Top 10 Most Popular Web Frameworks for PHP in 2017

August 18th, 2017

Symfony // Alexander

No matter what easy PHP framework you choose, it should be built for performance with love. It means that the chosen framework should meet all requirements of the web and app developers who wish to create the best products ever. It does not matter what the size and complexity of your product are – a superior PHP framework will cope with any obstacles.

To decide on the framework you need, first, it is critical to have a project design on hand. Whether a business plans a tiny static web page or a huge enterprise content management system, it is important to know all the requirements.

As for today, Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) is, perhaps, the most widespread scripting language, and PHO experts are the most demanded on the modern market. Basically, it does something that other languages cannot guarantee the same high level: forums, chats, photo albums, surveys & polls, password-sign in pages, etc. Good old HTML does not work any longer – it is better to choose the scripting language of the modern business world with its high demands and harsh competition.

Roughly eighty percent of all websites today are based on PHP code. At the same time, experts share that there is no way to develop a large-scale web footprint with the help of this code being in a raw shape. Thus, special tools are used to solve this problem. Those are web frameworks for PHP. They made it simpler to work with this type of code.

We have graded the top preferred frameworks based on the primary features each tool like this should possess. Our experts have checked such features as the ability to:

  • Use different components
  • Apply libraries
  • Impose/Strengthen proven architecture
  • Make sure the chosen model was separated
  • Observe and manage logic (MVC paradigm)
  • Avoid problems with security
  • Enhance file/code structure

To make web or app development a fun process, we recommend having a look at these best MVC frameworks for PHP.

Top Preferred Frameworks: PHP Frameworks Comparison in 2017

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As of today, both Symfony2 and Symfony3 are used in the market, the projects slowly migrating to the newer version. Not only known content management systems apply this type of framework, but other PHP frameworks as well. For instance, Symfony is the basis for the famous phpBB forum software. The second point on our list, Laravel, is another fun and loyal user of Symfony. The fact that this tool has an all-time expanding, dedicated community over the world makes it one of the most popular MVC frameworks.

Symfony PHP framework offers the following assignments to be handled easily:

  • Establishment of forums
  • Configuration
  • Authentication
  • Creating & Applying Templates
  • Routing
  • Setting up the desired features with the Composer PHP dependency manager.

We use Symfony framework for numerous projects and have extensive experience with setting up even the most complex architectural solutions using it. 


Specialists usually call this one the best of the best when it comes to fast and safe web & app development. It has a lot of advantages in comparison with other frameworks. Even though the product is rather new, it has been upgraded enough to become the best PHP framework for large scale applications and small projects. The main benefit is the ability to carry out large projects with the speed of light without allowing any bugs.

This framework is number one in dealing with many databases. Among the main features are the developers’ community name, instantaneous hosting and deployment platform. The framework with its main features does not weigh too much. It is excellent for managing repetitive assignments (e.g. authentication, caching, or sessions).


When comparing PHP frameworks, some developers recall Cake PHP as the best choice ever. This option is older than Laravel but still impresses with the new features. In contrast to many other options on the list, Cake executes the MVC scheme. It is based on the primary principles of the good old Ruby on Rails (RoR). The framework is compatible with both PHP4 and PHP5. It is another feature that makes Cake PHP stand out from the rivals.

The framework does not require too many extraordinary skills to use it. Now, it is possible to establish a greater amount of personal libraries than it was before. In general, the advantages include:

  • Avoiding cross-site scripting
  • Providing defense from cross-site request falsifier
  • Guaranteeing input validation


While talking about the main PHP frameworks comparison, it is impossible to ignore Phalcon. The main focus of this tool is speed. It is a complete stack MVC framework for people who value rapidness. Phalcon has all the necessary elements, such as:

  • Routing
  • Controllers
  • Ability to observe templates
  • Caching
  • Object-relational mapping (ORM)

Out of all functions, users still prefer the tool for being the fastest PHP framework. It is very simple to handle, and it assists in creating apps of any size and complexity level.


Another tool which demonstrates an excellent PHP frameworks performance is a CodeIgniter. It is as old as CakePHP but still great in terms of fast and easy setup procedure that needs a bit of configuration. The framework helps to prevent PHP edition conflict.

The user may choose whether to apply Models and Views. It is possible to develop and use personal coding. The tool was already defined as the one that provides the greatest freedom and choice. Let’s say someone wants more complex functions when working on the large-scale projects. It is not a problem to insert 3rd party plugins into the CodeIgniter.


When we compare PHP frameworks, ZEND should not be overlooked, being one of the top recommended frameworks in 2017. Two features – web-grounded training, and accreditation – made this tool so trusted and admired. Large-scale businesses that are full of new ideas for implementation often pick Zend.

To specify, the framework inspired the Google team, IBM, Adobe, and more famous names. Microsoft shares that it has made its decisions based on such Zend’s opportunities as cryptographic coding instruments simple and convenient.


The list of popular PHP frameworks always includes Yii too. It is based on the usage of MVC. Just like Phalcon, this web development tool is focused on speed. It helps to avoid or handle repetitive operations easily.

If your business is about launching a new content management system or internet portal, think about trying Yii. It effectively constructs Query, provides ActiveRecord for relational/NoSQL databases, and guarantees multi-level caching support. People who plan to move to back-end after trying the front-end area would find this framework easy to start. It works perfectly to serve the needs of the object-oriented development. Some call it the best PHP framework for rest API.


Another idea is to try the so-called Slim framework. As far as we have mentioned the rest of the APIs, Slim must be recalled as it does not require too much effort to master its functions. The framework also has a light, tiny code base.

Those who deal with the class middleware architecture will feel comfortable using this tool. The Slim framework supports everything a modern developer needs:

  • Encrypted cookies
  • Vivid page samples
  • Caching
  • Flash messages


Speaking of the most secure PHP framework, it would probably be FuelPHP. Besides, it can boast upgraded opportunities thanks to the updated edition, Hierarchical-Model-View-Controller. Thus, it is the winner in two categories: security and architecture.

Input & uniform resource identifier (URI) filtering makes FuelPHP highly secure. The framework has own authentication and detailed documentation.


It is one of the recently released frameworks, so some development companies have not tried it yet. Those who installed and worked with PHPixie say that it will work only with prepared websites, but the performance is at a worthy level. The web framework popularity of PHPixie is associated with the full unit tested elements as well as minimum dependencies.

You can find a free guide which helps to learn PHPixie in less than half an hour. If you would like to have access to such features as ORM, input validation, and various authorization capabilities, you would probably like this framework. Try applying the HTML Abstraction Markup Language (HAML). Enjoy a compound routing system.


Often, choosing simply the easiest PHP framework is not enough, especially when your business plan is to carry out a large-scale, long-term project to impress users around the world. Pay attention to such attributes as speed, cost-efficiency, MVC, and Restful APIs when making the final decision too. Mind both the need of your PHP custom design & development team as well as the expectations of the clients.

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Author: Alexander

Alexander is the Head of IT at the APP Solutions/Grossum as well as a software developer with over 5 years production experience working on web application and services. He enjoys writing well-tested and clean code which solves real problems. His proficiency areas include web architecture, design and implementation of business applications, and loaded services. In his everyday work, he uses PHP, Python, JavaScript, MySQL, MongoDB, Redis and RabbitMQ. He prefers to work on a server side, though confident of doing client-side JavaScript as well.

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