Sagar Bhatia | 30 Mar, 2023

Best PHP Frameworks for Web Development in 2024

For years now, PHP has been one of the most used programming languages for developing websites and applications. Although the language is considered to be quite stable and secure, it has seen a fair share of evolution since its release.

But as time has passed, the complexity of websites has increased massively. Developers have to write hundreds and thousands of lines of code to create these websites, which is a tedious task that takes a lot of time. Even more so, developers have to start from scratch every time. This is where PHP frameworks come into the picture.

There are so many PHP frameworks nowadays that it can be difficult to differentiate one from the other. In this article, we’ll take a look at nine of the best PHP frameworks for web development in 2024.

What is a PHP Framework?

Put simply, PHP frameworks are platforms you can use to build websites and web applications rooted in PHP. As you may have guessed, a PHP framework provides a starting point for your project. Frameworks offer libraries that include the commonly used functions in PHP, effectively helping you to cut down on the amount of manual coding that you’ll have to do. The less original code you have to come up with, the less time you need to spend on certain aspects of your project!

The best PHP frameworks provide well-organized and reusable code. One benefit of such code is the fact that it allows the project to be easily scalable so it can grow with you. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, top PHP frameworks can help you finish your project quickly and efficiently.

Why Use a PHP Framework?

Using a PHP framework in 2024 offers plenty of benefits. The benefits are such that once you get used to them, you probably won’t ever want to go back to the time when you weren’t using frameworks. But what does using a PHP framework offer, exactly? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits!

You Can Save a Ton of Time

Development projects can take a lot of time, depending on a number of factors. Using a framework can help you save a ton of time by allowing you to use pre-existing code and functions without having to write your own for every project.

Libraries included in frameworks also have some of the most commonly used components in web apps so you can simply use those instead of building from scratch every time. For example, you won’t need to worry about putting together form validation functions when all you have to do is grab it from the framework!

Majority of full-stack frameworks used for PHP web dev these days use MVC architecture so that developers can write code separately for each of the components. MVC has three parts — Model, View, and Controller. In this case, the model is usually the database, the view is the page a user sees (HTML/CSS pages), and controllers are functions used to access the database and update it.

With a PHP MVC framework, multiple developers can work on separate parts of the project, saving time overall. With PHP database frameworks in use as well, things just get even easier.

You Can Collaborate More Easily

Can you imagine working with a bunch of developers who all had their own idea of how to implement certain aspects of your project? Things would never get done as everyone would be far too busy trying to figure out what’s going on in the code!

Using a PHP framework, teams of developers can collaborate efficiently as a framework helps everybody stay on the same page as they work. Frameworks and their respective libraries follow single code standards and rulesets, so you’ll never have to worry about miscommunications and code going in the wrong direction.

In essence, using PHP frameworks makes it possible to keep strict coding standards across the board, for enhanced consistency. Additionally, design decisions become easier to decide upon as a team, since there’s far less confusion. And finally, with a framework to base everything upon, setting up clean documentation becomes a much less tedious task all around.

Helps You Learn and Follow Best Coding Practices

Although “best coding practices” is quite subjective, there are certainly some things that can help you streamline your work process. These practices can save you a lot of time and make your life easier in the long run.

For example, PHP frameworks can help you to establish good coding habits, such as dividing your code neatly into directories categorized by function. The end result of that is that your code becomes organized in a much more easily maintained manner.

Another example is that frameworks often have naming conventions for you to follow. Following these conventions makes it much easier to keep track of everything that goes into your projects. Searching for something becomes much easier, because you’ll know exactly what terms to look for!

Security Becomes Less of a Concern

No matter where you are and what you do on the internet, there’s always some form of security threat. The same applies to PHP security, where your project may be vulnerable to SQL injection attacks and cross-site request forgeries or scripting. You can always secure your own code, of course. But, using a framework can make it much easier for you.

It’s worth noting that not even the best PHP framework will protect you from all the vulnerabilities — you have to write secure code on top. However, good PHP frameworks can at least minimize the chances of hacker exploits getting through as they usually have built-in defenses against common threats.

