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Top Code Editors and IDE for PHP Development of 2020

December 13, 2018

8 Min Read
Reading Time: 8 minutes

In order to remain competitive and productive, writing good code in minimum time is an essential skill that every software developer must possess. Writing code has become a fundamental requirement for many emerging segments including IoT and AI.

As many experienced coders will attest, the right IDE and/or code editor is vital for producing and maintaining high quality code. As the number and style of writing code increases and new programming languages emerge frequently, it is important that the software developers must opt for the right IDE to achieve the objectives. Besides questioning the best hosting for PHP in all over the world, developers are asking the one same question: Which IDE is best for PHP development?

In this article, I will highlight several IDE and code editors that have captured the attention of the global software development communities, like PHP and Python, and will continue to be popular in 2020. However, before proceeding further, I would like to clear up an important misunderstanding that simply refuse to go away!

The Difference Between IDE and Code Editors

It might appear that in this age when writing code has become a common enough skill, there is still confusion about the exact definition of an IDE and a code editor. Part of the problem could be traced to the fact that the line between the two is blurring because of crossover of features.

Essentially, an Integrated Development Environment or IDE is a self-contained package that allow you to write, compile, execute and debug code in the same place. On the other hand, a code editor is a text editor with several features that facilitate the process of writing code, either through native capabilities or through optional plugins.

Generally, IDE is focused on a single language and contains the compiler/interpreter and debugger specific to the language. In contrast, code editors are more general purpose in their capabilities, being able to work with a number of programing languages. Code editors are limited to writing code and do not go beyond this stage.

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Both IDE and code editors share common features such as code completion, hints, highlighting sections of code and custom folding of sections of code. Choosing between an IDE or code editor is largely a matter of personal preference, the particular programming language and the workflows.

Here is my list of web development tools that have established a reputation of reliability and performance. I hope that you will be using one or more of the following in your 2020 projects.

Top IDE for PHP Projects

  1. PHPStorm
  2. Netbeans
  3. Aptana Studio
  4. Eclipse
  5. Visual Studio (with Xamarin)
  6. ZendStudio

Top Code Editors for PHP Projects

  1. Sublime Text
  2. Visual Studio Code
  3. Atom
  4. Notepad++
  5. Coda
  6. Brackets
  7. SlickEdit
  8. jEdit
  9. Programmer’s Notepad
  10. Komodo Edit
  11. RJ TextEd
  12. Rapid
  13. Ultraedit
  14. Codeanywhere



  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
  • Supported Languages: PHP 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6 and 7.0, HTML and JavaScript
  • Price: USD 199 for the first year, Subsequent usage costs less.
  • More Information: Code quality analysis, PHPUnit tests, GitHub
  • Visit: PHPStorm



  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris
  • Supported Languages: Java ME & SE, JavaScript, HTML5, PHP, C/C++, XML, Groovy, Javadoc, JSP
  • Price: FREE (CDDL or GPLv2)
  • More Information: Integration of Subversion, Mercurial, and Git, NetBeans Profiler
  • Visit: Netbeans

Aptana Studio

Aptana Studio

  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Plugin for Eclipse
  • Supported Languages: JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, DOM, CSS, Ruby on Rails, PHP, Python, Perl
  • Price: FREE (GPL)
  • More Information: Open source, deployment wizard for RoR.
  • Visit: Aptana Studio



  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris
  • Supported Languages: Ada, ABAP, C, C++, COBOL, D, Fortran, Haskell, Java, JavaScript, Julia, Lasso, Lua, NATURAL, Perl, PHP, Prolog, Python, R, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Rust, Scala, Clojure, Groovy, Scheme, and Erlang, LaTeX, Mathematica.
  • Price: FREE (Eclipse Public License)
  • More Information: Rich Client Platform, supports Tomcat, GlassFish and other servers, Web Tools Platform.
  • Visit: Eclipse

Sublime Text

Sublime Text

  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
  • Supported Languages: All popular languages
  • Price: USD 70/license
  • More Information: Package Manager
  • Visit: Sublime Text

