PHP is the most popular server-side script in the world, from a humble beginning as a static html file to being one of the most popular coding languages for web frameworks. With the introduction of PHP 7.0 and OPCache, PHP appears to be dominating the market with a faster and leaner framework. According to SitePoint, here is the complete list of the top most popular frameworks based on market share. Wikipedia has a complete list of features compared among all the PHP Frameworks.
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Due to the flexibility of PHP, the framework provides a platform structure that allows us to develop robust web applications, complex websites and web apps. Sometimes it can take too much time and hassle to always start from scratch, hence the need for a more structured natural way of development, these PHP frameworks provide developers with an adequate solution for that. Here are some of the best PHP Frameworks for backend web development.
↓ 01 – Laravel
Laravel is a clean and classy PHP framework with minimal configuration and expressive syntax. It is a free, open-source PHP web framework, created by Taylor Otwell and intended for the development of web applications following the model–view–controller architectural pattern. Some of the features of Laravel are a modular packaging system with a dedicated dependency manager, different ways for accessing relational databases, utilities that aid in application deployment and maintenance, and its orientation toward syntactic sugar.
- Valet is a Laravel development environment for Mac minimalists. No Vagrant, no Apache, no fuss.
- StyleCI is the PHP coding style continuous integration service for Laravel.
- Laravel Mix makes the front-end a breeze. Start using SASS and Webpack in minutes.
- Powerful SaaS application scaffolding. Stop writing boilerplate & focus on your application.
- If all you need is an API and lightning fast speed, try Lumen. It’s Laravel super-light.
- Need a CMS that runs on Laravel and is built for developers and clients? Look no further.
↓ 02 – Symfony
Symfony is a set of PHP Components, a Web Application framework, a Philosophy, and a Community — all working together in harmony. Symfony Components are a set of decoupled and reusable PHP libraries. They are becoming the standard foundation on which the best PHP applications are built on. You can use any of these components in your own applications independently from the Symfony Framework.
↓ 03 – CodeIgniter
CodeIgniter is a powerful PHP framework with a very small footprint, built for developers who need a simple and elegant toolkit to create full-featured web applications. It is a free PHP framework maintained by EllisLab. It has excellent documentation with a large user community. There are many features that will make you taste CodeIgniter for your project such as no PHP version conflict.
- Framework with a small footprint – CodeIgniter 3 has a 2MB download, including the user guide.
- Simple solutions over complexity – CodeIgniter encourages MVC, but does not force it on you.
- Clear documentation – The CodeIgniter User Guide comes with the download. It contains an introduction, tutorial, a number of “how to” guides, and then reference documentation for the components that make up the framework.
- Exceptional performance – CodeIgniter consistently outperforms most of its competitors.
- Strong Security – We take security seriously, with built-in protection against CSRF and XSS attacks.
- Nearly zero configuration – Much of the CodeIgniter configuration is done by convention, for instance putting models in a “models” folder. There are still a number of configuration options available, through scripts in the “config” folder.
↓ 04 – Yii Framework
Yii is a high-performance PHP framework best for developing Web 2.0 applications. Yii comes with rich features: MVC, DAO/ActiveRecord, I18N/L10N, caching, authentication and role-based access control, scaffolding, testing, etc. It can reduce your development time significantly. Whether you are one developer building a fairly simple Web site, or a team of distributed developers building an extremely complex Web application, using Yii is like augmenting your development team with additional experienced, professional, and efficient resources. All for free!
- Fast – Yii only loads the features that you need. It has powerful caching support. It is explicitly designed to work efficiently with AJAX.
- Secure – Security comes as standard with Yii. It includes input validation, output filtering, SQL injection and Cross-site scripting prevention.
- Professional – Yii helps you develop clean and reusable code. It follows the MVC pattern, ensuring a clear separation of logic and presentation.
↓ 05 – CakePHP
CakePHP makes building web applications simpler, faster, while requiring less code. A modern PHP 7 framework offers a flexible database access layer and a powerful scaffolding system that makes building both small and complex systems simpler, easier and, of course, tastier. Build fast, grow solid with CakePHP.
- Build Quickly – Use code generation and scaffolding features to rapidly build prototypes.
- No Configuration – No complicated XML or YAML files. Just setup your database and you’re ready to bake.
- Friendly License – CakePHP is licensed under the MIT license which makes it perfect for use in Commercial applications.
- Batteries Included – The things you need are built-in. Translations, database access, caching, validation, authentication, and much more are all built into one of the original PHP MVC frameworks.
- Clean MVC Conventions – Instead of having to plan where things go, CakePHP comes with a set of conventions to guide you in developing your application
- Secure – CakePHP comes with built-in tools for input validation, CSRF protection, Form tampering protection, SQL injection prevention, and XSS prevention, helping you keep your application safe & secure
↓ 06 – Zend Framework
Zend Framework is a collection of professional PHP packages with more than 155 million installations. It can be used to develop web applications and services using PHP 5.6+, and provides 100% object-oriented code using a broad spectrum of language features. Professional PHP packages ready for PHP 7. Focused on Simplicity, Reusability, and Performance.
- Performance – Engineered with performance tuning in mind. Zend Framework 3 runs up to 4x faster than version 2 releases!
- Extensible – Open architecture based on Middleware or MVC, following
- PHP-FIG standards Secure – Built with security best practices. Store passwords using bcrypt, encrypt with AES-256, and more.