With Frameworks, Projects Become Easier to Maintain

One of the main reasons you should use a framework is your projects become much easier to maintain. You won’t have to code everything manually or repeat yourself along the way, resulting in leaner codebases that require far less maintenance. Additionally, you’ll never have to worry about the framework’s maintenance, since that’s already done for you!

Which PHP Framework is Best for Beginners?

If you’re just starting out, choosing a framework can be an intimidating experience. 

PHP framework popularity does not always correspond to how good it will be for you, specifically. The most used PHP framework won’t always be the right choice for you either, so you might need to find something that works best with your level of knowledge and experience.

Generally, you’ll want something that’s simpler, leaner, and much easier to understand — meaning a smaller learning curve. Look for frameworks that are easier to pick up and master those before you start looking into some of the more feature-packed options.

From this PHP framework list, consider the options below:

  • CodeIgniter - This framework is very beginner-friendly thanks to a smaller learning curve. It’s easy to pick up, easy to use, works on MVC architecture, and comes with many guides aimed at beginners.
  • Slim - Choose this framework if you want something that’s simple to install and has a tutorial to get you started.

9 Best PHP Frameworks

1. Laravel

Topping our list is the new yet extremely popular (if not the most popular) framework, Laravel. Released in 2011, Laravel has swept the framework arena off its feet and has been topping the charts for quite some time now. The immense popularity can be attributed to its ability to handle complex web applications with additional security and speed when compared to other frameworks. It also simplifies the process of development by reducing the complexity of common tasks, such as sessions, routing, queuing, and authentication.

Developers also prefer Laravel as it offers a vast ecosystem that brings an instant hosting and deployment platform along with screencast tutorials hosted by the official Laravel website. The framework also features Homestead, a Vagrant box (prepackaged development environment) that assists in hassle-free development. Other features include a strong encryption package(s), overloading capabilities using dynamic methods, and tons of out-of-box functionality. It is easy to begin with Laravel due to the availability of extensive documentation and plenty of online Laravel tutorial resources.

Who Uses This Framework?

Many websites and apps use Laravel, including retail, tourism, and fashion websites. Notable examples include the Vogue fashion archive, Explore Georgia website, Visit Maine website,, and Camping World RV & Outdoors website.

Reasons to Use This Framework

  • Laravel Homestead, a virtual dev environment that’s done for you, is easy to start on. Laravel Homestead is the framework’s official and pre-packaged Vagrant box that provides you with a dev environment — all without having to install PHP. You also won’t need a web server or other software server, so there’s no need to worry about you accidentally messing up your current setup!
  • For Mac users, you can choose between Laravel Homestead and Laravel Valet. Valet is another dev environment that also supports Symfony, Slim, WordPress, CakePHP, and Zend.
  • Laravel’s Blade templating engine allows you to use PHP within it.
  • You’ll get access to Packalyst, which is a Laravel package collection 15,000 strong.
  • Laravel has many security features.
  • There is a massive community around Laravel, so you’ll very likely be able to find support for any issues you may have.

Reasons to Avoid This Framework

  • You’ll be required to create a separate admin panel where you can manage and edit your content, which isn’t ideal if many people need access. If many users need access to the app’s settings, you might be better off with a CMS.

2. Symfony

Launched in 2005, Symfony has existed far longer than most PHP frameworks in the business. This longevity showcases that Symfony has held the trust of developers for over a decade and has matured with its age. The Symfony framework is an extensive one, and it is the sole framework that follows the standards of PHP and the web completely. Symfony components are used by popular content management systems such as Drupal, OroCRM, and PHP Bulletin Board (PHPBB).

Symphony is the first choice for many developers due to the availability of reusable libraries and components that you can use to complete a variety of tasks such as authentication, templating, object configuration, and much more. Symfony comes out as the perfect choice among PHP frameworks when it comes to large-scale enterprise assignments. Moreover, the Symfony ecosystem is massive and is supported by a highly active programming community, and has tons of great online Symfony tutorials for you to get started.

Who Uses This Framework?

