12 Best PHP Frameworks to Build Amazing Website in 2016

PHP is the most popular web programming languages on the Internet, and it is behind the coding of 80% websites or web applications on the web. PHP has earned such success due to its peculiarities to facilitate modern web development.

The adoption rate of PHP as a programming language is high due to its flexibility, server-side programming, and ease in learning/simple syntax, as well as smooth integration capabilities with other languages.

Why PHP Developers Need Frameworks

Best PHP Frameworks - 1

Unfortunately, the flexibility of PHP is resulting into lean, haphazard, and unstructured code. Therefore, PHP development process of PHP developers proves the daunting, time-consuming, and costly affair.

To mitigate such issues, PHP developer community has evolved some decent framework to offer innovative technologies, useful tools, code architecture, and methodologies to ease the life of PHP programmers and PHP designers in a broad sense. If we are going to list some distinct benefits of PHP frameworks, we can say:

Rapid Development: PHP frameworks speed up the entire development process through structured coding and tools to avoid repeat coding for generic components and modules. PHP programmers can use generic components repeatedly in several projects by one-time development efforts.

Most of the PHP frameworks follow MVC paradigms by separating design/presentation from the application logic/programming. Thus, it enables PHP designers and PHP programmers to work on the same project simultaneously and without any conflict. Thus, such collaborations speed up the development process with fast iteration and improvements.

Scalability: PHP frameworks have built on one unified structural foundation, so it offers scalability and stability. The framework follows high development standards, keep code organized, and enhance maintainability. Therefore, it provides room for application to grow and evolve in future without any constraint for further coding compliance.

Security: PHP frameworks have out-of-box security features and tools to support the latest security technologies and integration of 3rd party security tools/APIs/software.

Support Modern Programming: The modern web development practices involve object-oriented programming (OOP), and the majority of frameworks support it.

Now, we know the significance of PHP framework in PHP web development project so the question is why it is important for a client to know anything regarding the PHP web development frameworks and how it can help them.

Why Should Clients Know About PHP Frameworks?

Best PHP Frameworks - 2

Today myriads of PHP frameworks have been in use by PHP developers and selecting the right one indeed can make a difference in turnaround time and cost of PHP development project.

If a client simply asks a question to the developer or team of developers regarding the PHP framework they are going to use in the project, it immediately invokes a feeling that client is tech-savvy and serious regarding the project.

Thus, they may take project sincerely and come up with a likely reason describing that why they are leaning towards a particular PHP framework, for the current project, and how it can prove beneficial to the client.

Well, before making a serious selection, let us dive deeper into the world of the modern PHP frameworks used the most and according to a recent survey (GitHub-2015), how many percentages employed in the market.

  1. Laravel (22.7% Market share)
  2. Symfony (15.1%)
  3. CodeIgniter (14.4%)
  4. CakePHP (8.6%)
  5. Zend (7.8%)
  6. Phalcon (7.7%)
  7. Slim (7.1%)
  8. Yii (6.7%)
  9. Fat-Free (2.3%)
  10. Kohana (2.2%)
  11. FuelPHP (2.1%)
  12. Aura (2.0%)

#1: Laravel PHP Framework

Best PHP Frameworks - Point 1It is relatively new release in 2012 though achieved significant popularity. Laravel has a huge ecosystem with instant hosting and development platform.

  • Through ‘Laracasts’, you can get a plenty of screencast tutorials to get proficiencies
  • It has adopted MVC paradigm for development, so programmers need not write PHP code (Logic) in line with HTML code (Presentation) by traditional ways
  • It offers lightweight template engine famous as ‘Blade’, so it becomes easy to add logic in HTML file
  • Eloquent ORM support for Laravel brings service of one of the superb ORMs written by the community. It abstracts and automates the model part as well as it manages relationships and mapping of database with application using simple convention over configuration technique
  • It provides ways to manage and abstract the way of routing. Thus, everything is hassle-free, and abstraction ease takes outs and intricacies
  • It had better queue management to slice the unwanted tasks and queued it behind the scene, so it makes response time for users quick
  • It supports Redis and extends to Memcache
  • Its dependency injection makes testing easy and automates dependency loading
  • Artisan enables command line apps development faster
  • Bundles and composer make life easy for developers
Recommended reading: New features of Laravel 5 – PHP Framework.

