11 Best PHP Frameworks to Use in 2023

11 Best PHP Frameworks to Use in 2023

Table of Contents

Understanding PHP Frameworks

PHP, a prevalent language powering a substantial portion of the internet, often triggers diverse opinions among developers. Despite its widespread usage, there are some perceptions regarding its efficiency. This takes us to deep dive into the reasons behind this mixed reputation, particularly in contrast to languages like Node.js and JavaScript.

In web development services, PHP and Node.js or PHP and JavaScript, emerges as a significant player. As a foundational language, PHP’s usage remains robust, particularly in CMS web development services. However, the evolving landscape demands a keen understanding of how PHP frameworks contribute to modern web app architecture. 

Advantages of Utilizing a PHP Framework

1. More Rapid Development: PHP frameworks come equipped with built-in libraries and tools, significantly reducing development time. For instance, frameworks like CakePHP offer command-line tools like Bake, generating skeleton code instantly.

2. Less Code, Enhanced Functionality: Leveraging built-in functionalities in PHP frameworks significantly reduces the need for original code creation and streamlining development resulting in robust web app architecture

3. Task-Related Libraries: PHP frameworks provide standard functionalities required by web app developers, such as form validation, data sanitization, and CRUD operations (Create, Read, Update, Delete). 

4. Coding Techniques: Top PHP frameworks adhere to coding best practices by organizing code into functional-based folders. They encourage structured, logical, and maintainable code, defining entity name standards to be followed.

5. Security: PHP applications are vulnerable to various security risks like XSS, SQL injection, and CSRF attacks. Frameworks incorporate built-in measures for data sanitization and protection against common threats, reducing the risk of hacker attacks.

Top 11 Popular PHP Frameworks for 2023

1. Laravel

Laravel stands as a prominent and widely used PHP framework, celebrated for its open-source nature and comprehensive set of features. It serves as an ideal tool for tailoring intricate projects, offering functionalities like user authentication, session management, and caching.

Who Uses Laravel?

  • Vogue Archive – fashion
  • Ascot – racecourse
  • Camping World RV & Outdoors – retail
  • Restaurants.com – search engine for restaurants
  • Barchart – stocks and shares
  • Visit Maine – tourism
  • Fischer Homes – construction
  • Explore Georgia – tourism


  • Offers unique flexibility by enabling PHP embedding within Blade.
  • Comprehensive suite covering authentication, encryption, CSRF protection, and SQL injection prevention.
  • Speeds up development through task automation and rapid code generation.
  • Bolsters security measures by guarding against SQL injection.


  • Learning Curve: Beginners might face a learning curve due to its extensive feature set.
  • Complexity in Configuration: Selecting the appropriate components and configurations might require more attention compared to simpler frameworks.

2. Symfony

Symfony stands out as a highly flexible PHP framework renowned for its modular component system, offering over 50 reusable PHP components. This modular approach grants developers the freedom to selectively choose modules tailored to their project’s needs, rather than relying on an entire library.

Who Uses Symfony?

  • Sainsbury’s Magazine – Publishing
  • Intelius – public data search platform
  • Sony VAIO UK site – retail
  • Sabatier Shop – retail
  • Foot District – retail
  • Nobel Peace Prize


  • Modular Flexibility: Offers a modular component system with over 50 reusable PHP components, allowing developers to cherry-pick components tailored to their project’s requirements.
  • Scalability: Ideal for scalable web applications, packing numerous features and allowing for database engine independence.
  • Ease of Installation: Simple installation and configuration on various platforms, making it suitable for enterprise-level applications.
  • Integration Capabilities: Highly flexible, facilitating seamless integration with other vendor libraries.


  • Learning Curve: Targeting advanced developers, Symfony has a steep learning curve, requiring more expertise to navigate effectively.
  • Complex Security Mechanism: The security mechanism in Symfony can be intricate, posing challenges in implementation.
  • Performance: Comparatively, Symfony might exhibit slightly slower performance due to its feature-rich nature.

3. CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter stands out for its small footprint, merely around 2 MB in size, including documentation. It is a PHP framework tailored for the development of dynamic websites, equipped with numerous pre-built modules that facilitate the construction of robust and reusable components.

Who Uses CodeIgniter?

