A PHP framework provides you the assurance that the application you are developing is well-structured, can be upgraded, maintainable and in full compliance with the business protocols. It enables developers to re-use the modules in the application development, thus saving them a lot of time. It simplifies and speeds up the web development process.

There is no denying the fact that the PHP framework will continue to gain popularity. In this article, we have listed the top 7 PHP frameworks that you can use to develop a high-quality web application.

1. Laravel

Laravel is the most popular free and open-source PHP framework that can securely handle even the most complex web applications with ease. With its robust ecosystem, it makes the common tasks easier, like session handling, routing, caching, authentication, etc.

Why should you consider Laravel for web development?

With Laravel, you don’t have to worry if your application requires complex and flexible back-end. Laravel can be used to build robust applications with complex back-end, no matter how large or small your application is.

To make the entire PHP development process smooth, Laravel offers Homestead, an official pre-packaged Vagrant box (a tool for building and managing virtual machine environments in an elegant way) that offers you an amazing development environment to build applications. Moreover, it does not require you to install a web server, PHP, or any other software server on your local machine.

It is a featured-packed framework that enables you to customize the complex apps easily, including security, authentication, data migration and more.
Lavarel facilitates high security and speed that is necessary for modern web applications and enterprise applications.

Latest release: Laravel 6

2.Symfony

The Symfony PHP framework was launched in 2005 and is considered one of the most mature and reliable platforms. Under an open-source license, it offers the following benefits:

. It is publicly accessible to every user for free.

. Expertise developers can inspect, modify and enhance this framework (while following the secure approach and standardized practice)  that will help other developers.

. Symfony is easy to set up, install and configure on different platforms, making web development fun.

. Symfony is a set of reusable PHP components that can easily be used by developers. They don’t require developers to write a lot of code, devoting more time to more productive things that can add value to your business.

. Symfony is a highly flexible framework and can integrate well with other software components. It lowers the risk of error and also enhances the productivity of developers.

Despite offering so many great features, Symfony is a bit hard to start. Symfony is mostly adopted by advanced developers only. Whereas, Lavarel is simple enough that even intermediate developers can understand and use it.

Latest version:Symfony 4.7.0

3. Codelgniter

The CodeIgniter PHP framework is well-suited for building dynamic web-based applications. It provides a wide range of built-in modules that developers used to create robust components. Codelgniter is a lightweight framework, only about 2MB in size, including its user guide.

Why should you consider Codelgniter for web development?

It is lightweight and easy to install and use. Its user-guide is also so well-explained and simple that even beginners can easily understand, use and implement it.

CodeIgniter is best for you if:

1.Your web application requires high-performance and high-execution speed.
2.You want clear and concise documentation in order to learn CodeIgnitor.
3.You want to build lightweight web applications that are meant to run on moderate servers.
4.You need a framework that requires no configuration at all.

With its essential features, including Model View Controller (MVC) architecture, ready-made security tools, and exceptional error-handling, it is widely used to create scalable and flexible applications.

The current version of CodeIgnitor is CodeIgnitor 3, licensed under MIT license.

The upcoming version of CodeIgnitor is CodeIgnitor 4, licensed under MIT license.

Some disadvantages of CodeIgniter that you should know:

1. Applications built using CodeIgnitor cannot be run on high-intensity and huge servers.

2. Not suitable for the applications that need advanced-level security, since CodeIngnitor upgrades and releases are irregular.

4. CakePHP

CakePHP is based on the modern PHP7 framework. It is built to make common web-development tasks easy, simple and fast, without requiring developers to write a lot of code. With CakePHP, you can build featured-packed, visually appealing results in less time. It is featured with a scalable and robust database access layer that makes developing the applications easier, simpler and fun.

Why should you consider CakePHP for web development?

  1. It offers a wide variety of APIs that can be used to build an amazing and powerful application in a short span of time.

