PHP Frameworks


Laravel vs Other PHP Frameworks: Which One Should You Choose?

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting, selecting the right framework for a project can seem like a daunting task. The PHP language, in particular, boasts a wide range of frameworks, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Among the most popular PHP frameworks is Laravel. With its robust set of features, it’s no wonder that businesses often opt to hire Laravel developers for their projects. But is Laravel always the best choice? In this post, we’ll compare Laravel with other popular PHP frameworks like Symfony, CodeIgniter, and Yii, to help you decide which one is the best fit for your needs or whether hiring Laravel developers is indeed the most beneficial choice.

Laravel vs Other PHP Frameworks: Which One Should You Choose?

Introduction to PHP Frameworks

PHP frameworks streamline the development process by providing a basic structure for web applications. By automating common tasks such as routing, form validation, and database abstraction, PHP frameworks reduce coding time and allow developers to focus on the unique features of their projects.


Created by Taylor Otwell in 2011, Laravel has quickly grown into one of the most popular PHP frameworks. Laravel’s popularity can be attributed to its elegant syntax, robust set of features, and the strong community support it enjoys. Laravel simplifies tasks such as caching, sessions, routing, and authentication, making it a great choice for complex applications. Furthermore, it has an ORM (Object-Relational Mapping) called Eloquent, which provides a beautiful, simple ActiveRecord implementation for working with databases.


Symfony, released in 2005, is a mature framework known for its stability and high performance. Symfony offers a set of reusable PHP components and libraries for various tasks. Symfony’s components can be used separately or together, making it a great choice for highly customized projects. Symfony also uses Doctrine, a powerful ORM, for data handling.


CodeIgniter is a lightweight PHP framework known for its small footprint and exceptional performance. Released in 2006, CodeIgniter shines in situations where developers need a lean framework that doesn’t consume many resources. It doesn’t come with an ORM, but it provides a simple query builder for database tasks. 


The Yii framework, first released in 2008, is highly extensible and performance-oriented. It includes an ORM, Active Record, and also supports database migration. Yii is well-suited to large-scale applications due to its lazy loading technique, which only loads resources as needed.

Laravel vs. Other PHP Frameworks

1. Ease of Use

Ease of use can significantly impact a developer’s productivity. Laravel stands out here with its elegant and expressive syntax that is easy to understand and use. Onboarding new developers onto a Laravel project is often faster due to the intuitive nature of its syntax. CodeIgniter, with its small footprint and straightforward approach, is also quite user-friendly. Symfony and Yii, while powerful, can have steeper learning curves due to their extensive functionality and configuration options.

2. Performance

When it comes to performance, Yii is often the winner due to its lazy loading technique. CodeIgniter, with its lightweight nature, also excels in performance. Laravel and Symfony, though packed with features, can be slower compared to Yii and CodeIgniter due to their extensive functionality.

3. Scalability

In terms of scalability, Symfony’s modular component system shines, as you can use what you need and leave out what you don’t. This design makes Symfony highly scalable. Yii, with its performance-oriented design, is also excellent for scalable applications. Laravel, while not the most scalable framework, can certainly be optimized for larger applications. CodeIgniter, being a lean framework, may require additional work to scale for larger projects.

4. Community Support

Laravel has an incredibly strong and active community, which means a wealth of resources, tutorials, and packages are readily available. This active support system also means there is a broad pool of talent to hire Laravel developers from, making it easier for businesses to find experienced professionals. Symfony also has an active community and extensive documentation. While CodeIgniter and Yii have supportive communities, they are not as large or active as Laravel or Symfony, which may influence the availability and choice of developers when considering hiring experts for your project..

5. Database Support

All four frameworks support popular databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and others. Laravel’s Eloquent ORM is very intuitive and allows for easy database interactions. Symfony’s Doctrine is highly powerful, providing support for a wide range of database systems. Yii’s Active Record also simplifies database tasks. CodeIgniter, while not providing an ORM, has a robust Query Builder for database tasks.

6. Testing and Debugging

Testing and debugging are integral parts of software development, and how a framework handles them can have a significant impact on a project’s timeline and quality.

Laravel comes with built-in support for testing with PHPUnit and has already set up the phpunit.xml file for your application. It also includes convenient helper methods allowing for expressive testing of your applications. Its integrated debugging tool, Laravel Debugbar, provides comprehensive debugging information and has a user-friendly interface.

Symfony also uses PHPUnit for testing and includes a profiler, a PHP built-in feature, for collecting and displaying data about each request made to your application. This can be incredibly useful for debugging.CodeIgniter does not come with built-in testing tools, and debugging relies on writing custom code, which can be more time-consuming. However, it does feature a simple toolkit for unit testing your application, enabling you to create and run tests using the CodeIgniter framework.

Yii comes with a Codeception testing framework, which simplifies the process of creating unit, functional, and acceptance tests. Yii’s debug toolbar and debugger also provide helpful data for debugging.

7. Security

Security is crucial in web development, and a good framework should offer strong security features. Laravel takes security seriously and offers a range of security features, including protection against SQL injection, cross-site request forgery (CSRF), and cross-site scripting (XSS). It also stores passwords using bcrypt hash, providing strong encryption.

Symfony provides a security component that handles authentication and authorization, and it also includes protection against CSRF, XSS, and SQL injection. Symfony is known for its detailed security configurations, which allow for highly secure applications.

CodeIgniter provides built-in protection against CSRF and XSS attacks. It also allows you to use the Database Query Builder class to compose queries, which helps protect against SQL injection.Yii also provides robust security measures, including CSRF, XSS, and SQL injection protection. Its security component includes methods for encryption, decryption, and password hashing.


The choice of PHP framework largely depends on the specific needs of your project. If you’re looking for a framework with elegant syntax, robust features, and an active community, Laravel is an excellent choice – and given its popularity, you’ll have a wealth of options when looking to hire Laravel developers. Symfony’s flexibility and high scalability make it suitable for highly customized and large-scale projects. CodeIgniter, with its minimalistic and high-performance design, is a great choice for projects where resources are a concern. Finally, Yii’s extensibility and performance-focused design make it a good choice for large applications.

Remember, the “best” framework is relative and varies from one project to another. Consider the nature and scale of your project, your team’s expertise, and the available community support when choosing a PHP framework. If Laravel is your chosen platform, you’ll find a vast talent pool to hire Laravel developers from. With a clear understanding of your project requirements, you can select the framework that will best serve your needs.

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Experienced Full Stack Engineer with expertise in Laravel and AWS. 7 years of hands-on Laravel development, leading impactful projects and teams.