Best 5 PHP Frameworks To Look Out For In 2021


According to the statistics this year, PHP market standings run high since at least 79% of all websites are built using PHP frameworks. PHP frameworks have been in the IT scene since 1991. Their extensive ecosystem has developed steadily for the last three decades, bringing about valuable changes that have allowed them to thrive at the top of the tech world for so long. 

Every technological advance in this respect has made PHP frameworks increasingly more ubiquitous and accessible. They have been continuously modified to get the desired website design, and now, this process has become more convenient than ever before. They have become a rage amongst web and mobile application developers as more and more PHP frameworks are released, each with its unique amenities. 

So, how to choose the best PHP framework out of the hundreds available in the market? Read on to find out which top framework will suit your needs the best.

What to look for in an effective PHP framework?

Choosing a framework that suits them is a matter of personal preference for website developers. Since this framework is going to be a significant part of the developer’s career, choosing one becomes a tedious process of trial and error. But to streamline the developers’ choices, here is a list of factors one has to look for while choosing the best PHP framework that suits them.

Active community:

The most crucial factor to note while choosing any software building program is the community and support it can provide. PHP frameworks are usually community-driven since they are open-source software. One must check whether the PHP framework of their choice has an active community that regularly maintains and updates the framework to grow with time.

Extensive documentation:

The best PHP web development frameworks come with extensive documentation. This informs the developer how to use and install the various tools that the framework is providing. The more detailed documentation means, the easier it will be for the developer to build their website or application.

Support network:

This point relates to the previous two. The support network around one’s chosen PHP framework should be kind and helpful. If the developer has any doubt or problem that the existing documentation or updates cannot solve, then this is the support network they will have to depend on.

Business philosophy:

Considering the PHP framework company’s business philosophy is an essential factor. It should align with the developer’s business goals and work ethics for the developer’s satisfaction. An alternative solution might suit the developer better otherwise.

These factors weigh significantly on our list of the top 5 PHP frameworks of 2021. Let’s find out what these are.

What are the top PHP frameworks of 2021?

This article will be discussing the following PHP frameworks that have ranked the highest according to the data collected from GitHub:

  • Laravel
  • Codeigniter
  • Symfony
  • Lumen
  • Cakephp
  • Laravel:

Laravel has become one of the most accessible PHP frameworks, developing continuously for the last decade. It has a 66.5k stars rating on GitHub with its latest version 8.

Excellent Packaging

Laravel has a bundle packaging system and composer dependency manager for framework agnostic packages.

Zero overheads

With Laravel, one can expect zero overhead expenses. It is an open-source toolkit and condoms with an extensive range of accessories that the developer can use without any extra cost.

More time to market

 A highly modular codebase and segmented architecture make the Laravel web development framework more extensible. It thus works quickly and gives the developers more time to market their products.

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  • Codeigniter:

The most unique thing about Codeigniter is its small size but excellent usability as an application development framework. With 18k stars from GitHub, its barebone structure allows the user to be more innovative.

Easy installation 

Codeigniter can be directly downloaded, or it can be installed through Composer. Simple commands let the user get started with Codeigniter.

Convenient benchmarking 

Codeigniter facilitates convenient benchmarking with its two top-class tools – Timer and Iterator. It also helps the developer use classes for particular tasks, which can be extended for feature testing.


Codeigniter is partly PSR-compliant. So, it adheres to standard PHP guidelines for most operations except with caching or HTTP message interface.

  • Symfony:

With its 25k stars on GitHub, Symfony poses a formidable competition as one of the PHP giants. It allows one to build web applications, APIs, and microservices besides website development. 

Wide database 

Symfony offers a wide range of database options: MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, SQLite, PostgreSQL, and SAP Sybase. Instead of writing repetitive SQL code, Symfony allows the developer to use open-source Doctrine ORM.

Additional templating engine

Twig is an additional templating engine with Symfony for more streamlined syntax that can be executed faster.

Security Components

Symfony boasts of its “Lock” feature that can manage access to shared resources easily.

  • Lumen:

Among micro-framework developing services, Lumen is an effective tool. On GitHub, it has 7k stars and is usually paired with Laravel.

Compatible with Laravel

Lumen is a critical component of Laravel’s massive ecosystem. Developers use it for building effective microservices and APIs in Laravel.

Extensive features

Eloquent ORM, testing, validation, caching, authorization, views, etc., can be run efficiently on Lumen. It requires simple configuration and promotes smooth management.

Upgrade to Laravel

With Lumen, the developers can quickly upgrade to Laravel if their project demands it.

  • CakePHP

CakePHP is the last to feature on this top 5 list with its 8.3k stars rating on GitHub. The latest version 4 requires developers to use PHP 7.2.

Streamlined API

Streamline API makes the product’s development and application processes faster.

Training by CakeDC

CakePHP is the framework tool offered by CakeDC. The parent company offers decent documentation, training, consultancy, and code review services for the developer’s perusal.

Architecture and design patterns

CakePHP is built on a basic MVC architecture. It supports design patterns, including Associative Data Mapping and Front Controller.


The popular PHP web development frameworks offer intuitive solutions for the developers. They should look into the out-of-the-box features and tools that come with the frameworks. This can help them determine what kind of support their brand requires.


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