5 of the Most Used PHP Frameworks in 2017

If you are looking to learn a new PHP Framework, you probably want one that is in demand and has a vibrant community behind it. Today, we will look at 5 of the most used PHP frameworks by analyzing Google Search Queries and questions asked at Stack Overflow related to each framework. Hopefully, this insight will help you decide which PHP framework to learn.

Let’s get started:

1. Laravel

Laravel had an incredible 2017 to say the least. It continues to soar in popularity as compared to other PHP frameworks. Laravel is the go to solution for many PHP Developers who need a framework. It offers lots of tools to cover almost all if not all developers. These tools include Lumen – a stripped down version of Laravel for developing API and microservices that are very fast. Other tools include: Laracast, Mix, Homestead, Valet, Cashier, Eloquent ORM among others.

Another advantage Laravel has is a large and a vibrant community of developers ready to help you out just in case you get stuck. If you are looking for a framework to get started in, Laravel would be the perfect choice. It is important to note Laravel doesn’t work well with shared web hosting. You can get started with Laravel here.

2. Symfony

5 of the Most Used PHP Frameworks in 2017

Symfony PHP Framework

In simple terms, Symfony is both a web framework just like Laravel and a set of reusable PHP libraries known as components. There is a chance that even if you don’t use symfony as a framework for your application, you use one or more of their components. You can get a complete list of symfony PHP components here.

Symfony did not have a very good 2017. Both Google and stack overflow show a slight deep in interest. It barely edges the third CodeIgniter. While not as popular as Laravel, it does have a passionate and vibrant community around it and would be difficult not to recommend this framework. One thing to keep in mind is that it has a steep learning curve. You can get started with symfony here.

 3. CodeIgniter

On the other hand, CodeIgniter, beaten to 2nd place by Symfony by a very small margin did not have a very good year, maintaining its market share from last year. CodeIgniter is a web framework that prides itself with having a small footprint and exceptional performance. It lacks the catalog of libraries found in Laravel and Symfony, but this is mainly due to the fact it has a very small footprint. It is just under 2Mbs even with its documentation included. You can get started with CodeIgniter here.

4. CakePHP

CakePHP has been having a bad couple of years and 2017 was no exception. It has been on a downward spiral with its userbase shrinking year after year. It lacks versatility displayed by other PHP frameworks like Laravel. That said, it is a very capable framework with the basics already build into the framework – translations, database access, caching, validation, authentication among others. It follows the MVC (Model View Controller) convention strictly for development and hence lacks flexibility. You can get started with CakePHP here.

5. Zend Framework

5 of the Most Used PHP Frameworks in 2017

Zend Framework

This is another PHP framework which has been on a downward spiral over the last few years. Zend framework is more geared towards enterprises that single or small teams of web developers. It has a lot of components to accomplish various tasks such as validations and forms. Zend Framework strictly sticks to set PHP standards and best practices for both extensions and security purposes. It has a huge catalog of extensions of 60+ extensions for you to choose from. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s not suited for rapid web development – I guess that’s why enterprises love it. You can get started with Zend framework here.


There are more than a dozen PHP frameworks out there, this is just a list of the 5 most used frameworks in 2017. You can choose to use any framework you want as long as you are comfortable with it. One honorable mention is Slim PHP. Slim PHP is suited for building REST API and microservices and it’s fastest PHP framework. So, if you are working with REST APIs and PHP based microservices, I strongly urge you to give it a try.

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