10 Best PHP frameworks for web development in 2020

Best PHP frameworks


With the upcoming years, the demands and value of websites have exponentially risen to a level as compared to yesteryears. PHP, being one of the most popular server-side programming languages, is trusted for its frameworks. It is a go-to tool for developers because it enables them to build more secure, reliable and faster web applications.
Let’s make a choice out of the list of best PHP frameworks that are not simply used frequently but are also of utmost value, as per the application needs.


Laravel was introduced in the year 2011. It is considered to be the superior of all the other PHP frameworks. It requires a PHP version of 5.5.9. It was created as an attempt to meet the features absent in the CodeIgniter framework.
Web artisans seeking beautiful designs for their websites have Laravel, to their rescue. It has many inbuilt features including Homestead, advanced routing system, Blade, and many others. The Blade is the templating engine of this framework used to enable tasks such as authentication, queueing, caching and routing. Laravel owes its popularity to the fact that it is very easy to use and apart from providing simple services, it also exhibits good concrete work.

Laravel Features

  • Modular packaging system.
  • Application deployment utilities.
  • Class autoloading ensure PHP classes to be loaded automatically.
  • Reverse routing which clearly defines the relationship between that of links and routes.
  • Blade templating engine provides its own set of control structures.
  • Database seeding.
  • Unit testing to detect and avoid the regressions in this framework.


  • A simple unit of the framework for testing.
  • Easy to learn because of the fully documented release.
  • Excellent training materials.
  • It provides easy creation of web applications.


  • Organization of files and codes.
  • Rapid app development.
  • It follows the MVC Architecture.
  • It provides overloading capability by use of dynamic methods.
  • It provides many tutorials and updates for blogs.
  • Strongly encrypted packages.
  • It enables hassle-free development with Homestead.
  • ORM
  • Tons of functionality that makes it stand out.
  • Unit Testing.
  • High-level Abstraction


  • It does not support shared hosting plans
  • It does a lot of queries on the database


It is developed in 2005 by French SensioLabs and it proudly boasts over a large community of 300,000 developers. It requires a PHP version of 5.5.9. The development team of Symfony offers training courses in a variety of languages and also maintains the updated blog regularly to keep their huge community active.

It is another PHP framework which is very popular because of the reason that it enables the developers to reuse PHP codes and components. Symfony is the perfect option to choose in the context of the development of large-scale enterprises. Quite a few content management systems like PHPBB, Piwik, Drupal, ORO CRM, and even the Laravel uses the components of the Symfony framework.


The components of Symfony makes use of reusable PHP libraries which makes different developmental jobs far much easier, for example, templating, form creation, object configuration, routing authentication, and many others. Symfony is the right choice if your project requirements fall in terms of modularity.

Though Symfony offers a variety of features, unlike Laravel, it has a steep learning curve. However, the faster-growing community, as well as many unofficial support groups make learning a lot easier. They also enable us to be familiar with what more the framework holds in to offer.

  • Long term support.
  • The framework is laden with features.
  • It contains the greatest number of bundles among all the other frameworks.
  • Offers certifications and training courses.


Symfony aims to prevent the repetition of coding tasks thereby, increasing the speed of creating web applications. It targets at providing full control to the developers over the configuration. This framework has tools that aim at helping the developers to test and debug the projects.


  • User-friendly environment
  • High performance because of byte-code caching
  • Well-documented
  • Good Support
  • In-built testing function
  • Regularly updated blogs
  • Mature enough
  • Stable


  • The learning curve is steep.
  • Symfony2 does not support MVC framework architecture.


It was initially called Spark but later the name was changed to Phalcon, representing the two words-PHP and falcon. It has been developed since 2012. Phalcon is an open-source framework that is licensed under the BSD license terms. is built as a c-extension and is an MVC based framework.

It requires a PHP version of 5.3 and makes use of very few resources converting into very fast processing of HTTP requests. This is an open-source framework written in C, Zephir. It also includes MVC, ORM, caching, and auto-loading components. Its major release includes PHP 7 being it’s very first and latest Long Term Support. It targets boosting up the execution speed and less use of resources.

Phalcon brings SQL dialect of its own, namely PHQL, as well as Object Document Mapping for MongoDB. PHQL is used to translate syntax in the target RDBMS. Other features of the Phalcon framework include the ease of building applications with the support of international language. It is well-suited for building performance rest APIs and also, full-fledged web applications.


