The Best PHP Frameworks To Use for Web Development in 2021 by@saanvi-sen

The Best PHP Frameworks To Use for Web Development in 2021

Read on Terminal Reader
react to story with heart
react to story with light
react to story with boat
react to story with money
PHP is used by 79.2% of all websites with a known server-side programming language. Almost 8 out of every 10 websites that you visit on the Internet are using PHP in some way. PHP frameworks provide code libraries for commonly used functions, cutting down on the amount of original code you need to write. Laravel, Codeigniter, Symfony, CakePHP are the most popular PHP frameworks to use for web development. PHP Framework provides a basic structure for streamlining the development of web apps. Developers use them because they speed up the development process.
Saanvi Sen HackerNoon profile picture

Saanvi Sen

We built high quality, highly customizatable Bootstrap Admin Templates.

linkedin social icon

Wondering which PHP framework is best for web development in 2021? Then you are in right place. Here we will discuss various PHP frameworks in detail.

Well, PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is one of those programming languages which are developed with built-in web development capabilities. Besides, The programmers can embed the code written in this popular server-side programming language seamlessly into HTML code through the Script tag.

Now, before we start the list of PHP frameworks, let's discuss it in short.

What is PHP Framework?

A PHP framework is a platform to create PHP web applications. PHP frameworks provide code libraries for commonly used functions, cutting down on the amount of original code you need to write. Furthermore, PHP Framework provides a basic structure for streamlining the development of web apps. In addition, Developers use them because they speed up the development process. Above all, the responsiveness of websites and applications built using PHP frameworks helps businesses fulfill their performance needs.

Now, there are a number of frameworks available in PHP technology like LaravelCodeigniterSymfonyCakePHP, which we have mentioned in this list, that you can use for web development.

If you are working on a PHP project, then you can check the collection of  Laravel admin templates (free download).

Advantages of Using PHP Framework:

Well, According to W3Techs' data, PHP is used by 79.2% of all websites with a known server-side programming language. So almost 8 out of every 10 websites that you visit on the Internet are using PHP in some way. Furthermore, Version 7 is used by 62.4% of all the websites that use PHP.

PHP Framework offers some amazing advantages as follows. These advantages make it one of the most used frameworks.

  • Faster Development
  • Less Code to Write
  • Libraries for Common Tasks
  • Easier to MaintainWork with databases more efficiently

Web developers even have the option to choose from a wide range of PHP frameworks. Most of these frameworks are open source and can be used without paying any licensing fees. Some of these PHP frameworks are full-stack web frameworks, whereas others are microframeworks.

Which PHP Framework is right for you?

Well, PHP frameworks are designed to simplify the development process and reduce the work required in creating responsive applications. Every framework in and out of this list will have its own set of features along with a list of components, and they all vary in terms of documentation and community support, along with official support from the creator.

So, in order to select the right one, you'll have to set the priorities and factors like ease of use, features you want, etc. If you are a beginner then a framework like Codeigniter can be a good start as it is easy to learn and start with.

As you can see in the survey by Jetbrains, Laravel is leading the list of the most used PHP frameworks. After that Symfony Framework is holding its position in 2nd place. It is not necessary to go with the flow. Like just because the majority use Laravel doesn't mean you have to go with it. Pic the one you need.


Well, it's a fact that using PHP frameworks simplifies the development process, which helps to minimize workload. Each framework has its own strengths and weaknesses, and they all vary in terms of community, documentation, and the database they support.

As you can see in the graph below, Laravel is at top of the race with 64.1k Gitstarrs, and Symfony with 24.7k is in second place. Although, frameworks like CakePHP and Codeigniter are making their place very fast because of their faster work efficiency and responsiveness.


Now, choosing the best framework to use depends on various factors such as security, ease of use, scalability, documentation, and more. So, start by understanding the requirements of the project or application you want to develop. After analyzing these factors, choose the most suitable PHP framework from this list.

Now, let's begin..!!




Well, we all are familiar with this new yet extremely popular framework, Laravel. It was released in 2011, Laravel has swept the framework arena off its feet and has been topping charts for quite some time now. It is a free, open-source best PHP web framework for web development.

The immense popularity is because of its ability to handle complex web applications with additional security and speed when compared to other frameworks. Furthermore, this PHP Framework for web development also simplifies the process of development by reducing the complexity of commons tasks, such as sessions, routing, queuing, and authentication.

Why use Laravel?

  • Laravel is suitable for developing applications with complex backend requirements, whether small or large.
  • This best PHP framework is full of features that will help you customize complex apps. It comes along with features like seamless data migration, MVC architecture support, routing, security, view template engine, and authentication, among many others.
  • It is highly expressive, and its speed and security are in line with expectations for a modern web application. For developers who want to build B2B or enterprise websites that will evolve with changing web trends, Laravel is the way to go.

