PHP is the most popular server-side programming language and is still going strong in 2021. So, we decided to talk about the best PHP frameworks of 2021. Moreover, the popular PHP frameworks discussed here have emerged to build complex, secure, and expansive web applications quicker than ever before.
PHP web frameworks come in various sizes built for various web developers with distinct levels of skills, experience, and development needs. However, before looking at the best web frameworks, let’s brush up a couple of web development basics.
What is PHP?
PHP stands for Hypertext Pre-processor. (Nope there is no typographic error here) However, earlier PHP was called Personal Home Pages which was then updated to Hypertext Pre-processor.
The basic definition states, PHP is a server-side scripting language used to develop static or dynamic websites and Web applications. Likewise, it’s open-source software that is free to download and use.
Why should you use PHP for your server-side programming?
What are PHP Frameworks?
You already know that PHP is the most sought after scripting language, but coding in PHP more often becomes repetitive or monotonous. That’s where PHP frameworks enter the scene.
The frameworks make web development easier by streamlining the process. In other words, these popular frameworks help in the rapid application development (RAD) process.
These web frameworks offer an essential structure following which the PHP development becomes fast, stable, and under a standard format.
Top PHP Framework Statistics for 2021:
Source: Fullstack Geek
Now that you know about PHP and its frameworks, we can move on to know about the best PHP frameworks of 2021.
Top 7 PHP Web Frameworks
When we talk about PHP frameworks, the general idea is about Model View Controller (MVC). In other words, when you wish to separate the business logic from the web UI and program them separately, then you go with MVC.
In simple terms, PHP MVC frameworks break down the development process into modules. As a result, the web developers can work on individual modules without affecting the others. And, that is the reason PHP remains a top programming language so far. Whether you compare PHP vs Node.js or PHP vs ASP.NET, PHP rules the roost among all, though in certain cases only.
Enough with the lecture, now let’s meet the top 7 PHP frameworks. Here’s the list of the best PHP frameworks:
The PHP Laravel Development framework is probably the most popular one among web developers. Further, the Laravel Framework is a free, open-source PHP framework that is suitable to develop web applications, Mobile app with complex backend requirements.
As a leading laravel development company, we recommend laravel because of the features such as;
In other news, Laravel is the first framework to introduce routing abstractly. Also, Laravel can easily handle NoSQL structures like Redis and MongoDB.
Laravel Usage Statistics:
With Homestead, installing Laravel has become easier, and with the robust Composer built into Laravel, you can easily add packages. Meanwhile, Laravel recently launched Nova; a superior admin panel for skillful Laravel web developers who aim for new creations while staying equally productive.
It’s such amazing features and possibilities that have made PHP Laravel as the go-to PHP framework for web developers.
Why go with Laravel PHP Framework?
CakePHP is completely free for personal or commercial use. So, it will help you develop feature-loaded and visually impressive websites.
Back in the 2000s, CakePHP was the best PHP framework around. After all this time, it’s still one of the best PHP frameworks you can use. To sum up, CakePHP started as a simple and elegant toolkit, which only grew stronger over the past 15 years.
Because of its CRUD (Create, Read, Update, and Delete) framework, CakePHP is the simplest frameworks to learn. Also, installation is a “piece of cake” with CakePHP; You only need a web server and a copy of the CakePHP framework.
CakePHP development is perfect for commercial applications due to security features such as:
This framework brings code generation and scaffolding functionalities to speed up the development process.
CakePHP provides excellent documentation, many support portals, and also premium support for developers through Cake Development Corporation.
Why choose CakePHP Framework?
CodeIgniter is probably the most suitable PHP framework for developing dynamic websites. It’s a very lightweight and straightforward PHP framework.
Its size is only about 2 MB (including the documentation). So inherently, CodeIgniter has minimal footprint, and it allows web developers to add third-party plugins to access more complex functionalities.
CodeIgniter development also offers several pre-built modules to develop robust and reusable components for web development. This PHP framework is ideal for beginners because of the simple setup process.
If you wish to avoid PHP version conflict, CodeIgniter is the right choice for you. It works seamlessly on almost all the hosting platforms (shared and dedicated).
Although CodeIgniter is considered a PHP MVC Framework, it is not based on MVC architecture completely. So the Models and Views classes are optional with CodeIgniter while Controller is obligatory.
Zend Framework is a complete object-oriented PHP framework. This PHP framework is very customizable, which becomes a beneficial point for developers that need to add project-specific functionalities.
Zend is built on the agile methodology, which helps developers to create and deliver high-quality web apps to large-scale clients.
It’s the perfect fit for complex, enterprise-level projects that are mainly concerned with security, performance, and extensibility. Zend framework is preferred mostly by large IT businesses and financial institutes like banks.
Zend Framework Features:
The Zend Framework can seamlessly integrate with external libraries, so developers can choose to use only the components needed at a given time.
This framework has sufficient documentation and a large community base that supports this popular PHP framework. Zend has also partnered with several major tech companies such as IBM, Adobe, Microsoft, and Google, among many others.
If you like object-oriented coding, Zend framework is the best PHP framework for you.
Why Go with Zend Framework?
Symfony was launched in 2005, making this PHP framework’s existence longer than any other frameworks on our list. This framework is an extensive PHP MVC framework making it a reliable and mature platform.
Symfony is probably the only framework that is known to follow PHP standards to the dot. It’s very stable, well documented, and high performance in nature. Such characteristics make Symfony the perfect choice for developing large-scale enterprise projects.
One of the key features that make Symfony a unique gem among PHP frameworks is it’s reusable PHP components. With the reusable components development time reduces as many modules like form creation, object configuration, templating,etc. can be build from old components.
Symfony is easy to install and configure on most platforms and portrays database engine–independence. It’s highly flexible nature makes it possible to integrate with bigger projects like Drupal.
Why should you consider Symfony?
Yii framework stands for Yes, it is! This framework is everything that you would want from a PHP framework. It’s a revised and advanced version of the Yii framework, which was a high-performance, component-based PHP framework.
Yii2 is popular among website developers for its security features, which makes it suitable for projects in e-commerce, CMS, portals, forums, etc. With Yii2, you can model the database as objects, so developers can avoid the complexity of writing repetitive SQL statements.
Yii2 is superbly extensible, so much that you can customize almost every piece of its core code. It’s the primary choice when programmers need to ensure extensibility and develop efficient, easily maintainable web applications.
This powerful and easy to use framework has become a universal web framework suitable for all kinds of web app development.
Why choose Yii2 Framework?
Phalcon is written in C and C++, which means it’s delivered as a C-extension. But this doesn’t mean that you have to learn the C programming language to use the Phalcon framework. It may sound odd to have a PHP framework that is basically a C extension, but Phalcon is the fastest PHP frameworks.
Phalcon is quite easy to install and is perfect for creating highly customizable web solutions. One of the best thing with storage is that Phalcon itself has almost no files once you install the framework. You just add the modules and libraries you need to work with; this makes the development process very uncluttered.
The PHP Phalcon framework creates websites and web apps that are in line with enterprise mobility development guidelines.
Phalcon (among the most popular PHP framework) uses very few resources compared to other frameworks, resulting in fast processing of HTTP requests.
Why choose Phalcon PHP Framework?
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10 Best PHP Frameworks Comparison [Infographic]
Choose the Best PHP Web Frameworks
So now you know which are the 7 most popular PHP frameworks of 2021. You learned about their features, specialties, pros, and cons; now it’s time to make a decision. If you still are confused between two or three best PHP framework, you can talk to our web development expert.
We can help you find the top framework and best web developer for your web development project.