Top 7 PHP Development Tools in 2024

Whether you are an entrepreneur or a website developer, you want your website or web app to do great on the web. The fundamental of website or web application building is the language and development tools that are used to create it. PHP is used as a server-side scripting language for 76.4% of all the websites whose server-side coding language has been studied by W3Techs.

Being a leading PHP web development company, we have experience in developing over 300 projects using PHP language. We have used a range of PHP tools for creating the best results for our work. So, we have decided to help out our readers to find the best PHP development tools that are out there.

PHP has become one of the most commonly used server-side languages when it comes to websites and web apps. To increase coding efficiency and make PHP work easier, the experts have built various PHP development tools.

The purpose of these web development tools is to account for a perfect PHP IDE (Integrated Development Environment), a platform for PHP developers to build innovative, intuitive, and feature-rich PHP projects. PHP development tools increase programming efficiency.

There are too many PHP development software and tools available in the market. Choosing PHP tools for your task can become a task in itself. So, we have made it easier for you. Here are the 7 best PHP development tools that you, as a business owner or newbie PHP developer, can choose for your PHP project.

Want to Create PHP based Web Application?

Want to validate your app idea? Want to get a free consultation from an expert?

Cta Image

Top 7 PHP Development Tools for PHP Web Developers

Top 7 PHP Development Tools

We will also have a quick comparison for these 7 PHP development tools based on their features. Let’s have a look:

PHP Development ToolsFeaturesDownload Link
  • Smart Code Editor
  • PHPUnit Workflows
  • Rich Library of Plugins and Add-Ons
  • Framework Support
  • Autocomplete
  • Code Highlighting
  • Bookmarks
  • Easy Find & Replace Option
  • Auto-completion
  • Cross-platform
  • Syntax Highlight
  • Powerful API
  • Fast & Smart Coding
  • Cross Platform Support
  • Multiple Language Support
  • Easy Project Management
  • Broad Run Configurations
  • Built-in Terminal
  • Revision History and PHP IDE Customization
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Easy to Integrate with any Project
  • Generic Debug Bar
  • Handles AJAX Request
  • Well Documented
  • Collection of Libraries
  • Interfaces to Third-party Solvers
  • A Runtime Core
  • Code Navigation
  • Autocorrection
  1. Zend Studio

    Most websites are written in PHP version 7. Zend Studio is suitable for PHP 7 and is used by most developers for the same. The specialty of Zend Studio is that it has optimal speed. You can write and debug code using Zend Studio and Zend Debugger without spending any extra time.

    It integrates X-ray, Xdebug, and Zend Debugger and debugs PHP scripts. It is a comprehensive PHP IDE, and it comes with an advanced set of features that are capable of deploying applications on various servers, including the ones in the cloud.  In fact, developers also have an option to use Eclipse plugins and extend Zend Studio for website development.

    Some unique points of Zend Studio:

    • Allows to code better with an intelligent code editor
    • Allows debugging and profiling (independently or with Zend server)
    • Leverage interoperability: Git, GitHub, CVS, and SVN
    • Deployment becomes easy and PHP apps can be deployed to private and public clouds
    • DPI scaling and other resolution capabilities of HiDiPi displays

    Additional specialties:

    • It supports various languages like PHP, Visual Basic, JavaScript, C, C++, and C#
    • It supports various platforms like Microsoft Windows, Linux, and macOS
  2. Code Lobster

    Codelobster PHP IDE is an IDE created by Codeobster software firm. The web developer community considers this it’s favorite among all the PHP development tools. You might have heard about PHP frameworks like Laravel, CodeIgniter (our PHP developers love this), CakePHP, Joomla, Drupal, and Symfony. Codelobster supports all these, and this is one of the contributing factors in its popularity.

    The web development process can be complicated if it wasn’t for CodeLobster’s quality of simplifying and organizing it.  Another thing that developers find useful is that it has implemented auto-complete features of tags for languages like JavaScript, HyperText Markup Language, Cascading Style Sheets, and the names of arguments, functions, and attributes. This means there is no fear of forgetting them.

    The developers can also validate their code locally using its internal PHP debugger. Apart from all this, this tool also automatically detects the current settings of the server and configures the required files, making it easier for you to use the free debugger.

    Some unique points of CodeLobster:

    • The PHP debugger contains all the information like when you get while debugging a compiled language
    • Helps in finding the root cause of complex, difficult, and simple bugs
    • Plugins for many popular frameworks like WordPress, Joomla, and Magento
    • Autocompleting of keywords, DOM elements & their properties

    Additional specialties:

    • It supports languages like PHP, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS
    • Supported Platforms: Windows, Fedora, Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Mac OS, Mint
    • Supported Content Management Systems: Drupal, WordPress, Magento, and Joomla
  3. Sublime Text 4

    It is one of the most classy and sturdy text editors for the PHP developers out there. It has the classiness of the Sublime and sturdiness of PHP. It has extraordinary designs and feature-rich functionalities that make it a favorite source code editors amongst the developer community.

    Apart from this, it is extremely lightweight and supports OS X, Windows, and Linux.  Sublime Text 4 is not an PHP IDE but you can install certain plugins/packages and can make it a suitable editor for developing different PHP apps. Some of the most important packages for this are xDebug client-CodeBug, Sublime PHP companion,  Simple PHPUnit, CodIntel, and PHPDoc.

    It is a customizable text editor with a custom UI toolkit, you can use it to climb across symbols, words, or lines using appropriate key shortcuts.

