PHP Frameworks in 2023

Popularity of PHP and PHP frameworks. Brief info about potential uses.

Balazs Refi

July 31, 2023

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PHP Frameworks in 2023: check out the potential uses of PHP frameworks, the popularity of PHP and more. Get to know more from Bluebird!


I have put together a list of the most popular PHP frameworks for you. I hope this description is short, clear, and gives you enough information to be very useful to you. Also, I've checked the popularity rate of PHP frameworks at Google Trends, and the popularity index on Tiobe. I guess, you'll be a bit surprised.

At the end of the blog post, you can find more information that can help you to get PHP developers.

Let's get into it!

Key Takeaways

  1. 1
    PHP frameworks provide pre-built libraries of code that help streamline the web development process.
  2. 2
    Laravel, Symfony, CodeIgniter, Yii, CakePHP, Phalcon, Zend Framework, and Slim are popular PHP frameworks that offer unique features for web development.
  3. 3
    The choice of framework depends on project requirements, development approach, and personal preferences of the developer.

What are PHP Frameworks?

To comprehend the best PHP frameworks, we must first define PHP frameworks. A PHP framework is a pre-built code library that provides a structure and set of tools for developing web applications in PHP. Handle it as a blueprint that you can use to streamline the development process and create more efficient applications.

PHP frameworks offer a lot of features and benefits that make them useful for web development. They provide reusable code, for example, which eliminates the need for repetitive coding. They also include security features that guard against common vulnerabilities (e.g. SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS)). PHP frameworks also offer performance optimizations and more.

Popularity of PHP & PHP Frameworks

I examined two aspects of PHP's popularity:

  1. 1
    Popularity of PHP Frameworks: Using Google Trends I've managed to get clear data about this. To be accurate, the numbers on the chart represent search interest based on Google data. Yep, by far the most popular PHP framework is Laravel.
  2. 2
    The popularity of PHP among other programming languages: The TIOBE index is a trusted indicator of the popularity of programming languages. As you can see, the popularity of PHP is falling year after year.
Popularity of PHP frameworks - Bluebird Blog
PHP Tiobe Index - Bluebird Blog

Most Popular PHP Frameworks

PHP Framework

Main area of use

Main strength

Brief Description

Best Features

PHP Frameworks - Laravel

Web Application Development

Elegant Syntax

Laravel is a powerful framework with expressive syntax.

Artisan CLI, ORM, Routing, Caching, Robust Ecosystem

PHP Frameworks - Symfony

Web Application Development

Flexibility and Modularity

Symfony is a highly flexible PHP framework known for its modularity.

Bundles, Component-based architecture, Testing, Caching, CLI

PHP Frameworks - CodeIgniter

Web Application Development

Lightweight and Easy to Use

CodeIgniter is a lightweight framework with a small footprint.

MVC architecture, Active Record, Caching, Security, Error Handling

PHP Frameworks - Zend

Web Application Development

Extensibility and Flexibility

Zend Framework offers a high level of flexibility and extensibility.

Modularity, MVC components, Database abstraction, Caching, Authentication

PHP Frameworks - Yii

Web Application Development

Performance and Security

Yii is a high-performance PHP framework with strong security features.

MVC architecture, Gii Code Generator, Caching, RBAC, Error Handling

PHP Frameworks - CakePHP

Web Application Development

Rapid Application Development

CakePHP is a framework that enables rapid development of web applications.

ORM, MVC architecture, Caching, Authentication, CLI

Frameworks - Slim


Lightweight and Minimalistic

Slim is a lightweight microframework ideal for small projects.

Routing, Middleware, Dependency Injection, Templating, Error Handling


Web Application Development

Speed and Performance

Phalcon is a high-performance framework implemented as a C-extension.

MVC architecture, ORM, Caching, Asset Management, Security


Web Application Development

Modular and Secure

FuelPHP is a modular PHP framework that focuses on security.

ORM, HMVC architecture, Caching, Validation, Security

PHP Frameworks - Fat-Free Framework

Web Application Development

Lightweight and Easy to Learn

Fat-Free Framework is a lightweight PHP microframework with a small learning curve.

Routing, Caching, Template Engine, ORM, Authentication


Web Application Development

Fast and Secure

PHPixie is a lightweight framework designed for high performance.

HMVC architecture, ORM, Caching, Security, Extensibility

PHP Frameworks - Laravel


Laravel, as the No.1 PHP framework nowadays, follows the architectural pattern design of Model-View-Controller (MVC). It equips developers with a cornucopia of advantageous features and tools, enabling them with the facility of crafting reusable components, tailored to snugly fit into their projects.

Laravel provides various features out of the box, such as authentication, which allows developers to secure their applications easily. Laravel also comes with an expressive syntax that makes it easier to write clean, readable, and maintainable code. Furthermore, Laravel's robust security measures provide developers with peace of mind when developing secure applications.

Laravel's popularity is due to its ease of use and scalability. It can handle small to large-scale applications with ease, making it a top choice for developers in 2023. Its active community and comprehensive documentation further enhance its appeal.

PHP Frameworks - Symfony


Symfony is a powerful PHP framework that follows the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern.

It offers a rich set of components and libraries that accelerate web development and make it suitable for both small and large-scale applications.


Symfony offers a range of features that make it a top choice for developers:

Modular design: Symfony is built with a modular architecture that allows developers to use only the components they need, reducing the framework's memory footprint and making it more scalable.

Flexibility: Developers have the flexibility to use Symfony components with other PHP frameworks or libraries, allowing for easy integration and customization.

Testability: Symfony's built-in testing tools ensure code quality and simplify the testing process for developers.


Symfony offers several benefits that make it an excellent choice for web development:

Code reusability: Symfony's modular design and flexible architecture promote code reuse, reducing development time and improving code quality.

