Best PHP Framework for 2016

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 PHP 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 PHP developers from 2011 to mid 2014. However, later in 2014 a new PHP 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.

Laravel vs CodeIgniter vs Yii vs Cakephp vs Zend Comparison Chart


As shown in the Google search trend chart below, Laravel is the most popular PHP framework among PHP developers. This is a relatively new, 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 projects, such as authentication, routing, sessions, queuing, and caching.

Best PHP Framework for 2016

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CodeIgniter is the second most popular web framework among PHP developers. It is a lightweight powerful PHP framework that provides simple and elegant platform to create full-featured web applications.

Best PHP Framework for 2016

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

Best PHP Framework for 2016

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CakePHP is also popular among PHP developers due to its lightweight, simplicity, faster and require 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 chart) widely used by PHP developers to create websites and web applications. It is a flexible, scalable yet powerful PHP framework. It has a huge community of Symfony fans committed to take PHP to the next level. 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.



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  • very useful analysis……yii is really fantastic.

  • awesome analysis…thanks 🙂

  • web

    Thanks guys 🙂

  • Shrayans

    Why symfony not included in list? some specific reason.

    • Laeeq

      Thanks Shrayans! we have just compare data of top four php framework.

      • Quaek

        You did not. Symfony and Zend Framework are the 2 top frameworks, Yii, CodeIgniter and CakePHP are clearly behind those 2 if you count popularity and spread.

    • I agree, for serious enterprise development, Symfony or Zend Framework 2

    • Ben

      I agree, i start using frameworks with Codeigniter first, then switch to Yii… Yii is better than Codeigniter, now i am using Symfony wich is even better yo CI and Yii.

      About Zend i have no experience.

  • Laeeq

    Thanks! Now it’s fixed.

  • pierre

    Symfony is definately a top trender, I would maybe argue that it should be on the top of the list. Then there is also laraval, lithium, FuelPHP etc. This article only lists some of the more well-known frameworks, but by no means does it list the true top trending frameworks.

  • I’m a codeigniter user for last 2 year, I want to try yii now but still waiting for version 2, cause they said won’t be compatible with version 1

  • Ajeet

    Nice pick!…..I’ve experience in Zend and CakePHP but Yii is my favourite.

  • abhishek

    There are tons of frameworks to choose from, I really like Yii Framework. You should give it a go.

  • Skon

    Where is Symfony ? I worked on 2 big big companies in 2013 as consultant, they are migrating from Zend to symfony…

  • Good analysis. I already use Yii and its very easy to customize and build whatever I want.

  • Chris

    To anyone reading this who isn’t a bot or the author should check out Laravel. It may not be as large on the trends chart, but it’s better than any of these.

  • masihur

    gr8 php framework analysis….thanks!

  • JOSE

    You should add Laravel, this framework is awesome!

  • Good article. I am thinking to switch to Yii bcoz many people hv praise it in comments..

  • Khorshed Alam

    Thanks for these great post. As a new learner what framework can I learn first ?

  • James K

    IN 2013 the cool kids are using Quantum PHP Framework:

    It’s super fast, the command line thingy is super handy, i just teleported myself with it, highly recommended

  • asmie

    why symfoy is included in the list of best php fremworks. i am just developing an application with it and i am very confortable with it. actually i am using symfony 1.4 , but it is still very powerfull framwork. is zer any thing i miss about the the other php framworks. please tell me something about symfony 2.

  • Frank

    Missing this one:
    Really cool but also really new.
    Anybody else tried it yet?

  • Amazing articles!

  • Devloper Marku

    This is an awesome blog, i really expect that codeigniter will be on its fire. Looking forward for more update in CI.

  • useful information for starter .Know what is php framework and which one you should use

  • Imran

    It’s nice to see yii on top 🙂
    Yii is amazing

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  • Peter Kambey

    I never try other framework, but Yii help me so much…

    I just ever read other framework problem that should be easy in Yii…

  • Good analysis but I love CodeIgniter over others because its so easy to use and learn.

  • Brad

    I really have been loving CodeIgniter… robust, flexible, extendable and doesn’t lock you into one way of doing things. I dig having creative freedom to code as the task requires.

