Which PHP Framework Is Best For Web Development?

If you’re planning to get into PHP web development, you can save yourself a lot of time (not to mention more than a few headaches) by working with a development framework. Designed to reduce development overhead and dial down complexity in the development process, a framework includes a series of tools, pre-built components, and code samples that you can use to eliminate a lot of the redundant legwork when it comes to web development.

There’s just one problem –  there’s an absolute metric ton of frameworks floating around the web. How exactly do you decide which one is the right choice for you? Which one is the best option for web development?

Honestly…it depends. I think the best way to explain what I mean by that is to give you an overview of some of the most popular frameworks, and let you decide for yourself which one works best. Let’s dive right in.


Compared to some of the other frameworks on this list, Laravel is pretty new – it was only released in 2011. That said, it’s also one of the most popular frameworks around, with a massive ecosystem, and instant hosting and deployment platform, and an official website with a ton of excellent documentation and tutorials. I might even go so far as to say that it’s got the most forgiving learning curve of any framework on this list, owed solely to the fact that its documentation is so formidable.

That’s not its only advantage either. Its MVC architecture and file/code organization allow for rapid development with a high level of abstraction, and it’s got a ton of out-of-the-box functionality and incredibly strong encryption. The one trade-off is that it tends to have a bit of a heavy resource footprint – you might need a fairly hearty database to run Laravel unless you’re using its light-weight engine, Blade.

Yii 2

A rewrite of the Yii Framework, the biggest advantage of Yii 2 is that it’s essentially designed to boost the performance of the websites on which it’s implemented. That’s because it uses something known as the lazy loading technique, which defers initialization of objects until they’re absolutely needed. It’s also purely object-oriented, so its codebase is both clean and logical.

Integrated with jquery, Yii 2 comes with a huge list of AJAX-enabled features, an intuitive skinning and theming mechanism, and a powerful class code generator. The biggest weakness of Yii 2 is that unlike Laravel, it doesn’t have any built-in allowances, nor does it organize your code. That means that if you don’t organize things yourself while lettering, it can get messy fast.


With a wide developer community and a ton of dedicated fans, the Symfony framework is, oddly enough, relied upon by several other frameworks and projects – including Laravel. It works primarily off of elements known as Components, reusable PHP libraries that you can use for tasks such as form creation, object configuration, routing, authentication, and templating.

Because of how Symfony is architected, it offers excellent performance, and it’s also both stable and well-documented, maintained, and supported. It’s also one of the more mature frameworks on the list, meaning its community is far more extensive than most of your other options.

There are two main tradeoffs with Symfony. The first is that while it’s every bit as flexible and functional as the other frameworks here, it also has a much steeper learning curve. That’s not too bad in and of itself – it’s the second one that could really cause you trouble.

See, Symfony2 at the time of writing does not support the MVC Framework – and many businesses are moving towards the use of MVC.


Released in 2012, the Phalcon framework was originally written in C and C++, and is designed from the ground up for performance optimization. If you want a blazing fast website, this is very likely the framework for you. Better yet, since it’s delivered as a C-extension, its architecture is optimized without requiring you to learn the C programming language – you can code in PHP, just as with the other frameworks on the list.

Well-documented and easy to use, Phalcon increases both execution speed and decreases resource usage, while also coming with a wealth of features like asset management, security, caching, and a universal auto loader.

Unfortunately, the main drawback of Phalcon is that it doesn’t work with HHVM. It’s also less open-source than Laravel, and its developers tend to be a bit slower to patch bugs than with other frameworks.


Although CodeIgniter is nearly ten years old now, its age doesn’t really show. A lightweight PHP framework with a straightforward installation process and minimal configuration requirements, it’s the best option if PHP version conflict is a concern for your team. It only requires PHP 5.2.4, but works on pretty much all hosting platforms.

Where CodeIgniter falls a bit short is in the fact that it doesn’t offer namespaces. It’s also not particularly friendly towards unit testing, and it has comparatively few libraries when evaluated side by side with frameworks like Laravel. Still, if you want something that’s quick, simple, and easy to configure, CodeIgniter is your go-to.


Last but certainly not least, we’ve got the Zend framework. Robust, stable, and highly-configurable, Zend is an excellent option for larger, more complex projects. With major partners like IBM, Microsoft, Google, and Adobe, Zend’s got some serious power behind it. Not only that, Zend Framework 3 is optimized for PHP 7, even as it supports PHP 5.5 and up.

Do note that Zend isn’t especially suited for rapid application development as other frameworks – but if you’re running a massive project, that’s probably not much of a concern for you.

Choose Your Weapon

So, which of the above frameworks is the best option for web development? Honestly, it’s whichever one works best for you. There’s no right answer, and the above list is hardly a comprehensive one.

Get out there, do a bit of research, and pick whichever framework you’re comfortable with using, Once you’ve decided, Future Hosting will be here to provide you with a place to host your site, application, or whatever else you’re looking to create.

Dedicated Server Special

Take advantage of our Double RAM offer on the E3-1230v2 4 x 3.30GHz+HT server! Only $134.95 per month. Managed and Unmanaged options available at checkout.

  • Thanks for sharing such a nice information.

    Laravel Is The Best PHP Framework In 2018. Laravel is one of the highly used, open-source modern web application framework that designs customized web applications quickly and easily. Developers prefer Laravel over to other frameworks because of the performance, features, scalability it offer. It follows Model View Controller (MVC) which makes it more useful than PHP.

    Laravel is used not only for big project but also best to use for small project.

  • Very Useful information for php developers.

    Laravel makes implementation of authentication techniques very simple. Almost everything is configured extraordinarily. Laravel also provides a simple way to organize authorization logic and control access to resources.One of the top reasons which make Laravel the best PHP framework is it has Object Oriented libraries and many other pre-installed ones, which are not found in any other popular PHP frameworks. One of the pre-installed libraries is the Authentication library. Although it is easy to implement, it has many advanced features, such as checking active users, Bcrypt hashing, password reset, CSRF (Cross-site Request Forgery) protection, and encryption.

  • Nico

    Nice article,
    If somebody wants to start using a PHP framework but does not know which one to choose, here is a very good series of blogs’ post about it.

  • Well, This is a brief and nice guide, You told about the mainstream frameworks but what about the micro frameworks? Also PHP needs alot of updates, configuration and settings management so how one can do this here. I know solution like Cloudways managed hosting who provides the platform to easily manage all these things on clicks. So can we do the same here?

  • Thanks for creating this amazing compilation of PHP frameworks, these are the most popular frameworks required for proper web development. me and my team of Php Web Programmers mostly uses phalcon as framework. It completely suits our work approach.

  • David Mitchell

    There are many ways to create a web application. Modern PHP frameworks containing Laravel, Symphony, Zend Framework, CodeIgniter, Cake2 and Phalcon follow the Model View Control (MVC) pattern, which separates presentation, logic, and best practices in web development. Laravel is a new PHP framework; nonetheless, it is most popular in creating the rapid development of websites or applications.
    Laravel and Vue.js are a great combination that allows developers to create a complete website with a full stack.
    Check out an instructive article on this topic https://axisbits.com/blog/Laravel-Development-When-Rapid-Web-Engineering-is-All-You-Need