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List of Top PHP development tools & Best IDE for PHP Web Development

  • By Hidden Brains
  • October 14, 2021

PHP-development-tools & PHP IDE

PHP is a widely-used open-source scripting language used in web application development. This language is the favourite choice of most of the developers as it can be easily embedded into HTML. Being a worldwide popular programming language, web developers use it on a regular basis for fulfilling their website development requirements. To make this work easier and faster, experts have come up with some extremely useful php development tool that helps in the process of website development.

These PHP development tools are developed to account for the best PHP IDE where web developers can work more efficiently to build innovative, engaging and feature-rich websites. The market is flooded with several PHP developing tools, but choosing the best IDE for PHP and most suitable ones among them is a daunting task.

In this blog, we shall give the list of best PHP tools & PHP IDE that are PHP Web developer-friendly.

Are you looking to launch your PHP based website?

Best PHP Development Tools and IDE

Following is the list of best IDE for PHP after discussing it with PHP industry experts & PHP programmers, surveying several technology blogs, and researching for the latest PHP and website development trends:

1. Eclipse

Eclipse- PHP Development Tools
Image Courtesy: eclipse.org

Eclipse is the first name that comes to any PHP developer’s mind when talking of the most useful PHP development tools and best PHP IDE. This is a cross-platform PHP tool that supports Operating System of Windows, Linux and Mac.

It contains all the development components that are required to develop PHP-based web applications. Moreover, this tool facilitates extensibility and takes advantage of existing web PHP developing tools to empower PHP Web developers


  • Syntax highlighting
  • Content assist
  • Code formatter
  • Refactoring
  • Code templates
  • Code navigation
  • PHP debugging
  • Syntax validation
  • Power of entire Eclipse ecosystem
  • Composer support

2. NetBeans

NetBeans- php development tool
Image Courtesy: netbeans.org

This is yet another preferred choice of developers for a PHP development tool. NetBeans IDE allows developers to build Java mobile, web applications, desktop as well as HTML5 applications using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. NetBeans is an open-source and free tool, it has a large community of developers worldwide.

NetBeans is Java 8’s official best PHP IDE consisting of best PHP editor, code analyzers and converters. This IDE provides an ultimate level of convenience and flexibility to developers by marking lines, matching words and brackets, and highlighting source code syntactically and semantically.

Using batch analyzers and converters, developers can search through multiple applications simultaneously, thereby matching patterns for conversion to new Java 8 language constructs.


  • Best support for latest Java technologies
  • Fast & smart code editing
  • Easy & efficient project management
  • Rapid user interface development
  • Write bug-free code
  • Support for multiple languages
  • Cross-platform support
  • Rich set of community provided plugins

3. PHPStorm

PHPStorm -PHP Tool
Image Courtesy: jetbrains.com/phpstorm/

PHPStorm is the best IDE used for building websites. This PHP development tools first came into existence in 2009 and has evolved since then to become a popular choice of developers around the globe. PHPStorm is compatible with WordPress, Zend Framework, Symfony, Drupal, Laravel, Magento, Yii, Joomla, CakePHP and several other frameworks.

PHPStorm is everything that a developer would desire for. It takes care of all types of inspections while the developer is typing the code. With PHPDoc support, code (re)arranger and formatter, quick-fixes, and other features, developers can write neat and robust codes.

Friendly navigation in PHPStorm improves the efficiency of developers by understanding where he wants to go and takes him there immediately. Empowered with zero-configuration Visual Debugger, PHPStorm keeps developers informed on what’s going on in their application. This tool works with Xdebug and Zend Debugger to be used both locally and remotely.


  • Inline function/method refactoring
  • Refactor your code to functional style
  • Configurable unchecked exceptions
  • Creating class from test
  • Codeception: code coverage
  • Assertions support
  • Simplified first start
  • Reformat with Prettier
  • Create a new Vue project
  • Partial commits in Git

4. NuSphere

NuSphere-PHP Development Software
Image Courtesy: nusphere.com

NuSphere is a Best PHP IDE and state of the art PHP Editor with the power to speed up the developer’s work by 50%. This IDE is especially useful when the website or web application to be developed is complex. NuSphere speeds up debugging and this is a big reward for the person coding PHP.