  • Laravel is about to crush the other frameworks, given the interest in the United States in the past 12-18 months:

  • Bishal Lepcha

    Great analysis, I’m using codeigniter and thinking to jump for zend, this article really helped me. thnx.

  • Ryan Dingle

    Very Usefull Analysis and Information 🙂

    I’ve used CODEIGNITER , this is really easy to use and to handle.

    but now i start to learning yii, kohana and even zend.

    Iwant to be proffesion on one framework before i go up to jump for another 🙂

  • Yii is currently top and also my favorite. I have used CakePHP before, some things are very similar, but better implemented in Yii. So, Yii FTW! 🙂

  • There is a big difference between Symfony 1 and 2, as well as ZF1 and ZF2. I would actually like to see a trend chart how people are picking up the newer versions. Perhaps these have added new complexity too much, so that people beginning development might trend to use yii or cake just to have a faster feeling of success.

  • Arpit

    I love yii framework. its amazing and very compertable.
    and easy to use… i love it.

  • Wisam Mways

    thank you for the article.
    but you missed Symfony which is an amazing framework.

  • Praveen Mahesh

    Thanks My Friend. This is a very helpful and important analyze.

  • Praveen Mahesh

    My favourite PHP Framework is CodeIgniter.

  • CI developement helps do more easily and a better way, designer can make code which will be easier to study, you can also save your time, make your web more robust.

  • Wow, great collection…. Thanks for providing those….. I wish for more collections …… 🙂

  • Govind Singh

    I am a starter in PHP development. I am doing this with the help of Codeigniter.
    but i heard that wordpress is the most preffered tool of the time. Can you please suggest me if i stick with Codeigniter or migrate to WordPress…

    • Hi, WordPress is a blogging system, a content management system, but it’s not used for coding in PHP, it’s built with PHP, but it’s not a PHP development framework.

  • CI is the best and easy for CMS based website/application by using grocery CRUD.

  • Hariom sharma

    you missed Symfony which is an amazing framework.

  • Angela

    Glad to see that Yii took the top spot. It’s my preferred framework due to its speed and ease of use.

  • This is a real good analysis of the frameworks. CI claims that they are faster than any frameworks out there.

  • Thanks Laeeq, very helpful to choose good choice.

  • it will be wonderfull if you can comeup with some new frameworks .. thanks

  • Thanks for this, but what “statistics” are you using to call Yii number one? It’s not number one in the chart, either currently or on average, so…?

    Also, do you have enough understanding of these frameworks to do a feature-by-feature comparison? For example, I use CakePHP, but do any other frameworks have a similar built in code generation tool, or authentication plug-ins, etc.?

  • Good list, and I’ve learnt CodeIgniter and CakePHP, and want to learn Laravel, its its very hyped about now. In terms of speed, which framework do you think is the fast generally? I mean with micro-optimizations, etc considered.

  • Laravel is getting powerful and getting popular among web developers.

  • Dhanshri

    In my company we were working with Core PHP and now we want to change it to some framework….I want to ask which will be best as a starter..Zend, CodeIgnitor OR Yii..please any body who is experienced and worked in all three do sujjest.

  • I am starting with php frameworks. I wanted you use yii as all comparatives they rise it to the top. But, after working a little bit with Laravel and seeing its power, I will definitely stay on it. Laravel works perfect with RESTful apis, and I have been told that Yii don’t, and it tries you to use web services. I think Laravel will be the best.

  • Irfan

    very helpful.. I agree with all this and Yii2 is coming and that will stay the best php framework.

  • real result analysis !

  • 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.

  • David

    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.

  • pankaj

    Codeigniter is pretty good………..

  • pankaj borad

    Codeigniter is Pretty good for me…!

  • Ashutosh Tiwari

    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.

  • asep

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

  • arvind

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

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

  • Gavin

    Really nice list….Thank you!

  • Gabe

    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

  • 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.

    • Really codeigniter is very lightweight.

    • Jing

      Laravel is bloatware and I can’t even say if it’s still

  • 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…………

  • richard

    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.

  • Nick Weber

    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?

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  • Knight Yoshi

    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!

    • I agree , ive just started using Ci3 and i think it will grow to be on par with Laravel come 2016.

  • Jeyakumar K

    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

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