Best PHP MVC frameworks of 2013


Frameworks are making your life easier, since they take care of common tasks you without them would have to repeat for every project or even within projects.

I have assembled a small list of promising candidates for you, they may not be the most commonly used, but they teach best practices, principles like MVC and have communities and thereby helping hands on the internet.

This post was originally written for the semester blog of my class, therefore it also focusses on the types of database queries supported by the frameworks, we have a dedicated module in SQL and databases, which is why it is pretty relevant to the students of my semester.


Update: I’ve started blogging about some of the below in their separate articles, see them here: PHP + MVC at jonathanmh



CodeIgniter is the base for a successful Content Management System, Expression Engine, which is used by people like a list apart.
I know some of your classmates work with this, so you’d have live support.

CodeIgniter Quick Facts

  • Architecture: MVC (nightly with HMVC support)
  • License: OSL the:license.txt
  • SQL Queries: Active Records Support



CakePHP has been around for quite a while and they have gather community and lots of solid code in that time.

CakePHP Quick Facts



Yii is another mature framework that focusses on performance. It’s feature rich and can automate some of the CRUD work for you.

Yii Quick Facts

  • Architecture: MVC
  • License: BSD
  • SQL Queries: Query Builder, Active Records



FuelPHP is a fairly fresh project, but provides a lightweight solution. It comes with oil, a useful command line utility.

FuelPHP Quick Facts



Laravel is yet another aspiring and lightweight framework, which I’ve found through some features in tutorials on

Laravel Quick Facts



Symfony is a little more enterprise looking framework, it’s very feature rich and well acknowledges among big web app builders.

Symfony Quick Facts



Kohana I have never tried, but it pops up in tutorials and mentions around the web. Their documentation seems to be lacking a couple of points and some links are broken, so it seems a little smaller than the other candidates.

Kohana Quick Facts

Zend Framework

The Zend Framework does only get an honorable mention here, because of their proprietary license.

Turns out it’s actually a very permissive BSD license.

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