It is possible to build, develop, edit and debug PHP Applications with PhpED – NuSphere PHP IDE. It starts with encoding PHP code with NuCoder – NuSphere powerful PHP encoder. This IDE also speeds up PHP Applications using PhpExpress – NuSphere, which is a commercial PHP Accelerator available free of cost to developers. It is simpler to deploy PHP applications with the help of Webserver using PHP IDE publishing tools.


  • Kiosk or full-screen mode for PHP applications
  • Pop-up of PhpDock window
  • Binding of PhpDock web server
  • Protect PHP code with NuCoder – NuSphere
  • Accelerate PHP applications with PhpExpress

5. Zend Studio

Zend Studio-PHP Dev Tool
Image Courtesy: zend.com

Zend Studio is a best PHP development tools and Best PHP IDE that allows developers to code faster, debug easily as well as take advantage of the massive performance gains using PHP 7. This allows developers to build highly complex and feature-rich PHP applications Development with minimal coding efforts.

The main reason why PHP developers choose Zend Studio is that this PHP IDE automatically scales according to the DPI settings of the underlying operating system and supports HiDPi displays.


  • Boost performance by 3 times with proven improvements in indexing, validation and searching of PHP code
  • Robust debugging capabilities with Xdebug, Zend Debugger and Z-Ray integration
  • Support for other development tools including Docker and Git Flow
  • This IDE contains extensive plugin capabilities for the large Eclipse ecosystem
  • Allow PHP applications on the server along wth cloud support for Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure 

What’s Your Choice: PHP-based Website or DIY Website Builder?

6. Aptana Studio 3

Aptana- PHP Developing Tool
Image Courtesy: Aptana

Built-up from scratch, Aptana Studio 3 is among the most robust and powerful open-source web development IDEs. It is high-performance and includes a range of new features to help you become more productive.  A powerful web development engine, Aptana leverages the flexibility of Eclipse and includes information about the level of support for each element in the major web browsers.


  • Several protocols such as FTP, SFTP, FTPS and Capistrano
  • Set breakpoints, inspect variables, control execution
  • Manage easily your projects under Git source code control
  • Collaboration with team members via merge, pull and push actions to remote repositories
  • Set up your development environment by core capabilities
  • Manage and support authoring of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and Ruby
  • Support to latest HTML5 specifications

7. Komodo IDE

Komodo IDE-PHP Web Development Tools
Image Courtesy: Activestate (Komodo IDE)

Komodo is the best PHP IDE provides support for numerous web languages – Python, PHP, Perl, Golang, Ruby and more. For operating systems such as Windows, Mac and Linux. Komodo IDE offers a host of features such as integrated debugger support, DOM viewer, interactive shells, source code control integration, and the ability to ensure compatibility with the final deployment target.


  • Editor with syntax highlighting, autocomplete, code refactoring and much more
  • Visual debugger to debug, inspect and test your code
  • Multiple add-ons to customize and augment advance functionality
  • Manage workflow with file and project navigation
  • Managed and supported by ActiveState, a reliable source for developers and enterprises

8. Sublime Text

sublimetext-PHP Developers Tools
Image Courtesy: Sublimetext

Sublime Text is a cross-platform source code editor with a Python application programming interface (API). As a proprietary platform, it provides crucial support to many programming languages and markup languages, and functions can be added by users with plugins, typically community-centric and maintained under free-software licenses.


  • Unmatched syntax highlighting engine
  • Advance level text editor to manage code, markup and prose
  • Available for  different operating systems such as Mac, Windows and Linux
  • Unmatched responsiveness due to custom components

9. Atom.io

Atom.io-PHP Development Tools List
Image Courtesy: Atom.io

Atom.io is a text editor allowing developers to collaborate and work together right from knowledge sharing to building software for macOS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows. Atom makes collaborating on code as effortless and easy as if you are coding alone, right from a single editor.


