PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, more commonly known as PHP is a programming language that was introduced in 1994 for the purpose of designing websites. This language was introduced by Rasmus Lerdorf and the acronym PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page. PHP can be introduced as a server side script language that can be used to develop static or dynamic websites as well as web applications. In order for PHP scripts to run on a certain network, it is imperative that PHP is installed in the respective server.

How big is PHP?

PHP is popular due to its free source nature with no licensing fees. PHP is usually coupled up with MYSQL and Apache servers which also fall under the free licensing category. The massive online support for PHP makes it easy to learn for beginners. This results in a lot of programmers being proficient in PHP which ultimately results in cheaper labour costs for companies when working with the PHP framework. According to W3TECHS, an online survey company, PHP is ranked as the most popular server-side programming language as at February 2019 with a market share of 79%. The second on that list is ASP.NET with a market share of a mere 11.5%.

Now that we know about the beginnings, the uses and the popularity of PHP, let’s dive into the impending question. Which PHP framework is the best one out of the lot in the year 2019?

Top 5 PHP frameworks

After careful consideration, I’ve ranked what I think are the best PHP frameworks to be used in your projects this year.

#5. CakePHP

This is one of the oldest PHP frameworks out there. CakePHP was released in the year 2005. Most developers prefer CakePHP for its simplicity and ease of use. This framework is built on the basis of CRUD (which stands for Create, Read, Update and Delete). CakePHP is also known for its top notch security with features such as input validation, SQL injection prevention, cross-site request forgery and cross-site scripting protection providing users peace of mind about safety.

#4. Zend Framework

Zend is a favourite of programmers who deliver products to large scale enterprises. This framework was built for extendable uses which is obvious considering the fact that Zend is completely object oriented and features components such as simple cloud API, data encryption, MVC and session management. Thus, Zend is the go to framework for large banks and large scale IT based departments and organisations. Zend however is not beginner friendly as it is one of the hardest frameworks to learn and packs complex features such as cryptographic coding tools and a connected database wizard in addition to the aforementioned components.

#3. Symfony

Even though it doesn’t take the top spot, Symfony takes a special place on this list. Introduced in 2005, this framework is known among programmers as one of the most reliable platforms. Even the PHP giant Laravel was based on Symfony 2. The pros of using this framework befall mostly on developers working on large scale enterprise projects. It’s widely regarded as the perfect choice for such endeavours. Symfony is also easy to install and configure on almost every platform. One of Symfony’s standout features is that it uses reusable PHP components in addition to its database engine-independence component and the ability to integrate with other vendor libraries. This framework can be integrated with larger projects and is known to be highly flexible. Symfony is also regarded as the only framework which follows web standards and PHP guidelines to the dot.

#2. CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter was introduced by BCIT Recreation Services on 28th of February 2006. It is one of the oldest and one of the smallest (around 2MB) PHP frameworks. But don’t let its small size fool you, it’s one of the best frameworks for developing dynamic websites which offers pre-built modules to ease the process of constructing complex and reusable components. CodeIgniter’s key features are excellent documentation, amazing handling of errors, inbuilt security and its inherent MVC architecture. It needs minimal configuration from users and provides exceptional speed when compared to other PHP frameworks. Even though CodeIgniter is a good choice for developing lightweight applications, the framework isn’t exactly known for its provision of high level security. CodeIgniter is also beginner friendly unlike frameworks such as Zend and Symfony.

#1. Laravel

Introduced in 2011, Laravel is the brainchild of Taylor Otwell. This is arguably the most popular PHP framework out there despite of its late introduction to the world of PHP frameworks. Laravel is used to develop web pages based on MVC architecture and Symfony. Laravel releases are always documented well which enables even new users to grasp everything easily and continuously update their knowledge. Laravel is built bearing one focus in mind; rapid app development. It uses the Artisan CLI to provide command during app development. It can be easily installed using the prepackaged Homestead bundle with Vagrant. Laravel also has a comprehensive ecosystem with instant deployment and hosting platforms. The speed and security of this framework match the expectations of today’s needs of a web application. Laravel is mostly suitable for building B2B or enterprise websites that will change with the constantly evolving web trends.


Even though I’ve ranked these websites in a certain order on this article, the best match for anyone will change depending on that person’s needs. So give all of these frameworks a try and realise what will suit you best. Good luck and happy coding!

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