13 Popular PHP frameworks to Consider for Web Development in 2021


What comes to mind when you think about web development? I bet PHP frameworks are the first that pops up in your head apart from JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. It’s not a surprise to claim that PHP is by far the most preferred programming language chosen by the developer community. It has also given the world a gift in the form of the most widely used CMS on the planet i.e. WordPress.

As per the top PHP web development company, PHP powers almost 79% of the websites globally, according to a survey done by W3Techs. This makes it 8 times more popular than its server-side programming rival ASP.NET. It is used by some of the most popular websites such as Wikipedia and Facebook, Russia’s social network VK.com and China’s Xinhuanet. Many PHP frameworks for website development have helped PHP reach such huge heights. Development frameworks are a collection of APIs and libraries that account for a secure and rapid app development process. Moreover, the Caching System in PHP minimizes the page generation time.

Many debates are surrounding the future of PHP as a web development language. Many coin PHP as a “dead language” but if you see the contribution that PHP has made to web apps, you will surely learn a different story. Rest assured that PHP is not going any way for the upcoming 20 years and is a perfectly good app development platform to choose from.

Today we observe the top PHP frameworks in 2021 that have propelled the exponential growth of this programming language. This blog is all about the top frameworks suggested by experienced PHP developers at Technource, that you can use for your next web development project.

Top 13 PHP Frameworks in 2021

Here’s the list of the top PHP frameworks for you to choose from.
  • Laravel
  • CodeIgniter
  • Symfony
  • CakePHP
  • Zend Framework
  • Yii
  • Phalcon
  • Slim
  • Lumen
  • Fuel PHP
  • Fat-Free
  • Zikula
  • PHPixie
Let’s have a brief look at what each of them has to offer.


Laravel was released in 2011, the platform is open-source and is proficient in creating web apps. This full-stack PHP framework was designed by Taylor Otwell to overcome the limitations of CodeIgnitor. It provides ease in performing tasks such as queuing, routing, user authentication, and sessions while inviting ease and innovation to the development process. Laravel development is the most prominent service offered by companies providing website solutions.

Why should you choose Laravel?

Huge Community:
Since 2011, the platform has gathered a huge community that supports each other in awe-inspiring ways. Laravel is so popular among developers as one can create complex web applications without compromising on speed and security. The high preference received by the platform has made it a synonym for PHP development.
Scalable & Performant:
Laravel makes use of MVC architecture, with a functional and object-oriented programming approach that helps you create a modular code-base for your application. The segmented architecture is the sole reason for the platform having such an extensive architecture. Due to the same developers can make use of ready-to-use packages such as Fortify, JetStream, Horizon, Cashier, Passport, and more. These account for a faster development process while giving them more time to market. Likewise, the developers can use input validation in Laravel.
Feature Rich:
User management and easy authentication.
One can deliver messages via Slack or SMS and integrate with email services like Sendmail and Amazon SES.
It has an Eloquent ORM that provides an API interface to ease the interaction with databases. In-built Eloquent ORM is necessary for smooth transitions of data between incompatible type systems removing the necessity to write complex codes.

Known Platforms that use Laravel for their Web Applications:

  • Razorpay
  • Olx
  • Wattpad
  • TransferGo
  • 9GAG
  • Mastercard


CodeIgnitor is one of the most lightweight web application development frameworks that are merely 2 Mb in size and helpful for commons tasks. The platform has a small footprint, promotes hassle-free installation, and has minimalistic prerequisites for installation. CodeIgnitor is a bare-bone framework that has an intuitive interface and a rich library that empowers PHP web development.

Why should you choose CodeIgniter?

Best Suitable for Dynamic Websites:
CodeIgniter is an extremely powerful framework irrespective of its small size. Using this one can create reusable components that can be constructed using prebuild modules. This works best for a CodeIgniter development company that is prone to creating dynamic websites.
Offers Essential Classes & Tools:
The platform is tool-rich with dedicated classes for unit testing, security, image manipulation, FTP, typography, form validation, throttling, and more. It also consists of two tools that can be used to benchmark your PHP application, i.e. Iterator and Timer.
Feature Rich & Well Documented:
CodeIgniter has offers some important features such as MVC architecture, security, easy error handling, negligible PHP adoption struggle, simple encryption steps, etc. The platform also becomes the perfect choice for beginners as it’s very well documented.

