7 Best PHP Frameworks for 2014

Posted by Manmeet Anand

Best PHP Frameworks for 2014

There is no denying to the fact that PHP is one of the programming languages which has emerged as the most powerful web development platform in a short span of time. It’s immense popularity can be cited from the fact that today it is installed on more than 2.1 million web servers worldwide and 244 million websites and web applications are running on it. As per Jobs Tractor, an analysis of the 45,000+ developer jobs on Twitter, it was revealed that 8200+ vacancies of PHP developers were posted in 2013 (Jan-Dec) ranking it as the 2nd most preferred language to work on. And this is the reason that ever since PHP conquered the programming world, a whooping no. of frameworks arrived in the market with their own set of tools and functionalities to let developers complete their small or large projects better and faster. But before you dive into the PHP Development world, hit on a Project and get your hands dirty with the code, the first and the foremost question that is likely to haunt your minds is, which is the best framework to be chosen so as to relish the charm of designing a perfect application in a jiffy.

With already a month and a half in 2014, I , along with my team of PHP web development experts decided to unveil the best PHP frameworks and compile the list for all the programming nerds so that they don’t get stuck in the middle of the project struggling to make peace with the decision they took and repenting afterwards if it doesn’t meets the requirements. So here we go in the hierarchial order of their popularity !!The numbers are given in accordance with the recent survey on PHP Frameworks conducted by Sitepoint.

Number 1 – Laravel

Laravel is currently the most popular PHP framework in the GitHub arsenal that offers an inherently promising foundation of well tested reliable code built on the top of several symfony components.


Exclusive Features

  1. Restful Routing that manages all the client/server routes easily and connects resources smoothly.
  2. Inherent Database Version control
  3. A lightweight Blade Templating Engine that is powerfully driven by template inheritance of files having .blade.php extension. This comes under the View part of the robust MVC architecture of Laravel.
  4. Composer – An amazing tool that lets you manage your application’s third party packages easily.
  5. Comes bundled with Eloquent – An ORM that offers a beautifully simple ActiveRecord implementation to work with your databases and is relatively faster than all other PHP frameworks
  6. Built-in unit testing and simply readable impressive syntax
  7. Larger Community catering to thousands of programming geeks and application developers
  8. Automatic Pagination to handle page links with just a single configuration option in the “app/config/view.php” file. Generally pagination is a cumbersome task for developers and especially the bunch of unnecessary configurations clutters up everything in the code. But with Laravel, you can do this task in a jiffy by getting db record count and using a limit or an offset via ‘paginate’ option in two views – Slider View and Simple view. The best part with Laravel is, both of these views are fully compatible with Twitter Bootstrap framework also.
  9. Application Logic that can be incorporated within any of your web applications using two ways – Either the Laravel Controllers or Route declarations utilizing a syntax similar to Sinatra framework.
  10. Intelligently designed to offer incredible flexibility to developers that helps them create each and everything from small sites to giant enterprise applications.

Required skills – PHP and OOP knowledge

Latest Stable Version – 4.1

Most Suited for – Experts

Release Date – June 11, 2011

Licensed Under- MIT

Number 2- Phalcon

Phalcon is a full stack web framework for PHP 5 that is written and implemented as a C extension. Phalcon basically aims at creating and maintaining highly configurable web applications that sync right with the enterprise development guidelines.


Exclusive Features

  1. Learning curve is pretty easy
  2. Easy to use ORM
  3. Little overhead as compared to other frameworks
  4. Native namespaces so that you can differentiate between similar class names or controllers and create bundles or modules easily.
  5. Direct Injection that facilitates easy-to-create software which tests end to end applications.
  6. Loosely coupled to allow developers to use the whole framework or selected objects
  7. Neat and clean intuitive API with solid code written on powerful design patterns

Required skills – PHP 5 , OOP 

Latest Stable Version – 1.2.6

Most Suited for – Intermediates

Release Date – 14 Nov, 2012

Licensed Under- BSD

Number 3 – Symfony

Symfony bags third position amongst all other PHP Frameworks. It is one of the most actively used framework that ships with a powerful ORM and excellent documentation. The frequency of its fast adoption can be cited from the fact that Drupal, the most popular Open source CMS framework worldwide uses the symfony components upto its latest version (Drupal 8).


