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10 Best PHP Development Tools That Every Developer Should Know

top 10 PHP development tools

Unlike other programming languages, PHP was crafted keeping in mind the simplification of web application development. Apart from being a mature programming language, it has been constantly evolving.

The latest features in the language enable PHP web developers to improve the performance of web applications without increasing memory consumption. The developers can further quicken the development process by using a number of full-stack and lightweight PHP frameworks like Laravel, Codeigniter, Zend, CakePHP, Slim, and Yii.

Furthermore, they can also take advantage of many PHP coding tools to rapidly build web applications according to varied client requirements.

Here is a comprehensive list of the top 10 PHP development tools for developers!


PHPStorm is one of the best PHP tools for developers and comes with the latest set of features that enable a swift web development process. The IDE is created and promoted by a company called JetBrains. It is one of the reputed companies in PHP coding tools for the developer market and has made PHP coding for software simpler for the past 15-16 years.

It works perfectly well with key PHP frameworks such as Symfony, Zend Studio, Yii, CakePHP, and Laravel. Additionally, PHPStorm also supports chief content management systems like Drupal, Magento, and WordPress.

Any web development project is incomplete without front-end technologies and this is where PHPStorm works the best. It allows real-time editing of front-end technologies like CSS, Sass, HTML 5, CoffeeScript, JavaScript, Stylus, TypeScript, and others. PHPStorm also enables code refactoring, unit testing, and debugging.

It is an enterprise-grade IDE that comes with a license price and targets specialized developers. Its reputation can be known from the fact that brands like Yahoo, Wikipedia, Expedia, Cisco, and SalesForce have bought PHPStorm IDE licenses.




Eclipse PDT is a highly used open-source PHP development tool that does not directly cost you. It has a huge community of developers who work on all sorts of plug-ins and equip Eclipse with features that any other PHP ides development tools have to provide.

Though Eclipse is slightly tricky in the initial stages to start working with Eclipse as compared to other IDEs for PHP but is worth the money that it saves for you. It saves on licensing costs which can be considered the biggest gain.

Some PHP developers believe that Eclipse is slow-moving and let’s be honest it is sluggish as compared to other PHP editors. But the basic laptop configuration these days is of high quality to run Eclipse swiftly.

Some of the important features include syntax highlighting, code assist, code formatting, code templates, code navigation, syntax validation, PHP debugging, and the Eclipse ecosystem which has a supportive community of developers.




NetBeans has rich attributes, is free, and enables multiple languages including English, Japanese, Brazilian, Russian, Portuguese, and basic Chinese. A free version of NetBeans goes back to 2010 when it was originally made by Sun Microsystems and later on Oracle took over it.

Since its release, it boasts of the largest community of developers actively working on an open-source integrated development environment.

Gone are the times when this tool was sluggish and known only for development in Java. The current version is lightweight, quicker, and supports the entire thing in PHP. NetBeans has the best support resources for all kinds of PHP frameworks like Zend, Smarty Doctrine, and Symfony2 and also supports Laravel through Laravel-IDE-helper. Not only that, it can enable support for frameworks like Yii, FuelPHP, WordPress CMS, and CakePHP.

Some of the key features that keep it on top of the list are smart code completion, code templates, getter setter generation, quick fixes, hints, and refactoring.



Sublime Text 3

It is a competing tool for most sturdy PHP text editors. Sublime Text 3 is lightweight with essential features and supports OSX, Windows, and Linux. This tool has gained all its powers from different plugins and packages.

A lot of PHP packages are available in the market that helps in transforming this smart code editor into a graceful sublime PHP IDE. Some of the most helpful and noteworthy packages to solve the purpose are package control, Sublime PHP companion, xDebug client – CodeBug, PHPCS, and PHPDoc.

If you combine the Sublime Text 3 as a PHP IDE with add-on packages, the outcome is the classiness of sublime text as well as the strength of PHP in a single place.




It is another company interested in developing the best tools for PHP products to improve the web development experience and makes use of PhpED IDE.

NuSphere supports PHP editor’s latest versions that work with PHP 7 and many other new and old PHP frameworks including Laravel, Symfony, and Yii. The added feature in the latest release of NuSphere is that it can run unit tests for local and remote projects.

Thus, to sum up, NuSphere is a packed stack web development tool that comes with full support for CSS pre-processing with Less pre-processor, JavaScript debugging, HTML 5, and everything else in PHP.



Zend Studio

It is amongst the top commercial PHP IDEs from the organization named Zend which targets proficient web developers.

Zend as a company provides everything that covers PHP functionalities and has a huge clientele that makes use of one or the other of its products that makes PHP development supremely easy. Some of its top clientele include DHL, BNP Paribas Credit Suisse, and Agilent Technologies.

Zend Studio supports Windows, Linux, and OS X and works with the most recent versions of the language including PHP 7. It comes with an intuitive user interface and offers almost all the latest features and tools that help speed up the PHP development process.

One of the powerful features of Zend is its support for mobile application development. It offers a good beginning to harmonize the present websites and web applications with mobile apps.



Read Also: Best Laravel Tools That Can Make Your Project Successful


It is the latest text editor developed by the team at GitHub and is available free of cost under the MIT license. Along with its vast community, Atom has tons of plugins and packages to expand its functionality.

Atom is truly flexible which means that you can turn it into an online PHP editor as it is scalable and extremely customizable. Moreover, it is an accurate cross-platform alternative that has support for Red Hat Linux, OS X, Windows, and Fedora 22+.




Developed in the year 2000 by ActiveState, Komodo IDE is one of the best PHP MySQL development and functional tools. Most functionalities of Komodo are inherited from the Python interpreter.

It uses Mozilla and Scintilla as its foundation because they share much of the functionality, features, and support. Numerous extensions and pipe features in Komodo have made it a huge success.


Aptana Studio

Aptana Studio built by Aptana Inc in 2014 is one of the finest open-source PHP development tools. It is also free of cost and simple to download from the web. It can be availed as a standalone on Windows, Mac, and Linux OS.


Cloud 9

It comes pre-packaged with necessary tools for all rage programming languages along with JavaScript, Python & PHP. So, you don’t have to install files for starting new projects. The fact that this IDE is cloud-based, will allow you to work on your projects from home, office, or anywhere with an internet-connected device.

Cloud 9 renders a flawless experience to develop serverless applications. With this IDE, you can easily share your development environment with your team making it easy to monitor everyone’s input in real-time.



PHP is the most-liked and all-inclusive programming language for web development. There are lots of PHP IDEs available that include advanced features with each new version. The PHP development tools mentioned here have their own specific features but the common objective of them all is to bring about speed in web development with a clean and scalable code.

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