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10 Best PHP Frameworks for Web Development in 2018

Updated on  23rd September

6 Min Read
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Websites have become more complex and demanding over time. On the plus side, they now deliver far more value than they used to in yesteryears. As most developers will tell you, PHP frameworks are the go-to creation tools that give life to those sites, and as a result, almost 80% of the web pages on the internet are backed by PHP frameworks.

In this article, we have compiled for you a list of best PHP frameworks out there.

What makes these frameworks so popular and a breeze to work with is the fact that they contain ready to use libraries and components. We can draw up a long list of the pros of using a PHP framework and why it helps your website development process more productive and fun.

But right now, as a developer, your head must still be buzzing with choosing a PHP framework for your project and we’ll not test your patience anymore.

Choosing a PHP Framework

To choose the best PHP Framework for large scale applications, you must answer these questions first:

  • What functionalities and components do I want from the Framework?
  • Is the framework being regularly developed?
  • Is there a large community around the particular framework?
  • What is the learning curve?

Keeping these questions in mind (and a survey was taken on a Facebook group), we’ve shortlisted the following list of Best PHP frameworks in 2018 for you:


If frameworks were people, Laravel would probably be the king. If you want to code beautiful designs, you’re looking for Laravel since it’s positioned as the go-to PHP framework for web artisans.

The reason for its wide popularity boils down to ease of use and virtually no learning curve. And despite that, it’s a framework developer use for some serious work. So it may seem like a simple tool at first, but it’s a beast when it comes to producing concrete work.

Laravel has many inbuilt features which supports rapid application development. It includes platform’s own templating engine called Blade, local development environment called Homestead, advanced RESTful routing system and many other features.

Why should you consider Laravel?

  • If you are looking for an easy-to-learn framework
  • A PHP community’s favorite
  • Outstanding training materials
  • A simple unit for testing purposes

You might be interested at: How To Install Laravel On DigitalOcean


Developed by SensioLabs, Symfony has a large community of over 300,000 developers to boast of. The development team of Symfony not only offers training courses in different languages, but they update their blog on a regular basis to keep their large community active.

The framework is highly recommended by the developers because of its advanced features and easy to understand environment.

Symfony components uses reusable PHP libraries which makes various developmental jobs lot easier such as form creation, routing authentication, object configuration, templating and many others.

Unlike Laravel, Symfony has a steep learning curve owing to the vast amount of features it has to offer. However, the fast growing community and several unofficial support groups make it a lot easier to learn and get familiar with what the framework has to offer.

Why should you consider Symfony?

Symfony has crossed over 500 million downloads, but here are four more reasons to go for it:

  • If you are looking for a framework laden with features
  • Long Term Support releases
  • Contains the largest number of bundles among all the frameworks
  • Offers official training courses and certifications

You might be interested in: How To Host Symfony On Amazon Cloud

Yii 2

Yii is among the oldest PHP frameworks and is without any backing by a company. Instead, an international team of developers provide the support and efficiently deliver on large scale and modern web development needs. Yii 2 is a direct competitor to Symfony 2 albeit with an easier learning curve.

With its stand-out features, Yii 2 is mostly selected when developers need results fast. Its design makes it work well with AJAX and has powerful caching support, making Yii 2 yet another strong choice among developers.

While it allows developers to model database data into objects, as to avoid the complexity of writing SQL queries on repetitive basis. With Yii2, developers ensure extensible, efficient and easily maintainable web applications.

Why should you consider Yii 2?

  • If you are looking for an efficient tool to handle errors
  • Support for AJAX
  • A framework developed and backed by a community
  • No hassle in integration with third-party components

You might be interested in: How To Host Yii 2 Framework


CakePHP has seen its share of ups and downs in the PHP frameworks community. But with the release of version 3.0, the giant from old times has made a statement.

