Laravel vs CodeIgniter | Choosing the Best PHP Tech in 2021

By Ronak Patel   |   11 December, 2019
Laravel vs CodeIgniter | Choosing the Best PHP Tech in 2021

Over the years, we have seen that it has become essential to choose the PHP framework when it comes to building custom solutions for the business. There are a number of PHP frameworks available in the market, and two of the prominent ones from them are Laravel and CodeIgniter.

In recent times we have witnessed much debate going on out there when it comes to choosing one of the mentioned PHP frameworks for the development job. To reason the choice, it is essential that we have a better understanding of both the frameworks and know very well how they stand different from each other.

So without wasting any more time, let’s see them in detail.

What is Laravel?

Laravel is a web application framework. It is used to ease the task of development for the developers by taking care of the common tasks. Some of such tasks that come across commonly in web projects are sessions, routing, caching, and authentication. It comes with elegant and expressive syntax.

What is CodeIgniter?

CodeIgniter is an MVC framework that is based on PHP and is used to develop applications quickly. To connect with the database and carry out different operations, CodeIgniter offers a number of out of the box libraries.

The Popularity of Laravel v/s CodeIgniter

Let’s see what numbers have to say about these two PHP frameworks!

Google Trends

Market Share of Laravel vs. CodeIgniter

There are 117,809 websites built on CodeIgniter used majorly in India, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, and the other 39 countries,

While there are 132,687 websites built using Laravel mostly used across countries like Brazil, Russia, America, UK, and other 110 countries.

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StackOverflow Stats – Laravel vs. CodeIgniter

Around 1.5% of the questions asked on StackOverflow in 2019 were about Laravel,

while there were only approximately 0.2% of questions asked regarding CodeIgniter.

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Github

Laravel has 56.2k stars and 17.3k forks on Github.

Whereas CodeIgniter enjoys 17.7k stars, and 7.8k forks on GitHub.

Comparing different factors – Laravel vs. CodeIgniter

Technical Aspect

Modularity

Many of the web developers prefer to carry out web application development by separating it into individual modules. In the case of Laravel, there comes built-in modularity features. So developers can make use of it and easily divide the project into smaller modules for easy development. The developed modules can then be used across other projects. Now in the case of CodeIgniter, the modularity feature is not built-in. So if the developers wish to build modules, then they need to make use of Modular Extension in the project.

Database

When it comes to databases, both of them offer support for PostgreSQL, MySQL, DB2, and ORACLE, Microsoft SQL Server. Apart from that, CodeIgniter also support Microsoft Bi, orientdb, JDBC, MongoDB. This means that compared to Laravel, CodeIgniter is said to be supporting more number of databases. Laravel lets the developers make use of Eloquent ORM, which is not the case with CodeIgniter. This helps them to work with different databases in a better manner. They can interact directly with the databases and can run common tasks using models.

Template Engine

Laravel comes with a built-in template engine, which is not the case with CodeIgniter. Such a template engine helps the developers to optimize the performance of the web application quickly. In the case of CodeIgniter, the developers need to make use of a robust template engine and integrate it with the framework to achieve the common tasks.

Routing

Both of the frameworks offer routing options. Code igniter supports both implicit and explicit routing. However, it has to be said that Laravel is efficient as well as flexible when it comes to sending routing requests. When it comes to defining most routes, developers can take advantage of Laravel as reverse routing is also possible in it.

Stability and Reliability

Laravel has been released under the MIT license, which means that GitHub has its source code hosted. This makes it more reliable compared to other PHP frameworks. When it comes to the stability of the web application, CodeIgniter is considered to be better from Laravel.

Community Support

Both of the PHP frameworks i.e., Laravel and CodeIgniter, are open-source in nature. Both of them enjoy the support of an active and massive community of members. However, it has been noted by the webs developers that the members within the community of Laravel are more active compared to the members of the CodeIgniter community. Additionally, when it comes to getting quick solutions and availing help online, most of the time, developers find using Laravel to be helpful.

Learning Curve

CodeIgniter is said to have a small footprint when compared with Laravel. However, compared to CodeIgniter, Laravel is said to have more tools and features. Laravel gets more complex with the presence of additional features. For the same reason, this seems to be complex for beginners too. They need to put in extra effort and time to learn different aspects of Laravel. Now when we look at CodeIgniter, developers can quickly grasp it and learn it within a minimal amount of time.

When to Use Laravel and CodeIgniter

What you need from your project will help you decide the framework that you need to choose for your project. Some of the project requirements are:

  • ORM/PDO
  • Template engine
  • RESTful API
  • Logging
  • Mail
  • Pagination
  • Unit testing
  • Encryption
  • Multilingual
  • Database Management
  • WYSIWYG-Editor
  • Form-validation

In case what you need to fulfill the needs of the project are half of the requirements mentioned above and specifically the last 7 points, then you should go for CodeIgniter as it can prove to be a better option in this scenario. Now in case you wish to have all of them in your project, you can go for Laravel.

If the project is for small sites and needs clear documentation, you can choose CodeIgniter. Laravel, on the other hand, is capable of offering everything that the project needs and is considered as the best PHP framework.

