The Best IDE for PHP Development That You Need To Test

Let’s get straight to the point: we all want to find the best IDE for PHP, right? But, let’s face it, choosing the perfect one can be a bit overwhelming. No worries, though! I’m here to help you navigate the sea of options and find your ideal match.

Here’s the rundown:

  • Key features you can’t live without
  • User-friendly experiences (because we all need that)
  • Integration that feels like magic

Believe me, the right IDE can make your PHP development a piece of cake. We’ll dive into some of the most popular IDEs on the market, comparing their unique features, ease of use, and how well they play with other tools.

Ready to get started? By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of the PHP IDE landscape and be able to confidently pick the one that suits you best. Let’s jump into the world of IDEs for PHP development and find your perfect fit!

List of The Best IDE for PHP Development

And let’s look at them in more detail.


One of the greatest IDEs for creating a website using PHP is called PHPStorm, and it was created by JetBrains and developed in Java. With its initial release in 2009, PHPStorm has gained popularity among developers all over the world. Although PHPStorm is an enterprise IDE with a licence fee, it is free for teachers and students to use.

It offers integration with version control systems, databases/SQL, composer, remote deployment, Vagrant, rest client, command line tools, and other tools when it comes to developer tools.

Working with Symfony, Drupal, WordPress, Zend Framework, Laravel, Magento, Joomla!, CakePHP, and other frameworks is a breeze with PhpStorm.

Zend Studio

Due to its superior speed, Zend Studio is the preferred choice among web developers. The time and effort required for developers to write and debug code in Zend Studio is minimal. While supporting PHP 7, it integrates X-ray, Xdebug, and Zend Debugger to debug PHP programmes.

This all-inclusive PHP IDE has an intriguing range of capabilities and is equipped to deploy programmes on different servers, including cloud servers. Zend Studio can be expanded by developers using Eclipse plugins.

Aptana Studio

A free integrated development environment (IDE) for creating web apps is called Aptana. It is based on Eclipse and supports HTML, JavaScript, DOM, and CSS along with integrated documentation, code completion, error warning notifications, and JavaScript debugging.

Clients can deploy apps via Capistrano, FTPS, SFTP, and FTP thanks to Aptana’s deployment wizard. Additionally, it has the ability to automatically publish Ruby on Rails applications to hosting platforms like Engine Yard and Heroku.


CodeLite is a free and open source integrated development environment (IDE) that is primarily for the C++ programming language but also supports PHP and Node.js (as pre-installed plugins).

It’s not the most sophisticated IDE available, but it is free and has all the essential PHP IDE features, like workspace and project management, an integrated debugger (Xdebug), panes for various views, task management, code completion, project execution, and more.

Apache NetBeans

Apache The Apache Software Foundation supports the open-source and free PHP IDE NetBeans. It also has a tonne of extensions that support numerous languages. You can profile, execute, and debug PHP applications using the PHP IDE. An excellent and user-friendly PHP development tool is NetBeans. With a few demos and sample projects, you may quickly learn how to generate codes and use this tool. NetBeans includes a fantastic HTML5 and PHP learning Course that will assist you in learning the fundamentals if you are unfamiliar with how to utilise a PHP IDE.


PHP development processes are updated and made simpler by the Codelobster IDE. Remembering the names of functions, arguments, tags, and attributes is not necessary. All of them have been made possible for you by the platform’s auto-complete functions for PHP, HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. You may validate the code locally thanks to an internal, free PHP Debugger. It instantly recognises your current server configuration and sets up the necessary files so you can use the debugger.


Ruby, Perl, and Tcl Python are available in the PHP IDE Komodo ActiveState, which may be used as an international language development environment. It may be installed using the PHP frameworks Smarty and Zend. Integration with version control systems is another option (CVS, Subversion, and Perforce). Operating systems for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X are supported by Komodo. You can start CGI Environment Simulation and create a holodeck web server thanks to it. It mimics the actions taken on a genuine web server. One benefit of CGI Environment Simulation is its quick installation.

NuSphere PhpED

A fully functional PHP IDE that supports PHP 5.3 and higher is called NuSphere PhpED. It is compatible with Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. Although it is a commercial product, you are free to try it out for 30 days without any restrictions. Additionally, it contains built-in debugging features that make it simpler to locate faults in your code by iteratively going through each line until you identify the problem.


phpDesigner is an incredibly quick PHP integrated development environment and PHP editor with built-in HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript editors that have been updated with tools and characteristics to aid a developer in producing fantastic websites. By assisting programmers in editing, evaluating, and debugging code to publish top-notch websites powered by PHP, HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, it improves development.

Cloud9 IDE

A development environment for hundreds of programming languages, including PHP, C, C++, JavaScript, and Python, is offered by Cloud9, an open source cloud IDE. With pre-configured environments known as workspace, developers may begin coding right away and create web applications with tools like browser compatibility testing & live preview. Using collaborative coding tools, they can work together with their coworkers. You may access your PHP projects from anywhere thanks to our PHP IDE. It provides an ideal environment for developing serverless apps, allowing you to define resources, run serverless apps, and conduct remote debugging.

