8 Popular PHP Frameworks for Web Development


After struggling through 2020, the world expects 2021 to be an actual breakout year. Last year businesses spent the majority of the time retooling themselves, ensuring smooth operations within limited resources. 2021 can prove as a year where you could gain benefit from fine-tuning the processes. But this doesn’t mean stagnant growth. Keep moving forward, conquering the market and strengthening your business model. Let your software developers keep improving and effortlessly ensure efficient workflow. When your software designers think about web development, what comes to their mind at first? It is PHP, without any doubt. Contrary to rumors, PHP is not a dead language. Its usage statistics confirm the news is not even close to being considered.

W3Techs confirms that more than 79% of web developers prefer PHP over other programming languages. Today, PHP is a strong contender, powering giants such as Facebook, BMW, and Wikipedia.

Understanding PHP Framework

A framework functions only with the codes. They make the life of a developer more accessible, allowing them to create phenomenal software necessary for the business to operate. By using a PHP framework platform, the software engineer can create PHP web applications. The PHP frameworks have codes in their libraries that can be used for adding functionality. It cuts down the time required to write original code and saves a lot of effort.

Why do developers prefer PHP?

Here are some reasons to understand the wonders PHP framework can do for you.

  • Faster Development

Since there are built-in codes in libraries and other necessary tools for coding, the whole developmental phase becomes much quicker and convenient.

  • Get Rid of Writing Codes

When a framework offers built-in codes, then it means you wouldn’t write much of the original code for development.

  • Incredible Library Support for Common Tasks

Specific tasks such as CRUD operations, form validation, and data sanitization are already available. You don’t need to write different codes; instead, insert the functions where required.

  • Secure and Safe

With a PHP framework, you can fight against PHP security threats and minimize the chance of hacker exploits to a greater extent.

  • Easy to Maintain

Promotes DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) development and refactoring of code. Therefore, it requires less maintenance of the core framework.

Top 8 PHP frameworks you need to know

Here we will discuss in detail the top 8 PHP frameworks you need to consider in 2021. They are vital for your business and excellent career expertise for software developers.

  1. Laravel

Often called “The PHP Framework For Web Artisans”, Laravel is one of the most popular PHP frameworks used for web development. The framework is capable of handling multifaceted web applications while ensuring phenomenal speed and top-class security.

As per a survey by JetBrains, 50% of web developers prefer Laravel. It’s easy to learn, efficient to implement, and comes with powerful features.


  • A great starting point for beginners due to its robust documentation and extensive community support.
  • Ensures straightforward syntax with intuitive code working like magic.
  • Easy to understand and learn for developers with no prior experience.
  • It can be easily deployed to AWS or other leading cloud packages.
  • Laravel Homestead enjoys a phenomenal development environment without installing PHP to your system.
  • With the Artisan Console command-line tool, developers can speed up the developmental process.
  • Its Eloquent ORM and Fluent Query Builder works as a guard against SQL injection attacks.


  • Some developers believe Laravel is opinionated due to enforced syntax and project structure.
  • In times of database complexity, Eloquent ORM may need raw SQL statements to function.
  • A heavy framework due to feature-rich operations.

Leading Businesses Using Laravel Framework

  • Olx
  • Mastercard
  • 9GAG
  • Restaurants.com
  • Fischer Homes, etc.

2. Symfony

Being ranked at 3rd position in the PHP Benchmark list, Symfony is another leading PHP framework loved by web developers. However, it’s not just a PHP web development framework. Instead, Symfony also provides access to a set of 50 stand-alone PHP components. These mechanisms are reusable, making the web application development work faster and reliable.

With Symfony, you can’t just develop web applications. You can also work on microservices and APIs. As a result, this framework is preferable for complex web projects that require support, predictability, and optimization.


  • A mature framework ensures long-term support.
  • An excellent choice for apps and websites that requires to be scalable.
  • Supports leading databases such as MySQL, Oracle, SAP Sybase SQL Anywhere, etc.
  • Debugging the projects is easy with the built-in toolbar.
  • Due to a well-designed codebase, maintenance of the project becomes effortless.
  • It supports easy documentation and has a large community to rely on.


  • Difficult to learn and requires a high understanding of specific components.
  • Symfony ORM is too difficult to understand as compared to other ORMs.
  • Lacks a bit of dependency injection.

Leading Businesses Using Symfony Framework

  • Spotify
  • Magento
  • Statista
  • Nobel Peace Prize
  • Naukri.com etc.


3. CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is lightweight with a minimal footprint PHP framework used to develop web applications at incredible speed. In addition, the ridiculously small-sized framework requires minimum configuration and provides a set of intuitive libraries accelerating the developmental process.

Due to a significant number of pre-built modules, CodeIgniter is a fascinating PHP framework that ensures the creation of ultra-dynamic websites. In addition, large and small enterprises can use the well-documented framework to build APIs and web apps.


  • Second-fastest PHP framework ensuring reliability.
  • Due to the framework’s light footprint, there wouldn’t be any bloating.
  • Highly flexible PHP framework requiring lesser optimization.
  • It supports multiple methods of caching while speeding up your app-building process.
  • Ensures a high level of security, strong encryption and makes error handling easy.
  • Easy to learn, well-documented programming language.


  • Due to impressive flexibility, sometimes maintaining the codes becomes difficult.
  • Few libraries and packages assist in building new features.
  • Newer versions don’t release, often making security issues a problem.

Leading Businesses Using CodeIgniter Framework

  • 3M
  • Ola
  • Amplify
  • Casio
  • Barracuda
  • G-Shock, etc.