There are many big names that use some of Symfony’s components such as Joomla, Drupal, and Magento. You’ll also see websites like Intelius, Foot District, Sainsbury’s Magazine, and more using Symfony.

Reasons to Use This Framework

  • You can install and set up Symfony on most platforms without much issue as it is easy to work with.
  •  Symfony works great in enterprise-level app development.
  • This framework is quite flexible and allows integration with libraries from other vendors.
  • Symfony generally follows most best web practices.
  • It also follows some of the best design patterns.

Reasons to Avoid This Framework

  • Symfony isn’t easy to start with, as it’s targeted more towards advanced developers — if you’re a beginner you’ll likely struggle with the learning curve.
  • Symfony’s security mechanism can be a bit difficult to use.
  • Although Symfony is very rich in features, you may find it slower than other frameworks due to its nature.

3. CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is a lightweight framework that's known for its small footprint and hassle-free installation with minimalistic configuration prerequisites. Simple yet powerful, CodeIgniter is a mere 2MB in size, a tiny footprint that even includes the documentation. It is highly suitable for the development of dynamic websites, as it offers many prebuilt modules that help in the construction of strong and reusable components.

What adds to its popularity is its smooth working on shared as well as dedicated hosting platforms. It is also considerably faster when compared to other frameworks. Due to its solid performance and faster speed, it is the best choice when developing lightweight applications that run on simple servers. Multiple other features of CodeIgniter include simple security, encryption steps, easy error handling, and negligible PHP adoption struggle. The framework is very well documented, and it is an excellent choice for beginners. Here are the community-recommended best online Codeigniter tutorials. One important thing to note is that the framework updates are quite jagged, so it will not be the best option for applications that demand high-level security.

Who Uses This Framework?

You’ll see websites in various sectors including retail, marketing, tech, and more using CodeIgniter as its main framework. Some examples include WooBox, Casio (and G-Shock), TestandTrack, and even a content management system called FuelCMS.

Reasons to Use This Framework

  • CodeIgniter uses MVC architecture and encourages devs to use it, but you can still use other architecture with no problem.
  • As a lightweight PHP framework, CodeIgniter is quite easy to set up when compared to other similar frameworks.
  • CodeIgniter has built-in security features against XSS and CSRF attacks, and more.
  • With multiple caching methods supported, this framework can help speed up your web app. You might find that it’s one of the faster frameworks available today.
  • CodeIgniter is one of the most beginner-friendly PHP frameworks available today, thanks to an easier learning curve and tons of detailed documentation.

Reasons to Avoid This Framework

  • Although CodeIgniter is an excellent choice for beginners, its releases and updates can be a bit sporadic. If you want a more regularly updated framework (for security and so on), you may want to skip CodeIgniter.

4. Zend Framework

Next on our list is the Zend Framework. Extendable due to features such as interfaces and inheritance, Zend is built on agile methodology and aims to deliver high-quality applications at an enterprise level. The framework is entirely object-oriented and was built while keeping speed, security, performance, and extensibility in mind. Zend offers high customizability and stands with PHP’s top practices, which is highly beneficial for developers who wish to incorporate project-specific functions.

Due to its concentration in enterprise applications, it comes with a surplus of components for tasks such as authentication, services, forms, and much more. But even though it comes with many tools that make the life of a developer fairly easy, it is still not ideal for rapid application development. Zend framework packs feature such as an easy to use drag and drop editor, coding tools, online debugging tools, and a scalable interface useful for complicated websites. However, the Zend framework is considered one of the most difficult frameworks to learn, especially if you are a beginner.

Who Uses This Framework?

Zend’s homepage features quite a few large companies that are using the framework for their websites and web apps. Some examples of these companies include Cisco Webex and the BBC as in the British Broadcasting Company.

Reasons to Use This Framework

  • If you need to build complex apps or even enterprise-level apps, Zend’s reusable structured code makes it an excellent choice for your project(s).
  • You can pick only the components you need from Zend’s library, as this framework integrates with other templates and third-party libraries.
  • You’ll enjoy Zend’s main features 
  • such as MVC architecture, encryption management, session management, and cloud API.
  • Zend is a secure framework that offers excellent performance, allowing you to create optimized apps.
  • Finding support is easy thanks to Zend’s extensive user base and detailed documentation.