Known Platforms that use CodeIgniter for their Web Applications:

  • Grindr
  • Ola
  • Accenture
  • BigBazaar
  • 3M
  • Sprout Social
  • Buffer


Symfony has 24.5k+ GitHub stars and ranks at the 3rd position according to PHP benchmarks. The platform is a veteran as it has been offering its web development services since 2005. It has matured with time and is the most trusted framework for web developers. In the current times, it happens to be one of the most scalable PHP frameworks and has reusable PHP components.

Why should you choose Symfony?

Reusable Components:
This is the only framework that follows the complete standards of PHP and web. It offers a healthy set of 50 reusable components that promote faster web development. Using the same one can also develop APIs, microservices, and web applications. The components are also being used by popular CMSs such as OroCRM, PHP Bulletin Board (PHPBB), and Drupal.
The platforms work well with most design patterns and web practices and allow integration with other vendor libraries. As Symfony is highly flexible it can easily integrate with bigger projects like Drupal.
Database Support:
Symfony offers an alternative to writing repetitive SQL code by making use of open-source doctrine ORM for database operations. It also supports a wide range of databases such as SQL Server, MySql, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQLite, SAP Sybase, and more.

Known Platforms that use Symfony for their Web Applications:

  • Spotify
  • Magento
  • BlaBlaCar
  • Statista
  • Practo
  • Naukri.com


CakePHP work on the PHP CRUD frameworks which makes it one of the easiest framework to learn currently. CRUD is the abbreviation for Create, Read, Update, and Delete, which happens to be a popular aspect of this framework. This is what makes this framework a personal favorite for a CakePHP web development company. To use it one would need a web server with the framework’s copy, other than this the framework is quite easy to install.

Why should you choose CakePHP?

Best for Commercial Websites:
The framework offers some stand-out high-end security features such as cross-site request forgery protection, cross-site scripting protection, and SQL injection framework which makes it a perfect platform for creating commercial applications.
Faster Prototype Development:
Scaffolding is a technique that helps you generate project code and access databases with ease using some high-level tools. CakePHP promotes faster prototype development by offering features such as scaffolding and code generation.
Requires Minimal Configuration:
CakePHP has ready-to-use features such as authentication, internationalization, caching, database APIs, and validation. It requires minimal configuration without any need for XML or YAML config files.

Known Platforms that use CakePHP for their Web Applications:

  • MIT
  • BMW
  • Hyundai
  • House Party
  • Billabong

Zend Framework:

Zend is built on the agile methodology and happens to be a completely object-oriented framework. It can be used to create high-quality enterprise-level applications. The framework has observed more than 570 million installations. One of the perks of using Zend is that its code can be transferred across different frameworks without any resistance, as it follows the PHP Framework Interop Group (PHP-FIG) standards.

Why Should you Choose Zend?

The framework has been created to offer speed, security, extensibility, and performance in mind. As it is designed to create exquisite enterprise applications, it offers components such as forms, services, code reusability, authentication, and more.
If you feel your website is going to be a complicated one you can try its other cool features such as coding tools, debugging tools, scalable interface, and easy-to-use drag and drop editor.
The framework is component-rich and offers data encryption, simple cloud API, session management, and MVC. Apart from this, you can also integrate external libraries and use the components you want.

Known Platforms that use Zend for their Web Applications:

  • Cisco Webex
  • BNP Paribas
  • BBC

Yii Framework:

Yii is a secure, flexible, and fast PHP framework that was launched in December 2008. The platform is known for its extendibility, quick and easy installation, and also integrates with the popular code testing framework known as CodeCeption. The framework has 13.6k+ stars on GitHub and more than 11 million downloads from Packagist. It requires knowledge of polymorphism, inheritance, and more as the framework is strictly object-oriented. One needs to hire Yii developers who would have sound knowledge of all the above concepts. Yii works best for creating MVC architecture websites.

