Love it or hate it, PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is still the world’s most widely used web development technology. It powers the likes of Facebook, Wikipedia, and WordPress. And it has approximately 8 times more users than its closest rival ASP.NET. 

PHP frameworks are platforms that simplify and speed up the creation of PHP web applications. These frameworks comprise a collection of different libraries, functionalities, and design elements. 

The frameworks reduce the amount of code that needs to be written, enhance consistency and reduce coding errors. For PHP web developers, this translates into reduced workload and enhanced accuracy. 

In this guide, we’ll look at the most popular PHP frameworks in the world and the features that have earned them that acclaim. 

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10 Best PHP Frameworks of 2022

1. Laravel

Laravel markets itself as “a framework for web artisans”. Its stylish, expressive syntax and vast range in features and applications definitely support that claim. It’s a free and open-source framework with excellent customization capabilities.  

Laravel uses the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern. Its templating engine Blade makes the creation of HTML layouts a breeze. 

Best Features:

  • PHP developers have the option of using PHP within Blade. That’s not possible with other popular templating engines. 
  • Laravel’s packages collection Packalyst includes over 15,000 different packages that you can use for your projects.
  • Laravel employs Bcrypt Hashing Algorithm to generate application passwords. These are saved in the database as encrypted text instead of plain text. 

2. Symfony

Symfony is a Model-View-Controller (MVC) based platform with more than 50 different components that can be customized for varied projects. Its template engine Twig compiles templates in plain PHP code, significantly reducing the overhead. 

Twig can also double as a template language for web applications wherein the template design can be modified. 

Best Features:

  • Setup and configuration are quick and easy, which makes Symfony ideal for building corporate web applications of extensive scales.
  • Symfony’s flexible template engine highlights syntax issues within a template by sending a message that includes the line number and filename of the file. This makes debugging fast and easy. 
  • Symfony has full documentation and a huge, reliable community to help you should you encounter any problems. 

3. Phalcon 

Phalcon is a PHP extension that’s actually written in C. It’s lightning-fast, user-friendly, and has extensive documentation. It supports functions such as asset management, universal autoloader, and caching. 

Phalcon is perfect for creating flexible web applications that strictly abide by the rules of corporate web development. 

Best Features:

  • Phalcon Query Language (PHQL) allows you to create relational queries that can be used with different database systems. 
  • It supports a wide array of databases, including both relational and non-relational databases. 
  • It supports functions such as caching, templating engine, and Object Relational Mapping (ORM).

4. CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is a lightweight Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework. The latest version, CodeIgniter 4 will only take up 1.2 MB of your disk space. The size of the user guide is just 6 MB. It’s fast and has detailed, illustrated instructions for the benefit of new web developers. 

CodeIgniter requires virtually no configuration and doesn’t force you to use MVC patterns. You can go with any design pattern you like. 

Best Features:

  • CodeIgniter’s user-friendly interface helps detect errors a breeze. All application errors appear in text format and can be tracked with the file name and line number. 
  • CodeIgniter’s Email sending class supports using HTML and text in mails, attachments, and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP).
  • CodeIgniter comes with built-in security against Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks. 

5. Yii

Yii is a PHP platform based on Object-Oriented Patterns (OOP) and Model-View-Controller (MVC). It’s predominantly focused on the core functionality which leads to less overhead than most popular PHP platforms. 

Yii is both fast and versatile and can be used to build applications as varied as blogs, Software as a service (SaaS), and social media.

Best Features:

  • Yii is incredibly flexible—you can modify virtually every line of your code. 
  • It supports front-end operations such as validation of inputs using Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX).
  • Yii supports automated CRUD (Create, Read, Update and Delete) generation using Gii.

6. CakePHP 

CakePHP is a rapid-development PHP framework with a convention-based setup. Its set of pre-defined conventions guides you throughout the process of developing your web application. 

CakePHP uses the CRUD (create, read, update, and delete) structure and has a vast components library. An excellent choice for building both simple and complex web applications.

Best Features:

  • CakePHP’s scaffolding and code generation makes building web application prototypes a quick, easy task.
  • It’s licensed under the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which makes it perfect for building commercial web applications. 
  • It offers advanced security features such as input validation, Structured Query Language (SQL) injection protection, and protection against Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks. 

7. Laminas

Laminas is the community-supported successor of the popular Zend framework. It’s a Model-View-Controller (MVC) based object-oriented framework. 

With Laminas, you can choose to only load the essential components as separate libraries. The framework strictly adheres to the rules of corporate web development principles. This makes it ideal for building sophisticated enterprise web solutions.

Best Features:

  • It has specialized error handlers that handle errors for production and development, including both basic and advanced errors. 
  • It allows you to integrate external components libraries with Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture. 
  • It has a flexible caching system that works with different backends such as file systems and memory.

8. FuelPHP

FuelPHP is a Model-View-Controller (MVC) based PHP platform with full support for Hierarchical Model-View-Controller (HMVC) and ViewModels (presentation models). This framework has a router-based approach that allows you to directly route to closure. 

Best Features:

  • FuelPHP is highly extendable. You can extend any class in the platform’s core package without editing the code. 
  • It’s highly flexible, with few coding restrictions. You can include controllers and files in any file structure. You can also extend native classes according to your preference. 
  • It offers security features such as input filtering, URL filtering, Output encoding, and protection from Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks.

9. Lumen

Lumen is a micro-framework that was developed by Laravel’s creator to meet the needs of lighter-weight installations. It’s quite similar to Laravel and is maintained by Laravel’s user community. 

This web development framework utilizes the same components that are used in Laravel. This allows developers using Lumen to upgrade to Laravel when they feel the need for additional features.

Best Features:

  • Lumen supports 4 database systems— SQL Server, SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. Connecting with these databases and running queries is fast and easy. 
  • It’s lighter, faster, and requires even less configuration than Laravel. 
  • Lumen is a performance-centric framework. As such, it’s perfect for single-page web applications and microservices that require high performance and low latency. 

10. PHPPixie

PHPPixie claims it can be learned in just 30 minutes. As such, it’s ideal for both new and experienced developers seeking a framework focused on minimizing page loading time.

PHPPixie has a linear execution flow and a Hierarchical Model-View-Controller (HMVC). The stable codebase allows the flexibility to write your own code the way you like it. 

Best Features:

  • It supports SQLite, MySQL, MongoDB, and PostgreSQL.
  • Its image library acts as a common interface for popular image manipulation software such as Imagick
  • The platform’s PHPixie Migrate component enables you to define data for adding to the database for testing. It also allows applying updates in a quick, consistent manner. 

There you have it—the top PHP frameworks of the day and their best features. Now that you’re familiar with these, hire a dedicated PHP developer and develop a custom web application for your needs.  

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