Exclusive Features

  1. The most stable, sustainable and flexible 3 in 1 framework that is quickly adaptable to all your needs
  2. Entirely Configurable with its “Dependency Injector” and “Event Dispatcher”
  3. Can be used as a standalone micro framework (Symfony 2) without you having to reinvent the wheel and installing the entire framework
  4. Lets you build and customize everything as per your own needs
  5. Growing Ecosystem of expert Community, Mailing Lists and IRCs etc. and many other service companies
  6. Extensible upto the brim and is presented as “Bundles” that are intended to add extra functionalities to the framework.
  7. Lets you leverage the power and strength of development by allowing to validate roles and improve productivity
  8. Apparently accessible to satiate professionals and advanced users with its amazing documentation and best practices.

Required skills – PHP 5, OOP , ORM, Console

Latest Stable Version – 2.4.1

Most Suited for – Intermediates / Experts

Release Date – 22nd October, 2005

Licensed Under- MIT

Number 4 – Yii Framework

Yii is a high performance feature rich framework that mainly lets you focus on the beautifulness of the code while doing all the grunge work completely behind the scenes. A lot of things in Yii happen automatically but still the learning curve is slightly steeper.

Yii Framework

Exclusive Features

  1. Powerful Caching system that loads your web applications extremely fast.
  2. Security at its best with Yii. From input validation and output filtering to SQL injection attacks and cross-site scripting (XSS) prevention, it offers everything to ensure your application is safe and secure.
  3. Provides excellent support for writing and running both unit tests and functionality tests, which are prominently based on PHPUnit and Selenium.
  4. There is a detailed documentation for everything if you get stuck anywhere. May it be any single method or property, everything is clearly and systematically documented.
  5. Works fantastically well with 3rd party codes. It is designed in a way that you can even use codes from PEAR or ZEND framework into your Yii Web Application.
  6. Has a built in authentication support that is facilitated via RBAC (Role Based Access Control).
  7. Well integrated with JQuery and comes bundled with major Ajax enabled widgets like auto completion input field, Treeview, Data Grid etc that lets you write highly efficient and versatile UI.
  8. Supports message translation, date and time formatting, number formatting, and interface localization.
  9. Offers professionally clean and reusable code that follows MVC pattern.
  10. Integrates best with both the relational and non relational databases.

Required skills –PHP5 , OOP

Latest Stable Version – 1.1.14

Most Suited for – Intermediates

Release Date – Dec 1, 2013

Licensed Under- BSD

Number 5 – Codeigniter

Codeigniter is a simple to learn micro-framework that comes bundled with unmatched flexibility and comprehensive documentation.


Exclusive Features

  1. Offers incredible control in comparison to other frameworks specially Yii.
  2. Best framework for Beginners as it is simply great and easier to learn
  3. Exceptionally High performance and broad compatibility delivered with standard hosting
  4. Zero configuration required to let the task easier for you
  5. Large scale monolithic libraries that let complexity break into simplicity
  6. Thorough maintenance

Required skills – PHP and OOP basics

Latest Stable Version- 2.1.4

Most Suited for – Beginners

Release Date – Feb 28,2006

Licensed Under- OSL

Number 6 – CakePHP

CakePHP ranks fifth amongst all the open source web application frameworks that follows all the Model-View-Controller (MVC) approach and software design patterns.


Exclusive Features

  • Good code generation and scaffolding features that rapidly build prototypes to suit all your needs
  • No complicated XML/YAML file configurations to set up databases
  • Perfectly suited for commercial applications
  • Immense Built functionalities like Translation access, database access, caching, validation and authentication
  • Securing your App from antisocial elements through CSRF protection, form tampering protection, SQL injection prevention, XSS prevention,

Required skills – PHP, OOP and ability to sort out Frameworks

Latest Stable Version – 2.4.5

Most Suited for – Experts

Release Date – April 2005

Licensed Under- MIT

Number 7 –Zend

Zend is the one and only framework which is best suited for Enterprise Projects. No other framework can match upto its flexibility, scalability and robustness. However, this framework is not meant for Beginners and even Intermediates but it can be of benefit to only the niche which is absolutely expert in PHP Programming as well as Object Oriented Concepts.