If you have less idea about the different technical concepts and about the technologies which you need for your project, choose CodeIgniter, or else, you can go for Laravel.

Benefits of Laravel vs CodeIgniter

Benefits of using the Laravel framework

Template tool

Laravel comes with a pre-installed template engine that is lightweight and powerful in nature. Developers can make use of it to come up with amazing layouts with proper content seeding. Laravel template comes with widgets that make use of robust JS and CSS coding. The templates in here collect the PHP in the plain form and then cache it to offer better performance for the application. All the templates here come with a simple layout, and each section is designed precisely so that developers can come up with a layout that is functional and simple.

Built-in libraries

Laravel is one of its kinds of PHP framework which comes with several built-in dynamic libraries. Here in Laravel, you will find Object Oriented libraries that are not found in the other PHP frameworks out there. This framework offers easy implementation for you and even comes with a number of features like CSRF insurance, watchword reset, encryption, and checking dynamic clients. Moreover, you will find helper functionality with Laravel, which can help you get done with basic things like generating views, firing events, sending back HTTP responses, etc. This is one of its kinds of feature which you will not find in other PHP frameworks.

Authentication and authorization

Secure authentication and authorization are what some of the best Laravel development companies promise the businesses. When it comes to building a web solution for the business, the priority for the business owner is to make sure that only authorized, and authenticated people are having access to the secured resources. It is quite seamless to implement authorization as here configuration takes place out-of-the-box. Laravel also provides a simple method, which is easy to manage and well-organized to control access and sorts out the authorization logic

Integration with Mail Services

Another best thing you get to enjoy from Laravel is Mail service integration. It has been used in the Laravel projects to send notifications about the different events that take place there. It is now not at all acceptable to have an application developed, which does not come up with email notification when a new customer registers on the web. This feature also offers drivers for SparkPost, SMTP, Mailgun, and Amazon SES along with the “mail” function of PHP so that the application can quickly start.

URL Generations

With Laravel, you can generate URLs that can help you build links within your templates. The framework loads all the Laravel corridors, which are set in the app/Http/routes.php file.URL routing is critical when it comes to directing the user to a product description or an article when he or she types or clicks a link. What the user wants and what they want to see can never be understood by the web application, and so it will either display an error page or a blank page. So by simply accepting a URI and a Closure, the Laravel framework offers a plain route description strategy.

Artisan tool for command line

In the normal scenario, the developer uses a command line to interact with the Laravel framework. Such a command line is developed and managed within the environment of the Laravel project. Laravel offers Artisan –an integrated command-line tool. Such a tool helps the developer with the creation of database architecture, skeleton code as well as with migrations. As a result of the same, database management becomes easier. It helps with the development of custom commands and coming up with basic MVC files. Many of the tedious programming tasks and the repetitive ones which most of the developers are not interested in carrying out can be performed easily using the Artisan tool.

MVC architecture support

Laravel is one of those PHP frameworks which come with MVC architecture support. For the same reason, when it comes to web application development, the Laravel framework is considered as the first option. It helps have clarity, improve performance, and better documentation. You can easily change the underlying codes and the templates more easily with it.

Fixing technical vulnerabilities

All the security related issues within the framework get taken care of by Laravel as it is a secure platform. The web application is secured by it against some of the major security concerns out there like cross-site request forgery, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, etc. Whether your codebase is secure or not and whether someone has used them or not, can be known to you first. For the same reason, Laravel is quite confident about ensuring their framework is secure for development.

Multilingual app creator

Development of multilingual apps is one of such another benefit that you will get to enjoy from Laravel. The businesses which are looking for ways to expand their territories across the oceans will find this to be an incredibly good option. With the Laravel framework, it becomes possible to come up with web applications that work over different languages seamlessly.

Fine Unit testing

When it comes to developing web applications using Laravel, each module in there is thoroughly tested, and so no part of the website remains untested. By following fine unit testing, you can make sure the application remains free from any error exceptions and bugs. This turns the application into a high-performing one.

Laravel Development Services

Benefits of using CodeIgniter framework

Built-in libraries

The availability of built-in libraries is one of the prominent benefits of CodeIgniter. Think about any of them like a calendar or an email or any others, and you will have them available in this framework. This MVC framework also offers you a number of default helpers for multiple tasks like file handling, cookies, forms, strings, directories, arrays, and others.

Active developer community

Today there are thousands of active registered users on the forum of the CodeIgniter framework. As the community grows, the help you will get from there will increase too. The developers who are new in this field look forward to such communities to learn new things and to resolve their doubts. As the community has participants from around the world, it will not take more than a few hours to get your issues resolved. For the same reason, compared to other frameworks, CodeIgniter has 10 times larger documentation.

No need for server

One of the best things about choosing CodeIgniter is that it works equally well on PHP 4 and PHP 5, and this is not something that you get to see on other frameworks out there.

Data abstraction

To create, add, delete, and quickly replace statements, you can make use of the database abstraction layer that comes with CodeIgniter. Moreover, it saves you a lot of time, especially when you are working with a tight timeline as there is no need to write raw SQL. Here within the framework, just by using a single application, you can manage multiple connections. The databases which you can connect in here are SQLite, MS SQL, ODBC, Postgre, and MySQL. Additionally, with CodeIgniter, you can add or delete table columns, create new tables, or remove the existing ones by using the new database forge library.

