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Laravel vs CodeIgniter - Which is Better PHP Framework for Development

August 08, 2023



In the realm of web app development, the choice of framework and scripting language holds paramount importance. With a plethora of options available, it's crucial to navigate the landscape and find the perfect fit for your organization's needs.


When it comes to web app development, not only the framework but also the scripting language you opt for plays a pivotal role. Among the array of programming languages, PHP stands tall as a preferred choice for numerous developers. Renowned for its ability to create robust and dynamic websites and applications, PHP has garnered widespread acclaim and is the go-to language for crafting tailor-made solutions that cater to diverse requirements.


In the vast expanse of PHP, a multitude of frameworks awaits, each vying for attention. However, amidst this diversity, two frameworks shine brightly – Laravel and CodeIgniter. Navigating the nuances of these frameworks can be a challenge for entrepreneurs and business owners, often seeking clarity in their selection. Thus, the primary objective of this blog is to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of these two prominent PHP frameworks, shedding light on their core attributes. The aim is to empower you in making an informed decision, guiding you towards the optimal framework for your upcoming project.


But before delving into the intricate comparison, let's initiate with a brief introduction to both Laravel and CodeIgniter. By acquainting ourselves with the essence of these frameworks, we can better grasp their individual strengths and nuances, ultimately paving the way for a well-informed choice that aligns seamlessly with your project goals.

What is Laravel?


Laravel is an open-source PHP framework that helps build robust applications with less code. Based on model-view-controller architecture, the Laravel framework offers an integrated packaging system and a devoted dependency manager. 


Applications built using the Laravel framework are highly scalable and have easy-to-maintain codebases. Laravel features include an extensive library with reusable components, web development tools, command line interfaces, and object-relational mapping, among others. 


What is CodeIgniter?


CodeIgniter is an open-source PHP framework that helps build dynamic, fully functional web pages. CodeIgniter offers a rich set of libraries to perform common and repetitive tasks. CodeIgniter framework uses a simple interface and logical structure to access the set of libraries.


Applications built using CodeIgniter have excellent database and session management. CodeIgniter features include flexible URL routing, full page caching, error logging, and form and data validation, among others.


According to statistics, 119,000 websites are currently using CodeIgniter, whereas 6,45,000 websites are using Laravel. Popular websites built using CodeIgniter include Buffer, The Mail and Guardian, Nissan, and Creditflux. On the other hand, popular websites built using Laravel include Watchseries, Laracast, Alphacoders, and Barchart, among others. 



Let’s discuss the pros and cons of these PHP frameworks. 


After the brief introduction of these PHP frameworks, let us move ahead and discuss the pros and cons of Laravel and CodeIgniter one by one. 


Pros of Laravel:


-Rich set of pre-packaged utilities for authentication, API testing, etc.

-Powerful templating engine called Blade for sophisticated web layouts.

-Beginner-friendly with straightforward user documentation.

-Artisan CLI automates repetitive tasks and provides modern code generation.

-Unique reverse routing feature for automated route updates.

-Dependency injection for class dependencies and easy testing environment.

-Expressive testing techniques with PHPUnit.


Cons of Laravel:


-Lightweight nature can lead to backend congestion and lower performance.

-Third-party library reliability may vary due to a large community.

-Time and effort required to evaluate quality libraries.


Pros of CodeIgniter:


-Lightweight framework for faster performance.

-Easy setup and usage for both beginners and professionals.

-Strong community support for diverse online solutions.

-Page and database caching for improved web application speed.

-Built-in tools for enhanced PHP program security.


Cons of CodeIgniter:


-Challenges in code maintainability, updates, and alterations.

-Limited libraries compared to other PHP frameworks.

-Slower development and fewer updates can lead to version disparities.



Laravel vs. CodeIgniter: Use Cases

Let’s glimpse at the use cases of Laravel and CodeIgniter to understand the kinds of web apps these two frameworks are suitable for. 


Laravel Use Cases:


SaaS-based web applications: Laravel's elegant architecture and robust features make it an excellent choice for developing scalable and feature-rich Software-as-a-Service applications.


On-demand streaming apps: Laravel's support for handling media content and streaming capabilities makes it a preferred option for building on-demand streaming platforms.


E-learning and education apps: Leveraging Laravel's flexibility, you can create engaging and interactive e-learning platforms tailored to your educational needs.