Reasons to Avoid This Framework

  • If you’re a mobile app developer looking to use Zend, prepare for a steep learning curve.
  • Zend’s plugins can be quite expensive, so you may want to look elsewhere if you are on a tighter budget.

5. FuelPHP

FuelPHP is a flexible and extendable PHP framework which is not limited to the basic Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern but also its successor, the Hierarchical-Model-View-Controller (HMVC) at the framework architecture level. It also adds a voluntary class known as the Presenter class (previously known as ViewModel) in between the Controller and View layers in order to hold the logic required for the generation of views.

The FuelPHP framework is security-focused and tackles the concerns using a number of features, which include input and URI filtering along with output encoding. Many other features that come with the framework are HMVC implementation, URL routing system, caching system, and vulnerability protection. FuelPHP is apt for delivering end-to-end web solutions of different sizes and complexities.

Who Uses This Framework?

One of the most notable websites using FuelPHP is a property management system called Front Desk.

Reasons to Use This Framework

  • FuelPHP uses HMVC (hierarchical model view controller) implementation.
  • This framework comes with built-in security features and caching that allows for faster app performance.
  • FuelPHP’s code is well organized and is quite modular and extensible.
  • When using FuelPHP, you might find its built-in command-line utility (called oil) that you can use to run tasks, generate components, and debug code.

Reasons to Avoid This Framework

  • While it is a good framework, FuelPHP is still relatively new. You may find less support and a steep learning curve with less documentation to work with.

6. Slim

Looking to create simple yet powerful web applications? Slim is the PHP framework you are looking for. Slim is a micro-framework, and the idea behind it (and micro-frameworks in general) is to be excellent for small applications which do not require the features of a full-stack framework.

Even though Slim is minimalistic in nature, it is packed with rich features such as URL routing, session, and cookie encryption, client-side HTTP caching, and the support to ‘flash’ messages across HTTP requests. The framework is highly used by developers who aim to develop RESTful APIs and services. An active user base and constant maintenance and updates make it extremely user-friendly. Slim has good tutorials for beginners.

Who Uses This Framework?

There are a great many websites and apps around the world that use the lightweight Slim framework. Just looking at this page, you’ll notice that many medium and high-traffic websites use this framework, including e-commerce websites that make upwards of $100,000 in sales revenue.

Reasons to Use This Framework

  • As the name might suggest, Slim’s code base is pretty lean and does not have any third-party dependencies. As a result, it is fast and quite easy to learn.
  • Slim is excellent for developers looking to create smaller web apps. If you need more functionality, you’ll be glad to know that this framework can integrate with other components, whether first or third-party.

Reasons to Avoid This Framework

  • You probably want to skip Slim if you’re looking to build large-scale and complex web apps. It’s also not the best for enterprise-level apps due to its weaker dependency injection.

7. Phalcon

Phalcon is a full-stack PHP framework that was originally written in C and C++ programming languages. Phalcon is basically a C-extension, but you need not worry about learning C. The most prominent feature of the Phalcon framework is that it is blazing fast. This is because it makes use of a handful of resources, unlike other frameworks available in the market. The speed can be extremely important for developers who work with systems that do not offer much overhead expense. The framework has been updated continuously since 2012 and has seen quite a few upgrades in recent releases. The latest support release has components such as ORM, MVC, and caching; and also includes support for PHP 7. Interested in Phalcon? Here are the best online Phalcon tutorials for you to get kickstarted.

Who Uses This Framework?

If you’re wondering who uses Phalcon, you can check out this link from Enlyft. Enlyft states that some of the massive companies that use Phalcon for their websites include Maxwell Health and Germany’s Good Game Studios. You’ll even see the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative using Phalcon. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is the philanthropic organization established by Meta’s (then Facebook) Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

Reasons to Use This Framework

  • Phalcon helps you create web applications that are highly configurable while remaining in line with the best practices in enterprise development.
  • This framework is easy to install.
  • Built-in security features and caching help developers create secure yet well-optimized applications.
  • Phalcon is also quite efficient when it comes to memory usage, so you’ll find it performs quickly and efficiently.
  • Phalcon has an extremely fast templating engine called Volt that makes it easier to create views.

