Popular PHP frameworks

A formatting guide for developers or who want to explore recent PHP frameworks.

PHP — Hypertext Preprocessor is well-known for its general-purpose open source scripting language and powerful tool for making dynamic and interactive web pages. It has various frameworks.

Many PHP frameworks offering extensive designs and exclusive features that makes source code programming less complicated and provides standard plugins

Need for PHP frameworks:

For rapid web development, web frameworks provide you a basic structure.

The programmers have to write fewer lines of codes, and it reduces coding time and faster the development process.

Apart from reducing the coding, PHP frameworks automate the development tasks and simplify the web application maintenance.

  1. Laravel

2. Symfony

3. Zend Framework

4. Phalcon

5. CakePHP

6. Yii Framework

7. Fat-Free Framwork

8. Kohana

9. Fuel PHP

10.Code Igniter

11. PHPixie

12. Slim

13. Zikula

14. Li3

Description of above mentioned frameworks :


Laravel is a powerful MVC PHP framework, designed for developers who need a simple and elegant toolkit to create full-featured web applications. It is the first and most wide-spread PHP frameworks used by many developers.

It offers a built-in command line tool called Artisan which enables the user to do repetitive programming tasks. It lets the users to build feature rich, high performance, dynamic applications.


  • Libraries and Modular
  • Template Engine
  • Database Migration system
  • Robust Tool Integration
  • Vast Developer

2. Symfony

“Symfony is a set of PHP components, a web application framework, a philosophy and a community all working together in harmony.”

Symfony is also an open-source web application framework and a set of reusable PHP components. It enables developers to access from the directory structure to foreign libraries. We can make robust applications.

Since Symfony has exclusive oops service architecture, it is named for its customization. Symfony new versions come out for every six months. To be expertise in Symfony, you need to be scholar in html, CSS and OOPS concepts.


  • Stable-Scalable-Sustainable
  • Interoperability
  • Refined MVC Architecture

3. Zend Framework : An object-oriented framework which follows inheritance and benefits the users to eliminate tedious coding parts. It facilitates in making mulit language web applications.

It is named as components library for its loosely coupled features.It provides developers with distinct components for testing.


o Extreme Simplicity

o High productivity

o Free and open source framework

4. Phalcon:

Phalcon is a open source fastest framework of PHP which is well-known among developers. It is a combined form of C and PHP. It can be implemented with less amount of code like python.

It is well-known for its ” need for speed”. Phalcon consist of object oriented classes to implement MVC architecture.


  • Flexibility
  • Simple to learn
  • Fast and robust in execution

5. Cake PHP:

CakePHP is an open source framework used for rapid development to build web apps, micro services, blogs, shopping cart , portals, headless websites.

It supports multiple languages which is one of the most merits to used by developers. It is well-known for its embedded security. There is no default language. It is very easy to test and debug any applications.

Some open-source projects are also powered by Cakephp. It does not require to create new codes from scratch as it enables reusability of codes.


  • Simplicity in performing database operations
  • Built-in validation facility
  • Rich in query API
  • Smarter router prefixes
  • Shortest url syntax

6.Yii Framework:

Yii is a high-performance PHP framework best for developing web 2.0 applications. It can reduce your development time significantly. It has powerful caching support and is explicitly designed to work efficiently with AJAX.

It uses Gii tool which is web based code scaffolding tool that is used to create code quickly. It has built-in tools helps you write solid and secure code. It also gives the maximum functionality by adding the least possible overhead.


  • Large application robust and security.
  • Efficient error handling
  • Fast performance and easy deployment.

7.Fat-Free Framework:

It is an open-source and easy to use PHP micro-web framework designed to build dynamic and robust applications. It has efficient code base and solid foundation. It has unit testing toolkit. It is known for its simple ORM feature that supports Sql and NoSql.

It has vibrant community which is responsive and helpful in clarifying the aspects of the framework. Getting to start a project on Fat-Free framework consumes less time compared to other frameworks.


  • Lightweight without losing functionality
  • Highly modular
  • Short development time
  • Comprehensive documentation and API reference.


Kohana is Swift PHP framework which uses MVC that provides a rich set of components for building applications. There are many similarities between CodeIgniter and Kohana

Kohana solves the problems of developers who have nasty codes . Its nature and learning curve has attracted a lot of users. It lays a bridges between developers and designers who love php because of its elegant features.


  • Robust ORM engine
  • In built Templates
  • Clean and Search Engine Friendly URLs
  • Vast libraries and community.

9. Fuel PHP:

Fuel is a new PHP framework built specifically for PHP 5.3 which uses the tried and tested MVC architecture for logical code separation and combines the best ideas of some existing frameworks with improvements and ideas of its own.

It is combined form of Codeigniter and Kohana. It provides caching , HMVC, Sessions, Models, Cookies, Forms, Templating. Developers love to work on this framework for its various customized features.


  • Flexible URL routing system
  • Lightweight ORM model
  • Interoperability
  • Input filtering and prevents SQL Injection.


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 application. It is an MVC(Model View Controller) design.

It provides out of the box libraries for connecting to the database and performing various operations like sending emails, uploading files, managing sessions etc.


  • Well documented
  • Work independently not relying on other components.
  • User friendly architecture
  • Increased performance


Phpixie is lightweight open source PHP MVC based web framework specially designed for rapid development , speed and simplicity.

It has inbuilt authentication, exceptions and tracing with debug component. It should be easy to learn and understandable to anyone with experience in Codeigniter and Kohana.


  • Unit tested
  • Reduced page speed and loading time
  • Inbuilt authentication
  • Stable and scalable

12. Slim

It is a php micro framework that helps you quickly write simple powerful applications and API S. It does not have a view layer like traditional MVC frameworks. It has HTTP response.

Each slim application route is responsible for preparing an appropriate response object.


  • Good documentation and code hooks
  • Fastest micro Restful framework
  • Excellent Scalability
  • Easy to learn
  • Free from vulnerability and security

13. Zikula

Zikula is an application framework which extends Symfony and includes dynamic modular development paradigm which helps to develop the application rapidly. It is easily integrated with Font Awesome 4 and Bootstrap 3.

It is named for its flexible open source application framework. It has large supporting community. It is written in PHP and requires a My Sql database.


  • Theme engine for easy layout using Twig
  • Centralized administration
  • Can see features of Symfonys
  • Known for its scalable features

14. Li3 framework

Li3 is a full-stack web framework which is written in PHP and based on Model-View-Controller development architecture. It provides full control over your application. It has vast community help.

It takes advantage of the latest PHP language features. It provides an platform to use heavy adapter-oriented configuration. You can observe that Lithium framework as innovative method of filter system that creates extensive use of closures and numerous functions.


  • Flexibility
  • Supports integrated javascript
  • Known for its autoloader
  • Robust architecture
  • Rapid development


The best part of all the above-listed PHP frameworks is that these are future-ready PHP frameworks and consist of countless features to give you an amazing web development experience.

For making things easier, I’ll suggest going for Laravel, CodeIgniter, CakePHP and Yii. These are some of the best PHP frameworks to opt for. All these frameworks offer great functionalities that can be utilized within your web development projects.

I hope this may useful who wish to learn recent PHP frameworks.


Keerthana Mahalingam.

(Stay active on medium to get updates on recent technologies.)

An Aspiring Web developer, Open Source Contributor.