#2: Symfony PHP Framework

Best PHP Frameworks - Point 2Symfony considered as a flexible and scalable PHP framework with desired powers. Therefore, it is at the base of popular frameworks such as Laravel.

  • It speeds up development and maintains web applications using its MVC pattern and out-of-box tools
  • It offers remarkable freedom to developers to select components by establishing standards of PHP using PHPUnit, naming conventions for classes, etc.
  • A set of prefabricated components (Reusable libraries) available to integrate into application quickly and create combination with a clear methodology to bring efficiency in development of highly complex tasks
  • Developers can install components with Composer, a PHP dependency manager and speed up development process by eliminating repeat coding
  • Programmers can use components as Security, Templates, Validators, Translators, Form Configuration, etc.
  • It guarantees stability, maintainability, and upgradeability of application you are developing
  • It provides Full Stack version for the most complex tasks
  • It has Brick-by-Brick version to create custom framework as per your requirements
  • Its standalone Micro Framework version is available for specific functionality in project
  • Framework manages all basic web development pieces and applies the best security practices
  • It incorporates advanced features such as Forms Bundles to make web development process more clean, secure, and maintainable
  • Testing is at the core of Symfony, so it offers Unit testing, Functional testing, etc. with outstanding tools

#3: CodeIgniter PHP Framework

Best PHP Frameworks - Point 3It is useful for the projects where designers are working on template files and need more freedom because it uses MVC Controller approaches, so the use of controller class is compulsion and Models, as well as Views, are optional. Thus, programmers can use own coding and naming conventions.

It is with a small footprint, so it is faster to install and work with fewer complexities. It is extendable by integration of third-party tools for large and complicated projects.

It is free from PHP version conflict and offers tools for easy error handling. It is good at security and offers easy encryption steps. It has rich libraries as built-in components and helpers.

It offers thorough documentation and makes learning curve smooth. Moreover, it is a decade old framework with proven success, so PHP developers love it most.

#4: CakePHP PHP Framework

Best PHP Frameworks - Point 4It powers the web portals of big brands since a decade. It has awesome security features such as input validation, SQL injection prevention, cross-site scripting (XSS) prevention, cross-site request forgery (CSRF) protection, etc.

  • It follows MVC convention so make development rapid
  • Easy configuration so setup database and start work because it never requires XML and YAML files
  • Translations, database access, caching, validation, authentication are inbuilt features
  • It keeps application consistent and logical by providing basic organizational structure such as file names to database table names
  • It is flexible with integrated CRUD (Create, Read, Update, and Delete) features
  • It offers built-in features for email, session, cookie, and request handling
  • Code generation and scaffolding offers programmers create prototypes fast and reuse code
Best PHP Frameworks - Programming
You may also like: 10 Best Resources for CakePHP Development & Programming.

#5: Zend PHP Framework

Best PHP Frameworks - Point 5It is specially built for large size projects being a robust and stable PHP framework.

  • It uses object-oriented code
  • It has standard components in libraries to form an extensible framework
  • If follows MVC paradigm to make development process fast and easy
  • It is modular based and uses building blocks in combination of other frameworks and applications
  • With ZendService, developers can access web services by implementing client libraries
  • It is a collection of classes so you can take benefits of individual libraries to cut the unwanted project bloat
  • It is free of predefined restraints
  • It is at the core of Magento framework for eCommerce niche

#6: Phalcon PHP Framework

Best PHP Frameworks - Point 6Falcon is a symbol of speed so PHP Phalcon framework. It is a purely written with C/C++ and keeping performance optimization in mind. However, developers do not need to learn C class coding, as functionality is available in PHP classes.

  • It is MVC based architecture, so speed and convenience are guaranteed
  • It decreases resource consumption significantly
  • It has cool features such as auto loader, asset management, caching, security, and translation
  • It has huge community and rich documentation

#7: Slim PHP Framework

Best PHP Frameworks - Point 7It is a micro framework with everything needed and without unwanted features. It offers minimalistic in designing and excellent for small application development, as it name suggests.

It is favorite among programmers to develop RESTful APIs and services. It has a distinct feature to leverage including URL routing, HTTP caching at client-side, encryption of cookie and session, and supports flash message across HTTP requests.

