5 best PHP frameworks that every developer should know about

August 16, 2022

Are you a PHP developer? Tired of working with old libraries and functions? Want to learn something new? If yes, you are at the right place. In this article, you will learn about the best PHP frameworks you should use to work more efficiently and effectively. So, stay tuned and keep learning new things every day!

Best PHP Frameworks to Use in 2022

PHP is the most widely used server-side scripting language. It is most commonly used in web applications, database applications, and e-commerce websites. Large organizations such as Facebook.com, Wikipedia, Zoom.us, indeed.com, and others use it. PHP runs almost 79.2% of websites in the world. Being a cross-platform, easy and robust language, it has been in the spotlight since it was developed. According to Tiobe Index (released in April 2022), PHP ranks in 10th position. In the PopularitY in Programming Language (PYPL) index (August 2022), PHP is the 6th most popular programming language worldwide. The stats show that PHP is not going to leave its position in the industry any time soon. Whether you are a PHP developer, or planning to be one, here are 5 PHP frameworks you need to learn to excel in your skills:

  • Laravel
  • CodeIgniter
  • Symfony
  • Zend Framework
  • Phalcon

Let’s explore these frameworks one by one:


Topping the list, Laravel is the most popular, widely used, free, and open-source PHP framework. It was developed by Taylor Otwell in June 2011. Explicitly designed to simplify the complicated projects that deal with data binding. It is based on MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture and is highly secure due to its authentication feature.


  • Built-in authentication.
  • Built-in ORM with easy PHP Active Record implementation.
  • Template Engine for dynamic websites.
  • Built-in tool for command line, i.e., Artisan.

Who uses Laravel?

Here are some big names that are using Laravel for PHP development:

  • 9GAG
  • BBC
  • BitPanda
  • Ratio
  • TourRadar

Why should you choose Laravel?

  • It is developer friendly.
  • Easy to learn and understand.
  • It supports many libraries and applications that you can install to add new features.
  • Laravel is highly robust and secure.
  • It is an ideal framework for beginners due to its vast community support and excellent documentation.
  • Deployable to AWS and other cloud providers.

Why should you not choose Laravel?

  • Enforced syntax and project structure.
  • Slows down the programs due to its heavy features.
  • Eloquent ORM requires raw SQL statements when database and queries become complex.


An ideal framework for PHP beginners, CodeIgniter is a lightweight, easy-to-use framework based on MVC architecture and design to build dynamic websites. It is designed so that the developers can use it as a toolkit to create fully featured websites in less time. The framework does not occupy much disk space and assures quick page loads on both dedicated and shared hosting platforms. It is highly useful for building APIs and lightweight applications. Although unsuitable for applications requiring high security, CodeIgniter’s encryption feature and easy error handling make it popular among PHP developers.


  • Generates SEO-friendly URLs.
  • Huge library support for features like image manipulation, form validation, etc.
  • Extremely lightweight.
  • Full page caching.
  • Flexible URI routing.
  • Excellent Error handling.
  • High speed and smooth performance.

Who uses CodeIgniter?

Here are the names of some large organizations that use CodeIgniter:

  • WooBox
  • Casio
  • Bike Easy
  • FuelCMS
  • TestandTrack

Why should you choose CodeIgniter?

  • Completely Free.
  • Built-in security features.
  • Highly extensible and customizable.
  • Excellent performance with fast loading and less optimization.
  • No framework imposition, i.e., you can work with any pattern.
  • Beginner-friendly due to its detailed documentation and significant community support.

Why should you not use CodeIgniter?

  • Not suitable for applications requiring high security.
  • Difficult code maintainability.
  • No support for modular code separation by default.


One of the oldest PHP frameworks, Symfony is based on MVC architecture and is used mainly for large projects. Its large community, excellent features, and robustness make it one of the best PHP frameworks in 2022. Besides being a PHP framework, it also provides a set of components that could be used in PHP projects. These components are also used in many open-source tools. Symfony is easy to install and offers many reusable libraries. It is also an excellent choice for enterprise projects due to its multiple drivers for enterprise databases.


  • Flexible URI routing.
  • Comes with Twig template engine.
  • Session management.
  • Error logging.
  • High performance.
  • Simple to setup, install and configure.
  • Reusable components that could be used directly in PHP projects.
  • Flexible and robust debugging toolbar.

Who uses Symfony?

Some big companies that use Symfony include:

  • Dailymotion
  • Nobel Peace Prize
  • Trivago
  • Spotify
  • Intelius

Why should you choose Symfony?

  • Allows you to create highly reusable and maintainable code.
  • Huge community support and easy installation.
  • Secure, extensible, and highly customizable.
  • Built-in testing capabilities.
  • Follows the best design patterns.

Why should you not choose Symfony?

  • Slower as compared to other PHP frameworks.
  • Difficult to learn and hence not ideal for beginners.
  • The security mechanism is difficult to use.

Zend Framework/Laminas Project

Zend Framework is an MVC-based framework that is also object-oriented and open source. It has now transitioned into Laminas Project and is no longer updated. The Laminas Project allows you to load the required components only with the help of separate libraries. It is highly customizable and complies with PHP best practices. It offers high security with outstanding performance, making it the best fit for sophisticated web applications. It also supports relational database systems such as MySQL, Oracle, and IBM.


  • Flexible URI routing.
  • It can be used to develop RESTful APIs.
  • Session management.
  • Integration with PHPUnit.
  • 100% object-oriented MVC-based architecture.

Who Uses Zend Framework/ Laminas Project?

  • BBC
  • Cisco Webex
  • BNP Paribas
  • Melis Technology

Why should you choose Zend Framework?

  • A loosely coupled framework that supports industry-standard encryption.
  • High performance, extensive community support, and detailed documentation.
  • Highly customizable.

Why should you not choose Zend Framework?

  • Challenging to learn for beginners.
  • Expensive plugins.


Phalcon is an MVC-based full stack PHP framework written in C and PHP. Besides being open source and free, this framework allows you to design flawless websites with asset management, extensive development options, caching, and other incredible features. Phalcon is a super fast framework that makes it stand out in the best PHP frameworks. It is simple and has extensive documentation that makes it easier to use.


  • Powerful template engine.
  • Easy setup.
  • Features a multi-user system.
  • Supports caching and routing.
  • Loosely coupled and seamless integration with PHPUnit.

Who uses Phalcon?

The big names using Phalcon are:

  • Outsmart
  • Learny Online
  • Marchi Auto

Why should you choose Phalcon

  • Fastest PHP framework.
  • Open-source and suitable for any large-scale or small-scale applications.
  • Highly configurable.
  • Built-in security and caching feature.
  • Super fast and extraordinary performance.
  • Efficient memory consumption.

Why should you not choose Phalcon?

  • Complex installation.
  • Irregular updates.


Frameworks come in handy when developing large applications as they reduce the production time by providing the developers with built-in tools and libraries. This article discusses the 5 best PHP frameworks that every PHP developer should know in 2022. We hope that you find this article helpful. Thank you for reading!

Published by Artiphp who lives and works in San Francisco building useful things.