Top 5 PHP frameworks: Laravel vs Yii vs Zend vs Phalcon vs Symfony, their good and bad sides

РНР frameworks have a wide variety of functions and ecosystems suitable for zillions of tasks. With them you can create more sophisticated, safe and user-friendly apps and websites in little time.

Why do developers actually use PHP frameworks?

Developers pick them as they speed up the development process, are safe out of the box and scalable.

It’s not an easy task to find a framework that is suitable for you and will work as expected. Below you can find top 5 the most popular frameworks.


Good sides

  • Best IoC (Inversion of control)
  • Convenient migration system
  • Embedded module testing
  • Templating engine Blade
  • Flexible routing
  • Lots of ways to build REST API
  • Laravel is developing instantly
  • Plenty of docs on any topic
  • Laravel is very popular all over the world
  • Built-in debug console with call stack function
  • RBAC
  • ACL plug-ins

Bad sides

  • You need to work with Laravel facades if you want to have access to all the features, IDEs do not recognize methods and properties in some classes and show the warning message
  • Learning curve is steeper than the Yii2’s one
  • No embedded interface generation

Learning curve: you need to be OOP and databases savvy.

Average salary of a Laravel developer: $89.774/year or more


Good sides

  • High performance
  • Lots of features
  • Suitable for Highload environments
  • Situated in RAM
  • Doesn’t require many file operations
  • Doesn’t consume many resources
  • You can use your favorite database library and its elements
  • Databases are handled through ORM which leads to higher performance
  • All processes are fast, as the framework has direct access to the PHP internal structures

Bad sides

  • Its source code is written in C
  • Not really popular yet
  • It is an extension (which means that you might be not able to run the app on a shared hosting)
  • There are many people who still do not have a clue about Phalcon

Learning curve: smooth. You need to be OOP savvy, understand design patterns and have practical experience in some projects.

Average salary of a Phalcon developer: $50.000/year or more


Good sides

  • Is pretty similar to Yii. Symfony documentation insists that it’s not an MVC framework
  • Native support of Codeception allows writing functional and acceptance tests
  • Has the YAML component, which is a huge advantage for any framework
  • Such projects as Drupal and PhpBB are built using some Symfony2 components
  • Large community of developers
  • Lots of ready-to-use module sets called bundles
  • Detailed and clear documentation
  • Pretty high core performance
  • Loose coupling

Bad sides

  • Symfony uses much-feared ORM (Propel and Doctrine) and is resource-intensive
  • Steep learning curve
  • Too many entities of different kinds
  • Contains annotation syntax

Learning curve: steep. You need to be OOP savvy, understand design patterns and have practical experience with some other frameworks.

Average salary of a Symfony developer: $85.000/year or more

Zend framework

Good sides

  • Class inheritance
  • Object-oriented
  • Has ready-to-use solutions for many tasks
  • You can integrate whatever you’d like to with anything at all
  • Internationalization tools
  • Support of the developers community
  • Documentation of high quality

Bad sides

  • Not really suitable for rapid development
  • Slower than some other frameworks (but still, fast enough for 90% of websites, the database is always the bottleneck.)
  • Requires a lot of time to master
  • Resource-intensive

Learning curve: steep. You need to be OOP savvy, understand design patterns and have practical experience with some other frameworks.

Average salary of a Zend developer: $87.000/year or more

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Yii2 framework

Good sides

  • Web-based code generator
  • Intuitive MVC architecture. You may enjoy learning it from scratch
  • Utilizes common problem-solving patterns, which makes code less messy
  • Makes it easier to maintain code that uses common architecture and methods
  • Great community of developers, ready to help with the framework, generalized problems and new features
  • Saves time spent on mundane tasks such as form validation and safety check
  • Easy to configure for better performance
  • Not resource-intensive
  • Different caching options
  • Third party libraries and classes can be easily integrated
  • Safety tools of good quality
  • Behaviors, helpers, an ability to extend basic functionality etc.
  • Suitable for projects of any scale and complexity

Bad sides

  • Not really flexible routing
  • Frontend and backend libraries are heavily entangled

Learning curve: smooth. You need to be OOP and databases savvy and that’ll be enough.

Average salary of a Yii2 developer: $75.000/year or more