PHP has been and still is one of the most popular programming languages. Thus, there’s a number of PHP frameworks that are great to use when efficiency, speed, and reliability are what’s needed in the development and the project output. Below are just some of the advantage of using PHP frameworks in web development projects:

  • Faster development timeline
  • Structured development
  • Sustainable code
  • Improved security
  • Minimized coding issues

Being one of the most affordable solutions for the back-end, PHP is often chosen and companies often require PHP developers for hire. It is important to consider which technologies and PHP frameworks they are most skilled at. Of the various PHP frameworks available, two of the most popular and well-received are Laravel and Symfony frameworks.   

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Demand for PHP Frameworks

As of the first quarter of 2018, over 48 million websites in the entire internet was developed using PHP. This includes 48% of the top 10,000 and 34% of the top 1 million websites all over the world. In addition to this, PHP frameworks are the most used development framework in the world. In their 2018 survey, StackOverflow lists PHP among the top 10 programming languages commonly used by professional developers and also ranks among the lists of top 25 most loved and most wanted programming languages.

laravel vs symfony

Source: BuiltWith

Created for elegant and efficient projects and coding, the Laravel framework comes with rich libraries, diverse tools, and streamlined templating functionalities. Laravel is also highly in-demand with Laravel developers and web development projects, with over a million websites built using Laravel.

Source: BuiltWith

Similar to the Laravel framework, Symfony has a toolbox of integrable software components and a structured approach to building web applications. With over 100,000 websites in the entire internet created using Symfony framework, including 0.1% of the top 10,000 websites, Symfony is a very popular PHP framework.

laravel vs symfony

Source: BuiltWith

Developer Thoughts

PHP, Laravel, and Symfony frameworks are definitely popular, but what do developers really think about these tools? Here are some of the key points from our interview with a Senior PHP developer about PHP, Laravel, and Symfony.

  • The more recent PHP releases have improved performance and usability, making it a great tool for enterprise-level web application development.
  • Symfony PHP framework is a great tool for building highly flexible web applications and utilities.
  • While the Laravel framework is most useful for rapid application development projects and has all the needed tools, libraries, and functionalities built-in and ready to use.
  • Laravel PHP framework allows the use of a number of Symfony components, but not requiring the full use of Symfony.
  • Laravel has a large worldwide community and diverse documentation for development support.

Comparing Laravel and Symfony

We’ll first review the performance of Symfony and Laravel PHP framework against common aspects between them, then proceed to the differences between Symfony and Laravel PHP framework and add to the Symfony vs Laravel debates.





“The PHP Framework for Web Artisans”

“High-performance PHP Framework for web development”


Model-View-Controller (MVC)

Model-View-Controller (MVC); makes use of reusable components and libraries.

Object Relational Mapping (ORM)

Eloquent; enables the use of streamlined methods and processes and offers more flexibility in their implementation.

Doctrine; comes with a wide range of functions and set a process for communicating with databases. Best used for large projects.


Laracasts; a learning platform for developers covering a vast number of relevant topics for developers of every caliber.

Clear and well-written documentation for each version as well as the overall usage of the framework.


Average loading time: 60 ms

Average loading time: est. 250 ms


Blade; optimizes code reusability with simple code syntax cached until reused. Great for building project fast.

Twig; provides various ways of adding functionality and adding security for more robust templates. Best fit for complex and intricate development projects.


Github, forums, Laracasts, and Laracon (a convention for Laravel enthusiasts)

Large Github and StackOverflow support communities, around 3000 contributors to the code, and SymfonyCon

What’s in Symfony?

Having been around since 2005, Symfony is most popular due to its highly reusable components, saving time and cost to both developers and entrepreneurs. To create rich websites, Symfony also enables developers to integrate or extend their code with third-party application and other front-end frameworks. With the efficiency that the Symfony environment has, it is tool best fit for large and complex web development projects.

What’s in Laravel?

A good start off point is to ask, does Laravel use Symfony? Symfony has been around longer than Laravel and even has inspired some aspects of Laravel, such as the Workflow component. Laravel Symfony workflow examples will show that such integration is more than possible. However, Laravel may have the capacity to use some Symfony tools, but it is its own tool. Laravel has its own built-in CLI, Artisan, which is equipped with various tools to build custom CLI functionality. Laravel also has support for automated code testing to ease the process of quality control and assurance for your code. Another great Laravel feature is the uncomplicated authentication tools from its Authentication library.

Options, Options, Options

To put into perspective, PHP frameworks are great tools for web development projects. Below are some of the key advantages of using a PHP framework:

  • Faster development timeline
  • Structured development
  • Sustainable code
  • Better security
  • Minimized coding issues

Despite having similarities in a number of aspects, there are still notable differences between Laravel and Symfony PHP frameworks. The key advantages of using Laravel to build a website:

  • Flexible use of a wide range of built-in libraries, methods, and processes.
  • Automated code testing.
  • Robust authentication and security libraries.
  • Simple to use and reusable templating engine.
  • Rich and diverse documentation and community to learn how to use Laravel and its potential.

While Symfony PHP framework offers:

  • Built-in structure, processes, and functionalities for fast development.
  • Capitalizes on reusable components and libraries.
  • Best fit for large and complex web development projects.
  • Large and diverse community.

Both are definitely great choices for efficient and quality web development. The choice of framework for you and your project depends on your level of comfort with the tools that either option offer, as well as the scale and requirements of the project.