  • G-Shock in retail
  • WooBox in marketing
  • Buffer in technology
  • TestandTrack in education
  • Bike Easy in outdoor activities
  • Barracuda in IT security
  • FuelCMS in content management.

Pros of CodeIgniter

  • Recognized for its speed, ranking as the second-fastest among the tested top PHP frameworks in benchmark tests.
  • A small download size (1.2MB) ensures there is no unnecessary bloat, allowing for a tailored selection of components.
  • Encourages MVC architecture while allowing non-MVC applications to be coded.
  • Provides defenses against CSRF and XSS attacks, context-sensitive escaping, and Content Security Policy.
  • Offers multiple caching methods to enhance application performance.
  • Features an easy learning curve, making it accessible for developers, and is highly extensible.


  • Irregular Releases: CodeIgniter’s irregular release schedule might not be suitable for applications requiring high-level security.

4. CakePHP

CakePHP stands as a rapid development PHP framework, heavily influenced by the principles of Ruby on Rails. Embracing the ‘Convention over Configuration’ (COC) approach, CakePHP enforces standardized coding guidelines while offering an extensive array of libraries and robust security features such as encryption, password hashing, and CSRF protection.

Who Uses

  • Visit NC – tourism
  • 10 Fast Fingers – education
  • Coconala – e-learning marketplace
  • GoodFirms – software marketplace
  • Printivo – ecommerce
  • Citizens, Inc – finance


  • Minimal prerequisites—only a web server and the framework—are needed to initiate development.
  • Features its own ORM (Object-Relational Mapping), offering user-friendly database interactions.
  • Incorporates encryption, password hashing, SQL injection prevention, input validation, CSRF, and XSS protection, making it suitable for enterprise-level applications.
  • Boasts modern framework elements, effective validation, extensive documentation, and premium support.


  • Rigid Conventions: Adherence to strict conventions might limit flexibility, potentially challenging developers seeking more freedom or rapid deployment.

5. Yii 2

Yii, an acronym for “Yes, It Is!” or translated to “simple and evolutionary” in Chinese, stands as an excellent choice for newcomers venturing into PHP. Yii is an PHP MVC framework, offering various features including robust error handling, unit and functionality testing capabilities. It integrates a layered caching system, contributing to its efficiency.

Who Uses Yii2?

  • Crowdcube – crowdfunding platform
  • WordCounter – editing tool
  • Which? – consumer website
  • Purple – retail
  • YMCA – nonprofit
  • Pastebin – online tool
  • Fast Company Events – live and virtual events


  • Allows users to swiftly set up and commence with Yii development. Its well-structured documentation facilitates ease of use and learning.
  • Implements stringent security practices including bcrypt password hashing, encryption, authentication, and authorization, coupled with best practices to mitigate SQL injection, XSS, and CSRF attacks.
  • The Gii code generator swiftly creates skeleton code, enhancing development efficiency.
  • Provides support for various caching types to optimize web application speed.
  • Supports integration with third-party code within Yii projects.


  • Newcomers might face a learning curve despite the comprehensive documentation.
  • Configuring components might demand more attention compared to simpler frameworks.

6. Laminas Project

The Laminas Project functions as a versatile ‘glue’ framework characterized by its component-based architecture. It stands out for its enterprise-grade PHP components. 

Who Uses

  • BBC – media
  • BNP Paribas – finance
  • Cisco Webex – videoconferencing


  • Follows the PHP Framework Interop Group (PHP-FIG) standards, enabling smooth code portability across different frameworks.
  • Similar to Symfony, allows selective utilization of components based on specific project requirements.
  • Provides capabilities to develop RESTful APIs.
  • The Laminas community fosters collaboration and support through forums and Slack groups.


  • While the Laminas Project brings numerous advantages, it might pose a learning curve for beginners due to its comprehensive feature set and may require familiarity with its conventions and methods. 

7. FuelPHP

FuelPHP stands as a community-driven PHP framework. Launched in June 2011, its current version, 1.8.2, supports PHP 5.4+ and operates on any web server.

Who Uses FuelPHP?

