10 Best PHP Development Tools for Web Developers

In this article, we will learn about the 10 best PHP development tools for web developers. By IncludeHelp Last updated : June 02, 2023

10 Best PHP Development Tools for Web Developers

Every software developer must possess the skill to write reliable code within a very minimum time limit to stay productive and competitive in the market. And for such efficient code writing, developers use various code editors and IDEs. For example, PHP editors can help programmers by highlighting the code syntax and providing auto-fill suggestions as well as auto-complete features.

As a writer needs text editors like Microsoft Word, developers would need some reliable PHP development tools that can help them write, edit and execute PHP code. Expert PHP developers in India also recommend that you must use a suitable code editor or an IDE to write and maintain high-quality code.

A PHP IDE offers a variety of features like syntax checkers, smart code completion, intelligent debuggers, error validation, and more. But the real question is which PHP tools you should choose for your next PHP development project.

To help you with that, here in this blog, we are going to discuss the top 10 PHP development tools that are widely popular and practiced in the PHP developers community.

1. PHPStorm

One of the best PHP tools available in the market is PHPStorm. You can make your web development process a lot smoother and simpler with the help of a set of features provided by PHPStorm.

JetBrains is behind the creation and promotion of this PHP IDE. It is a company well-known for producing reliable PHP tools that can make PHP coding for software development simpler for more than a decade now.

WordPress, Drupal, Magento, and many other content management systems are supported in PHPStorm. You can also integrate this PHP tool with popular PHP frameworks such as CakePHP, Symfony, and Laravel.

Every web development project needs a front-end technology and that's where PHPStorm shines. It also enables you to edit front-end technologies like CSS, HTML, TypeScript, and JavaScript in real-time. With PHPStorm, debugging, unit testing, and code refactoring seem very easy.

This enterprise-grade IDE was developed specifically for a targeted group of users. Many enterprises like SalesForce, Yahoo, Cisco, Wikipedia, and more have purchased the PHPStorm IDE licenses. This shows how reliable this PHP developer tool is.


  • The background code indexing of PHPStorm finds out the common errors and ensures that the code stays connected.
  • Now, you can run the pre-process and code management tools right from the editor using the built-in terminal of PHPStorm.
  • Cross-platform support


  • If the software is installed and runs on any device with RAM lower than 16 GB, then the tool will run slowly.
  • Taking throw-away notes and making quick edits is hard due to the project-based structure of PHPStorm.

2. Eclipse

Eclipse is an open-source tool with the largest number of features to provide for your PHP development project. Because Eclipse has a huge community that works on creating all kinds of plugins to equip the tool with. In comparison to other tools, Eclipse is a little complicated to work with in the initial stages. But it is worth your money. You don't even have to spend a dime on its licensing costs which is a considerably huge benefit.

Sometimes, PHP developers in India and around the globe feel that Eclipse is running sluggishly in comparison to other PHP tools. But the latest laptops come with high-quality configuration which is smooth enough to run your software.

Core features of Eclipse are PHP debugging, code assistance, code navigation, code template, code formatting, syntax validation, and more.


  • Eclipse can make writing PHP code easier for you by providing code templates, code formatting, code navigation, code restructuring, code assistance, and syntax navigation.
  • This PHP tool is compatible with many programming languages like Python, JavaScript, C, C++, and more.
  • From simple user interface to unit testing, you get access to a wide range of plugins while using Eclipse.
  • If any problem arises during the development phase, the tool is supported by a large community of developers and comprehensive documentation is available on the internet. So, you can get instant help in solving your PHP development problems.


  • Doesn't come with a built-in code replacement feature.
  • Intellisense features sometimes get slow.

3. NetBeans

NetBeans is a free PHP development tool that supports multiple languages like English, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Brazilian, and Portuguese. The free version of this tool was initially released in the year 2010 by Sun Microsystems which was later bought by Oracle.

Since its initial launch, NetBeans is claimed to have the support of the largest community of developers working on integrated development environments.

The latest version of NetBeans is faster and lighter. NetBeans is equipped with all types of support resources like the Laravel IDE helper to support the Laravel framework. Apart from that, it also supports Symfony2, Smarty Doctrine, Zend, and many more PHP development frameworks.

The essential features of NetBeans include hints, refactoring, quick fixes, getter-setter generation, code templates, and smart code completion.


  • NetBeans offers a profiler, visual debugger, efficient refactoring, and sturdy project management.
  • All top PHP frameworks are supported in NetBeans
  • Testing and debugging the software code is made easy with Netbeans


  • NetBeans has i3 processors and is quite large which is the reason why it runs slower than other PHP tools.
  • When it comes to code compilation and execution performance, Netbeans is not very good at work.

4. Sublime Text 3

For all the sturdy PHP text editors out there, Sublime Text 3 is a real competing tool. Although it is lightweight, it provides all the necessary features and can support all operating systems like Windows, Linux, and OSX. This PHP tool is highly empowered with different types of packages and plugins.