Exclusive Features

  1. Offers the most efficiently designed workflows and API-centric applications that deploy amazingly fast
  2. Agile Design methodology that focuses on delivering the high quality enterprise apps
  3. World class Cloud support on servers. No Cloud lock-in, get everything on your choice of clouds.
  4. Inherently excellent streamlining and automation process that brings software from codes to production
  5. The most coolest Drag and Drop editor, and unmatched front-end support (HTML, CSS and JavaScript) at your ease
  6. Instant Online Debugging and PHP Unit testing tools to assist with codes and test case report.
  7. Intuitively connected Database Wizard and Editable Table Viewer for exclusive database connectivity.

Required skills – PHP 5 and Expert OOP knowledge

Latest Stable Version – 2.2.5

Most Suited for –Experts

Release Date –March 3, 2006

Licensed Under- BSD

The Final Note

Well, in my opinion, it is very critical to take a wise decision while choosing the best framework because this is the one and only thing that can either make or break your web application. Don’t just go with whatever others are opting. Hire expert PHP Programmers or shell out time to carefully evaluate every framework according to your needs because it is more or less like choosing a dress wherein you first need to figure out your fitting size (requirements)and your pocket(project budget) as well.

Manmeet singh is a SENIOR SOFTWARE ENGINEER with TIS India Business Consultants Pvt. Ltd. since the last 6 Years. He is a programming geek who spends most of his time developing web applications , enhancing user experiences and creating usable softwares. He has helped many overseas clients come out of the project management nightmares by comprehensive requirement analysis and ensuring timely delivery of projects. Follow him on Google Plus and Linkedin here.

Laravel: Suitable for experts Yii: Suitable for intermediate. It means learning curve is easy in Yii than Laravel?
August28 at 12:35 AM
If that it really depends on yourself. I had no problem picking up laravel 4 , where I had a bit more problems with other frameworks. I recommend installing them and just try them out. You'll get a feeling soon enough.
October1 at 04:18 AM
Can any one tell me please PHP developer Growth ?
October14 at 06:06 PM
can help me which is framework simple and better
November12 at 09:43 PM
i am working on phalcon which is the best in performance and easy to use, but i am about to develop an online banking site is it good to go with phalcon?
November14 at 07:47 PM
Why is everybody just reposting the same post? Give some other frameworks a shot as well... just to mention https://yeephp.com or many others. Each framework has a purpose, and I am sure you can do better ;)
December3 at 06:27 PM
It's Codeigniter.... No "Code Ignitor"
December6 at 11:07 PM
This post is absolutely NONSENSE. Not only are there absolutely no negatives associated with the frameworks such as anti-patterns used by them extensively (symfony - service locator and overly-complex dependency injection, laravel: 'cult-like' community with an egotistical lead developer that advocates global mutable state with "facades" which incidentally are nothing to do with the design pattern, cakephp|codeigniter: with code still from PHP 4), but the original writer had no idea what he was talking about. Do yourselves a favour. Learn the positives AND negatives of the framework you choose. Choose one from an educated foothold - not by looking at posts like this and going with Laravel.
December12 at 05:30 PM
cakephp framwork is good or not ????
January8 at 08:46 AM
I found most interesting Symfony (and I've used many times with success ) . Very simple thanks to the knowledge of PHP and MySQL in my development team http://www.wordpressolutions.eu
February11 at 02:48 AM
Such a needed one for all php web developers. Thanks for sharing. Actually in other article I've seen some more php frameworks are as more popular which is more likely to this article. Find it here...http://customwebsitedevelopement.blogspot.com/2015/05/10-most-popular-php-frameworks-in-2015-for-php-web-developers.html
May29 at 05:01 PM