites running on PHP, clearly it is an essential part of the web development landscape. Not only is it free to download and use, but it is also effective enough to power some of the most significant websites on the internet.

Additionally, over the past 25 years, the language has seen several frameworks come and go, leaving us with a wide range of high-quality options, such as Laravel, CodeIgniter, and Symfony. PHP is an invaluable tool for web development, and in this article we will provide you with an overview of the best PHP frameworks available today to help you make the right choice of framework in the coming year.

What is a PHP Framework?

If you’re curious about PHP frameworks and the benefits of using them, you’ve come to the right place. But before jumping into that, it’s essential to understand what a PHP framework is. 

PHP is one of the most popular server-side languages in the world – it’s been around for many years, and it’s continuously evolving. It has seen widespread adoption in all areas, from basic websites to complex Web apps that manage millions of users, visits and resgistrations daily.

With the first PHP framework, Phplib, dating all the way back to pre-2000, we can definitely say PHP has gone a long way. Although these popular frameworks have evolved over time, the core purpose remains the same: to make web programming easier and help PHP developers by providing them with sets of commonly used functions, libraries for standard functionalities, and the assurance of using the best coding practices.

A PHP framework is an incredibly useful tool for developers, providing a reliable foundation to build upon. It is essentially a self-sustaining system with many of the necessary components already in place. Among those, we can find: secure authentication, routing, and dependency injection. This means that developers don’t need to worry about creating these elements from scratch and can instead focus on the code they need for their projects. A PHP framework is a great way to save time and energy, allowing developers to quickly and efficiently create and upload their web apps.

To summarize, PHP frameworks are great tools for developers as they provide them with all the necessary functions, libraries, and coding practices needed to build a successful system.

You can reduce the amount of code to write from scratch and increase your efficiency, all by using this helpful framework

Top Benefits of PHP Frameworks

Overall, using a PHP framework can be highly beneficial for various projects. While there may be some scenarios where using PHP isn’t the best solution, the advantages of using a framework far outweigh the disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of using a PHP framework.

Faster development processes

Using an enhanced PHP framework can make your project look much more manageable. Not only does it provide implementations for the most common problems, but it also offers a well-structured application architecture, such as Model-View-Controller, to guide development. This eliminates the need to spend time and effort planning an application architecture and assessing through the various libraries available. Many frameworks also include command-line tools to generate automatic code templates, which can further speed up the development process. With all these benefits, using a PHP framework can be a great way to get your project up and running quickly and efficiently.

Ensure maximum security

One of the most important aspects to take into consideration when developing applications is security. Unfortunately, many developers lack the tools and expertise to create a fully secure application, but there is a solution: using a PHP framework. 

These frameworks are continuously tested, reviewed, and analysed by the PHP community since PHP is an open-source tool. 

Therefore, security issues can be identified and fixed in a timely manner by asking your community about the bugs and breaches that you encounter. By taking advantage of this resource, we can ensure that our applications are secure and reliable.

Easier collaboration

Developers should be confident in their solutions and implementations and strive to be intimately familiar with the code, especially when working in a team. It is essential that all members are knowledgeable about the application’s code, design decisions and documentation.

PHP frameworks can make it easier for new developers to get started on a project, and even if they’re not already familiar with the framework, they have access to complete online documentation sources alongside videos and tutorials. This way, instead of continuously, focusing on training team members, developers can work on creating and updating the necessary features of their ideal websites and apps.

Related: Python vs. PHP – Which One to Choose for Web Development 2022?

Best PHP Frameworks to Use

Over the past decade, the world of PHP frameworks has seen tremendous growth and as the industry stabilizes, certain frameworks have become the go-to choice for many projects. With so many frameworks to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which are the best five. When ranking these amazing tools, we must consider factors such as learning curves, community support, and overall performance. With that in mind, here are the top five PHP frameworks to use in 2024.

Laravel

Laravel-Logo

Laravel is widely regarded as the most popular and recommended PHP framework available today. Developed by Taylor Otwell in 2011, it was designed as an enhanced alternative to the CodeIgniter framework, which did not provide features like authentication and authorization at the time. 

Laravel is a comprehensive and feature-packed framework that follows the MVC pattern and offers a wide range of features such as authentication, authorization, email verification, encryption and hashing, password reset, and more. It is an incredibly powerful tool, and its popularity is a testament to its reliability and effectiveness.

When it comes to choosing templates, Laravel stands out as the leader in the industry. It utilizes the Blade template engine and Eloquent ORM to make database interactions a breeze. Additionally, Laravel boasts the Artisan command-line tool, which helps speed up development significantly. 

Laravel benchmarks as the fastest PHP Framework, making it the top general-purpose framework to consider for any project.

Related Article:- Ten reasons why Laravel is the best PHP framework

Symfony

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Symfony is a versatile and highly scalable PHP framework and collection of components for building web applications. It can be as simple or as complex as needed, and its popularity is highlighted by the fact that many other PHP frameworks use Symfony components in the background.

Symfony uses the Doctrine ORM for database interactions and Twig as a templating engine and its own CLI tool to assist with development.

Both Symfony and Laravel have large communities of developers actively using, improving them, and making training and documentation widely available and extensive. That is why these tools are some of the top choices of frameworks amongst devs.