  • Atom works across operating systems
  • Examine and install different packages or create your own
  • Faster coding with a smart and flexible autocomplete
  • Browse and open a file, entire project, or multiple projects from one single window
  • Ability to compare and edit code across files
  • Identify, review, and replace text as you type in a file or across all your projects

Related Post: Web Development Best Practices

10. Cloud 9

Best PHP Tool- Cloud 9
Image Courtesy: AWS

Cloud9 PHP IDE is an Online IDE (integrated development environment). It is published as an open-source and supports multiple programming languages, which include C, C++, and Ruby. It was acquired by Amazon in 2016 and became a part of Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

  • It has an inbuilt image editor 
  • This PHP tool supports different types of code repositories, including FTTP servers 
  • It offers syntax highlighting for several languages such as C#, C/C++, Java, JavaScript, Python, and Ruby.
  • Code reformatting and Real-time language Analysis
  • Platforms supported: Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Solaris

11. CodeLobster

Best IDE for PHP CodeLobster
Image Courtesy: codelobsteride

It is among one of the popular PHP development tools for the developers’ community. The major attribute which attracts developers towards this tool is it supports different frameworks like Symfony, Laravel, CodeIgniter, CakePHP, Magento, Joomla, and Drupal. This framework helps developers streamline the complex development process and supports major CMS platforms, including Drupal, WordPress, Magento, and Joomla.

  • Languages supported: PHP, JavaScript, HTML and CSS
  • Platforms supported: Windows, Fedora, Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Mac OS, Mint
  • Syntax highlighting
  • SQL manager
  • Code validator

12. PHPDebugbar

Image courtesy: webandmobiletech.

It is a widely popular debugger among PHP developers. It can run on any project and display data from a broad range of web apps. In this, it includes a pre-configured built-in set of collectors. This php tool includes two parts, which include – 

  • MainDebugBar object & data collectors
  • The render 

It is an open-source solution and supports JavaScript, HTML, and CSS3 platforms. This tool’s other major benefit is it provides highly scalable and massive support to the latest PHP version. 

How to choose the right PHP development tools?

Well, if you’ve gone through all the above-mentioned tools and IDEs, we are pretty sure that you can have got the knowledge about the best PHP development tool without any hassle. So, we have curated the four main points that will help in selecting the right PHP development tool in the best way. So, let’s get started!

1. Features

Always select the PHP development IDE or tool based upon its excellent features. The tool that offers the perfect options catering to your specific PHP framework enables the developer with a more streamlined development option. Moreover, other features like Github integration, custom plugins, cross-technology development provision, smart code navigator and cross-functional debugging are some of the latest features available in different development tools.

Bonus tip: If possible, look for PHP framework-specific IDEs, they will surely aid in better writing and even offer suggestions for easy code writing.

2. User-friendly

Choose that tool that proffers the best user experience which includes features like highlighting the incorrect format, improper code writing issues and other syntax errors. This will help in easy identification of errors and faster resolving of any syntax-related errors.

3. Cost

In case you are a beginner, it is best to go for free IDEs that impart all the basic features and serve the developer’s needs well. However, all professional developers opt for paid tools that unlock numerous exciting features making it super easy for developers to write, test and run code.

4. High Performance and customization

If you require high-end performance, go for PHP development tools that proffer fast compiling speed even if the customization is less. However, always note that if you go for more customized features and plugins, the compilation speed may get affected which can be quite difficult for developers who need to develop quickly.

5. Multi-user editing support

Some of the latest development tools also offer multi-user editing support which can be a need for enterprise-level web apps. Thus, if your app calls for this support, you must look for this feature in your PHP development tool.


PHP development tools and Best IDE for PHP have gone a long way in helping developers build innovative websites and web applications. There are several other tools available in the market; however, the ones listed here are the most useful and popular ones.


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