PHP vs Laravel vs Zend vs Symfony vs YII vs CodeIgniter vs CakePHP


There is no need to introduce PHP because anyone who has any relation to programming will know what PHP is and the benefits they offer. PHP is rightfully the most famous scripting language because of its flexibility, ease of use, scalability and provides the most trusted framework for building web applications. PHP gives the basic structure to promote RAD or Rapid Application Development and reduces the amount of repetitive coding for developers. PHP frameworks are also a great boon to beginners as it helps them build stable applications by enabling coding on the presentation layer and proper database interaction. In this article, we will discuss a few very popular PHP frameworks like Laravel, Zend, CakePHP, CodeIgniter and so on. 

Need for PHP Framework

Developers diligently use PHP frameworks for speeding up their development process. Though PHP is a very powerful, server side programming language, core PHP might not be a good solution for complex business requirements because when complex applications are built, it needs the expertise of the original team to manage it. Hiring an outside team might not be a good idea as it could be more time consuming and expensive. This is where the different frameworks of PHP might become helpful, as you can efficiently streamline development and perform the ongoing maintenance. 

Here are other benefits of using PHP frameworks:

  • Speed up web development 
  • No additional codes to write
  • Following the MVC architecture
  • Automate web development tasks
  • Compliance with coding standards
  • Makes the maintenance of websites and web apps easy


The basic difference between PHP and Laravel is that while PHP is a basic scripting language, Laravel is a full structured, open-source PHP server side web framework, and both are good options for web development sources. Laravel helps in automating many tasks on the back-end web development, it can embed HTML codes easily and works with so many database services like Oracle, MySQL, etc. PHP on the other hand can help build robust e-commerce web apps, database-driven applications and web pages. 

However, one downside of Laravel is that it can cause the web applications to perform very slowly. Experts recommend that the developers optimise the application so it can render better performance. One method would be to use Cache tags, so the users can retrieve stored information, so they don’t have to wait for the same information to load again and again. This feature is much better in PHP. Concurrency – the number of devices that the devices or machines can manage for client requests with ease, is also much better in PHP.

The Zend Framework

The Zend, also known as the PHP Company, is a very popular PHP framework, thanks to its active user-base, extensive support and huge fan following. The robust features of the framework makes it very useful for corporate level development. Some of the best features of the Zend framework are reusability of the code, Class inheritance, ready to use solutions, great developer community, documentation of the highest quality. However, the framework has quite a steep learning curve, but of late several new and robust features have been added on to it to make the learning curve easier. Another highlight of Zend is that it supports cross-platform operating systems and integrates well with MySQL, SQLite, Oracle DB and others.

One of the factors that acts as a disadvantage of Zend is that the documentation is not very good, maybe one of the reasons why the learning curve is steep. 


Symfony is another PHP framework, it is open source and helps you build web applications, microservices, web services and APIs, with its set of reusable PHP components. It is already used to build thousands of web applications, thanks to its simple and elegant toolkit. Symfony is one of the most popularly used PHP languages for building full-featured web applications. This is probably because of the ease with which you can build web applications.  Symfony is also a good choice because coding is easier, and you can easily cut down development time. 

If you compare Laravel with Symfony, there is one major difference between the two. Symfony is both a set of reusable components and an application framework, while Laravel is just a framework. And Laravel uses Symfony’s components, thanks to the flexibility of the latter. Some developers prefer to use Symfony because it is more convenient, but if you want a framework that has a restrictive timeline, then Laravel is a better choice. Symfony takes a longer time to load. 


CodeIgniter has earned its fame as a favourite framework for beginners. It is very easy to install, comes with excellent guides, runs on MVC architecture and ideal for beginners looking to start their career in web applications development. 

It’s a very basic framework, fast and has a powerful library. If you are looking for a website that’s fast, responsive and efficient then Codeigniter is a better option. It really stands apart with its SEO friendly approach, security and testing support and smooth migration features. 


Yii is also another hot favourite among developers because it auto-models your database and its ability to build relationships in code and match them with relational tables is remarkable.  Its CRUD (Create, Read, Update and Delete) functionality is another noted feature.  Developers also enjoy the automated tools that allow them to automate several of their receptive tasks, thereby saving them development time. The huge community support makes it possible for developers to continue working without a hitch and features like caching and easy configuration, makes it a popular framework among all PHP frameworks. 


CakePHP is a popular rapid development framework for PHP and uses design patterns like MVC, Front Controller and Data Mapping, etc. With its MIT licence, it is just perfect for commercial applications, so if you are looking to build commercial applications, this would be a great option. And additionally, there are some clean MVC conventions that would help you guide develop the applications. 

If you are looking for a framework that makes web application development faster, with less code and a fast performance, then CakePHP would be a good choice. Being a foundational structure, it is rumoured that CakePHP is much faster than Laravel.


We have described some of the most popular PHP frameworks that developers use today. But of course, yes this is just the tip of the iceberg, because there are several other PHP frameworks to consider as well. Out of all these, Laravel is perhaps one of the most popular frameworks in use today because it is open source, relatively young and packed with features. And then you have the Zend framework or the Laminas Project, and other frameworks that would definitely lead to the confusion to which one you should go for. 

However, one thing is clear, there are several advantages to using the different kinds of frameworks, and you need to analyse your needs before deciding which framework to choose for your project. And PHP is definitely a valuable asset to any web application/web development project, and you must hire qualified developers to understand the specifics of each framework and utilise them.

Interesting Links:

An Introduction to Learn PHP

More information about PHP

Pictures: Canva

The author: Sascha Thattil works at which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.