Eclipse PDT

Another popular open source choice that won’t directly cost you money is PHP Development Tools, or Eclipse PDT. There is a huge community of developers working on various plugins for Eclipse, which is necessary to grant Eclipse access to capabilities offered by Storms PHP, NetBeans, and Zend Studio, three of the greatest PHP IDEs. Syntax highlighting, code formatting, code assistance, refactoring, code navigation, code templates, PHP debugging, syntax validation, and the Eclipse ecosystem, which has a large and helpful community, are some of the essential features.

FAQ on the best IDE for PHP

Why use an IDE for PHP development?

Using an IDE for PHP development can significantly improve your productivity and overall experience. IDEs often provide features tailored for PHP development, such as:

  • Code completion
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Error checking
  • Integrated build tools
  • Debugging capabilities
  • Version control

These features make the development process more efficient and enjoyable, and many IDEs are compatible with or designed specifically for PHP development.

Which IDEs are popular for PHP development?

There are several popular IDEs suitable for PHP development, including:

  • PhpStorm (by JetBrains)
  • Visual Studio Code (with PHP extensions)
  • Eclipse PDT (PHP Development Tools)
  • NetBeans
  • Sublime Text (with PHP packages)

What makes PhpStorm suitable for PHP development?

PhpStorm, a JetBrains IDE, is specifically designed for PHP development. It offers a comprehensive set of features, such as:

  • Intelligent code completion
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code navigation and refactoring
  • Integrated debugging and testing tools
  • Built-in version control support
  • Integration with popular PHP frameworks

PhpStorm is a popular choice among PHP developers due to its powerful features and seamless integration with the PHP ecosystem.

How do I set up Visual Studio Code for PHP development?

To set up Visual Studio Code for PHP development, you’ll need to install some extensions, like:

  • PHP IntelliSense (for code completion and navigation)
  • PHP Debug (for debugging support)
  • PHP DocBlocker (for creating PHPDoc comments)

After installing these extensions, you can customize Visual Studio Code settings to fit your PHP development needs.

Is Eclipse PDT a good choice for PHP development?

Yes, Eclipse PDT (PHP Development Tools) is an excellent choice for PHP development. It’s an open-source IDE with powerful features, such as:

  • Code completion
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code navigation and refactoring
  • Debugging tools
  • Integrated version control

Eclipse PDT also supports popular PHP frameworks and can be extended with plugins to accommodate your specific development needs.

Can I use NetBeans for PHP development?

Absolutely! NetBeans is an open-source IDE that supports PHP development. Some key features include:

  • Intelligent code completion
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code navigation and refactoring
  • Debugging tools
  • Integration with version control systems

NetBeans is a solid choice for PHP developers looking for a reliable and feature-rich IDE.

How do I set up Sublime Text for PHP development?

To set up Sublime Text for PHP development, you’ll need to install some packages, like:

  • PHP Companion (for code navigation and refactoring)
  • SublimeLinter-php (for linting PHP code)
  • PHP_CodeSniffer (for code formatting and standards compliance)

You can also install other PHP-related packages to enhance your development experience further.

Are there any PHP-specific IDEs?

While most popular IDEs are cross-platform and work well for PHP development, PhpStorm is specifically designed for PHP development and provides a more tailored experience for PHP developers.

Can I use online IDEs for PHP development?

Yes, you can use online IDEs for PHP development. Some popular options include:

  • Replit
  • CodeSandbox
  • Cloud9

These platforms allow you to create, edit, and test PHP code directly in your web browser, making them a convenient option for quickly prototyping or collaborating on projects. However, they may not provide the same level of integration and customization as desktop IDEs.

Can I develop using a simple text editor for PHP?

While it’s possible to develop using a simple text editor for PHP, you’ll miss out on the many productivity-enhancing features that IDEs and advanced text editors offer. These features, such as code completion, integrated build tools, and debugging capabilities, can make capabilities, can make a significant difference in your development experience.

If you prefer using a simple text editor, you may want to consider installing plugins or extensions that add support for PHP and your development environment, like syntax highlighting, error checking, and build system integration.

However, keep in mind that these setups might not provide the same level of integration and ease of use as a dedicated IDE or advanced text editor with built-in support for PHP development.

Conclusion on the best IDE for PHP

Every IDE is different and may be used by PHP developers of any skill level. The developer’s playground is an integrated development environment or IDE for short. Developers enjoy taking the time upfront to choose the best IDE to program in PHP that best meets all criteria.

With PHP programming support, the best PHP IDE is loaded with numerous features and functionalities. The integrated development environment is a developer’s blank canvas, and in order to enhance it, you must spend some time and effort upfront selecting the PHP web development tools that best meet your project’s needs.

If you liked this article about the best IDE for PHP, you should check out this article about the best IDE for Golang.

There are also similar articles discussing the best IDE for Linux, the best IDE for Rust, the best IDE for Ruby, and the best IDE for Scala.

And let’s not forget about articles on the best IDE for TypeScript, the best IDE for Django, the best IDE for Angular, the best IDE for React, and the best IDE for Android.

By Bogdan Sandu

Bogdan is a seasoned web designer and tech strategist, with a keen eye on emerging industry trends. With over a decade in the tech field, Bogdan blends technical expertise with insights on business innovation in technology. A regular contributor to TMS Outsource's blog, where you'll find sharp analyses on software development, tech business strategies, and global tech dynamics.

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