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Laravel vs Yii: Which One You Should Opt For?

In 2021, PHP is remaining one of the most used back-end programming languages for building web solutions. This programming language is fast, flexible, simple, and offers an extensive set of tools for effective web development. That must be why 79% of all websites are created with PHP.

best php application framework

PHP offers many frameworks like Laravel, Symfony, Yii, and others to build complex web applications and speed up the development process. We have previously compared Laravel and Symfony frameworks and explained which one to choose depending on the type of project.  In this article, we’ll compare Laravel and Yii frameworks to understand when to choose one over another for your web development projects.

Laravel and Yii: Popularity Among Industries

Laravel and Yii are the two open-source web application PHP frameworks that follow the model-view-controller (MVC) development pattern. Both significantly alleviate and speed up the development process. Though, they have some differences in their development approaches.

Laravel offers web developers its own development philosophy that involves less coding and uncluttered, expressive syntax. Meanwhile, this robust framework gives software developers much development freedom and allows creating and adding the most complex functionality to the developed solutions.

Many companies prefer using Laravel as they can build web applications of any complexity and with diverse features. Laravel is a leading framework in Top 10K Sites, Top 100K Sites, Top 1M Sites, and The Entire Web.

Yii can boast of its simple data manipulation and rapid development due to a variety of ready-to-use features. It’s widely implemented for building web applications that require minimum business logic or quick standardized solutions.

According to Similar Tech reports, Laravel and Yii are used for building web applications in the following industries:

which framework is best for php

An Overview of Laravel

Laravel is one of the most popular PHP frameworks currently available in its 8.5.20 version released in June 2021. According to JetBrains, 67% of all PHP developers use Laravel in their web development projects. It provides web developers with a powerful toolset and strong development capabilities.

Here is a set of features that make Laravel a preferred solution for web development among other PHP frameworks:

  • Artisan – a command-line tool that helps to automate routine tasks, quickly create models and controllers, configure development tasks, and simply perform various development commands;
  • Eloquent – an Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) system that allows web developers to simply and effectively interact with the developed app’s databases; besides using the default Eloquent ORM, software developers can simply connect their Laravel projects with other ORM systems such as Doctrine 2;
  • extensive database support – Laravel supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, SQL Server, and other databases and helps web developers to integrate, run, and migrate them with ease;
  • Blade template engine – a powerful templating engine that makes work with View layer in MVC pattern simple and enjoyable; it compiles and caches views before modifying them, resulting in zero overloads to the built app;
  • PHP-Unit – provides integrated unit tests for the developed apps;
  • libraries – Laravel contains over 15,000 packages with various functionalities that alleviate work with routes, controllers, views, configuring, etc.;
  • Laravel service container – a useful container that keeps all the bindings together needed for smooth app work; software developers can quickly configure all the class dependencies and services with the service container and perform quick dependency injections along the development process;
  • Laravel Homestead – a virtual development environment that automatically installs and configures web server and server-related software on web developers’ machines, allowing them to start building web applications without lengthy infrastructure preparations;
  • Laravel Valet – a Laravel development environment for Mac users with Symfony, CakePHP 3, Slim, Zend, and WordPress support;
  • strong security features – in Laravel web developers can develop and implement various security features and methods, including authentication, authorization, email verification, encryption, hashing, password resets, protection against SQL injection and CSPF attacks, and others;
  • extensive documentation – Laravel has thorough documentation supplemented with a video tutorial library Laracast with over 1500 videos on how to work with the framework; moreover, has a strong community with 45,000 users who are ready to help with the emerging development challenges which occur in Laravel.

An Overview of Yii

Yii (Yes, It Is!) is a high-performance PHP framework launched in 2008. By 2021 the framework had already undergone several releases, and the latest version 2.0.43 appeared in August 2021. Currently, Yii creators are actively working on its 3d release. One of the most expected features in the upcoming framework is its division into useful packages. Yii developers will be able to choose the packages they want to implement in their projects and run more frequent updates. Besides that, the 3d version will follow the PSR standards which will result in higher code quality and better compatibility with third-party libraries.

laravel vs yii

According to JetBrains, Yii is ranked 5th among the most used PHP frameworks with 6% of PHP developers who use it in their web development projects. Yii creators state that it is “a fast, secure, and efficient PHP framework. Flexible yet pragmatic. Works right out of the box. Has reasonable defaults.” And here are the reasons why PHP developers prefer utilizing this framework for their web application development:

  • extensive database support – Yii works with PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, Oracle, and other databases; web developers can work with Microsoft BI and MongoDB in Yii by connecting them via third-party packages;
  • standardized architecture and methods – Yii framework supports MVC design pattern and follows common coding practices, this allows to organize code in a clear and simple to maintain structure;
  • Composer PHP dependency manager – helps web developers to install and manage dependencies and packages needed for an app to run;
  • Gii extension for automatic code generation – allows web developers to quickly generate models, forms, modules, CRUD operations and etc. which significantly accelerates the web development process;
  • support for third-party templating engines – although Yii doesn’t have its own templating engine, it can be integrated with Twig, Smarty, and other solutions;
  • Yii widgets – Yii provides web developers with built-in widgets that allow reusing selected functions to display app content in various forms;
  • security features and methods – including bcrypt password hashing, encryption, authentication, authorization, SQL injection, XSS and CSRF attacks protection;
  • Yii Skeleton – Yii framework offers web developers ready-made application templates with few modifications for building various apps; these templates include the base structure of projects with different configurations for building REST API apps, apps with divided front-end and back-end functionality, and others from scratch;
  • well-written documentation – Yii offers web developers various online tutorials and Yii creators provide live support on their framework via Slack; besides that, there is a large Yii community that involves the developers of the framework core who are ready to share some tips and nuances on how to work with Yii in the most effective way.

When Does It Make Sense to Use Yii over Laravel?

No doubt, Laravel is a leading framework in PHP web development. Many businesses prefer building their web applications with Laravel. It has everything for creating robust, secure, well-tested, and effective web solutions for any business from any industrial sector. Then, why do some software developers still choose Yii for their web development projects?

There are some arguments for that. Yii framework can significantly automate the web development process by providing standardized out-of-the-box features. Its Gii extension allows generating code automatically.

which framework is best for php

By using Yii widgets, web developers can compose ready-made interfaces within seconds and rearrange them any time later. Yii has extensive theming and skinning mechanisms, allowing to easily change the appearance of the website. That’s why Yii is often used in the development of web applications that have admin panels or dashboards.

Yii has garnered popularity because of the presence of advanced caching meaning. Thus Yii is useful for web applications with high traffic flow, such as eCommerce sites and forums.

Besides that, the Yii framework shows a faster performance rate than Laravel. Therefore, it’s well-suited for building real-time applications such as social networking sites where the speed of data processing is vital for app efficiency.


For the development of a web application, it’s essential to select the right tech stack. There is a wide range of frameworks that significantly accelerate the web app development process and Laravel and Yii are among them. While Laravel can be used for building a web application of any complexity and any type of business, Yii works better for creating web applications with high traffic flow, real-time applications and web applications which have admin panels or dashboards.

Author Bio

Alex Burets Head of Web Development Department
Alex has 19 years of experience in software development, delivering new and innovative solutions for a myriad of different companies, ranging from small startups to large-scale enterprises with massive programming needs. His main focus areas are web development, front-end development, and eCommerce solutions.