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PHP is a widely-used programming language for building websites and web applications due to its stable and secure nature. With time, website and app development is turning into a complex task where developers write thousands of lines of code to build these apps and websites. And they have to write every code from the start. The PHP frameworks solve this problem.

PHP frameworks provide developers with reusable and well-organized code to build highly scalable applications. Whether you are looking to hire a PHP developer for your project or you are a developer, utilizing the proper framework will ensure the efficient and swift completion of your project. This article intends to provide an overview of the top 5 PHP frameworks for web apps in 2021. But before we dive into it, let’s understand how to choose the right PHP framework for your project.

How to choose the right PHP framework?

The primary purpose of PHP frameworks is to simplify the development process and lessen the efforts and time required to create complex websites and applications. Each framework has its unique features and shortcomings as well. They differ from each other in terms of documentation, creator support, and community support.

Therefore, to choose the best frameworks for your project, you need to compare them against your project requirements and prerequisites such as ease of use, security, scalability, etc. First, understand the project requirements thoroughly and then choose the framework that meets them.

Top 5 PHP frameworks for web app development in 2021


The first framework in our list is Laravel. This framework is known for its elegant syntax that is easy to understand and work with. Laravel offers various functionalities such as user authentication, caching, and session management that assist developers in building a custom PHP application rapidly. 

Performance-wise, Laravel is an excellent framework and also offers several add-ons. It integrates smoothly with 3rd party libraries and platforms. Thus, if you need a highly scalable application solution for your business, you can hire a Laravel developer. Another distinguishing feature is that it allows you to run time-taking tasks asynchronously in the background, enhancing its performance. Lastly, it is widely used by developers; hence it is easier to find learning resources on it.

Key Features:

  • It has intrinsic functions & offers several add-ons
  • Enable seamless data migration
  • Offers High-level Security and solid tool integration
  • Huge Developer Community and support group


Symfony is a highly flexible framework as it offers a bundle and component system that enables developers to select a particular PHP function. It also features a built-in testing functionality. Its components are used by several CMS such as PHP Bulletin Board (PHBB), OroCRM, and Drupal. Symfony has a vast ecosystem that comprises a large community of active programmers and several learning resources.

However, when compared with other PHP frameworks, it is not the best performance-wise. However, your PHP development company might use it as it offers a modularity feature allowing them to use a required component instead of a complete library. 

Key Features:

  • Enables faster development
  • Offer long-term premium support
  • Easier to maintain and offer advanced security
  • Aid in building highly flexible and reliable web apps


CodeIgniter is an open-source PHP framework based on Model View Controller architecture. It is pretty popular among developers as it allows them to create highly scalable applications with smaller footprints. There are also plenty of learning resources available on the CodeIgniter. There is no doubt that it is a preferred choice among developers due to its solid performance and ability to create lightweight apps. However, you can hire a CodeIgniter developer if your app requires high-level security standards. Since its releases and updates are not regular.

Key Features:

  • It is an open-source framework
  • It can be used and implemented easily
  • It is entirely secure & user-friendly
  • It does not have restrictive coding rules
  • It allows scalable web application development


Zend framework is built on agile technology that delivers high-quality applications for your enterprise. This framework is object-oriented and was created to focus on factors such as speed, performance, security, and extensibility. Zend is in line with PHP’s top practices and enables developers to create highly customizable enterprise app. It offers several features such as a coding tool, online debugging tool, drag, and drop editor, etc., that help in creating complex web apps. However, it is not an ideal framework for rapid app development and is also considered difficult to learn.

Key Features:

  • It is also a free and open-source framework
  • It offers multi-functional quality and flexible architecture
  • Enables fast and highly productive web app development
  • Supported by a community of 300+ contributor


CakePHP was launched in the early 2000s, and at that time, it was the first PHP MVC that came into the market. Over time its performance has improved as new components are added. CakePHP offers comprehensive libraries and a broad set of components. You can hire a PHP developer with expertise in the CakePHP framework if you are looking for a commercial application solution. It offers high-end security supported by features such as cross-site request forgery protection and cross-site scripting protection etc. Also, this framework receives premium support from its parent company. 

Key Features:

  • It is also an open Source framework
  • It has coding conventions that make coding faster
  • It offers superior compatibility and security.
  • It allows easy database management.
  • It enables developers to build cost-effective web apps.
  • It has comprehensive documentation for easy learning.


Though there are several programming languages yet PHP is still developers’ preferred choice for server-side coding. Your PHP development company may have experts in the field, but writing code for all parts is not feasible and time-consuming. Therefore, development companies choose the right framework as per the requirement that enables them to skip groundwork and do coding for only the necessary parts.


Pavendra is a project manager with over seven years of experience in the tech field. He is into managing teams and creating compelling content that helps software developers get a deeper understanding of various technical concepts. Always passionate about leveraging technology that drives innovation, he is a tech geek by almost birth. Currently working with iWebServices, he is a go-to person for delivering on-time software projects and ensuring their success in the long run.


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