Selecting the Right PHP Framework: Symfony, CodeIgniter, Laravel or Yii?

4 min readMay 17, 2019

“ 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.


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.


Among all the four framework s, 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 , th is 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.


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 th is tool as there is less server load. Ability to handle database queries faster allows structuring databases in the most efficient way.

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.

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

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 .

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