PHP is one of the most favoured server-side scripting languages known for its simplicity. It is the language of choice for web development with almost 80% of all the existing websites breathing on PHP code. It would be next to impossible to build on raw PHP code alone, hence why the PHP framework ecosystem is so diverse. So, why use a framework? They provide the customers a fundamental structure. Frameworks offer ready to use components, libraries, and enforce proven architecture. Simply put, PHP frameworks make web development fun and make you more productive.

Choosing the right framework can be tough, but we have created a list of five of the most popular frameworks used by PHP developers, to make the choice easier.

1. Laravel

Laravel, having only been released in 2011, has quickly shot to fame and is now widely considered king of the PHP frameworks. Laravel is built to be simple, easy to learn and supports rapid application development. Laravel has its own light-weight templating engine called “Blade”, sophisticated syntax that simplifies tasks you frequently need to do, such as authentication, sessions, caching and RESTful routing. The best thing about Blade is that it allows you to write plain PHP in the templates which essentially means that Blade brings no performance overheads to your application.

2. Symfony

Despite the release of Symfony 3 in 2015, Symfony 2 is still undoubtedly the go to for developers. It is particularly useful when tasked with a large scale project. One of the most attractive features of Symfony are the reusable PHP libraries that can be used to complete different task. For example, form creation, object configuration, authentication and templating. It is also particularly useful that Symfony components fuel some of the largest open source projects like Drupal, PHPBB, PIWIk, OROCRM and Laravel.

3. Codeigniter

Having launched back in 2006 by Ellislab, Codeigniter is the oldest framework on our list. This lightweight framework has withstood the test of time due to its ability to run any web based application rapidly and effectively. Codeigniter is a lean framework, only taking 2MB to download, whilst still allowing you to add third-party plugins for more complicated functionalities. However, the future of Codeigniter is unclear. Ellislab have stopped supporting the framework and Codeigniter now lies in the hands of its very loyal community.

4. Yii

Yii dates back to 2008, being just slightly younger than Codeigniter. It was considered subpar to Laravel and Symfony, but with the release of Yii 2.0, it gave the framework a new lease of life and is now fast becoming the preferred choice for enterprise grade web application development. The main competitor to Yii is Symfony. This comes down to the fact that both dialects work with Full Stack and both have their source code on GitHub. But, Yii is seen as a little easier to grasp and mainly selected for speed development instead of Symfony.

5. Phalcon

Phalcon is another modern framework built for speed. It is among the frameworks that have seen success in a very short span of time having only been released in 2012. Phalcon is a PHP extension framework written in C and C++ to reach the highest level of performance optimization possible and is said to be one of the fastest frameworks available today. It not only boosts execution speeds, but also decreases resource usage. Phalcon is easy to learn, brings in all features to develop web applications of any size and complexity. It is an easy to use framework and certainly worth a try.


Our specialist PHP recruitment consultant Sharon has seen the rise and fall of different PHP frameworks over the years, but one thing she has noticed is how symfony and Laravel continue to stand-out as the best frameworks to have had experience with, according to the majority of hiring managers.

It goes without saying that everyone wants to work with the newest tech. While frameworks such as Codeigniter and Yii are still good PHP frameworks to have had experience with, but unfortunately they are not regarded as the most efficient or in-demand.

If you are a PHP enthusiast and are keen to ensure you are advancing your skills with the hottest tools on the market, Sharon advises to gain experience with Symfony 2 or Laravel.