As programmer-friendly as PHP can be, there is one area it can leave you adrift: choosing a framework. Rather than coming with its own framework, PHP gives you the freedom to choose any framework you desire. And since your framework will vastly alter your programming experience, it’s an extremely important choice. We have our favorite PHP frameworks, but each of them has its own positive and negative attributes. Which one you want to select will likely come down to your unique situation.
Best for Beginners: Codeigniter
There are a few things that make Codeigniter a good option for beginners. Codeigniter is a fairly simple, easy to sue toolkit that nevertheless contains a variety of features. Libraries are small but powerful and the PHP framework itself requires almost no configuration. The framework is compatible with most hosting packages and it is extremely flexible in its coding rules. However, it doesn’t skimp on performance — Codeigniter is a solid platform even for more advanced users.
Best for Speed: Phalcon
Phalcon is designed for speed, with very little overhead in terms of resources. For applications that need to be scalable, Phalcon may be the best solution. Phalcon includes features such as assets management, security, and auto-loading, and is designed for MVC applications. Simple, clean, and easy to use with a very low learning curve, Phalcon is also a good framework for those just getting started.
Best for Performance: Zend
Zend’s agile methodology is perfectly suited for enterprise applications, and when combined with streamlining, automation processes, and easy-to-use debugging and editing tools, it’s easy to see why Zend is the framework of choice for many commercial developers. Zend is a high performance framework intended for experts in PHP programming. Those who are looking for a framework strong enough to support even the most ambitious of projects will find Zend the perfect choice.
Best for Commerce: CakePHP
For large enterprise applications or modular platforms, CakePHP provides a variety of critical features: improved session management, built-in database functions, validation and authentication, code generation features, and scaffolding. CakePHP is one of the most popular PHP frameworks and, despite its robust nature, it’s fairly easy for a beginner to get started with.
It’s inarguable: Laravel is the most popular PHP framework, vastly dwarfing the competition. Laravel has the simplicity and ease-of-use necessary for beginners developing their first web apps and the complexity and strength for advanced users building large scale enterprise solutions. The Laravel composer makes it easy for programmers to manage third-party packages while RESTful routing improves and streamlines resource use. Due to its incredible popularity, Laravel has a large community and extensive support.
Many programmers find it easier to try out an assortment of PHP frameworks to determine which is better for their programming style. Each framework has its own benefits and drawbacks as noted, so programmers may want to switch between frameworks on a project-by-project basis. But, as a whole, those who are looking for a new PHP framework will likely find Laravel well-suited to most of their use cases. Laravel is nearly twice as popular as the next most often used framework, and there’s good reason for it: its environment, performance, libraries, and feature sets are all head-and-shoulders above the competition.