17 Best Free PHP Frameworks

This is my eleventh post in this series. It is a convenient list, a one stop shop if you like, of the best free PHP frameworks available today for your next Web project.

There are many PHP frameworks available and it can get confusing and difficult to figure out the best ones. But after an extensive research, reviews and personally trying couple of them, below are the best free PHP frameworks available nowadays.

What is PHP? PHP is a general-purpose scripting language originally designed for Web development to produce dynamic Websites. For this purpose, PHP code is embedded into the HTML source document and interpreted by a Web server with a PHP processor module. PHP has also evolved to include a command-line interface capability and can be used in standalone graphical applications. PHP can be deployed on most Web servers and as a standalone interpreter, on almost every operating system and platform, free of charge.

What is a Framework? A Web Application Framework is a software framework that is designed to support the development of dynamic Websites, Web applications and Web services. In particular, PHP frameworks help free Web developers from unnecessary tedious and mundane coding, help build more stable and secure Web applications, and help promote RAD, which saves you time and reduces the amount of repetitive coding.

Why do you need a Framework? I am not sure why anyone would waste time writing something from scratch when others have done it before for free and probably better and more secure. Frameworks reduce development costs and helps developers write less code. For example, many frameworks provide libraries for database access, session management, pre-built modules for performing tedious coding tasks, and they often promote code reuse. Developers should utilize PHP frameworks to speed up the development process.

Which Framework to choose? That is up to you. It depends on your project and not every framework is built for everyone. There are several important factors when choosing a PHP framework including: easy to use and learn, popularity among developers, rapid development, performance, robustness, available features, good documentations, existence of forums/support. I personally like Symfony and Yii frameworks and for a lightweight, I like the Flourish library. But I can´t discount any of the other frameworks, that´s why they are listed here.

I had three criteria for choosing a PHP framework:

  1. Free.
  2. Still being updated and maintained (at least since 2010).
  3. In my opinion, the best.

Place your cursor over each image and/or link for a short description. All links are External. Good Luck!

Yii is a free, open-source Web application development framework written in PHP5, best for developing Web 2.0 applications. It helps Web developers build complex applications and works to streamline your application development and helps ensure an extremely efficient, extensible, and maintainable end product.


Less Known Frameworks

Read What Wikipedia Has To Say:

  1. Symfony
  2. CodeIgniter
  3. Zend Framework
  4. CakePHP
  5. Yii
  6. Seagull
  7. Kohana
  8. Akelos
  9. Zikula
  10. Qcodo


PHP frameworks eliminate the need for repetitive coding. They speed up the development process of Web applications and ensure proper coding. They also reduce the risk of security holes. There are many more free PHP frameworks that did not make the list. Do you have any others you think I should add? or anything else to say? If so, please share your opinion in the comments section. Your opinion matters, unless it is a Spam.

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About the Author |
Boutros is a professional Drupal & WordPress developer, Web developer, Web designer, Software Engineer and Blogger. He strives for pixel perfect design, clean robust code, and user-friendly interface. If you have a project in mind and like his work, feel free to contact him. Connect with Boutros on Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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2 Responses to “17 Best Free PHP Frameworks”

  1. Deep says:

    I am a PHP coder and want to learn a framework based on PHP. A friend of mine told me that Zend and Codeignitor are the best.

    Can you please tell me which one is the best in terms of both robustness, functionality and ease of use.

  2. Addison says:

    PHP is used widely for web development. The various frameworks have been discussed very nicely.