A PHP template engine is a concise syntax used by front-end developers to display data prepared by back-end developers.

A template provides a wall of separation between display logic and application logic so that both front-end developers and back-end developers can collaborate on the same website without juggling onto each other’s code.

Front-end developers can read, write and modify their views seamlessly, while the back-end gurus can relieve themselves with the burden of maintaining views altogether.

The following is a list of 15 best PHP templates engine I sampled for you.

The list below is based on personal opinion, if you have a suggestion or a missing PHP template engine, let me know in the comment section.


1. Twig

Twig is a PHP template engine that was released under a New BSD license. Twig’s syntax is similar to Django and Jinja languages. Twig compiles faster compared to regular PHP code. It is secure with a sandbox mode used to evaluate the untrusted template code. Finally, Twig is flexible and powered by flexible lexer and parser which allows developers to define their own custom tags and filters. With Twig, you can build powerful templates with ease because it supports multiple inheritances, auto output-escaping, blocks, etc.

code snippet

<div class="form-control">

<i class="fa fa-calendar"></i> {{ form_label(form.dueDate) }}

{{ form_widget(form.dueDate) }}

<small>{{ form_help(form.dueDate) }}</small>
<div class="form-error">{{ form_errors(form.dueDate) }}</div>

2. Smarty

Smarty is a PHP template engine that facilitates the separation of HTML/CSS from the application logic. Smarty compiles copies of the templates as PHP scripts under the hood so that you can rip the benefits of the template tag syntax and the PHP speed. Compilation of the template is done once when each is invoked and it is used thence onwards.

Smarty is a template engine that works as a view component in your application, easy to incorporate and has a learning curve, although it cannot guarantee proper separation of presentation.

code snippet

{include file="header.tpl" title="Info"}
User Information:
Name: {$name|capitalize}

{include file="footer.tpl"}

3. Dwoo

Dwoo is a subset of Smarty that takes full potential of advanced PHP5 features as compared to Smarty which was written for PHP4. Dwoo is a well-written object-oriented template engine that provides faster and easy development when compared to Smarty.

4. Volt

Volt is a designer-friendly templating language that is ultra-fast and written in C language for PHP. It presents users with a set of helpers for them to write views easily. Volt features and syntax has been enhanced with more elements and improved performance. The fact that volt is integrated with components of Phalcon makes developers accustomed to Phalcon to adapt to volt easily. Here is a code snippet for you to review;

code snippet

{# app/views/products/show.volt #} {% block last_products %} {% for product in products %} * Name: {{ product.name|e }} {% if product.status === 'Active' %} Price: {{ product.price + product.taxes/100 }} {% endif  %} {% endfor  %} {% endblock %}

5. Blade

The blade is a simple but powerful templating engine that is provided with Laravel, Blade views are compiled into plain PHP code and cached until modified, hence zero overheads experienced.

6. Plates

Plates is a native templating engine system that is easy, fast and extensible. Developers who like native PHP templates over the compiled templating languages like Smarty and Twig feel better with plates.


  • Native PHP templates
  • Template system, not the language
  • Uses existing PHP language
  • Code reuse and inheritance
  • Template folders for grouping templates into namespaces
  • Data assigned to a specific template
  • Built-in escaping helpers
  • Extensible by functions and extensions
  • framework-agnostic
  • Decoupling designs makes templates easy to test
  • Composer-ready and PSR-2 compliant

code snippet

Hello <!--?=$this- >e($name)?-->
    <li style="list-style-type: none;">
You have some friend invites!

7. Mustache

Mustache is a framework-agnostic way of rendering logic-less views. In Mustache, views are broken into PHP class and HTML template, where all logic decisions and coding is contained in your views whereas the markup part is contained in a template. The template is only used to reference methods in your view. This kind of separation makes it easy to test views and it is again fun to work with front-end apps.

code snippet

Hello {{name} You have just won {{value}} dollars! {{#in_ca} Well,{{taxed_value}} dollars, after taxes. {{/in_ca}}

8. Foil – Template engine for Native  PHP templates

Foil PHP template engine allows developers to choose pretty clean and concise templates and make multiple folders with auto-discover or custom pick, manual or auto data escape to enhance security. A centralized API can be used for easy integration and maintenance.

9. SavantPHP

SavantPHP is simple, minimalistic, object-oriented template PHP system with its main aim to be simple and lightweight templating system. SavantPHP is used to separate views & templating from business logic. SavantPHP does not compile templates into PHP but uses PHP itself as a template language.

10. TBS – TinyButStrong template engine

TinyButStrong is a library that enables us to create XML/HTML pages based on text sources. It acts as a PHP template language which enables displaying database information as well as ssimplify PHP programming. TBS is HTML oriented but not HTML specialized thence can work as well with other text files. Additionally, OpenTBS plugin helps to merge both open office and ms office documents easily.

11. Stamp Template Engine

Stamp template engine being string-based uses less logic template engine. It has a full separation between the PHP and HTML. The stamp is suitable for complex server-rendered views.

12. Divengine Template engine

Divengine template engine is designed for PHP and it has pretty powerful features for template designers and programmers. Its solution is implemented in a single class and one file by considering the template as an object.

13. TPLN

TPLN is a fast PHP template engine with the code separated from your design to facilitate updating of your design and documents. There is a distinct separation of works done by web designers and PHP coders. It has a fast build and easy update.

14. Handlebars

Handlebars will provide you with the power needed to build semantic templates without a struggle. They are highly compatible with Mustache and can be swapped while using the current template without issues.

15. Rain TPL

Rain TPL is the easiest and the fastest template engine for PHP. It makes work easy for web designers and web developers to create applications. It is also easy for developers to collaborate on a project.


A good template engine should provide a wall of separation between the application logic and the display logic for developers on front-end and back-end to work together without stepping into each other’s code. A PHP template engines are easy to learn, easy to work with and builds faster with minimal overheads.