Additional Info:



Symfony has existed far longer than most PHP frameworks in the business (since 2005), which shows that it has gained the trust of developers for over a decade, maturing with its age. This framework is an extensive PHP framework, and it is the only framework that follows the standards of PHP and web completely. Besides Symfony PHP framework components are used by popular content management systems such as DrupalOroCRM, and PHP Bulletin Board (PHPBB).

Besides, Symphony is the first choice for many developers due to the availability of reusable libraries and components using which you can complete a variety of tasks such as templating, object configuration, authentication, and much more. Moreover, the Symfony ecosystem is massive and is supported by a highly active programming community.

Why use Symfony?

  • Symfony is a perfect choice if you are developing large-scale enterprise projects. It’s easy to install and configure on most platforms.
  • One of its key features is reusable PHP components. It also boasts a database engine–independence, and it’s stable.
  • It complies with most web best practices and design patterns and allows for integration with other vendor libraries.
  • Symfony is also highly flexible and can integrate with bigger projects like Drupal.

Additional Info:



CodeIgniter is a lightweight (mere 2MB in size) framework that's known for its small footprint and hassle-free installation with minimalistic configuration prerequisites. You can say it simple yet powerful PHP Framework. Irrespective of its size, It is highly suitable for the development of dynamic websites, as it offers many prebuilt modules that help in the construction of strong and reusable components. That's why it is on the list of the best PHP frameworks 2021.

In addition, CodeIgniter includes some amazing features such as simple encryption steps, security, easy error handling, and negligible PHP adoption struggle, etc. This PHP framework is very well documented, and it is an excellent choice for beginners.

Why Use Codeigniter?

  • It is a lightweight and straightforward PHP framework. Besides, it is hassle-free to install, unlike other frameworks. Due to a simple setup process and highly illustrated documentation, it’s ideal for beginners.
  • Key features include an MVC architecture, top-notch error handling, inbuilt security tools, and simple and excellent documentation. In addition, it creates scalable apps.
  • Compared with other frameworks, CodeIgniter is considerably faster. Since it also offers solid performance, it’s a good choice when you want to develop lightweight applications to run on modest servers.

Additional Info:



CakePHP is a good option for commercial application projects as it offers high-end security with features such as SQL injection prevention, cross-site request forgery protection, and cross-site scripting protection among many others. Furthermore, other features include proper class inheritance, validation, and fast builds. Furthermore, large community support is a plus point as this best PHP framework receives premium support from its parent company and has many support portals as well.

Furthermore, the latest version of the framework has introduced features such as improved modularity and an increased ability to create additional standalone libraries. The framework is also straightforward to learn and easy to install, as it requires only a web server and a copy of the framework.

Why use CakePHP?

  • CakePHP is simple and easy to install, as you only need a web server and a copy of the framework.
  • It allows the practice of creating codes that can be easily reused, so it is not required to create new codes from scratch all the time, thus saving effort and time while creating the website.
  • Some key features include a modern framework, fast builds, proper class inheritance, validation, and security.
  • The best one is, Cake PHP has the ability to test all fragile and critical points of your application. They range from core tests to custom-made tests, which you can make according to your own requirements.

Additional Info:

  • Git Star: 8.3k
  • Forks: 3.5k
  • Commits: 42,618
  • Downloads: 6.8 M
  • Companies Using: SwatWallsEdureka



Yii 2, based on the Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) concept, is an object-oriented framework and the successor of one of the oldest PHP frameworks, Yii. Yii 2 is a good option for large-scale website development as it can be easily integrated with jQuery and AJAX features. What makes this PHP framework best is, its lazy loading technique of Yii2. This makes it faster than other frameworks in the mix.

Furthermore, it comes with an extremely powerful class code generator known as Gii. The function of Yii is to ease out the process of object-oriented programming and rapid prototyping, which provides a web-based interface, helping the programmer generate the desired code interactively.

Why Use Yii2?

  • It has excellent speed and performance. Besides, it’s highly extensible, and it lets developers avoid the complexity of writing repetitive SQL statements, as they can model the database data in terms of object.
  • Yii has an easy installation process. Furthermore, its robust security features make the framework suitable for highly secure endeavors such as e-commerce projects, portals, CMS, forums, and many others.
  • This PHP framework has a core developer team and experts that contribute to its development. With a massive community using it, you can post issues on Yii forums and get help.
  • Yii is extremely extensible, and you can customize nearly every piece of the core’s code.

Additional Info:



Zend Framework is a completely object-oriented framework. Besides, Zend is built on agile methodology, aiming to deliver high-quality applications at an enterprise level. This best PHP framework was built keeping speed, security, performance, and extensibility in mind. Furthermore, it offers high customizability and stands with PHP’s top practices, which is extremely beneficial for developers who wish to incorporate project-specific functions.