Reasons to Avoid This Framework

  • Security-minded devs may not appreciate that Phalcon rolls out its updates somewhat irregularly.

8. Yii 2

Based on the Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) concept, Yii 2 is an object-oriented framework and the successor of one of the oldest PHP frameworks, Yii. Yii 2 is just right for large-scale website development as it can be easily integrated with jQuery and AJAX features. The lazy loading technique of Yii2 makes it faster than other frameworks in the mix.

Furthermore, it comes with an extremely powerful class code generator known as Gii. The function of Gii is to ease out the process of object-oriented programming and rapid prototyping, which provides a web-based interface, helping the programmer generate the desired code interactively. Other features include a short rapid development time, availability of multiple packages for security, and sets of configurations for speeding things up.

Who Uses This Framework?

You’ll see some companies using Yii, but you’ll also find online tools using this framework as well. For example, online tools such as WordCounter and Pastebin use this framework. The crowdfunding platform, CrowdCube, uses Yii as well. The YMCA is another great example of a nonprofit using this framework behind the scenes.

Reasons to Use This Framework

  • Thanks to clear and well-written documentation, this framework is easy to install and configure.
  • Yii has a wealth of security features that make it an excellent choice for projects like forums, CMS, and e-commerce websites.
  • Yii has a massive user community on top of the core developer team, so it is easy to find support when you need it most.
  • This framework already has excellent performance on its own, but the code generator tools and caching support help make Yii one of the best options for devs who want to make web apps that are well optimized.
  • Yii allows for the customization of just about every part of its core code, offering devs a lot of flexibility.

Reasons to Avoid This Framework

  • You may find that this framework has a steep learning curve, making it not the best option for beginners.
  • When using Yii, you might need to be a bit more careful as small mistakes can cause cascading issues within your entire application.

9. CakePHP

This decade-old framework is still among the most popular frameworks, simply because it has adopted the change and kept up with the time. With each new version, it has offered new features which have kept its user base strong. The latest version of the frameworks has introduced features such as improved modularity and an increased ability to create additional standalone libraries. The framework is also straightforward to learn and easy to install, as it requires only a web server and a copy of the framework.

CakePHP is a good option for commercial application projects as it offers high-end security with features such as SQL injection prevention, cross-site request forgery protection, and cross-site scripting protection among many others. Other features include proper class inheritance, validation, and fast builds. The framework receives premium support from its parent company and has many support portals as well. You can find CakePHP tutorials on

Who Uses This Framework?

There are tons of websites and web applications that use this framework. You’ll see the education website (or rather typing practice website) 10 Fast Fingers using CakePHP. Other websites that use this framework include Visit NC, Printivo, GoodFirms, and more.

Reasons to Use This Framework

  • CakePHP is easy to start — you only need to install the framework. As long as you have a web server available, you’re good to go.
  • This framework has ORM built-in.
  • CakePHP has plenty of built-in security features that can help with password hashing, encryption, SQL injection prevention, and more.
  • Overall, CakePHP is a great choice for enterprise-level application development.

Reasons to Avoid This Framework

  • CakePHP follows its conventions very strictly, so it may not be the right choice for you if you like being able to bend rules or if you want to ship fast.

Things You Should Know Before Using a PHP Framework

Before you can start using PHP frameworks, there are a few things you need to know first. Naturally, you’ll need to know PHP. Since most of the frameworks on this list run on version 7.2 of PHP (or later), you’ll need to be familiar with that version at least.

But what else should you know? What should you already have experience of? What can help you get a clearer understanding of what goes on in a PHP front-end framework and what goes on in the back end?