  • Wan Wizard – Harro Verton, one of FuelPHP’s developers
  • Front Desk – property management system
  • Pros of FuelPHP


  • Allows flexibility in choosing the file and folder structure for projects, providing ample room for customization.
  • Prioritizes security with features like output encoding, CSRF protection, input, URI, and XSS filtering, and safe handling of user input for SQL statements.
  • Offers its own command-line utility.
  • FuelPHP’s Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) system is potent yet lightweight, enhancing database interactions.

Cons of FuelPHP

  • Limited documentation or learning resources compared to more widely adopted frameworks.

8. PHPPixie

PHPixie is a high-performance full-stack framework designed for developing web applications, leveraging a highly optimized architecture. This framework assures ease of use, promising high performance, and fostering low coupling, among other significant attributes.

Who Uses PHPixie?

  • HMVC architecture
  • Object-Relational Mapping (ORM)
  • input validation
  • Authorization & authentication
  • Caching. 


  • Suitable for crafting tailored web applications, web services, and social networking platforms.
  • Incorporates essential functionalities such as HMVC architecture, ORM, input validation, authorization, authentication, and caching.
  • Employs independent components, reducing application dependencies and ensuring modularity.
  • Prioritizes high performance and minimal coupling among its notable attributes.


  • Being relatively new, PHPixie lags in popularity, resulting in a smaller user community compared to more established frameworks.

9. Slim Framework

Slim is a PHP micro-framework renowned for its minimalist yet powerful nature, ideal for crafting straightforward web applications.

Who Uses Slim?

  • Top Web Comics – publishing
  • Canine Principles – training
  • CG Forge – education
  • Betterplace Academy – education


  • It boasts a lean codebase without third-party dependencies, ensuring exceptional speed and agility.
  • Suited for building small-scale applications.
  • Its simplicity facilitates quick comprehension, allowing developers to create a basic “Hello World” app within minutes.


  • Slim’s minimalist nature might limit its suitability for larger-scale applications requiring extensive built-in functionalities.
  • As a micro-framework, Slim might necessitate more manual configuration compared to full-stack frameworks for certain complex tasks.

10. Phalcon

This full-stack framework presents unique features such as a low-level architecture, code compilation, memory management, robust security measures, and reduced file reads, ultimately enhancing performance.

Who Uses Phalcon?

  • Learny Online
  • Outsmart 
  • Marchi Auto 


  • Engineered for rapid performance with its unique architecture.
  • Accelerates processes by compiling code instead of interpreting it.
  • Available instantly upon request, optimizing resource usage.
  • Unlike many PHP frameworks, Phalcon minimizes file reads, enhancing overall performance.


  • Steeper learning curve due to its unique architecture and the need for familiarity with its unconventional methods. 

11. Zend Framework

Zend Framework, an entirely object-oriented framework, follows PHP standard practices, enabling developers to introduce project-specific functionalities while ensuring high-quality applications through an agile development approach.

Who Uses Zend Framework?

  • Barcode
  • Config
  • Memory
  • ACL
  • Server
  • Session

Pros of Zend Framework

  • Extensive tools allow tailored website development, integration with third-party libraries, and fine-grained control over components.
  • Suitable for enterprise-level large-scale web applications due to its reusability, inheritance, and performance handling large databases.
  • HTML5 Compliant

Cons of Zend Framework

  • External plug-ins for specific features can be expensive compared to other PHP frameworks.
  • While abundant resources are available, the extensive documentation might overwhelm developers, causing confusion in selecting the right approach.

Which is the Right PHP Framework?

Selecting the most suitable PHP framework presents a challenging decision. Upon reviewing the mentioned frameworks, it is evident that each offers a wide range of advantages.

  • Yii: Ideal for beginners with comprehensive documentation, guiding through MVC patterns and database handling with clear error messages for quick debugging.
  • Slim Framework: Known beginner-friendly for allowing quick installation and simplicity.
  • Fat-Free Framework: Offers easy setup via Composer or direct download.
  • CodeIgniter: Provides beginner-friendly setup and a First Application tutorial for creating a simple CMS with CRUD functions.


PHP remains a dominant server-side scripting language, but crafting PHP scripts can be time-consuming. PHP frameworks offer a foundation for developers, streamlining tasks and reducing repetitive coding. It offers streamlining tasks and reducing repetitive coding. Selecting the most suitable one for a project can pose a significant challenge, each framework presenting its own distinct features and advantages.