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Top PHP Frameworks for Website Development in 2023

Alekh Verma | February 7, 2023
PHP frameworks

In 2023, if you’re planning on building a website, you must pay close attention to the top PHP frameworks that suit your company’s requirements and save both time and money. It takes a lot of work to build a website or mobile app from scratch, and doing so will require you to rediscover features that have previously been created and are freely available. So, why not utilize them and concentrate on creating features for your digital product that will benefit your business?

A PHP web development framework serves as a base for creating your web application without having to start from scratch. But it takes some effort to select the best PHP framework for web development. To find the framework that best suits your company’s demands, you must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of every one that is currently on the market.

Sounds challenging? You don’t have to worry. With this article, we’re aiming to help you in finding the best PHP framework for website creation. To begin, let's first understand the fundamental advantages of adopting a PHP framework.

Why Build a Website Using a PHP Framework?

Your top priority when designing a web application should be selecting a solid tech stack. One of the most widely used server-side scripting languages in the world, PHP, is a feasible choice for a variety of factors, including ease of use, flexibility, scalability, and more. Due to the benefits it provides, PHP is used in the development of more than 80% of online applications.

Now, if you are considering PHP's capacity for managing traffic. Several significant online platforms and websites, like Facebook and Wikipedia, with monthly audience numbers in the billions, reportedly use it.

But just as with any other programming language, there are instances when PHP writing can become tedious and complicated. The PHP frameworks are useful in this situation. These frameworks accelerate and improve the efficiency of web development, which streamlines the PHP development process.

  • Faster to Market

Your web development speed is something that might impact your business in today's current startup ecosystem, where it's important to get the MVP out in the market as soon as possible. Using an effective PHP framework that meets all of your business objectives and completes your work as quickly as possible will help you win this circumstance.

Popular PHP frameworks give you a strong app design (often based on the MVC pattern) to improve your web development skills as well as the finest solutions for frequent problems and a variety of libraries for common activities. As a result, you can save time by not having to start from scratch when creating your web app's essential features.

  • Advanced Security

The main obstacle to digital transformation, in the opinion of 37.3% of firms, is digital security, according to a recent survey. Due to the open-source nature of the majority of PHP frameworks, the solutions and functionalities contributed to them are continually examined and verified by a large number of developers that use the framework.

As a result, vulnerabilities in your code that you might overlook, like SQL injection or cross-site scripting, are rapidly identified and fixed in the well-known PHP frameworks. However, just because you're utilizing a secure PHP framework doesn't imply you can ignore any security measures or best practices while creating a web application. Nothing can replace writing secure and optimized code, so keep that in mind.

  • Simple to Use

You will undoubtedly have a solid memory for all your functions and classes if you write your web application from start. It won't be as simple for you to manage things as it will be if you bring on new team members.

It will be challenging for new developers to work on your project without a thorough knowledge of the design choices, functionality, and documentation. They may learn quickly and collaborate by using a PHP framework with clear documentation, common design principles, and online training.

Top PHP Frameworks for Website Development

It's critical to pick a development framework that will accelerate the time to market and enhance the performance of your project. The following is a list of some of the most popular PHP frameworks for creating websites in 2023:

1. Laravel

Laravel is one of the most scalable, open-source, user-friendly, and intuitive PHP MVC web frameworks. Laravel is a preferred choice for creating complex, multifunctional, B2B, or enterprise-level web apps because of its ability to manage complexity rapidly and with unmatched security.

Most developers enjoy the Laravel framework because it makes development easier by making several common tasks, such as routing, authentication, and queuing, simpler. Additionally, it provides more than 20 pre-built libraries that enable working on projects easier without having to reinvent the wheel, such as an authentication library to boost security.

Additionally, the software automates tasks like processing coupons, maintaining subscriber numbers, and preparing PDF invoices. Laravel can automate every task that could have been performed manually in its entirety. High developer productivity accelerates the development process, which benefits a project's overall budgeting.

Laravel Key Features:

  • Superior performance and thorough documentation compared to other PHP environments.
  • Supports caching, resulting in high-performing backends, quick task execution, and sophisticated memory management.
  • Enables simple and automated testing, which reduces time to market.
  • Offers a mechanism for simplifying email integration.