Why Should you Choose Yii?

Complete Documentation:
Yii has documented it all from installation, explaining web concepts, launching applications, and everything else that comes in between. One can learn how to use it just by reading the documentation.
Cache & Other Components:
You can follow the guides offered by Yii to learn and implement numerous types of caching. Using the same you can implement fragment caching, page caching, query caching, HTTP caching, data caching, everything from server-side to client-side in browsing caching.
It also offers classes and components for working with databases, handling requests, fetching and displaying data, debugging code, etc.
Yii has security features such as password handling, trusted proxies, cryptographic features, authorization, authentication, and headers. For instance, authentication can be implemented by making use of Yii’s ‘IdentityInterface’ and using ‘user component’.

Known Platforms that use Yii for their Web Applications:

  • Lenovo
  • Discovery
  • Deloitte
  • Fujitsu
  • Lulo
  • Utrip


Phalcon is a C extension that was originally written in C and C++ programming languages. It has scored 10k+ on GitHub and is best at offering high performance while consuming fewer resources. Phalcon is considered one of the best frameworks to develop custom web applications.

Why Should you Choose Phalcon?

Blazing Fast:
The framework has a low-level architecture, a one-time load of C extensions, Zephir, and PHP. As the code gets compiled and not interpreted it makes it faster. It also consists of the memory-resident feature hence it can be called upon need. It offers enhanced performance as it doesn’t make use of file reads and file stats.
Natively Compiled:
The framework has a low overhead for MVC architecture web applications. The code is not interpreted and is compiled to the native platforms. It also natively supports SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.

Known Platforms that use Phalcon for their Web Applications:

  • Urban Sports Club
  • SociaVeo
  • Proshore
  • PlaceOnAir


As the name suggests, Slim is a micro-framework that can be used to develop simple and powerful web applications and application programming interfaces (APIs). Slim has 10k+ stars on GitHub. Even though slim is minimalistic the framework is extremely efficient in creating small applications that don’t require full-stack development. Slim is fast as it has a lean codebase and has no third-party dependencies.

Why Should you Choose Slim?

Fast Routing:
Slim consists of a powerful Router. This assists in routing to specific URLs and HTTP request handler methods. The router supports different URL types, even the ones with patterns and parameters. Implementing pattern-based URLs is a common practice in eCommerce apps.
Offers PSR-7 support that’s essential to implement in your slim project.
The framework can extend with third-party components on packagist and first-party PHP components.
Other stand-out features include client-side HTTP caching, cookie encryption, session encryption, and support for ‘flash’ messages across HTTP requests.
Slim also offers great tutorials for beginners, has an active developer community, and invests well in time-to-time maintenance and updates.

Known Platforms that use Slim for their Web Applications:

  • AgriTask
  • GreenBot
  • HHey
  • Bootiq
  • Gamned


Lumen is a micro-framework, Laravel team developed it. The framework being performant and lightweight is the perfect choice for creating modern applications. It’s similar to Laravel and hence developers familiar with the same will find it easy to use.

Why Should you Choose Lumen?

Using Lumen you can create lightning-fast microservices and APIs for Laravel based applications. It’s faster than other PHP micro=frameworks such as Silex and Slim.
With minimal configurations, you can make use of Larvael features such as testing, validation, authorization, caching, Eloquent ORM, views, queues, and more.
If you need it Lumen easily upgrades to full-fledged Laravel applications.
It works best with PHP 7.3 or a higher version. And to meet system requirements you can leverage Laravel Homestead.