It has overkill learning curve so gaining rapid popularity and a huge community of developers working on small to medium PHP projects.

#8: Yii PHP Framework

Best PHP Frameworks - Point 8If you want to make your site faster, choose Yii framework to boost performance because it uses lazy loading techniques.

  • It is comprehensive Object Oriented Programming framework
  • It follows Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) coding concept and provide you clean and logical code base
  • It is integrated with jQuery
  • It has a set of AJAX-enabled features for dynamic coding
  • For frontend developers, it implements easy skinning and theming mechanism
  • It has Gii as a powerful class code generator to facilitate OOP and rapid prototyping to offer web-based interface, which let you generate code interactively as per your needs
  • It has security features like input validation, output filtering, SQL injection, and XSS prevention
  • Its affinity with MVC pattern assures rapid development in collaborative environment
  • It supports writing and running unit tests and functionality tests
  • It can integrate third party code and frameworks to power application further
Best PHP Frameworks - Coding
You may like: The Yii PHP Framework – A Comprehensive Review.

#9: Fat-Free PHP Framework

Best PHP Frameworks - Point 9

  • It is a micro framework with lightweight source code so easy to use to build dynamic and robust web applications
  • It has solid foundation and mature code base
  • It has easy to use web development toolkits
  • It provides high-performance URL routing and cache engine
  • It gives built-in code highlighter and supports multilingual development
  • Easy to configure
  • Supports SQL and NoSQL database
  • It has optional plugins to extend functionality
  • It offers plugins for unit testing, template engine, mark-down-to-HTML converter, geo-data handler, logger, image process, and so on
  • It strikes a balance between code, performance, and productivity

#10: Kohana PHP Framework

Best PHP Frameworks - Point 10Kohana is an efficient and organized PHP framework for real world use. It has specific libraries and tools to track the performance and security issues quickly.

It is Hierarchical Model View Controller (HMVC) architectural pattern framework, so speed is the natural expectation. It has built with PHP OOP focus, so it offers visibility protection, abstracts, class autoloading, overloading, and singletons feature.

It is free from code generators and complicated configuration files. It is intuitive with its simple routing structure and commented code to comprehend coding.

It has a comprehensive set of components to create web application rapidly such as translation tools, database access, code profiling, encryption, and validation. It allows all methods such as GET, POST, COOKIE, SESSION, etc. with the freedom to use any.

It’s active, and huge community is ready to help you for any scale of complexity and challenges.

#11: FuelPHP PHP Framework

Best PHP Frameworks - Point 11It is flexible and full-stack PHP framework with modular and extendable approaches. It shows some distinguish tools and features such as:

  • It uses cascading file system
  • URL routing system
  • RESTful implementation
  • HMVC paradigm
  • Template parsing
  • Data validation
  • ORM
  • Caching system
  • Vulnerability protection
  • CSRF prevention with token
  • Input filtering
  • Builder
  • SQL injection prevention

#12: Aura PHP Framework

Best PHP Frameworks - Point 12It has clean and fully decoupled libraries to integrate any database or databases. It offers high-end and well-tested libraries with standards-compliant packages.

Aura has built with intentions to leverage the latest features of the latest version of PHP, so it hardly supports the backward versions.


Best PHP Frameworks - conclusionPHP has plenty of frameworks with different capabilities and suitable for various purposes. It is up to the developers who have efficiencies in particular frameworks to restrict the selection. Otherwise, the market has enough options to choose the framework for large-scale projects or smaller ones.

Therefore, you have to go hunting PHP developers or a team of PHP programmers who have equal proficiencies in the majority of trendy PHP frameworks to deliver quality outputs with speed and cost effectiveness.

Best PHP Frameworks - author-image-samir-mansuriThis article is written by Samir Mansuri. He is a Head of PHP Development Team at Perception System Pvt. Ltd.; the company provides hire PHP developers services at affordable rates. Follow him: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn.

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Published By: Souvik Banerjee

Souvik BanerjeeWeb Developer & SEO Specialist with 15+ years of experience in Open Source Web Development specialized in Joomla & WordPress development. He is also the moderator of this blog "RS Web Solutions".