Let’s take a look at the list below:

  • It’s best to have at least some experience building PHP applications. Having this prior hands-on knowledge makes it easier for you to figure out frameworks as you go.
  • You should know object-oriented PHP and understand its concepts, such as objects, classes, methods, inheritance, access modifiers, and traits. Additionally, it can help you to understand ORM (Object-Relational Mapping). ORM is just a way to access data (in a database) using object-oriented syntax rather than SQL. There are a few frameworks that come with ORM built right in.
  • You should understand databases, especially since you’ll be working with them during your entire project. You should also have knowledge of SQL syntax.
  • It helps you to know how web servers (like Nginx and Apache) work, especially since you may need to configure some files on these servers to get your app working optimally.

Of course, as you’ll probably be handling much of the development process locally, it’s a good idea to know and understand localhost. Alternatively, you may want to know how to use Vagrant and VirtualBox to test your apps in virtual environments.

How to Choose the Right PHP Framework

When there are so many frameworks to choose from, how exactly do you find the one that’s right for you? You generally want to find an MVC framework, but what else should you consider beyond that?

The good news is, PHP frameworks are generally unique — or at the very least, they offer unique features. Before you choose, ask yourself the questions below:

  • What’s the learning curve like? Each Framework on this list has its own conventions, so it can take time to learn and understand how it all works. You may want to consider a framework’s learning curve relative to the amount of time you have available to you. Additionally, you can look for frameworks with clear and extensive documentation to help you get over the learning curve more quickly.
  • Does the framework have a debugging feature? No matter how well you code and how knowledgeable you are, there’s no avoiding a bug or two in the code. Consider frameworks that have debugging features, regardless of whether they are built-in or not. This feature helps to ensure your web app project functions properly.
  • Does the framework have a caching system? Caching mechanisms help to improve performance. Although not absolutely necessary, they can help make things run more smoothly.
  • How secure is the framework? Great frameworks have some built-in protections against some of the most common vulnerabilities like cookie attacks and cross-site scripting.
  • Is the framework scalable? As you work on your project, you may find that its scope may grow — or shrink. A scalable solution saves you from having to migrate or start over/
  • What’s the community like? Frameworks generally have communities rallying around them. Choose one that has a strong community to ensure it is maintained over time. With strong communities (even smaller ones), you can find continued support if you run into any issues. You don’t always have to pick the most popular PHP framework, but larger communities may make it easier for you to find someone to help should you encounter problems.

Conclusion: Which Framework is Right for You?

PHP frameworks are designed to simplify the development process and reduce the work required in creating wonderful applications. 

Every framework in and out of this list will have its own set of features along with a list of weaknesses, and they all vary regarding documentation and community support, along with official support from the creator. 

Therefore, the decision of the best framework will depend on the requirements of the project you are working on and your prerequisites on factors such as security, scalability, ease of use, and more. 

So before you choose a framework, understand your requirements. Then only you are ready and can dive straight in.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a PHP framework?

Put simply, a PHP framework is a platform comprised of code libraries and functions. Developers can use PHP frameworks to build websites and web applications using PHP. They provide many benefits, such as saving developers a lot of time and energy, providing better security, allowing for easier collaboration, and more. Frameworks function as foundations for PHP-based web applications.

2. Which framework is used for PHP?

The frameworks used for PHP may vary depending on a developer’s preferences, needs, and level of experience. It may also depend on the project’s scope and how scalable the framework needs to be. This list has nine of the best and most popular PHP frameworks in use today.

3. Which database is best for PHP?

It comes as no surprise that the open-source MySQL continues to remain the most popular PHP database to this day. Even today, MySQL is one of the most popular databases around the world.

4. How hard are PHP frameworks to maintain?

PHP frameworks in general tend to be easier to maintain. Frameworks are usually maintained and updated by core developers, though there may also be some community involvement here and there. What it means for you is there’s likely less actual maintenance for you to do, so all you need to do is follow the conventions. Ensuring you keep your code organized also helps make your projects easier to maintain all around.

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By Sagar Bhatia

Sagar is an engineering graduate and a technology lover and has been writing across various disciplines for over 5 years now. An avid gamer himself, he wishes to create a venture revolving around the e-sports domain in India.

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Mindmade Technologies

Thanks for sharing this amazing frameworks with us, keep posting.

8 months ago


Hello, what about Nicotine Framework For PHP & MySQL? Super easy to learn.

7 months ago