Selecting the Right PHP Framework: Symfony, CodeIgniter, Laravel or Yii?
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PHP is one of the most common technologies used for creating web solutions. PHP has been around for decades and in the last few years several PHP frameworks have proven themselves to be the most robust and widely used foundations for building web platform: Symfony, CodeIgniter, Laravel, Yii, and others. Our clients already use the benefits of these frameworks, as it helps them to reduce the time spent on development, give structure to the code, automate logging process, and reduce bugs in the code.

“Which PHP framework is the best for my needs?” – this is a question our existing and potential clients often ask. To address this question, Agiliway offers professional recommendations on which type of framework you may use based on the type of your project. Together with us, you can make the most optimal choice to create a solid, reliable, and scalable web solution.

What’s the Purpose of Framework?  

Software engineers use different types of frameworks as a foundation for their web solutions. These techniques allow structuring the code and improving time efficiency. A developer using frameworks can scale operations and use CRUD principles to minimize the code. Optimizing engineer’s performance and achieving faster computing operations allows finishing projects within short-term time frames. Most frameworks are open-source and use the MVC paradigm to handle requests, which fuels an engineer’s productivity. Let’s review the four most popular frameworks, which showed better efficiency rates and provided good scaling options.


Symfony framework

Developers working on Symfony say that writing code on the given framework allows speeding up computing operations. It places the second position among the analyzed PHP frameworks in terms of request processing. Utilizing this PHP framework allows achieving good modularity and thus, better structural code organization. Symfony is easily scalable and allows processing requests faster than Laravel. Employing ORM principles, engineers can optimize speed and reduce database queries. 

This PHP framework also involves in-built testing functionality and three available versions with a range of features optimizing performance. In terms of security principles, engineers face difficulties with configuration as they should set up security mechanisms themselves. Software engineers can use various debugging commands to examine any mistakes within servers, configured routes, and other documentation. One of the drawbacks is the fact that beginners choosing the Symfony framework face a steep learning curve, which presents hurdles in finding development solutions for short-term projects.


CodeIgniter framework

Among all the four frameworks, CodeIgniter shows the highest performance in terms of request processing. CodeIgniter includes the least files to be downloaded whereas Laravel loads files twice more. In contrast to Symfony, this specific framework does not provide any in-built caching methods, which affects page speed. There is no wide range of versions available on the web; though CodeIgniter proves the highest security standards preventing any malicious scripts.

Debugging process based on CodeIgniter works with downloading Xdebug extension for PHP to check the structure of the code and general application interface. CodeIgniter lacks in-built debugging features; though, you may install FirePhP and FireBug as an extension to FireFox. Comparing to Symfony, developers using CodeIgniter also face difficulties in setting up security methods, which slows down code development timelines. Absence of built-in ORM solutions and complexity to update a code are one of the drawbacks faced by engineers.


A lot of tutorials and positive feedbacks from tech makers show that engineers find it easy to learn how to operate Laravel. In the context of performance, engineers note that Laravel demonstrates worse request processing time than CodeIgniter. This PHP framework signifies the most memory use and the worst technical performance in contrast to Symfony and CodeIgniter. Although engineers enjoy a wide range of different tools and libraries, which adds efficiency. Developers find it easy to scale the code selecting this tool as there is less server load. Ability to handle database queries faster allows structuring databases in the most efficient way.

Laravel framework

Engineers comment that configuring Laravel takes almost no time. Use of ORM methods and libraries also allows structuring code faster in line with solid control of databases. In the context of security methods, there are similarities with CodeIgniter principles including robust protection against malicious cross-site scripts and suspicious request forgeries. Laravel offers ten available versions, as for instance, Laravel 5.1 maintains the option of checking bugs for 2 years and security fixing for 3 years. Our experts find debugging tools pretty restricted; though, extension features are also possible to use. They complain about the lack of transition between different Laravel versions, which may break the code. Other disadvantages include difficulties in operating documentation and upgrading versions, which works better with other PHP frameworks.


Yii is an extensive and scalable PHP framework, which has relatively complex learning curve. Employing the framework is good for engineers operating CRUD and RAD principles due to the high performance. The loading time of the page is way faster than Laravel as well as the structure is more coherent. Engineers can easily scale the code and don’t need to insert SQL queries, which significantly improves performance. Yii also provides a reliable database migration within database schema changes and opportunity to use the seeding method in structuring database as in Laravel. 

Yii framework

In terms of support, there are four available versions, various extensions, configuration arrays, and additional plugins. Yii offers solid high security tools including Access Control Filter and Role-based Access Control to get rid of any unauthorized attacks. If using Laravel, this feature is not built-in and requires additional configuration. In comparison to Laravel, Yii provides powerful debugging tools, multi-level logging, and efficient database request logging. At the same time, the disadvantages involve lack of documentation and excessive focus on static methods, which may create obstacles in using the given tool.

Faster Development Comes With Greater Efficiency

Selecting the right PHP framework depends on the scope of the web platform you want to develop. For large-scope solution, Symfony or CodeIgniter can be one of the best options in the context of performance. Due to the difficult learning curve and lack of proper documentation, Symfony and Yii are better applicable for long-term projects. Symfony uses a complex modular approach in contrast to Yii, which allows improving functionality among different modules. For small projects, Laravel is a good choice for fast project implementation with its wide range of libraries.

Working with different PHP frameworks requires experience, thus it’s better to gain professional advice on choosing the right one. Agiliway experts operate all the four PHP frameworks and can help you to make a proper business decision based on the nature of your project.