  • Template engines.
  • Form builders.
  • Flash messages.
  • ORM.
  • Low overhead.
  • Transactions.
  • Cache.
  • Its SQL dialect, PHQL.


  • A friendly framework for developers.
  • Advanced built-in security features.
  • Based on the model-view-controller pattern.


  • Fast blazing with low overheads
  • Supports auto-loading
  • Exceptional features like asset management
  • Built as a c-extension
  • It includes ORM for the manipulation of database records
  • It comes with detailed documentation


  • It does not work with HHVM


CodeIgniter is licensed under the terms of MIT license. This popular lightweight framework requires minimal configuration and manages to provide hassle-free installation services. It is an ideal framework that can be installed easily just by uploading it directly. It requires a PHP version of 5.6 and uses a cross-platform operating system. Views and models are optional in the development process under this framework while controller classes are considered to be an integral part.

It’s smooth working on all shared and dedicated hosting platforms makes it powerful and popular. CodeIgniter has extensive documentation. This framework is a delight to the developers as it requires little or no coding but focuses on the creativity part. Due to very few in-built libraries, you can build a library of your own and share it with the whole community. It is chosen for its high speed and is used to build dynamic websites.


  • Lighter and faster.
  • Error handling.
  • No struggle for PHP adoption.
  • Simple security steps


  • It offers exceptional performance.
  • It has built-in security tools
  • It has numerous available libraries
  • It considers little to no coding
  • One package contains several tools.


  • Developer friendly
  • Provides long term support
  • Better documentation
  • Uses standard databases such as SQL
  • Outperforms all the other frameworks.


  • Not friendly with unit testing
  • Very few in-built libraries
  • Small learning curve.


Cakephp is an open-source framework released in 2005. It is available under the MIT license. It is an ideal framework for the rapid development of commercial web apps and requires a PHP version of 5.5.9. It makes use of concepts based on software engineering and patterns of software design such as MVC, front controller and association data mapping.

Its uniqueness lies in having a set of MVC conventions that guides the process of development. There are no complicated XML or YAML files. Cakephp has experienced its ups and downs with PHP frameworks but with the release of version 3.7, it has successfully made a statement. CakePHP codebase has also been audited through the Mozilla Secure and Open Source program.


  •  Zero configuration.
  • AJAX Support
  • Builds simpler and faster web applications requiring less code
  • Built-in validation.


  • Supports PHP 5.5+
  • Scaffolding features to build prototypes rapidly
  • Good for commercial web applications
  • Built-in features such as database access, authentication, validation
  • CSRF
  • Extensive safekeeping tools
  • SQL injection prevention.


  • Not good for the construction purpose of restful APIs.


YII stands for Yes, it is. It is one of the oldest highly optimized frameworks of all and is now available with the latest version Yii 2 to get the popularity boost function. This framework maintains simplicity and avoids the repetitive use of similar patterns of software.

It is purely object-oriented and is based on the concept of DRY (Don’t repeat yourself) coding. Yii 2 makes use of a different loading technique than that of the other frameworks
As Yii2 can be integrated with AJAX and JQuery features, it excels for large-scale website development. It owns a powerful class code generator called Gii which facilitates object-oriented programming to provide a web-based interface.

One of the strong features of Yii 2 is the lazy loading technique, which makes it faster from other frameworks. This framework was released under the new BSD license which specifies its use for free of cost, in order to create open-source web applications. Since it is suitable for all kinds of web development apps, it is considered as a universal web programming framework.


  • Highly secured
  • Simple configuration
  • Hassle-free services
  • Boasts high speed and excellent performance
  • Customization of code is possible
  • Supports AJAX and JQuery features
  • Great support for third party systems.


Yii features include:

  • Automatic code generation for CRUD applications
  • Error logging and handling
  • MVC design pattern
  • Date and time formatting and interface localization
  • The layered caching scheme which supports dynamic content
  • Security measures including prevention of cookie tampering, CSRF, XSS.


  • Holds packages for security and authentication purposes
  • Flexible
  • Rapid development time is short
  • Lots of configuration is required for high speed.


  • It provides no built-in allowances
  • It can easily get messed up if you avoid organization.


The Zend framework was released on 28 June 2016. It uses features such as that of inheritance and interfaces which makes it completely object-oriented. It is built on an agile methodology to be able to deliver outstanding quality applications to its clients. Zend is built keeping extensibility, performance, and security in the mind.
This framework offers meta-package inclusive of 61 components but recommends the individual installation of its components. Its module demands two simple requirements:

  • The module class must exist in a module namespace.
  • The module class is auto-loadable.

