Top 7 PHP Frameworks for Better Application Development

Build a great web application with PHP using the following frameworks, faster!

The Evolution of PHP

PHP has significantly evolved over recent years.

From an unorganized scripting language to an object-oriented backend programming language, PHP has seen too many changes. The point that remained constant with this evolution is the preference of developers for PHP due to its excellent response time and lower hosting costs.

The developer communities developed some of the excellent frameworks which can get you kickstarted for your development with PHP as backend. This article details such frameworks and helps you in choosing the right one for your development.

Laravel Framework

is the most popular PHP framework for its excellent architecture. Laravel is a full-stack web development framework that provides capabilities to handle large scale web applications.

With its facility to organize APIs and Website code into well-separated folders, Laravel helps you in organizing the code better.

Below are the primary features due to which Laravel is preferred over other frameworks:

  • Offer complete MVC solution
  • It comes with its own ORM that supports an easy model generation
  • Supported by a repository of middleware that makes tasks like authorization quite easy
  • It supports easy database migrations using command line interface
  • The local development is made easy bythat provides the ability to run a local server directly
  • Supports blaze templating out of the box

Thus, Laravel simplifies web development by modularising the code. This allows for easier coordination between frontend and backend developers.

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Lumen Framework

is the micro-services variant of the Laravel framework. Lumen is a lightweight framework with a pretty small foot-print. Lumen focuses on one major challenge – Simplify the creation of APIs.

The framework is highly similar to the ExpressJS.

Lumen features the below capabilities to simplify REST API creation.

  • Simplified route mapping with controller functions
  • Dynamic URL support for the mapping
  • Organized route mapping in a single file
  • Named routes to support dynamic URL generation

Symfony Framework

is a set of numerous pre-built PHP components. It is the base framework for the Laravel framework discussed above. Symfony allows you more flexibility with the same amount of features.

The framework is primarily useful for the developers who need just a base to get started rather than a complete skeleton of code setup.

Symphony boasts of the below features:

  • A database independent stack supported by its own ORM
  • A bare metal foundation for advanced developers to get started
  • Easy integration with popular frameworks like Drupal
  • Reduced code redundancy with better organized code
  • Supported with over 30 re-usable components
  • Comes with a website analyzing profile to get a top-level website of code easily

Despite these features, the majority of the developers today prefer to use Laravel to make things simpler. Symfony is a good fit for advanced developers who wish to start setting up their own frameworks.

Cake PHP

is one more framework that provides an end-to-end MVC framework to get you started quickly. It is believed to be the most simplistic framework to get started with. With its CRUD framework, it has become the most popular framework to build APIs quickly.

CakePHP is supported strongly by its communities as well as premium support facility by the developers. The primary reasons to choose Cake PHP are:

  • The almost flat learning curve with an easy to understand the code
  • Small code footprint – Just requires a web server and framework code to get started
  • Easier CRUD programming with built-in components
  • Inbuilt protection against CSRF and SQL injection attacks

Zend Framework

is an excellent object-oriented framework designed to work as per agile methodology. It is available for quick install on almost every CPanel. This makes it easier to work with on any hosting platform too. The creators of Zend framework flaunt the latest version of the framework to be considered fast compared to previous versions.

Below features make it a desirable framework for the PHP developers:

  • Zend framework offer a high level of security with bcrypt and AES-256 based encryptions for passwords and data respectively
  • It is a completely Object-oriented framework
  • It is supported by a huge list of middleware
  • It follows the MVC design pattern strictly

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Yii Framework

is an extensible and easily scalable PHP framework. The framework is used for a variety of functional domains. It has a typical component-based architecture which makes coding a bit difficult initially. However, once the developer gains some grip on it, the development is pretty fast and secure.

The major benefits of using Yii framework are:

  • It is pretty easy to install and get going
  • It is preloaded with a Bootstrap template
  • It comes with an elegant design to get started quickly
  • It is a PHP framework that comes with a debugger too

Phalcon Framework

is one of its kind PHP framework that is delivered as a C-extension. This means the framework was originally coded in C and C++ programming language and later converted to be compatible with PHP as an extension.

This light core helps the framework to be super fast in its response and processing. The benefits of using Phalcon framework include:

  • Excellent processing time due to C language based backend processing
  • The component-based approach makes it easier to build views
  • Support rapid dynamic form creation with form control templates
  • Efficient memory utilization improves the overall performance of the application
  • Supports template engines out of the box


Choosing a framework is always challenging and I hope the above listed helps you to pick one for your next web development project. If you are new to PHP, then I would recommend taking thisto become a PHP master.