PHP frameworks help PHP developers to write clean and reusable code. They follow the MVC pattern, ensuring a clear separation of logic and presentation. But there are different opinions, on which framework is the best because some developers prefer performance, some prefer better documentation, some prefer lots of built-in functions, etc.  But which is the Best PHP framework for 2016?

The very popular CodeIgniter framework remained the top choice for most developers from 2011 to mid-2014. However, later in 2014, a new framework “Laravel” arrived  to become the most popular and most used framework in 2015. Now in 2016 it is clear that the Laravel framework will remain at the top, due to the huge interest from developers and clients worldwide.

This article will discuss the most popular PHP frameworks and outline each with Google Trends for 2016.

Best PHP Framework? Laravel vs CodeIgniter vs Yii vs CakePHP vs Zend Comparison Chart

The Laravel PHP Framework

As shown in the Google search trend chart below, Laravel is the most popular PHP framework among PHP developers. This is a relatively new php framework, but great web application framework with expressive, elegant syntax that aims to make web development easy and fast, by easing common tasks used in the majority of web development projects, such as authentication, routing, sessions, queuing, and caching.  Hover, some say it’s code is a bit bloated, but it is the most popular out of the top php frameworks currently available.

Best PHP Framework Laravel

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CodeIgniter PHP Framework

CodeIgniter is the second most popular web framework among PHP developers. It is a lightweight powerful PHP framework that provides a simple and elegant platform to create full-featured web applications. CodeIgniter has been around much longer than Laravel and is a very dependable, robust framework.

Best PHP Framework CodeIgniter

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YiiFramework is a high-performance modern PHP framework. As its popularity in the chart shows, it attracts many PHP developers due to its features, such as fast development, caching, authentication and role-based access control, scaffolding, testing, etc.

Yiiframework | Best PHP Framework

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CakePHP is also popular among PHP developers due to its lightweight, simplicity, speed and requiring less code. It is easy to learn with fast and flexible templating. The built-in CRUD feature is very handy for database interaction. The framework also has various built-in features for security, email, session, cookie and request handling.

Best PHP Framework for 2016

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Zend Framework 2

Zend Framework 2 is a well known PHP framework among PHP developers evolved from Zend Framework 1, a successful PHP framework with over 15 million downloads. The Zend Framework 2 uses 100% object-oriented code and utilizes most of the new features of PHP 5.3, namely namespaces, late static binding, lambda functions, and closures.

Best PHP Framework for 2016

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No doubt, Symfony is a stable PHP framework ( that’s why not included in the chart) widely used by PHP developers to create websites and web applications. It is a flexible, scalable yet powerful PHP framework. Symfony has a huge community of fans. Symfony has plenty of reusable PHP components that can be used like Security, Templating, Translation, Validator, Form Config and more.

Best PHP Framework for 2016

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I’m sure some of our readers either agree, disagree or have other PHP Frameworks, which they consider the best, but may not be on our list.  If this is the case, then please add a comment below and let us know your thoughts and suggestions.

So which one is the Best PHP Framework?

The Best PHP Framework depends on your specific needs, style and the type of applications you build.  I recommend reviewing each one listed and figure out which one fits your needs best.


81 Responses to Best PHP Framework Comparison

  • Be a popular framework don’t make u a good one.
    Maybe you people need to use a benchmark or something to clarify strong points of each framework.
    This article are good for project managers to contract web developers with specific knowledge or to choose a framework considering its popularity.

  • Hi silly mistake that every human being do,, change spell mistake in CodeIgniter (Popwerful). Your post is very useful for me and I suggest Yii and Codeigniter are best framework

  • CI3 is a great PHP framework! I am using it in my project and it has a very easy learning curve. Since CI has a new home, I’m sure it’ll flourish and become even better!

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  • seems to be a great framework to me……… wins the comparison.. I’m not a techie personally, so I had to search around to hire a laravel developer and found Can anyone recommend them or any other good laravel developer or a development team, say 3-4 developers?

  • Thanks for the useful post but i believe Cygnite Framework should also be in the list. It does most of the job with ease, beautiful documentation, simple but powerful framework for development.

    Worth adding into the article.

    • Richard, thanks for suggestion. I will surely look into this framework to add when update article.

  • I’ve been working with Laravel for awhile but I must say I just started messing with FuelPHP and I am very impressed based on my first impression…………

  • Laravel is great but is too big! There is no point in using it on small VPS! My apps usually runs with 1GB 1CPU 🙂 I use codeigniter and maybe fuelphp because of this but also developed a smaller framework.

  • Great post, Thanks for the update! Cakephp is one of oldest PHP Framework build by Polish programmer Michal Tatarynowicz inspiring by Ruby on Rails in April 2005. Scratch, Hot Scripts and Croogo CMS made in Cakephp. More at

  • Really nice list….Thank you!

  • What about 2014, how the trends look like now?

  • i am currently working with Core PHP ,but i want to move on framework ,which framework is good for me to learn……

  • cakephp user in hereee!!! rock and cooking code with rapid developpp!

  • Nice analysis, I haven’t experience YII, Symphony but I use Zend it’s very difficult to use. Presently I am using a new framework Zendfox it’s so easy to use, nice architecture.

  • Codeigniter is Pretty good for me…!

  • Codeigniter is pretty good………..

  • The choice of frameworks is bizarre. Zend, CodeIgniter, and CakePHP have pretty much fallen out of favor for new development since they’re fairly outdated at this point. They were all fairly good in their time, but someone looking to choose a new framework in 2013 wouldn’t even be considering one of those in most cases.

    At this point, the most significant modern PHP frameworks that a developer would be choosing from are Symfony, Laravel, and Yii. Two of those weren’t even included in your list!

    From looking at Google Trends, Laravel is spiking in popularity and is #1 in most Western countries, while Yii is most popular in China, but also quite popular elsewhere. Symfony’s popularity is still considerable, but has tapered off somewhat.

  • I am not sure that we can rely on Google trends that much. You cannot even add Symphony to that list to get a proper feedback due to it’s name.

  • real result analysis !

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