Visual Studio Code

  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
  • Supported Languages: Batch, C++, Clojure, CoffeeScript, DockerFile, Elixir, F#, Go, Pug template language, Java, HandleBars, Ini, Lua, Makefile, Objective-C, Perl, PowerShell, Python, R, Razor, Ruby, Rust, SQL, Visual Basic, XML
  • Price: FREE (MIT License)
  • More Information: GitHub support, code refactoring, debugger
  • Visit: Visual Studio Code



  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
  • Supported Languages: HTML, CSS, Less, Sass, GitHub Flavored Markdown, C/C++, C#, Go, Java, Objective-C, JavaScript, JSON, CoffeeScript, Python, PHP, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, shell script, Clojure, Perl, Git, Make, Property List (Apple), TOML, XML, YAML, Mustache, Julia & SQL
  • Price: FREE (MIT License)
  • More Information: Open source, built-in Package Manager, Themes.
  • Visit: Atom



  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows,
  • Supported Languages: Ada, asp, Assembly, AutoIt, Batch, C, C++, C#, Caml, Cmake, COBOL, CoffeeScript, CSS, D, Diff, Flash ActionScript, Fortran, Gui4CLI, Haskell, HTML, INNO, Java, JavaScript, JSP, KiXtart, LISP, Lua, Makefile, Matlab, MS-DOS, INI file, NSIS, Normal Text File, Objective-C, Pascal, Perl, PHP, PostScript, PowerShell, Properties, Python, R, Resource file, Ruby, Shell, Scheme, Smalltalk, SQL, TCL, TeX, Visual Basic, VHDL, Verilog, XML, YAML
  • Price: FREE (GPL)
  • More Information: Open source, Macro recording and playback, User Defined Syntax Highlighting and Folding
  • Visit: Notepad++

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  • Platform(s): Mac OS X
  • Supported Languages: HTML
  • Price: USD 99
  • More Information: Touch Bar ready, FTP, SFTP, FTP+SSL, and WebDAV client
  • Visit: Coda



  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
  • Supported Languages: C++, C, VBScript, Java, JavaScript, HTML, Python, Perl, Ruby
  • Price: FREE (MIT License)
  • More Information: Live Preview, JSLint, LESS support
  • Visit: Brackets



  • Platform(s): Cross-platform
  • Supported Languages: GNU C/C++, Java, WinDbg, Clang C/C++ LLDB, Google Go, Groovy, Python, Perl, Ruby, PHP, XCode, Android JVM/NDK.
  • Price: SlickEdit Standard (USD 99.95), SlickEdit Standard for Enterprise (USD 149.95), Check prices for Pro versions.
  • More Information: Support for Git, Subversion, Mercurial, Perforce, CVS
  • Visit: SlickEdit



  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, OS/2, UNIX, VMS
  • Supported Languages: See complete list
  • Price: FREE (GPL v2)
  • More Information: Open source, Split Windows, extensive library of plugins
  • Visit: jEdit

Programmer’s Notepad

Programmer’s Notepad

Komodo Edit

Komodo Edit

  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
  • Supported Languages: Python, Perl, PHP, Ruby, Tcl, SQL, Smarty, CSS, HTML, XML
  • Price: USD 295/License
  • More Information: Package Manager, Vagrant, Docker, Unit Testing
  • Visit: Komodo Edit

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RJ TextEd

RJ TextEd

  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Linux,
  • Supported Languages: PHP, ASP, JavaScript, HTML, CSS
  • Price: FREE
  • More Information: FTP and SFTP client
  • Visit: RJ TextEd



  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
  • Supported Languages: PHP 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6 and 7.0, HTML and JavaScript
  • Price: USD 49.95 for the first year, Subsequent usage costs less.
  • More Information: Code beautifier, PHPUnit tests, GitHub , Superb FTP/SFTP support
  • Visit: Rapid PHP



  • Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
  • Supported Languages: PHP 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6 and 7.0, HTML and JavaScript
  • Price:  USD 99 for the first year.
  • More Information: Blazingly fast large file handling, Integrated FTP client, Layouts
  • Visit: Ultraedit

Visual Studio (with Xamarin)

  • Platform(s): Platform(s): Linux, MacOS, Windows
  • Supported Languages: C++ , C , C# , Visual Basic , PHP , JavaScript
  • Price:   Free to $2,999+
  • More Information: Cross-platform support, Integration with GitHub, Subversion and other team tools
  • Visit: Visual Studio (with Xamarin)



  • Platform(s): Platform(s): Linux, MacOS, Windows
  • Code faster with up to 3X performance improvements in indexing, validation, searching of PHP code
  • Superior PHP 7.1 support, PHP 7.1 express migration assistant, and seamless integration with Zend Server 9
  • Robust debugging capabilities with Xdebug, Zend Debugger, and Z-Ray integration



  • Platform(s): iOS
  • Supported Languages: Javascript, PHP, HTML, and 72 other languages
  • Price:   Free + USD 7 for freelancer and other packages
  • More Information: Code beautifier, Multiple cursors , Zen code support
  • Visit: Codeanywhere


  • Platform(s): MAC, Microsoft Windows, Linux
  • Supported Languages: HTML, XHTML, CSS, XML, PHP, C, C++, JavaScript, Java, Google Go, SQL, Perl, ColdFusion, JSP, Python, Ruby
  • Price: FREE
  • More Information: Open Source, Cross-platform support
  • Visit: BlueFish


Which IDE or Code Editor should I use for CodeIgniter ?

Eclipse for PHP works really great with CodeIgniter. Netbeans is another good IDE, and Sublime is a good code editor for CodeIgniter.

Which IDE or Code Editor could I use for WordPress ?

Aptana, NetBeans, Eclipse, Visual Studio Code, Rapid PHP, CodeLobster, Brackets are great open source IDE for WordPress development on the Windows platform. Online community also provide a lot of help on these 3 IDEs. For WordPress development, Sublime , Visual Coder ,Notepad++ Editor are better options.

Which IDE or Code Editor for Magento development?

PHPStorm and Netbeans are popular but the new Magento extension like Eclipse and Zend Studio introduced recently are also nice and getting popular in the community.

Which IDE or Code Editor works for Laravel ?

Laravel doesn’t require any special IDE or code editors. So any good editor or IDE will work for you, and it’s a matter of personal preference. PHPStorm and Sublime are generally a joy to use, and with the Laravel IDE Helper, you get autocompletion with Laravel facades.

Which IDE or Code Editor works best for Drupal ?

There is no specific IDE for Drupal development. However, you can try out Eclipse PDT or Notepad++. If you are more command line oriented, you can go with VIM.

Which PHP IDE come with SSH support ?

For SSH Support, Vim and Kate are popular options.

Which PHP IDE come With Git support?

Eclipse and Komodo provide integrated Git support within the IDE.

Is there any online PHP code editor or IDE?

There are tons of online PHP editors available in the market, but only few of them has the required advanced features. Top online code editors including CodeEnvy, PHPFiddle, WritePHPOnline, PHPAnywhere and few others are recommended by the developers for writing/editing the code online.


The right IDE or code editor is more than just a tool for creating code. The code writer has access to some amazing features and tools that streamline the process of writing and debugging code so that the time spent on code production is efficiently used to produce highest quality code.

In this article, I have tried to cover the top IDE and code editors that will remain popular in 2020. If you think I have missed out your favorite code production tool, do leave a comment below.

Share your opinion in the comment section. COMMENT NOW

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Ahmed Khan

Ahmed was a PHP community expert at Cloudways - A Managed PHP Hosting Cloud Platform. He is a software engineer with extensive knowledge in PHP and SEO. He loves watching Game of Thrones is his free time. Follow Ahmed on Twitter to stay updated with his works. You can email him at

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