Known Platforms that use Lumen for their Web Applications:

  • Publy
  • Piio
  • ZenChef
  • Index.co
  • mPokket
  • Rooter
  • Codepolitan

Fuel PHP:

FuelPHP is a framework that follows the Model-View-Controller architecture. Though the framework was designed from scratch to also support HMVC ( Hierarchy Model View Controller) as a part of its architecture. It’s also an extendable and flexible framework. To hold the logic required for the generation of views it adds a voluntary class known as Presenter class that was previously known as ViewModel.

Why Should you Choose FuelPHP?

The framework is best at delivering end-to-end web solutions that are complex and diverse in size.
It uses a security-focused approach that does the same by making use of features like input and URI filtering along with output encoding.
HMVC design pattern offers added benefits such as extensibility, modularity, enhances code organization, and reuse.
FuelPHP promotes command-line utility, which you can use to debug code, generate common components and run tasks.

Known Platforms that use FuelPHP for their Web Applications:

  • Front Desk
  • Wan Wizard

Fat-Free Framework:

Fat-Free framework(F3) was made to the market in 2009 and is a micro-framework like Slim. F3 has managed to strike a perfect balance between simplicity, speed, ease of use, and useful features. To create this powerful framework features such as multilingual application support, cache engine, and URL router have been used.

Why Should you Choose Fat-Free Framework?

The framework is fast as the codebase size is only around 65Kb. It still offers all the functionality that you need which is extendable with optional plugins.
You don’t need a curl, composer, or dependency injector to begin, and is extremely easy to learn. For instance, you can code the “hello world” app in minutes.
F3 keeps your app’s size to a minimum by keeping not adding any default code. And as the framework is modular, you can use the parts you need for creating your web apps.
The framework offers a choice in template engine, you can choose between F3’s engine or others such as Twig or Smarty. You can also use the documentation and learn with the examples provided.

Known Platforms that use Fat-Free for their Web Applications:

  • Andiamo
  • Baker Online
  • Malwarebytes Jobs
  • Eve University Dev Pathfinder
  • Eloquens


Zikula is an open-source website and application development framework that went by the name PostNuke before June 2008. It can be used to create a web blog or a fully functional Commerce business portal. It has thoroughly written in PHP and needs a MySQL database. Huge developer’s community using this framework and this makes it easy for you to find additional extensions for your software.

Why Should you Choose Zikula Framework?

The framework integrated with Bootstrap 3 and Font Awesome 4, ModuleStudio, chat, document creator, and a flexible theme system. This makes it one of the best PHP frameworks to use.
In addition to this, it offers extensibility, continuity, and stability.
The frameworks also promote centralized maintenance and increased development productivity.


PHPixie introduced in 2012 to create high-performance PHP frameworks for read-only websites. But over time it has turned out to be a popular PHP framework that implements the HMVC design pattern. This has proven to be true as the framework has avoided the common pitfalls following the strict architecture that relies on the global scope, singletons, static methods, and other antipatterns.

Why Should you Choose PHPixie Framework?

One can make use of Composer as self-contained bundles to reuse and share code.
As the framework avoids event use you will never find yourself in an event hell ever again.
PHPixie has an adaptable and scalable architecture that focuses on load-time and page speed.
It also provides you with MongoDB support, composer class-map generation, and inbuilt authentication features.


Above we learned about the most prominent frameworks for PHP development. You can choose any of the above for your next website project and it would serve you perfectly. If you’re an entrepreneur and are not prone to creating web applications then we would strongly suggest you contact a PHP development company. As the competition’s tough, all you should try is to create a sturdy website for your business.
We – Technource offers our services in custom PHP web development. We happen to be in the web development business for more than 9 years and are an expert on this subject. A web application is the digital articulation of your services. To attract consumers and increase your reach exponentially you must hire dedicated PHP developers that have considerable experience of the same. Get in touch with us by signing up for a free consultation from our website to know more about web development and how to go about it. Thank you for reading.

Mr. Sanjay Singh Rajpurohit, An early-aged entrepreneur who always leads his team from the front and achieved success. As the founder & CEO of Technource, a top AngularJS development company, he made a global presence in a short time by offering custom software development, premium mobile apps and website development services.

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