Drawbacks of Laravel:

The Laravel PHP framework is not the ideal choice if you intend to add and manage a lot of content to your web application (the news website, blog, or online store). To manage and modify things using it, you will need to construct a separate admin panel. Use a CMS instead of Laravel if you anticipate that a number of stakeholders will require access to a web app's settings or backend.

2. Symfony

One of the best and most dependable PHP frameworks for constructing websites is Symfony, which was released in 2005. The creation of an enterprise-level web application is made easier and smoother by many of its capabilities.

One major advantage is that the Symfony framework provides bundles and components for more flexibility and developer productivity. Although bundles are nearly identical to plugins, components are general features that can be utilized to reduce a developer's usual workload when creating web apps. It provides programmers more time to focus on functions and features that are specific to certain sectors.

The best part is that these components may be used to maximize productivity in other frameworks or PHP-based applications. As a result, Symfony Framework ought to be your go-to PHP framework if you want to develop an application that is both extremely adaptable and feature-rich.

Symfony Key Features:

  • A solid, tried-and-true framework that enjoys fantastic community support and frequent upgrades.
  • Dependency injection, which creates co-dependence between classes, reduces duplicate coding.
  • Because components are reused and dependencies are not present, apps are simple to maintain.
  • Fast code changes, organized documentation, and automated data migration.
  • PHPUnit accelerates unit testing and automating functional testing will lessen the developer's workload.

Drawbacks of Symfony:

Simply put, Symfony cannot be trusted for app performance and speed. Because of this, building heavy-load real-time apps using Symfony is not recommended. This is especially true for applications where users engage in real-time communication (e.g., social media apps). Additionally, there is a steep learning curve for the framework, and hiring knowledgeable Symfony developers could be challenging.

3. CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is a PHP framework for creating dynamic web applications fast that is renowned for its compact size (only 2 MB, including the documentation). It is MVC-based, speedy, trustworthy, and very well-liked. A number of built-in modules in the framework let you create durable, reusable components to speed up and simplify the overall development process.

CodeIgniter is also regarded as the fastest PHP framework for web development. If a web application is data-driven, CodeIgniter is the ideal PHP framework. CodeIgniter makes it simple to construct, insert, update, and delete code statements without having to write raw SQL.

Because of its stable performance and quicker speed, the CodeIgniter framework is the ideal PHP web framework for building lightweight programs that function on simple servers.

CodeIgniter Key Features:

  • Simple error handling and reduced server needs.
  • Enables simple database modification and data transfer.
  • A lightweight framework for building scalable web applications.
  • Contains form and data validation features.
  • The framework can be expanded (it lets you create your own libraries, APIs, and packages).

Drawbacks of CodeIgniter:

With capabilities like XSS filtering, CSR protection, password handling, and others, the CodeIgniter web framework is a compact PHP framework for web development. The framework upgrades, though, are sporadic. Therefore, it won't work well for apps that require a high level of security.

4. Cake PHP

An open-source PHP framework called CakePHP speeds up the creation of web applications by using the MVC design pattern. It enables developers to keep the app interface and business logic apart, allowing them to easily work on several aspects of the program at once.

Since CakePHP includes a templating system that enables developers to improve an app's overall look and feel using custom templates, it may be used to create visually stunning and feature-rich web apps.

In order to reuse code and spend less time coding for comparable functions, the framework also enables developers to construct standalone libraries, components, extensions, and helpers. This reduces the cost of developing web apps.

The framework has been in use for more than ten years, yet despite this, it has never lost its core functionality thanks to ongoing modifications that take into account shifting business requirements. It has an enormous developer community and outstanding performance.

CakePHP Key Features:

  • Built-in testing tools to maintain and improve the quality of the code.
  • Code creation, modification, and updating are made simple using CRUD scaffolding.
  • CSRF, XSS, and SQL injection prevention are all features of a secure PHP framework.
  • Features for built-in validation that speed up and simplify development.
  • Assists with effective database management using automated functions.

Drawbacks of CakePHP:

CakePHP doesn't enable default routes for fancy URLs, unlike several popular PHP frameworks for website development like Symfony and Laravel. Because fancy URLs negatively impact CakePHP's efficiency and occasionally render it unsuitable for developing modern web applications, developers must adjust the default routes.

5. Yii

Yii is a PHP framework that is free, high-performing, and user components to build complex online applications. It offers a number of extremely flexible tools for quickly producing code with features like form inputs and CRUD.