4. FuelPHP

FuelPHP supports HMVC (Hierarchical Model View Controller). It is a modular framework, indicating it can swiftly bolt parts onto the application. It’s simpler, compact, and slicker than CodeIgniter. It provides a phenomenal structure and is written in PHP 5.3

FuelPHP is community-driven and has more than 300 contributors during its lifetime. Being a new PHP framework, this open-source web application framework is highly appreciated by software developers.


  • It isn’t limited to the basic Model-View-Controller pattern; instead, it supports the HMVC design.
  • Takes advantage of the PHP static variable and its core functionality.
  • Supports authoritative driver-based authentication library.
  • Extraordinary security with extensibility.
  • Encourages code reuse and includes URL routing system.


  • A bit overwhelming to understand for beginners.
  • Documentation is not robust, with many incomplete sections.
  • Smaller FuelPHP community making it difficult to learn quickly.

Leading Businesses Using FuelPHP Framework

  • Front Desk
  • Cookies
  • Amit, etc.

5. Yii

PHP Benchmark ranks the Yii framework at 4th position in their list due to its simplicity and creativity. Yii stands for “Simple and Evolutionary” in Chinese, where its literal meaning is “Yes, It Is!”.

It is a fast, secure, and highly flexible PHP framework, ensuring a supreme focus on functionality. Due to its phenomenal speed, the Yii framework is recommended for building high performing web applications.


  • Promises thorough documentation while offering best practices to prevent SQL injection.
  • Offers automated CRUD generation with the help of the Gii code generator.
  • Being a full-stack framework, Yii supports front-end operations brilliantly.
  • Ensures phenomenal cache components and implements them throughout.
  • Highly secured PHP framework with exceptional loading time.


  • The ORM used in the Yii framework has weaker support for complex queries.
  • Complicated language to learn for less experienced software developers.
  • In the absence of support for some features, you may need extra configuration and installation.

Leading Businesses Using Yii Framework

  • Deloitte
  • Lenovo
  • Fujitsu
  • Purple
  • YMCA, etc.


6. CakePHP

Maintaining its image as a highly relevant PHP framework supporting modern web development needs, CakePHP ranks at 6th position in PHP Benchmark. It is famous for its clean layout, speedy processing, and less complicated.

What makes CakePHP phenomenal is its flexible database access layer. In addition, the powerful features of the PHP framework will allow you to build complex yet straightforward software systems in no time.


  • Requires less configuration once the database is set for coding.
  • The inbuilt ORM makes it extremely simple to use.
  • The components and helpers simplify the developmental phase.
  • Provides access to all modern security features.
  • Adheres to robust MVC architecture for PHP-powered web app development.


  • Since the community is small, figuring solutions to specific issues becomes difficult.
  • For the fancy URLs, CakePHP doesn’t support default routing.
  • Due to convention-based setup, developers have lesser freedom.

Leading Businesses Using CakePHP Framework

  • Hyundai
  • MIT
  • BMW
  • Coconala
  • Citizens Inc, etc.

7. Slim

Slim is a micro-framework for web development, featuring lesser features as compared to other PHP frameworks. However, Slim is a compelling platform where you can create powerful web applications and APIs.

Since Slim is a minimalistic framework, it focuses on receiving HTTP requests, entreats a callback, and then returns the response. As a result, it is a highly flexible and extensible micro-framework making web development fun and easy.


  • The development of lightweight APIs is possible with a few lines of code.
  • The codebase is lean; therefore, Slim is fast in working.
  • Easy to learn even by inexperienced web developers.
  • Efficient framework providing powerful routers.
  • Offers maximum support for critical functionalities such as middleware and dependency injection.


  • There is no ORM by default. Therefore, it requires independent installation.
  • Despite being fast, Slim can handle fewer requests per second.

Leading Businesses Using Slim Framework

  • Betterplace Academy
  • Gamned
  • Bootiq
  • HHEY, etc.

8. Phalcon

Phalcon is a high-speed PHP framework delivered as a C-extension. It’s not written in PHP and is directly compiled from C.

The high-performing PHP framework has lower resource consumption. Phalcon is based on a model-view-controller (MVW) pattern.


  • Has the ability to handle more requests per second than any other PHP framework.
  • The vital security components of Phalcon help in CSRF protection and password hashing.
  • You can quickly build single and multi-module MVC applications through the platform.
  • Robust caching features support swift access to pre-processed data.
  • Adds low overhead to the web application.


  • Complex syntax as compared to other leading PHP frameworks.
  • Phalcon supports only three database adapters; MySQL, SQLite, and PostgreSQL.
  • Harder to install and deploy.

Leading Businesses Using Phalcon Framework

  • Urban Sports Club
  • SocialVeo
  • Proshore
  • Marchi Auto, etc.

How to choose the best PHP framework for your business project?

After going through all the strengths and critical differences of leading PHP frameworks, it becomes easy to develop a solution. However, choosing the proper PHP framework isn’t an easy job at all. It requires commitment and tons of research before finalization.

Make sure you analyze the requirements of your project beforehand, searching for the proper PHP framework. All of the frameworks are somewhat similar to each other.

Wrap Up

PHP frameworks are always a wise choice instead of spending extensive time developing PHP web applications from scratch. There are many PHP frameworks with all types of tastes and benefits. It’s up to you and your project requirements that make the research easier.

Tkxel can help you accelerate technology and make your web development phase easier. So, get in touch with us today!

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    Manager, Customer Success


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