Besides, due to its concentration in enterprise applications, it comes with a surplus of components for tasks such as authentication, services, forms, and much more. Zend framework packs feature such as an easy-to-use drag and drop editor, coding tools, online debugging tools, and a scalable interface useful for complicated websites.

Why use ZEND?

  • Zend framework is a perfect choice for complex, enterprise-level projects. It’s the preferred framework for large IT departments and banks.
  • This PHP framework includes MVC components, data encryption, simple cloud API, and session management.
  • Besides, it can integrate with external libraries, and you can use only the components you want.
  • The Zend framework comes with extremely good documentation and has a large community base.

Additional Info:



Phalcon is a full-stack PHP framework. It was originally written in C and C++ programming languages. The most prominent feature of the Phalcon PHP framework is that it is blazing fast. This is because it uses a handful of resources, unlike other frameworks available in the market.

Considering the speed this framework offers, it can be extremely useful for developers who work with systems that do not offer much overhead expense. Another best part is, it has been updated continuously since 2012 and has seen quite a few upgrades in recent releases. The latest support release has components such as ORM, MVC, and caching; and also includes support for PHP 7.

Why use Phalcon?

  • Phalcon is easy to install and suitable for creating highly configurable web applications that are in line with enterprise development guidelines.
  • Offers features such as increased execution speed, a universal autoloader, asset management, and top security and caching.
  • Unlike other frameworks, Phalcon optimizes performance due to its efficient memory utilization. If you’re looking to create a blazing fast website, give Phalcon a try.

Additional Info:

Fuel PHP


FuelPHP is an MVC Model-View-Controller framework that was designed from the ground up to have full support for HMVC as part of its architecture. Besides, it is a flexible and extendable PHP framework. It also adds a voluntary class known as the Presenter class (previously known as ViewModel) in between the Controller and View layers in order to hold the logic required for the generation of views.

Furthermore, it is security-focused and tackles the concerns using a number of features, which include input and URI filtering along with output encoding.

Why Use Fuel PHP?

  • FuelPHP helps developers deliver end-to-end web solutions that are diverse in size and complexity.
  • This PHP framework is apt for delivering end-to-end web solutions of different sizes and complexities.
  • Also, it comes with the features like HMVC implementation, caching system, URL routing system, and vulnerability protection.
  • It extends its security approach beyond ordinary security measures, making it a great option if security is crucial for your project.

Additional Info:



Slim is a micro-framework and the idea behind Slim is to be excellent for small applications which do not require the features of a full-stack framework. This PHP framework is highly used by developers who aim to develop RESTful APIs and services.

Slim’s codebase is lean as it has no third-party dependencies. As a result, it is very fast. Besides, Slim is particularly suited to building small apps and APIs. If you need more from the framework, Slim integrates with both first-party and third-party components.

Why use Slim?

  • Easy to learn
  • It offers rich features such as URL routing, session, and cookie encryption, client-side HTTP caching, and the support to ‘flash’ messages across HTTP requests. Thus, it is the best PHP framework for a small web app.
  • In addition, active maintenance and friendly documentation make Slim super user-friendly.

Additional Info:



Lumen is a PHP micro-framework developed by the creator of Laravel and maintained by its community. It’s very similar to Laravel, so if you have prior experience with Laravel, you will find it easy and smooth. This PHP framework is also lightweight and performant, making it ideal for modern applications.

Furthermore, It can be used for building APIs to support single-page applications, microservices, and other back-end services where low latency and high performance are important. Lumen provides a fast routing function thanks to the Fast Route library. This library provides an implementation of routing based on regular expressions.

Additional Info:

Why use Lumen?

  • Incredible speed
  • Simple syntax
  • Very easy migration of the project to the full-fledged Laravel framework.
  • It provides a simple observer that allows you to save and listen to events in our application.


So, in this comprehensive article, The Best PHP Frameworks 🛠 To Use in 2021 for Web Development 💥, the most used, and the best PHP frameworks are covered. We have made sure that we cover all the major details. Although, web world changes constantly so may the data..!!

Yet, the importance of a particular framework depends on the community support, updates, features, and components they offer. So, it is wise to keep up with the trend every year. Our main aim here is to deliver a detailed guide that can help you pick the right PHP framework for your next project.

Well, do tell us your favorite one in the comment section below. If we have missed any then you can tell us that as well.

Also published at

react to story with heart
react to story with light
react to story with boat
react to story with money
Saanvi Sen HackerNoon profile picture
by Saanvi Sen @saanvi-sen.We built high quality, highly customizatable Bootstrap Admin Templates.
Read my stories

Related Stories

. . . comments & more!