The framework is well suited for creating huge projects like eCommerce sites, CMS, forums, and many others since it has a number of security features including cross-site scripting and cookie attack prevention. The framework also offers elegant caching support, enabling developers to design highly efficient web programs.

Yii Key Features:

  • jQuery and AJAX feature integration.
  • Offers incredible performance and rapid development.
  • It includes Gii, which makes rapid prototyping easier.
  • Offers effective systems for tracking and addressing errors.
  • A sizable developer community that can assist with issues and questions.

Drawbacks of Yii:

While many developers adore the Yii framework, many simply cannot stomach it due to its excessive reliance on static methods. Additionally, Yii requires more care because a single coding error might completely derail an application.

6. Phalcon

Phalcon is a full-stack PHP framework for building websites that were introduced in 2012. Although Phalcon is a C-extension, you don't need to know C to use it to create PHP web applications.

It is the first PHP framework to implement ORM in C using the MVC architecture. It uses a small number of resources and fewer lines of code to carry out a certain activity. Because of this, it is the favored option for building incredibly quick and effective websites.

Phalcon Key Features:

  • The best framework for creating highly customizable web applications.
  • Features a very simple and obvious syntax and makes use of the volt template engine.
  • Fast compilation and execution speed resulting in the app's strong performance.
  • Caching support, effective asset management, and top-notch security.

Drawbacks of Phalcon:

Although the Phalcon PHP web application framework is lightning-quick, not every website should use it. Phalcon cannot be used if your hosting is shared. Only large websites that care about performance and don't use shared hosting should use this framework.

7. Zend

An open-source and user-friendly PHP framework called Zend can be used to create feature-rich, enterprise-level websites. As an object-oriented framework, it makes use of ideas like inheritance and interfaces. Web developers can construct variations using the majority of its expandable and modifiable components without changing the main code.

Compared to many popular PHP frameworks, Zend’s code is more organized and reusable, making it a viable choice for sophisticated, large-scale projects at the business level. Additionally, Zend may be integrated with specific third-party libraries and templates; it never causes an application to lag, even while handling a sizeable database.

Using the Zend framework, a server-side scripting language with all of its features and functionalities, to build a large data application is highly advised.

Zend Key Features:

  • Offers incredible speed, performance, security, and extensibility.
  • Utilizing the Agile process and adhering to PHP best practices.
  • Has a huge developer community and incredibly thorough documentation.
  • The framework is HTML5 compliant and accepts several different sorts of input data.

Drawbacks of Zend:

Without a doubt, Zend is a framework that is quite adaptable. It contains a lot of external plugins that might assist you in obtaining a particular functionality without a lot of code. These plugins are expensive, though. In actuality, Zend plugins cost more than those any other PHP framework. Therefore, Zend might not be an appropriate PHP framework for your website development if you have a limited budget.

8. Slim

Slim should be your first pick if you're trying to create a straightforward yet effective web application. It is a PHP micro-framework that has fewer capabilities than other well-known PHP frameworks but yet enables you to develop web apps and strong APIs.

Slim enables developers to create apps quickly and with the highest level of security because it is loaded with capabilities like middleware and routing. It is also regarded as the best PHP framework for simple web applications or smaller-scale projects. Slim is also frequently used to develop restful APIs for web services and single-page applications.

Slim Key Features:

  • Create simple APIs that only take a few lines of code.
  • A framework that loads quickly and can process numerous requests per second.
  • Supports a variety of crucial features like middleware, URL routing, and cookie encryption.

Drawbacks of Slim:

The greatest PHP framework for a small website is called Slim. It is not a good option, though, if you intend to create a sophisticated, expansive website. Additionally, Slim makes it challenging to leverage model properties and has weak dependency injection.


Despite the market's abundance of PHP web frameworks, each one has advantages and disadvantages of its own. Similar to how no two businesses have the same needs, every web development firm or developer has a different set of preferences. Because of this, it's critical to evaluate each PHP framework in light of the task at hand, the website developer's preferences, and their level of ability to complete the assignment.

All of the aforementioned frameworks are effective, have top-notch technological requirements, and are frequently utilized in the creation of websites. One size does not, however, fit all. Therefore, consider your company's requirements before choosing the option that best suits you.

Alekh Verma

CEO and Founder at eSearch Logix Technologies!

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