2. Its installation is simple. You just need an HTTP server and some specific PHP extensions.

3. It offers various built-in security tools, such as SQL injection, XSS protection, CSRF protection and more. Also, its codebase is inspected by Mozilla Secure Open source Program, making it a perfect choice for building highly secure web applications.

4. It is a trustworthy framework that has a huge community, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., and a robust support system.

Latest release:CakePHP 3.8

5. Zend Framework

Zend Framework is a composition of PHP packages that are used to develop web applications. It has more than 480 million installations to date. Industry leaders including Microsoft, Google and Strikelron have collaborated with Zend to provide the web services interface.

Being a completely object-oriented framework, it uses features like inheritance, offering reusability and flexibility. Here is a quick description of the object-oriented framework and its feature, inheritance.

Object-oriented framework – It is an integrated set of components, consisting of objects and classes that have a specific structure and functionality. In layman terms, objects and classes are the set of data comprised of code, in the form of variables, integers, functions, etc.

Over traditional methodology, the object-oriented framework offers the following benefits:

  1. Improved application development productivity and faster application development because of its three factors: reusability, extendibility, and modularity.

2. Improved software maintainability and low cost of development.

Inheritance

It is a mechanism of object-oriented programming where one module can inherit the property of another module, sharing the same methods and attributes in the code. Hence, it offers reusability within the code.

Why should you consider the Zend framework for web development?

  1. Zend framework offers a high-performance tuning for every type of application, from simple to complex enterprise-level projects.

2. It is built with high-security practices Advanced Encryption Standard and bcrypt. It is suitable if your application requires rigorous security.

3. Zend framework had a large community base. It has a robust support services team that can provide their expert consultant to your team in order to help you in accelerating the application development cycle.

4. It comes with well-explained documentation that can lower the learning curve for the developers.

Latest release: Zend framework 3

6. Yii

Yii is an acronym for Yes It Is!. Yii is a secure, fast, simple, high performing and efficient PHP framework used for developing modern web applications. Yii is a general-purpose web framework, meaning it can be used to develop every type of web application. Its sophisticated caching support and component-based architecture enable you to build large-scale applications including e-commerce projects, content management systems (CMS), forums, portals and more.

Why should you consider the Yii framework for web development?

Like other PHP frameworks, Yii is also based on MVC architecture. MVC architecture offers the following benefits:

  1. Faster web application development.
  2. Suitable for developing large-scale complex applications.
  3. Minor changes in the application do not affect the entire application.
  4. More organized code.

It is extremely high-performing,  customizable and extensible framework. You can customize every bit of core code easily.

It is a full-stack framework (meaning the framework can be used for both front-end and back-end development of the application) that provides many ready-to-use features (including multi-tier caching support, RESTful API development supportquery builders, NoSQL databases and more

Latest release: Yii 2.0.27

7. Phalcon

Phalcon is a full-stack PHP framework that can be used to develop robust applications (including backend and frontend). It is known for its high performance and low server consumption.

Why should you consider the Yii framework for web development?

Phalcon is easy to install and consumes less server and memory, therefore it can be a choice for the application that requires complex configuration.

The performance of Phalcon is comparatively higher than other frameworks because of its efficient memory utilization.

Some of its key features:

  1. Autoloader: Automatically loads interfaces and classes in the code. This prevents the developer from writing a long list of classes at the beginning of the code in order to load the classes. Developers just need to write spl_autoload_registerfunction at the beginning of the code and their classes and interface will automatically get loaded. Have a look:
  2. Security and caching: Phalcon provides advanced encryption and caching capabilities. It enables you to build highly secure applications.

Conclusion:

Each PHP framework has its own pros and cons. And they all vary in terms of documentation, community, service, database, etc. You should weigh their strengths and weaknesses carefully before choosing the right framework for your application. Here are some tips to choose the right PHP framework:

  1. Understand the requirement of your application that you want to develop.

2. Before selecting the framework, analyze each framework on the basis of how it scales, ease of use, security, documentation, services, and more.