- Enterprise Ready – A proven history of success running business critical and high-usage applications. Ready for PHP 7.
↓ 07 – Phalcon
Phalcon is an open source full stack framework for PHP, written as a C-extension. Phalcon is optimized for high performance. Its unique architecture allows the framework to always be memory resident, offering its functionality whenever it’s needed, without expensive file stats and file reads that traditional PHP frameworks employ.
- Zephir/C extensions are loaded together with PHP one time on the web server’s daemon start process
- Classes and functions provided by the extension are ready to use for any application
- The code is compiled and isn’t interpreted because it’s already compiled to a specific platform and processor
- Thanks to its low-level architecture and optimizations Phalcon provides the lowest overhead for MVC-based applications
↓ 08 – Slim
Slim is a PHP micro framework that helps you quickly write simple yet powerful web applications and APIs. Slim is a PHP micro framework that helps you quickly write simple yet powerful web applications and APIs. At its core, Slim is a dispatcher that receives an HTTP request, invokes an appropriate callback routine, and returns an HTTP response. That’s it.
- HTTP Router – Slim provides a fast and powerful router that maps route callbacks to specific HTTP request methods and URIs. It supports parameters and pattern matching.
- Middleware – Build your application with concentric middleware to tweak the HTTP request and response objects around your Slim app.
- PSR-7 Support – Slim supports any PSR-7 HTTP message implementation so you may inspect and manipulate HTTP message method, status, URI, headers, cookies, and body.
- Dependency Injection – Slim supports dependency injection so you have complete control of your external tools. Use any Container-Interop container.
↓ 09 – Fat-Free Framework
Fat-Free Framework is a powerful yet easy-to-use PHP micro-framework designed to help you build dynamic and robust web applications – fast! at-Free is one of the lightweight frameworks with less than 50KB. It was developed almost entirely in PHP with main features of URL router, multilingual application support and cache engine. There are plentiful plugins for a large number of database back-end like MySQL, MSSQL, SQLite, Sybase, DB2, MongoDB, CouchDB, PostgreSQL and Flat File.
- Create Powerful Apps – Take advantage of the built-in features. Develop apps that really rock. F3 gives you solid foundation, a mature code base, and a no-nonsense approach to writing Web applications.
- Blazing Fast Kickstart – Whether you’re a novice or an expert PHP programmer, F3 will get you up and running in no time. No unnecessary and painstaking installation procedures. No complex configuration required. No convoluted directory structures.
- Write Less code – Speed up your development process. F3 is lightweight, easy-to-use, and fast. Most of all, it doesn’t get in your way. It has a gentle learning curve so you save money on training expenses.
- Rocket Science Included – Under the hood is an easy-to-use Web development tool kit, a high-performance URL routing, multi-protocol cache engine, built-in code highlighting, and support for multilingual i18n applications.
↓ 10 – FuelPHP
FuelPHP is a MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework that was designed from the ground up to have full support for HMVC as part of its architecture. But we didn’t stop there, we also added ViewModels (also known as presentation models) into the mix which give you the option to add a powerful layer between the Controller and the View. FuelPHP also supports a more router based approach where you might route directly to a closure which deals with the input uri, making the closure the controller and giving it control of further execution.
Security concerns have been front and center from the beginning. Out-of-the-box FuelPHP’s Views will encode all your output to make it secure and prevent XSS attacks. If you need to allow HTML through you can mark it as safe or have it cleaned by the default included HTMLawed. FuelPHP also supports CSRF prevention with tokens, input filtering and the Query Builder will assist you in preventing any SQL injection attacks. Several security features inside the framework use functionality offered by PHPSecLib. More about Security in FuelPHP can be read in the documentation.
↓ 11 – Nette Framework
Stop solving repetitive tasks and getting distracted with details that make programming dull and unproductive. Nette Framework lets you work more effectively, focus on what’s important and makes your code more readable and well-structured in the process. Nette Framework lets you focus on the creative part of being a developer. It’s built to be extremely usable, friendly and a joy to use. Its comprehensible yet efficient syntax, a cutting edge debugger and industry-leading security features let you write e-commerce sites, wikis, blogs, CMS or anything you can imagine faster and better than ever. Some features include:
- An excellent templating system
- Unbeatable diagnostic tools
- Extraordinarily effective database layer
- Rock-solid protection against known vulnerabilities
- HTML5 and AJAX support, SEO friendly
- Well written documentation and an active open source community
- Mature and clean object oriented design leveraging the latest PHP features
↓ 12 – PHPixie
PHPixie started as a micro framework and has gradually grown to be one of the most popular full stack PHP frameworks while retaining its high performance. This is in part because of the strict architecture that avoids common pitfalls such as reliance on static methods, global scope, singletons and other antipatterns, thus also ensuring that the code is easy to read, debug, extend and test. In fact all PHPixie components boast full unit test coverage. It is the PHP framework that will never stand in your way and provides you with full control over execution flow, easy to learn and straightforward to master.
- Bundle system – Reuse and share your code via Composer as self contained bundles
- Linear code flow – Never find yourself in an event hell ever again as event use is avoided
- MongoDB support – Database components support working with MongoDB out of the box
- Best practices – Designed from scratch according to SOLID principles and industry standards
- Hardened security – Using cryptographically secure hashesh, random tokens and secure cookie handing
- First-hand support – Need help? Just drop a line in the chat and get help from the creator in no time
My recommended IDE for all popular frameworks is Codelobster