Which PHP Framework to Choose: Laravel vs CodeIgniter vs Symfony

Which PHP Framework to Choose: Laravel vs CodeIgniter vs Symfony

PHP  is one of the popular open-source server-side scripting languages that continue to power a significant portion of the internet. An important reason behind the popularity is the number of frameworks that make it easier for developers to quickly build a website as per the project’s requirements.

A framework helps speed up development by providing a boilerplate structure that takes care of the basics. The developer only has to plug in the business logic and the project is ready for the QA.

In this article, I’ll discuss and compare the top three PHP frameworks - Laravel, CodeIgniter, and Symfony. The idea is to help you pick the right choice for your development needs.

Let’s jump into the details about the top 3 PHP frameworks;


Laravel is a popular PHP platform and is ranked the 10th most popular web framework in 2019.

The learning curve is pretty gentle, thanks to great documentation and a diverse range of tutorials (free and paid). It has a very active community that supports newcomers and helps them quickly find their way around Laravel.

In the real world, Laravel facilitates Rapid Application Development, thanks to the powerful templating engine that helps the developers take care of operational tasks such as RESTful routing, queuing, authentication, caching, and session management.

Security lies at the core of the framework and developers can build safe and secure websites without worrying about integrating security as an additional component. For example, it prevents users from applying Fluent Query Builder or Eloquent using SQL injection. SQL injections are one of the oldest and most dangerous attacks where attackers can embed malicious code in SQL statements and submit them via the web page input.

One of Laravel’s integrated functionality is Artisan, which helps developers handle repetitive tasks. It makes writing the database structure base simple and handling the migration aspect flawless. So developers can more efficiently manage their database systems.

All that said, you shouldn't be surprised that the Laravel framework is the most popular and widely used framework. It secures websites, making it easier to manage information in databases, improves scalability, allows you to switch back to older versions of your project, and overall, makes the development of the back-end more exciting.


CodeIgniter is a PHP MVC framework that stands out from the rest, due to the smaller amount of code, with its features to ensure better performance of web applications.

CodeIgniter is one of the earliest PHP frameworks. Yet it is still one of the powerful frameworks enabling developers to develop complex web applications with ease. It is easy to set up and requires minimal configuration. CodeIgniter isn’t based on the MVC (Model, View, Control) framework completely as Model and View classes are optional to include but the Control classes are necessary.

CodeIgniter is also known for its speed, it offers faster database operations compared to other PHP frameworks. For beginners, CodeIgniter is surely a good first step to start with PHP frameworks.

It has fewer features than Laravel. For example, CodeIgniter has no built-in authentication or debugging methods, that is why developers have to manually write the code.

CodeIgniter's high performance is also due to the fact that developers are not forced to use a template engine as a way to integrate backend code into HTML. As PHP allows embedded code, CodeIgniter believes that the use of additional parsers is unnecessary. The web application, therefore, runs better, as there is no need to convert the PHP code.


Symfony offers a great deal of ease to the developers by offering reusable components and code. Symfony should be your go-to framework when and if you are planning to develop a large-scale enterprise project. Specialists claim Symfony to be one of the fastest PHP frameworks.

The Symfony components are used by many Content Management Systems (CMS) that include Drupal, phpBB, Piwik, OroCRM and even the popular Laravel itself uses it. Symfony has an active developers’ community which is always a positive point for newcomers.

Symfony appears to fit well with composers, autoloaders, and namespaces which are all essential components of a well-structured application. As mentioned earlier, the components from Symfony lay the foundations for the Laravel system as well as the MVC framework used in Symfony2.

While Symfony is a fantastic framework for the professionals, it may be "too much" for beginners because of its complex structure, and the need of multiple configuration requirements.

The Symfony framework provides a convenient way for website localization and interface translation. As a result, the web application is very adaptable with multiple localized versions to target the specific population target.

Which Framework Should You Choose

Each PHP framework has advantages and disadvantages, and the choice entirely depends on your business and project requirements. An important tip is to make sure you use PHP version 7 or higher for your application. This simple change will increase the speed of your apps by almost 50%. For all frameworks listed and discussed above, you should follow this advice as the PHP 7 implemented several significant improvements including speed enhancement.

Let us know which one is your favorite PHP framework and why!

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