However, the main entrance to the Zend framework application is provided by the controller. The process of requesting along with reacting is considered to be routing and dispatching, which successfully determines the code functionality.

Zend framework has formed the basis of numerous businesses and services inclusive of, e-Commerce platforms, healthcare systems, content management, entertainment portals, APIs, and many others. Since Zend can be customized as per project-specific needs, it is a perfect fit for expertise-level projects such as large IT departments or banks.


Zend supports several optimized features such as the following:

  • Tools for PHP unit testing
  • Drag and drop editor with front-end support
  • Cryptographic coding tool.


  • Extremely better documentation laced with a large community base
  • It includes key features like MVC components, data encryption, etc
  • It comprises of a wide community of developers
  • It provides support for AJAX.


• Object-oriented.
• Decoupled.
• Efficient routing.
• Many components for feeds and forms and validation.
• It is ideal for enterprise applications.


• It is not considered to be ideal for rapid application development.


October 2010 is marked as the beginning of this project and is known to be licensed under the MIT license terms. It is a modern, extensible, flexible, MVC framework written in PHP and is built with HMVC architecture. The first version of this framework was developed under Fuel, a GitHub repository. It requires a PHP version of 5.3.3. Because of HMVC, duplication of content is avoided to show on multiple pages and thus saves the consumption of time and also memory.


  •  Modularity and Extensibility
  • Implementation of HMVC design pattern
  • Template parsing
  • Object-relational mapper(ORM)
  • Form validation
  • Prevention of SQL injection
  • Input filtering
  • A caching system


Some of the guidelines for the project are:

  • To build a framework on the basis of best ideas of all the other frameworks
  • The framework must be easy to work and must provide a lightweight code
  • The orientation of community developers must be taken into account.


  • Laced with features including a URL routing system, and others
  • Extends the security boundaries
  • Optimized authentication packages
  • It is used for developing apps of high performance
  • It helps the developers to deliver diverse solutions.


  • It has an optional caching
  • URL Routing
  • Integrated ORM makes it modular
  • It supports multiple applications
  • Completely object-oriented new version.


  • Not considered as beginner-friendly
  • Relatively new framework with less amount of support
  • Less open source community contributions
  • It may give a steeper learning curve.


Slim is another name among the popular PHP frameworks that enables the developers to create simple and powerful web applications. It is used for building APIs as well. Developing through this framework is an easy task due to its extensive and beginner-friendly documentation. As it is a micro PHP framework and carries lightweight design, it is considered useful for building small web applications.
The Slim framework is enriched with features like URL routing, cookie encryption, and many others.


With the help of the composer dependency manager, we can install the Slim framework. By creating a project using a slim-skeleton, we can work with Slim by running this bash command:

$ php composer.phar create-project slim/slim-skeleton [my-app-name]

We can then run this with the built-in webserver of PHP:

$ cd [my-app-name]; php -S localhost:8080 -t public public/index.php


  • It is easy to learn
  • It offers features like client-side HTTP caching
  • Lightweight
  • It is used for building dynamic web APIs
  • User-friendly


  • HTTP router which supports pattern matching
  • PSR-7 Support
  • Middleware
  • Dependency injection to provide complete control of the external tools.


  • It is developed actively
  • Strong organized documentation
  • Optimum for small restful APIs
  • It includes add-ons such as flash.


  • It has not released any official LTS
  • The stock composer has minimum add-ons.


This was introduced in 2012 and it implements the HMVC architecture similar to the FuelPHP framework. It offers fast compilation to provide a high-performance framework. It possesses tools for cryptography, code sharing. It is a full-stack framework of PHP with an active community that contributes to the framework up-gradation. PHPixie is built with independent components. It is suitable for web development services, social sites, and customized applications.


  • Standard object-relational mapping
  • Caching
  • Authentication
  • HMVC architecture
  • Input validation


  • Easy to work
  • Implement HMVC architecture
  • Outstanding routing system
  • Lightweight


  • Easy to learn
  • Fast compilation
  • Code sampled documentation.


  • It owns relatively few modules
  • It lacks the support for independent components made from dependencies.
  • Less popular

The use of PHP frameworks reduces the workload and contributes to the easier development of web applications. Each framework carries its advantages and disadvantages varying in terms of documentation and support, etc. So, choosing the best framework wholly depends on the application needs.

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