PHP is an acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor. It is an open-source server-side language used for web development, and one of the oldest web development languages that has managed to stay relevant due to constant version updates since its inception. It is simple, efficient, and powerful. It thus leads the server-side market by a considerable margin. Feature-rich PHP frameworks have contributed immensely to its success making web development with PHP far more efficient than ever before.

What is a PHP Framework?

Frameworks are nothing but collections of code modules written by someone else but used by developers in their projects to implement commonly used functions. When such a framework is made for PHP web development, it is called a PHP Framework.

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Uses of PHP Framework

Languages, as standalone tools, have limited commercial usability. It is the frameworks that make it possible for developers to make industrial-grade software with great ease. Here are a few advantages of using a PHP framework:

  1. Speed up the development process: Increasing Business complexities have led to the increased complexity of web applications these businesses require. Some PHP Frameworks are more specialized to perform some tasks than others. Choosing the most fitting framework can speed up the custom and complex web application development process that might have taken a lot more time if done from the scratch.
  2. Adopt best coding practices: Professional PHP frameworks adopt and implement the best coding practices, facilitating easier code maintenance. 
  3. Improved teamwork: It improves collaboration when the written code follows standardized conventions. It makes it easier for everyone to understand the standards and the intent behind a line of code.
  4. Better Security: PHP Frameworks usually have built-in security features. Web developers use these features to insulate their websites from external attacks.
  5. Better Performance: The code written in Frameworks’ libraries is generally the most optimized implementation of the required logic. Thus, using that code instead of writing our own implementation might offer performance benefits.
  6. Tasks Automation: There are a lot of common web development tasks that a developer does. Frameworks often automate such simple tasks to increase the working efficiency of the web developer.
  7. Efficient Unit testing: PHP Frameworks come with native support for PHPUnit. It helps in efficient unit testing of the application.

Top PHP Frameworks

  • Symfony:

Symfony is one of the oldest and most successful PHP frameworks out there. It is a full-stack framework used by professionals to develop all kinds of applications. It has a lot of functions and features, making it a suitable choice for PHP veterans.


  1. Modular Component System
  2. Multiple database support
  3. Doctrine ORM
  4. Professional Support
  5. Easy debugging
  6. Twig Templating Engine
  • Zend/ Laminas:

Zend Framework is a popular PHP framework that people use to develop enterprise-level applications. However, it is not ideal for a fast developmental cycle. It is an academic framework meant for experienced people. Zend is now obsolete and is shifting to the Laminas Project.


  1. Extensible MVC architecture
  2. Multiple database support
  3. Use-at-will architecture
  4. Supports RPC and REST services
  5. Secure
  • Yii:

Yii is a full-stack PHP framework offering high performance. It enables faster project development as it comes packed with a lot of pre-tested tools. Even though it is easier to install and can be used to build small projects as well, it is more suitable for people with some experience in the field due to its overwhelming number of functionalities.


  1. MVC architecture
  2. Supports Caching
  3. Gii
  4. High performance and security
  5. Multiple database support
  6. Run third-party code

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Top PHP Frameworks for Beginners

  • Laravel:

Laravel is the most popular PHP Framework of 2021. It has all the functionalities that a professional needs yet is simple enough for a newbie to start their PHP journey with.


  1. High Security
  2. Template Engine
  3. MVC architecture
  4. Artisan
  5. OOP Libraries and Modular web apps
  • CodeIgniter:

CodeIgniter is one of the fastest PHP Frameworks available. It is free and open-source and is ideal for building small projects with minimal configuration. Thus, newcomers in the field can choose CodeIgniter as their first framework to start learning.


  1. Speed
  2. Light Footprint
  3. Flexible – both MVC and non-MVC support
  4. Security
  5. Caching
  • Slim:

Slim is a PHP micro-framework that is suitable for building small projects and application programming interfaces. It has a minimal number of third-party applications, making it a simpler PHP Framework to learn for beginners. 


  1. Lean
  2. URL routing
  3. Cookie encryption
  4. Supports PSR-7
  5. Extensible first and third-party components
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About the Author

Ravikiran A SRavikiran A S

Ravikiran A S works with Simplilearn as a Research Analyst. He an enthusiastic geek always in the hunt to learn the latest technologies. He is proficient with Java Programming Language, Big Data, and powerful Big Data Frameworks like Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark.

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