Various types of PHP packages are available in the market that claims to convert this intelligent code editor into an elegant Sublime PHP IDE. Sublime PHP Companion, PHPDoc, package control, and PHPCS, are to name some of these packages that can help you fulfill that purpose.

If any add-on packages are combined with the Sublime Text 3 as a PHP IDE then its result will contain the strength of teh PHP and classiness of the Sublime Text in one tool.


  • Supports multiple languages
  • Syntax with highlighting features
  • Autocompletion of Tag
  • Supports various plugins and integrations


  • Cross-platform support of this tool requires some improvements
  • Formatting a large document can be confusing using Sublime Text 3

5. NuSphere

NuSphere helps PHP products to improve the web development experience of the developers and make good use of PHPED IDE.

This tool supports the latest versions of PHP editor and many popular PHP frameworks including Yii, Symfony, and Laravel. The latest version of this tool enables you to run unit tests on all your projects no matter if it is local or remote.

With a Less preprocessor, NuSphere also supports CSS pre-processing, Javascript debugging, and many more things in PHP.


  • PHPExpress from NuSphere helps developers speed up the app development process.
  • Dynamic syntax highlighting
  • Quicker refactoring of code
  • Parallel debugging
  • Supports multiple programming languages
  • Supports multiple platforms


  • Expensive in comparison to other PHP development tools
  • It is compatible but for a limited number of platforms

6. Zend Studio

Zend Studio is one of the top PHP IDEs developed by the company named Zend and targeted at the most proficient web developers. As a company, Zend offers all types of PHP functionalities and it has a huge client base that uses their products to simplify their PHP development process. DHL, Agilent Technologies, and BNP Paribas Credit Suisse are to name a few of their global clientele.

Zend Studio works with the latest version of PHP programming language and it also supports multiple platforms like OS X, Linux, and Windows. The development tools offer almost all the latest features that you would need to speed up your development process. It also has an intuitive user interface. 

Unlike many other PHP tools, Zend is popular for providing robust features that support mobile app development. If you want to harmonize your existing websites or web apps with mobile applications, then Zend Studio offers a great beginning.


  • Fast coding capabilities
  • Compatible with X-ray, Xdebug, and Zend Debugger.
  • Supports multiple programming languages
  • Offers both Zend Server-based and independent PHP profiling and debugging.
  • Provides interoperability with Git, GitHub, SVN, and CVS.


  • Documentation is not good
  • Plug-ins are expensive

7. Atom

Atom is a free text editor developed by GitHub. The functionality of this PHP tool is expanded with a variety of packages and plugins it provides. Although you need to have an MIT license to use Atom, it is used by a large community of developers.

Atom is easily scalable, extremely flexible, and customizable. It can be even transformed into an online PHP editor.  Atom supports Windows, Red Hat Linux, OS X, and Fedora 22+ which makes it a perfect cross-platform alternative.


  • Offers highly customizable themes and plugins
  • Lightweight
  • Multiple language support
  • Self-explanatory intuitive interface


  • Has many stability issues like periodic crashes
  • At an enterprise level, managing plugins is cumbersome

8. Komodo

If you are looking for a PHP MySQL development and functional tool then you won't find a better option than Komodo IDE. It was initially launched in 2000 by ActiveState. Komodo has inherited most of the functionalities from the Python interpreter.

Because they share many functionalities, Komodo uses Scintilla and Mozilla as its foundation. Pipe features and tons of extensions have ensured that these PHP development tools become successful in the market.


  • Supports more than 100 programming languages for both web and mobile app development
  • It is highly customizable
  • Provides robust tools for code debugging

9. Aptana Studio

Aptana Studio is one of the finest PHP development tools you can get. Since it is open-source, there is no charge for downloading it from the web and using it. Aptana can help as a standalone for platforms like Linux OS, Mac OS, and Windows.


  • Supports PHP Debugger
  • Supports DOM and CSS
  • Code Formatting and Auto Indexing
  • Built-in PHP server
  • Provides Syntax Error Annotations

10. Cloud 9

Cloud 9 comes pre-packaged with tools essential for all types of programming languages including PHP, Python, and JavaScript. This frees you from the burden of downloading and installing files every time you start a new project.

Working on a cloud IDE has its perks as it enables you to work on your project from anywhere you want, may it be your home, office, or some cafe with internet services.

Developing serverless apps can be a seamless experience if you are using Cloud 9. Since this PHP tool is on the cloud, all the team members can work on the same development environment which helps monitor everyone's input in real-time.


  • Develop serverless applications effortlessly
  • Code mutually in real-time
  • Code with only a browser
  • Begin novel projects quickly


PHP is an all-inclusive and most liked programming language for web development. A large number of PHP IDEs are available in the market that claims to offer advanced features. The tools discussed in this blog are equipped with unique features but all of them have the common objective of simplifying the PHP web development process for your project and making your code clean and scalable.

I hope this article has been helpful to you. The discussion of all the strengths and weaknesses of PHP tools will also help you decide which one of them is the right choice for your next PHP project. Thanks for reading!

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