PHP, also known as hypertext preprocessor, is an open-source server-side scripting language. It’s trendy, too — up to 80% of all websites were using PHP as of August 2021, without the signs of slowing down any time soon. It is easy to use and download and very powerful enough to run some of the most significant websites on the internet (Facebook, WordPress, and Wikipedia, to name a few).
Since 1991, PHP database frameworks have had lots of time to come and go with the landscape full of standard options. There is now an expensive ecosystem of frameworks available to make your life easy while writing PHP code.
But why do you need to make use of a PHP framework at first? Which PHP framework is suitable for you?
This post will list the top 10 PHP frameworks available in the market today and provide you with the information to choose which is suitable for you.
What to look for in a framework?
There are various things that you should be looking for when selecting a PHP framework. For more details, check the ten criteria for choosing the proper framework.
From a high level, you should consider:
- Popularity and community size: Frameworks are usually community-driven, so ensuring a platform to maintain and improve a framework is a huge positive benefit.
- Philosophy: What is the purpose of the framework? If it doesn’t line up with your business requirements and goals, maybe you source another solution.
- Sustainability: Is the framework usually maintained, and will it help your technology stack both now and later on?
- Support: Is there anywhere that you can quickly turn to if you have any questions or concerns? Practically, this point goes back into the popularity and community size criteria. Documentation and online resources should be made available to enable you to navigate any challenges you might encounter.
However, the best way for you to make a decision is to carry them out. We can’t stress enough the essentials of trying these frameworks out before implementing them into your tech stack. You don’t have to test everyone specifically; narrow it down to two or three options and play around with the possibilities.
5 of the best PHP frameworks
Here are the best PHP frameworks based on popularity and capability to facilitate application development.
Laravel has become the most commonly free, open-source PHP framework globally, and it was introduced in 2011. Why? Since it can handle complex web applications properly at a faster pace than other frameworks. Laravel simplifies the development method by making everyday tasks such as sessions, routing, caching, and authentication easy.
Reasons to use Laravel
- Laravel is best when creating applications with complex backend needs, either small or large. Installing Laravel is easy with the introduction of Homestead, a prepackaged, all-in-one vagrant box.
- It’s a PHP framework full of functions that will enable you to customize complex apps. Among these: MVC architecture support, seamless data migration, security, routing, authentication, and view template engine, among many others.
- Laravel is very expressive, and its speed and security are in line with expectations for a current web application. , Laravel is the best for developers who want to create B2B or enterprise websites that will evolve with flexible web trends.
The Symfony framework has been in existence longer than other frameworks on this list, but it was launched in 2005. It is a very reliable platform. Symfony is a PHP MVC framework and the only framework known to support PHP and web standards.
Reasons to use Symfony.
- Symfony is the proper choice for creating large-scale enterprise projects. It’s simple to install and configure on most platforms.
- One of its major features? It’s a reusable PHP component. It also has a database engine–independence, stability, agrees with most web best practices and design patterns, and enables integration with other vendor libraries.
- Symfony can integrate with massive projects like Drupal, and it is very flexible. Symfony and Laravel have several standard and incredible features, making it challenging to say which of these frameworks is best.
Thus, while Laravel focuses more on delivering value, especially for developers who are not complex, Symfony focuses on difficult developers and is a bit hard to start. Moreover, the Symfony security mechanism is a bit challenging to use. And since it allows developers to “do it all,” it can be slower than other frameworks.
The Yii framework, which stands for Yes, is evolutionary and straightforward. It’s a standard performance component-based PHP framework for creating modern web applications. Yii is proper for all types of web apps. Therefore, it’s a general web programming framework.
Reasons to use Yii
- Yii has a straightforward installation process. However, its robust security features make the framework usable for standard secure endeavors such as e-commerce projects, forums portals, CMS, and many others.
- It shows excellent speed and performance. It is very extensible. It enables developers to avoid the risk of the complexity of writing repetitive SQL statements, as they can model the database data in the aspect of objects.
- Yii has core developer experts and teams that contribute to its development. You can post difficult on Yii forums and get help from a vast community using it.
- Yii is very extensible, and you can customize almost every piece of the core’s code. Thus, if it’s your first time using it, be prepared for a steep learning curve.
Phalcon was initially written in C and C++ and released in 2012. It is a full-stack PHP framework that uses the MVC web architecture design pattern. Since it’s kn as a C-extension, you don’t have to worry about knowing the C programming language.
Reasons to use Phalcon.
- Phalcon is simple to install and suitable for developing highly configurable web applications in line with enterprise development protocols.
- Significant features include asset management, increased execution speed, a universal autoloader, and top security and caching.
- Unlike other frameworks, Phalcon uses performance due to its efficient memory utilization. You should give Phalcon a try if you want to develop a blazing fast website.
- On the other note, Phalcon developers are slow to patch bugs, which may not give with today’s requirement for high levels of security.
PHPixie implements the HMVC design pattern just like FuelPHP, and it was introduced in 2012. It aimed to develop a quality performance framework for read-only websites.
Reasons to use PHPixie.
- It’s simple to get started with PHPixie, which is perfectly good for social networking websites, web app development services, and customized web applications.
- Significant features include standard ORM (object-relational mapping), HMVC architecture, input validation, authentication, authorization capabilities, and caching.
- PHPixie is developed using independent components. Therefore, you can use it without the framework itself. Thus, PHPixie has practically few modules. Aside from that, it lacks help for features independently made from the dependencies. Since it’s virtually new, it’s less popular and has a smaller community of clients than other frameworks.
How hard are PHP frameworks to maintain?
It is vital to track errors as part of your PHP workflow. Raygun Crash Reporting works with PHP frameworks and will help you detect and diagnose software errors. You can be alerted to challenges affecting your users the moment it occurs with innovative PHP error monitoring software from Raygun,
Which PHP framework is fit for you?
The decision on the perfect framework to use depends on different factors such as security, ease of use, documentation, scalability, and more. So, you should understand the needs of the project or application you want to create. Then, select the preferable PHP framework from this list; you can never go wrong.