Hypertext Preprocessor or commonly termed PHP is the most popular and favored server-side programming language for building websites and web applications. It powers more than 83 percent of the active websites on the internet and some of the renowned names of the PHP sites include Wikipedia, Zoom, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. And the key reasons for the immense popularity of PHP can be attributed to the goodies the language offers, some of which are shared below.

PHP is easy to learn and understand
It is an open-source programming language
Comes with built-in classes and methods
Supports a wide range of frameworks and hosting options
Strong community support

However, to make the best use of this programming language, simplify tasks, minimize errors and efficiently carry out the entire web development process, every PHP developer utilizes certain tools and technologies. These PHP web development tools offer a favorable Integrated Development Environment that improves the productivity of the web development.

The market is currently overflooded with PHP web development tools and IDEs. However, choosing the right one is essential considering the project requirements. And for this, developers must know the features and functionalities of the tools before getting started with the development process. And this article enlists the top 5 tools developers must know in 2021.

Here’s the list of the top 5 PHP development tools.


PHPStorm was introduced in the market by JetBrains. It is one of the best IDEs available for PHP development in the market today. PHPStorm is smooth, lightweight, and offers faster web development. This tool also works well with all the PHP frameworks including CakePHP, Yii, CodeIgniter, Zend, Laravel, Symfony, etc., and with the PHP-based CMS platforms like Drupal, Magento, and WordPress. Apart from PHP, this tool also supports other commonly used programming languages like JavaScript, C, Visual Basic, etc. And it supports platforms like Windows, Linux, and macOS X.

Features of PHPStorm:

Code completion, code rearranging, debugging, and zero configuration. Supports native ZenCoding and many other handy plugins like VimEditor and more.

Cloud 9:

This open-source web development tool provides a web development ecosystem not only for PHP but also for many other related languages like JavaScript, HTML5, Python, and more. This tool supports platforms like Solaris, Linux, macOS, etc.

Features of Cloud 9:

Code reformatting, tabbed file management, and real-time language analysis. Comes with a broad array of themes for web development. Has built-in image editor for rotating, cropping, and resizing images. Comes with a built-in terminal, which allows developers to view the command output directly from the server. Adjustable panels through drag-and-drop feature. Integrated debugger to set a breakpoint. Supports keyboard shortcuts that ensure easy access.

Zend Studio:

This commercial PHP development tool or IDE supports the latest version of the scripting language and supports platforms like Windows, Linux, and OS X. The IDE comes with an instinctive UI and offers advanced features and functionalities required for quick and efficient web development with PHP.

Features of Zend Studio:

Support for the latest PHP version, effortless migration, easy integration with Zend Server. A sharp code editor that supports PHP as well as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Offers speedy performance while validating, indexing, and searching for PHP codes. Allows easy integration with Z-Ray. Support for Docker, Git Flow, and Eclipse plugin environment. Deployment sustenance and cloud support for Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Easy debugging with Xdebug and Zend Debugger.


Eclipse is another PHP development tool that is mostly used for large-scale projects. The tool supports different languages apart from just PHP like Ada, ABAP, Haskell, JavaScript, Fortran, Java, Python, Ruby, Lasso, Scalae, and many more, and supports platforms like Solaris, macOS, Windows, and Linux.

Features of Eclipse:

Eclipse helps with efficient and effortless code refactoring and enhancing the internal structure of the codes. It comes with a readymade code template and helps with automatic validation of the syntax.

The tool allows remote project management.


CodeLobster is a PHP development IDE that simplifies and modernizes the entire PHP web development process. Developers do not have to worry much about remembering the function names, attribute names arguments, and tags as the names are already enabled through its auto-complete feature. CodeLobster supports other languages as well apart from PHP and this includes JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. It also supports platforms like Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux, Windows, Mint, and macOS. In addition to this, it comes with exceptional plugins that enable smooth functioning with myriad technologies such as Joomla, JQuery, CodeIgniter, Symfony, Twig, Drupal, VueJS, Laravel, AngularJS, NodeJS, BackboneJS, Magento, Phalcon, CakePHP, EmberJS, and Yii.

Features of CodeLobster:

It comes with a free PHP debugger that enables code validation locally. Auto-detects the settings of the existing server followed by quick configuration of the related files and allowing easy utilization of the debugger.

The tool displays a pop-up list that comprises constants and variables. Allows developers to hide codes, which are presently not in use.

Developers can easily collapse the codes and can view them in detail later on whenever required. Though these were the top 5 PHP development tools, there are plenty of more names that developers must know about in 2021 like Dreamweaver, Netbeans, Aptana Studio, and more. Making the best use of these tools can ensure efficient and smooth PHP web development.

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