CakePHP

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CakePHP is a framework that empowers developers to spend less time coding and more time designing/building web applications. This means they’re only focused on the ‘meat’ of their application which allows them to launch web products faster.

By using conventions over configuration, developers can build quickly without having to do a lot of previous planning. This is why there are no XML or YAML files needed with CakePHP. This framework also features its own in-built ORM and template file format (.ctp) with an alternative PHP syntax for controlling structures and outputs. 

Regarding security, CakePHP has the same standards as other frameworks, such as encryption,  form data safeguarding, CSRF protection and password hashing. While it does not have the same broad and enthusiastic fanbase as Laravel, there are still plenty of events and resources available for CakePHP developers worldwide.

CodeIgniter

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Similarly to those above, CodeIgniter was created to be a rapid development MVC framework with minimal configuration. But its creators have taken it to the next level, offering a reduced size imprint of just 1.2MB for download, meaning there is minimal bloat, and it is incredibly fast. 

Even though CodeIgniter does not come with an ORM, it does have a full-featured and speedy abstracted database class that supports both traditional structures and query-builder patterns. While we can use an external templating engine or plain PHP, CodeIgniter also comes with a Template class that users can browse. We can affirm that CodeIgniter is an excellent choice for rapid development with minimal configuration.

FuelPHP

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FuelPHP is an up-and-coming innovative framework that utilizes the novel Hierarchal Model View Controller (HMVC) concept instead of the traditional Model View Controller (MVC). This approach offers increased modularity, better code organization, improved extensibility, and encourages code recycling. 

In addition, FuelPHP has its own Object Relational Mapping (ORM) and command-line tool and comes with a small but passionate community of developers. Although it is a fresh face in the PHP Frameworks world, FuelPHP is certainly worth considering for implementation in 2024.

Related: How to manage a Software Development Team?

Best PHP Framework for Beginners

For beginners looking to start using a PHP framework, the criteria to consider when choosing the right one can be quite overwhelming. When looking for a framework to adopt, beginners should consider factors such as simplicity and ease of installation of the framework, good documentation, flexibility, MVC & PSR compatibility, and of course, popularity(for the community aspects). To make the process easier, we’ve compiled the top three frameworks that take into consideration all of these factors and give beginners the best opportunity for continuous growth and learning.

Laravel

Laravel-Best-PHP-Framework-for-Beginners

Laravel is an excellent framework for getting started with PHP programming. Thanks to its unique and broad community and comprehensive documentation, it is incredibly user-friendly and flexible. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced developer, Laravel can help you create simple applications or complex ones with ease. It encourages developers to adhere to best practices in coding and testing, making it an excellent choice for any project.

YII2

Yii2-Best-PHP-Framework-for-Beginners

Yii2 can make for a bold framework choice for those just starting out in web development. It has a comprehensive instruction manual that makes it easy to get up and running quickly. 

Yii2 offers two options of program frames upon installation: basic and advanced. The basic template has users hardcoded in the user model, while the advanced one has a working user authentication system. This allows developers to start with less code bloat and then use the advanced version to learn how to build a proper authentication system. Although Yii2 is a top contender and certainly worth considering if you are looking for a reliable framework to start your PHP journey.

Symfony

Symfony-Best-PHP-Framework-for-Beginners

Symfony is a compelling and versatile framework, and while it may seem a little intimidating to beginners, it can be an excellent way to learn the fundamentals of building a PHP framework. Thanks to its modular design, Symfony can be scaled to fit any level of complexity, making it a great choice for those just starting out. 

Additionally, many modern frameworks use Symfony components, so by learning Symfony, you are also learning the basics of other frameworks. With the help of the Symfony tutorial, anyone can learn how to build a PHP framework with Symfony components. It’s an excellent way for beginners to comprehend what’s happening in the background of most frameworks.

Best PHP Frameworks for Web Development

The best framework for any given use case depends on the project’s specific needs. We believe frameworks like Laravel and Symfony are the best for big enterprise projects. They have a lot of features built-in, a large community of users, excellent training resources, and reliable support.

For rapid prototyping, different frameworks may be more suitable therefore, CakePHP and CodeIgniter are the ideal choices, as they were specifically designed for this purpose. 

These frameworks offer ease of use and a direct approach that benefits prototypes and smaller web platforms. 

On the other hand, for REST APIs, microframeworks such as Slim are the better option, as they are lightweight and quick and easy to use. With components for routing, middleware, and dependency injection, a REST API can be quickly set up. 

Ultimately, it is important to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each framework before making a decision, as the best choice will depend on the project’s requirements.

Related: Outsourcing Software Development: Present and and its Future

Concluding Note

We hope you enjoyed this fun journey through the best PHP tools to use in the year to come. When working with popular PHP frameworks is good to keep some points in the back of your head.

We think there’s no one-size-fits-all framework, so make sure the option you’re considering is supported, updated regularly, and has a good community behind it. Also, consider a framework that best fits your project and your working style for maximum comfort and compatibility.

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About Yash

Yash is a virtual marketing assistant with a passion for creating content in the digital and IT space. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for communication, Yash has helped numerous clients to enhance their online presence and reach their target audience. When not busy crafting marketing strategies, Yash enjoys staying up-to-date with the latest trends in the world of technology.