Easy to use

You will end up wasting more time if you make use of a PHP framework, which is tough to handle. Compared to other PHP frameworks out there like CakePHP and Zend, CodeIgniter is easy to use.

Security

Based on the client’s needs, you can modify the security strength of the application with CodeIgniter. This is done by switching off the directive named magic_quotes_runtime when the system is initialized irrespective of the register_globals. When you are collecting information from the database, you don’t have to remove the slashes. You can also escape the SQL queries, enable cookie encryption, and know where you can handle the database.

Collaboration with Expression Engine

The collaboration between Expression Engine and CodeIgniter helps the developers who are making use of the framework to use everything offered by the Expression Engine along with the libraries of the framework. They can also get to enjoy everything vice versa. Some of the distinctive benefits that the developers will be able to get out of this collaboration are better parser class, improved built-in user authentication, and the ease of getting into modular applications.

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Limitations of Laravel and CodeIgniter

Limitations of the Laravel framework

Problems can arise with some upgrades

Now this problem is not alone seen in the case of Laravel, but can be seen with other PHP frameworks too. In the case of PHP, redesign seems to turn risky in the long run. For the same reason, developers are always asked to work in a safe mode and don’t push the application through frequent maintenance.

Continuation between versions are absent

When moving from Laravel 4 to 5, you will not find a consistent change. You may break the application if you try to refresh the code.

The richness of mobile apps are absent

In the case of mobile applications, full-page reloads can be important than compared to the websites. In such scenarios, Laravel is generally used as a backed JSON API.

Limitations of the CodeIgniter framework

Does not have exhaustive libraries

By providing a large number of libraries, CodeIgniter helps developers to carry out custom web application development. Moreover, it helps the developers to go ahead and install the libraries which are needed to run the web application. Just by extending the native classes, the programmers can extend and customize the native libraries. However, like the libraries provided by the modern PHP frameworks, the ones from CodeIgniter are not exhaustive.

Does not give importance on code maintainability

Today businesses prefer their developers to come up with structured, readable, and clean code. It becomes easier for the businesses to maintain, update, and modify the application when high-quality codes are made use in there. When we compare with other PHP frameworks out there, modular separation of code does not come as a default option in here. For the same reason, to update the code, the developers have to spend more time and effort.

Popular Websites Built on Laravel and CodeIgniter

Popular websites built on Laravel are

  • Startups
  • Yulair
  • Fox47
  • Laracasts
  • Bonappetour
  • Toyota Hall of Fame
  • Explore Georgia
  • Global Dietary Database

Popular websites built on CodeIgniter are

  • Casio
  • The Mail & Guardian
  • Feedcump
  • Nissan
  • Buffer
  • McClatchy
  • Creditflux
  • Bonfire

Overview of Laravel vs. CodeIgniter

Different basis of comparisons Laravel CodeIgniter
Definition Laravel is a PHP framework that is open source in nature. It is MVC pattern based and easy to learn. Developers can use it to build full-featured web applications as it comes with an elegant and modest toolkit. Like Laravel, CodeIgniter is also a PHP framework that is open source in nature. However, it has made a very small impression in the market. It is beneficial for developers who want to build full-featured web applications by making use of the elegant and easy-to-use toolkit.
Database model Object-Oriented model Relational Object-Oriented model
Routing Supports explicit routing Supports explicit and implicit routing
Programming paradigm Object Oriented Event Driven Functional CodeIgniter is component Oriented
HTTPS support You can come up with custom HTTPs routes. Again, specific URL can be created by developers for the HTTPS route. Moreover, by adding https:// protocol before the URL, it ensures secure data transmission. Here HTTPS route has no much support. In order to make data transmission secure, here, developers need to manage URL helpers.
Built-in modules It lets the developers divide the project into small individual modules. The modules can then later be used across other projects. Built-in modularity features do not come with CodeIgniter. You need to make use of Modular Extension to build and maintain modules here.
Structure Follows MVC Structure with a command line tool ‘Artisan’ MVC Structure based on Object-Oriented Programming
API Support Easy to develop REST APIs with RESTfull Controller No streamline development of REST APIs
Learning Curve Requires deep knowledge and time to learn Easy to learn and implement
Community Support Larger active community base Comparatively small community base


Wrapping it up

Laravel and CodeIgniter, both are two of the prominent PHP frameworks which you can have for your web application development. Laravel, when compared with CodeIgniter, can seem to be a little bit tough for the developers when it comes to learning it, but in the end, it can offer you some of the additional features which can prove to be suitable for your site. On the other, CodeIgniter is easy to ready and good for projects which are small and need no additional features.

Ronak Patel

Ronak Patel is a CEO and Founder of Aglowid IT Solutions, an ever-emerging Top Web and Mobile Development company with a motto of turning clients into successful businesses. He believes that Client's success is company's success and so that he always makes sure that Aglowid helps their client's business to reach to its true potential with the help of his best team with the standard development process he set up for the company.

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