Web apps with rewards and recognition features: Laravel's intuitive design and database handling allow for creating applications with intricate reward and recognition systems.


Multilingual CMS systems: Laravel's localization support makes it suitable for developing content management systems that cater to a global audience.


Stock trading-based web apps: Laravel's real-time capabilities and extensive libraries can power stock trading platforms with seamless user experiences.


CodeIgniter Use Cases:


SaaS-based web applications: CodeIgniter's lightweight structure and efficient performance make it an apt choice for developing agile and efficient SaaS applications.


eCommerce web applications: CodeIgniter's versatility enables the creation of dynamic and secure e-commerce platforms that handle transactions seamlessly.


On-demand web streaming apps: CodeIgniter's speed and simplicity can be harnessed to build user-friendly on-demand streaming applications.


Customized CRM: With its modular architecture, CodeIgniter is well-suited for developing customized Customer Relationship Management systems.


Invoice management system: CodeIgniter's data handling capabilities make it suitable for constructing efficient invoice and billing management systems.


POS (point of sale) system: CodeIgniter's quick development cycle is advantageous for crafting robust and reliable point-of-sale solutions.



Laravel vs. CodeIgniter: The Ultimate Comparison 




Regarding scalability, Laravel derives it from PHP since it helps expand organizations with a robust database. Laravel is capable of tremendous scalability. Laravel apps are scalable, utilizing MySQL, AWS, and other sophisticated caching strategies.


Because CodeIgniter is a lightweight framework, it is a popular choice for creating highly scalable applications. Scalability in CodeIgniter may be done via caching without interfering with speed.


Thus, when it comes to scalability, both Laravel and CodeIgniter provide.


Trends and Popularity 


Laravel is one of the most widely used frameworks. Many developers like its expressive code and other appealing characteristics. As a result, Laravel has garnered quite a reputation in terms of popularity.


In terms of popularity, though, CodeIgniter is second only to Laravel. Many developers like it for constructing robust web apps because of its lightweight nature and simplicity.


Laravel and CodeIgniter are both popular among developers, but Laravel earns a few points for its coding structure and appealing appearance.


In-built Modules 


One of the most excellent things about Laravel is the availability of various built-in modularity capabilities. Developers in Laravel may partition a large project into smaller modules and work on them individually. This makes the development process more fluid and smooth.


CodeIgniter, on the other hand, lacks any built-in modularity capabilities. In CodeIgniter, developers must construct modules and manage them using modular extensions.


As a result, Laravel has the advantage in terms of in-built modules and modularity capabilities. 


Microservices Compatibility 


Laravel supports microserver compatibility because PHP enables microservices compatibility. In reality, the adoption of Laravel microservice architecture has increased dramatically in recent months.


CodeIgniter also allows you to use PHP technologies to create efficient microservices. CodeIgniter 3 works well with the microservice architecture. Furthermore, it simplifies the code and ensures optimal scalability, speed, and database support.


As a result, both Laravel and CodeIgniter are microservices compatible and support microservice architecture.


Database Support 


Laravel now supports four database systems: Postgres, MySQL, SQLite, and SQL. The query builder, raw SQL, and elegant ORM make database interaction easier. Laravel makes it incredibly easy to connect to numerous databases.


CodeIgniter has a fast database class that supports both standard structures and the Query Builder pattern. Furthermore, CodeIgniter’s clean and easy syntax makes it a popular PHP framework worldwide.


Both Laravel and CodeIgniter allow many databases and make the most of them for faster project development.


Community support 


Laravel controls about 79% of the market for server-side web application development. Because Laravel has a large community with thousands of active users, every question is usually resolved within three days. Laravel developers routinely share Laravel podcasts, articles, and papers.


CodeIgniter is an open-source framework with a thriving community of developers and members that share and discuss innovative ideas. The CodeIgniter community is incredibly functional and responds quickly.


Laravel and CodeIgniter both have active and strong community support. However, Laravel has roughly 46k active users, and CodeIgniter has around 8k active users. As a result, Laravel’s community is vast, and assistance is smooth. 





Overall, both Laravel and CodeIgniter have their strengths and are popular choices for web application development. Laravel is known for its scalability, built-in modules, and expressive code, while CodeIgniter is favored for its lightweight nature, simplicity, and microservices compatibility. Both frameworks have active communities that offer support and resources. The choice between them will depend on specific project requirements and developer preferences.

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