The Top 5 PHP Frameworks

PHP frameworks provide the basic skeleton structure for streamlining the app development process. There are a number of PHP frameworks used in vogue, and each one comes with its own unique features and benefits. The degree of responsiveness of the app and the speed of development process all depends on the type of framework you choose, among other features.

Why use a PHP framework?

A framework is thus a reductive form of how your application is going to shape up, so choosing the right one is extremely important. It helps you focus on what’s important for the app, taking away what could be distracting. Developers choose PHP frameworks because they speed up the development process considerably. In this article, we would be discussing five of the best PHP frameworks.  It is hard to choose the best out of all the famous PHP frameworks that developers vouch for, but we have to start somewhere.

Five PHP frameworks 


Laravel is obviously one of the best and most popular PHP frameworks around. An open-source web development framework that was launched in 2011, Laravel’s unique feature is that it can handle complex problems and fix them quickly. It follows the MVC pattern or the Model-View-Controller format in building state of the art web applicants. 

What’s best about Laravel:

The framework comes with plenty of pre-built functions, making it intuitive and fast, and it works on the latest PHP principles to develop responsive web applications. The framework also makes you build super secure apps, even close the most vulnerable security risks through cross-site request forgery, cross site scripting and SQL injection. 

Another best feature of Laraval is its exemplary testing support. Testing web applications before releasing it is one of the crucial stages in making your project successful. Laravel’s automation testing makes it quick, less time consuming and detailed. The unit testing feature of Laravel ensures that your application’s performance works in an integrated manner when all the modules add up. 

What’s not best about Laravel:

Though Laravel is a superstar among PHP frameworks, a couple of cons makes it less than perfect. Laravel doesn’t provide in-built support like Ruby on Rails and Django, so you need third-party tools for it. And there are problems with certain upgrades, minor though. Developers can however, clear them out with proper care and attention. 


CakePHP is another open-source web development framework that makes it easy and quick to release your app. Since it is easy to learn, developers can easily get down to business, with minimum lines of code. CakePHP follows MVC pattern to target the modern programming needs. 

The framework also follows the CRUD format – create, read, update and delete, the four functions pertinent to data against a specific SQL database to implement a persistent storage application. Persistent storage is all about the power retained by a data storage device after it is powered off. 

What’s best about CakePHP

CakePHP lets developers reuse the code and extend the usage with plugins. You can modularise the application and evolve it according to your needs, even make it react differently to different kinds of systems.

What’s not best about CakePHP

There aren’t many things that’s not good about CakePHP. But experts say that the framework is better suited for older PHP versions 


Lumen is a micro-framework written in PHP and developed by the Laravel team. Both are so different from each other, even though Lumen is a lighter version of Laravel. If you are looking to build lightning-fast API and micro services, you are looking at Lumen. It lets you build small applications with minimal features. If you want to access new features, you can integrate with 3rd party tools too. 

This framework is way faster than other PHP micro-frameworks, Slim and Silex. Lumen lets you use Laravel features like Eloquent ORM, testing, authorisation, validation, caching, views, queues, etc. Lumen is amazingly fast, at about 100/reps. However, since Lumen is a micro-framework, it can solve only certain design related issues. Most developers use the framework to make smaller applications. 

What’s best about Lumen

One of the most attractive features is that Lumen lets you upgrade to the full-fledged Laravel application when the need arises. The framework makes it simple for amateurs and experts because it doesn’t have any complex features, and anyone can get a lay of the framework to start working. 

What’s not best about Lumen

Lumen’s compatibility with Laravel is an advantage, but it also carries some of the weaknesses of Laravel as well. 


Zend is another popular name among all PHP frameworks. It is powerful and fast, and follows the object oriented approach of C++.  This is also an open-source framework that would help you develop web applications with ease. 

Zend is highly versatile, meaning it comes with plenty of components that you can use for different exclusive purposes. Since there is no option for custom coding in Zend, you can customise the components as and how you require them. Though Zend does follow the MVC architecture, it does the Model implementation on its own. 

The framework is recommended for building big data applications for big enterprise since it never slows down and can handle a huge database on its own, delivering optimum performance. 

What’s best about Zend

Zend is very structured and comes with reusable code, so it is the best option for building complex enterprise-level apps. It can be easily integrated with third-party libraries and templates, so developers need to use only the components they need. 

What’s not best about Zend

A beginner in coding will find the framework tough to pick up because it’s really vast and complex. The learning curve is steep, and comes with a huge volume of classes, components and libraries. Also the plugins in the framework are expensive (more costly than all other frameworks).


Symfony is a reliable platform that was launched way back in 2005, and it is still one of the only platforms that follow all the PHP standards completely. Symfony is the first choice for developers wanting to scale their web applications, especially large-scale enterprise applications. Being a flexible framework, Symfony lets developers choose their own components for their project. Being a highly flexible framework, Symfony lets you integrate with other vendor libraries. Laravel is one of the biggest competitors of Symfony. The only difference between the two is that while Laravel is built for beginners and veteran developers, Symfony leans towards experienced developers. 

What’s best about Symfony 

Symfony is easy to install and configure and develop enterprise level applications thanks to its many features. The features include database engine independence, stability, PHP components, design patterns and web best practices. Symfony also integrates with bigger projects like Drupal, thanks to its flexibility. 

What’s not best about Symfony

The security mechanism of Symfony is not commendable. The fact that Symfony is feature rich adds to its disadvantage, because it makes the framework slow, when compared to other frameworks. 


There are plenty of other PHP frameworks that are already creating ripples in the developer community, and come with out-of-the-box features and different levels of versatility. You can analyze the ones that serve your purpose, and choose one among them. 

Interesting Links:

What is a PHP Framework?

How to choose the right PHP Framework for your Application

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.

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