Released in 2005 and available under the MIT license, CakePHP is completely free to use whether it is for personal or commercial use. At earlier stages, the CakePHP attracted names like Hyundai, Express, and BMW, etc. as its corporate users, and you can reflect on how important it was in its early stages.

Why should you consider CakePHP?

  • If you are looking for easy extensions with plugins and components
  • Zero configuration
  • Support for AJAX
  • Built-in validation

You might be interested in: How To Install CakePHP


A powerful PHP framework with advanced features, CodeIgniter is the go-to framework for developers who want to develop their projects quickly. It contains a library which has a simple interface and requires a logical structure to access. CodeIgniter shines for many developers because it allows them to focus on the creativity part and requires little to no coding tasks.

Why should you consider CodeIgniter?

  • If you are looking for a framework that requires little coding
  • Provides exceptional performance
  • Several tools available in one package
  • Built-in security tools

You might be interested in: How To Host CodeIgniter

Zend Framework

Zend is a highly powered PHP framework that provides rapid application development. Recommended by wide community of developers, Zend framework is one of the most advanced PHP frameworks in the market.

The platform is packed with lot of advanced features that makes easy for developers to create robust applications.

It has several optimized features such as cryptographic coding tool, front-end supported drag and drop editor, PHP Unit testing tools and others. Further, Zend has also partnered with major tech companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Google and others.

  •  If you are looking for great front-end technologies supported tools
  • Has wide developers community
  • Supports third-party components
  • Support for AJAX


Phalcon is quite different from the other PHP frameworks because its coding style is based on C and C++. Yet it provides advanced development features to create flawless web applications.

The framework comprises of exceptional features including asset management, caching, universal autoloader and others. Phalcon is very easy to use and understand, and comes up with detailed documentation to help developers understand the platform better.

  • If you are looking for a framework that is blazing fast with low overheads
  • Advanced security features
  • Uniquely written on C-extension
  • Developer friendly framework

Slim Framework

Slim framework enables you to develop powerful web applications with great enhanced features. It is very popular among the developers for creating APIs because it provides simple steps to develop desired APIs.

Being a micro PHP framework, it is lightweight in design and is great for developing small web applications. It is majorly used for developing RESTful APIs and different web services. The framework is further packed with some rich features like URL routing, sessions, cookie encryption and others.

  • If you are looking for developing small web apps with great functionalities
  • Perfect for developing RESTful APIs
  • Well prepared framework documentation
  • Add-ons include HTTP Caching, & Flash


FuelPHP is a highly modular and extendable PHP framework that supports MVC architecture for developing applications. While not only MVC, the framework also supports Hierarchical Model-View-Controller (HMVC), the enhanced version of MVC.

FuelPHP also addresses major security concerns of the apps by providing extensive security features like URL filtering and output encoding. Whereas, the framework has its authentication framework, therefore is widely preferred for developing end-to-end web solutions.

  • If you are looking for a framework that supports advanced MVC features
  • Optimized authentication packages
  • Recommended for developing high performance apps
  • Enhanced security features


PHPixie is a highly optimized full stack PHP framework that is used for developing high performance web applications. It also supports Hierarchical Model-View-Controller (HMVC) just like FuelPHP, and is built with independent components. The framework also has active community, which regularly contributes in the various upgrades of the framework.

  •  If you are looking for a framework that is easy to understand and work
  • Supports advanced HMVC architecture
  • Impressive Routing system
  • Lightweight framework with MongoDB support

We’ve never walked in your shoes; hence, we have no idea what your requirements are for your projects. However, we’ve shortlisted the best PHP frameworks for you and selecting one based on your needs should be effortless now.

If you have any questions regarding the article, use the comment section below and we’ll get back shortly. And don’t forget to share the article with your developer friends and make their lives easier as well!

Share your opinion in the comment section. COMMENT NOW

Shahroze Nawaz

Shahroze is a PHP Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed PHP Hosting Platform. He’s always in search of new frameworks and methods to implement them. Besides his coding life, he loves movies and playing soccer with friends. You can email him at

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