Scalability: Symfony's modular design and efficient routing system make it ideal for developing scalable applications.

Security: Symfony provides built-in security features like cross-site scripting prevention and password hashing, enhancing the security of web applications.


Symfony has a large and active community of developers who contribute to its development and maintenance. The community provides extensive documentation, plugins, and resources that make it easy for developers to use and customize Symfony.


Flexible and modular architecture

Built-in testing tools

Large and active community


Steep learning curve

Requires advanced knowledge of PHP

PHP Frameworks - CodeIgniter


In this section, we will introduce CodeIgniter, a lightweight PHP framework suitable for developers seeking a fast and efficient development process. CodeIgniter prioritizes simplicity and speed, and requires minimal configuration before use. Its small footprint makes it an excellent choice for developing small-scale applications and prototypes.

CodeIgniter's straightforward documentation and user-friendly interface make it easy for developers to get started and create web applications quickly. It offers a rich set of features, including a robust security system, caching, and support for multiple databases. CodeIgniter's flexibility and scalability make it reliable for the development of larger projects as well.

Overall, CodeIgniter's simplicity, speed, and versatility make it an excellent choice for developers looking to rapidly prototype web applications or build small- to medium-scale projects.

PHP Frameworks - Yii


Yii is a popular and high-performance PHP framework that prioritizes security and extensibility. Its modular architecture allows developers to seamlessly integrate third-party extensions and libraries, enabling rapid development of complex applications. Yii's built-in caching and profiling support help optimize website performance and improve user experience.

Its robust authentication and authorization features ensure secure access control to sensitive data and resources. Yii also provides a powerful command-line interface for developers to streamline common development tasks.


Highly extensible and customizable

Built-in security measures

Efficient caching and performance optimization

Active community for support and development


Steep learning curve for beginners

Requires knowledge of OOP and design patterns

Compared to some other frameworks, Yii is relatively slower

Yii is an excellent choice for developers seeking a powerful and secure PHP framework that allows for high levels of customization and extensibility. Its caching and profiling features make it a top performer, and its modular architecture facilitates rapid development of complex web applications. However, beginners may find it challenging to learn, and compared to some other frameworks, it may have slower performance.

PHP Frameworks - CakePHP


CakePHP is a mature PHP framework that has been around since 2005. Its primary focus is on convention over configuration, enabling developers to build applications quickly and efficiently by sticking to a set of pre-defined conventions and practices. This approach reduces the amount of code needed to get an application up and running.

One of the key features of CakePHP is scaffolding, which automates the generation of code for common tasks such as creating, reading, updating, and deleting data. This saves developers time and effort by eliminating repetitive coding tasks.

CakePHP also comes with built-in testing tools, including unit testing and integration testing, which help developers maintain code quality by ensuring that code behaves as expected. This framework is highly extensible, with a large number of plugins available for adding extra functionality to your application.


Convention over configuration saves time on coding

Built-in scaffolding for common tasks

Active community and extensive documentation


Can be difficult to customize beyond the conventions

Requires a strong understanding of object-oriented programming concepts

Not as flexible or scalable as other frameworks such as Laravel or Symfony

PHP Frameworks - Phalcon


Phalcon is a PHP framework that developers can rely on for building high-performance applications. It is well known for its speed and low consumption of resources. What sets it apart from other PHP frameworks is that it is implemented as a C extension, making it one of the fastest PHP frameworks available. By leveraging the full power of C, Phalcon can handle more requests per second than most other frameworks.

Phalcon's architecture promotes loosely coupled components, allowing developers to take advantage of features, such as caching, security, and routing. Phalcon provides a range of configurable adapters that can be used for connecting to a variety of databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB. This makes it flexible and suitable for a range of applications.


High performance and low resource consumption

Flexible and configurable

Modular architecture that supports multiple programming paradigms


The learning curve may be hard for beginners due to implementation in C

Requires a specific environment for installation

Relatively small community and limited documentation

PHP Frameworks - Zend

Zend Framework

We cannot ignore Zend Framework when discussing the best PHP frameworks for developers in 2023. It is a robust and scalable framework that has been around since 2006. Zend Framework is built with a focus on code quality and maintainability, making it an excellent choice for developing complex enterprise applications.

Zend Framework offers a range of modules and integrations that can help developers save time and increase productivity. Some of its notable features include:

Modularity: Highly modular, allowing developers to selectively use the components they need without the bloat of unnecessary code.

Security: Provides robust security features such as input filtering, output escaping, and encryption to help developers safeguard their applications.

Integration: Offers seamless integration with other tools and technologies, including database systems, caching engines, and third-party APIs.

Documentation: It has extensive documentation that covers all aspects of the framework, making it easy for developers to get up and running quickly.

Overall, Zend Framework is a powerful and versatile PHP framework that provides developers with the tools they need to build enterprise-grade applications with ease.

PHP Frameworks - Slim


Slim is a micro PHP framework that has gained popularity for its simplicity and minimalism in building lightweight and scalable web applications and APIs. While it may not offer as many built-in features as some of the other frameworks we've discussed, Slim provides essential components like routing, middleware, and dependency injection.

Its lightweight nature makes it an excellent choice for small projects or developing RESTful APIs, where performance and speed are crucial. Slim's clean and intuitive documentation further contributes to its appeal, allowing developers to get started quickly and efficiently.

If You Need PHP Developers

If you need PHP developers for your project, don't hesitate. Contact us and we will help you with our remote PHP developers. Specify your requirements, define which PHP framework knowledge is necessary and you will get senior PHP developers within 3-10 working days.

Pay only for approved engineering days, at the previously agreed daily rate, and work with our colleagues in US/EU timezone.

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