    Some unique points of Sublime Text:

    • Allows multiple sections so that one can make over 10 changes at one time
    • Allows interacting with many lines at once and change variable names and other attributes
    • Supports split editing
    • Has instant project switch feature
    • Effective command palette
    • It has a distraction-free mode
    • Many plugin API and packages

    Additional Specialties:

    • It supports almost all the popular programming languages
    • Supported platforms: Windows, Mac OS, and Linux
  4. NetBeans

    NetBeans is a PHP IDE initially created as open-source by Sun Microsystems and was later held by Oracle. It is now moving to Apache and is called Apache NetBeans. It was originally developed for Java development and was sluggish, but the current version is more supportive of  PHP development services and is also much faster. It boasts of being downloaded 18+ million times and having one of the largest communities of developers operational on an open-source integrated development environment.

    Netbeans is considered the best software for PHP development as it supports building large-scale web apps and offers a range of languages like English, simplified Chinese, Japanese, Brazilian, Russian, and Portuguese. Apart from this, it has incredible support resources for the popular PHP frameworks like Zend, Smarty Doctrine, and Symfony2.  Further, it uses Laravel-IDE-helper to support Laravel and enable support for other frameworks like FuelPHP, CakePHP, Yii, and WordPress Content Management System.

    The top features of NetBeans like getter setter generation, efficient project management, smart code completion and editing, quick fixes, hints, code templates, and refactoring are the reason why it is so popular.

    Debugging is also very efficient when it comes to NetBeans. The developers can use a command line or xDebug together locally and remotely. Moreover, NetBeans also takes into account JavaScript, HTML, and CSS and supports web development. NetBeans is a one such PHP IDE that comes with SSG support and has Git support.

    Some unique points of NetBeans:

    • Code folding and formatting
    • Smart code completion and editing
    • Rectangular selection
    • Getter Setter generation
    • Helps write bug-free code
    • Rapid user interface development
    • Try/catch code completion
    • Code navigation
    • Syntax highlighting

    Additional Specialties:

    • It supports multiple languages like PHP, JavaScript, C, C++, and HTML5
    • Platforms supported: Windows, Linux, macOS, and Solaris
  5. AWS Cloud 9

    AWS Cloud 9 is a cloud based PHP IDE. You can code, execute, and debug your code using just your browser. It is a complete solution and consists of a code editor, debugger, and terminal. The best part is that all you need is an internet-connected machine to use it, your location doesn’t matter at all.

    This open-source cloud PHP IDE is not just for PHP or web application development, it basically provides a development environment for hundreds of programming languages like C, C++, JavaScript, and Python. It has prepackaged development tools and environments that the PHP developers can use to start coding immediately and develop web applications with features like live preview and browser compatibility testing.

    The developers collaborate with their colleagues with collaborative coding or programming features. This means that developers can share their development environment with their peers and fellow developers. It also allows them to pair a program with colleagues or team members and track real-time inputs.

    The best part about using Cloud  9 is that it enables you to create and execute serverless apps, define resources, and debug remotely. Building a serverless application is effortless and they can code in their browser with no issues.

    Some unique points of AWS Cloud9:

    • Carry out real-time language analysis
    • Marking or tabbing file management
    • The debugging process is integrated
    • Iterate your code directly
    • Allows access to AWS services
    • Built-in image-editor
    • Reformatting code

    Additional Specialties

    • It supports languages like PHP, JavaScript, C, C++, and HTML5
    • Supported platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris
  6. PHPDebugbar

    You can guess it right from the name, so no points for guessing. PHPDebugbaris a PHP debugger and it can execute with any project and displays data from a variety of web apps. There are two parts to this PHP development tool viz.  mainDebugBar object with data collectors and the renderer. Data collectors collect specific data A StandardDebugBar consists of a prepackaged built-in set of collectors.

    Again, it is not only for PHP language even if the name might connote so. You can catch JavaSCript and HTML bugs using this. Another feature of PHPDebugbar is that it can inspect CSS elements, check the JavaScript, and monitor a network.

    It has become a really impressive open-source solution as it offers more features than developers expect from it. If you are planning for profiling of data from any web application, this can be one of the best options.

    Some unique points of PHPDebugbar:

    • It has a clean, fast, and user-friendly interface
    • Network traffic can be monitored
    • It can also handle AJAX requests
    • Log & debug directly to Debugbar
    • You can save and reopen previous requests
    • Consists of generic and well-known data collector libraries
    • Application config and Preview config

    Additional Specialties:    

    • It supports languages like PHP, Ruby, .Net, and Java
    • Supported PHP versions: PHP 5.5 & above
  7. Eclipse

    You will find this name on every list with the title ‘Best tools for PHP development’. It is the best tool for PHP projects, and it ranks in the top PHP IDEs and PHP development tools as well.

    It is free to use an open-source platform that can be used if you follow the terms of the project license Eclipse Public License 2.0. Eclipse IDE has been updated to require Java 11 as a minimum version for running. However, if you want to compile, any version, as usual, can be used.

    You will have the freedom to choose from a broad range of plugins, and it will make it easier to develop as well as simplify the complex PHP code. You can also customize and extend this PHP IDE for PHP development tools to address the needs of the project. You can run and execute both GUI and non-GUI applications. It is a cross-platform PHP text editor and is ideal for large-scale PHP projects.

    Some unique points of Eclipse:

    • Highlighting Syntax
    • Recently embedded Node.JS that will help you work outside the box. This is for LSP-based toolings
    • It has the updated Windows dark theme GTK light theme
    • The documentation is extensive and you will find answers to all your queries
    • The community is also very active and you may inquire there as well
    • Code templates and code formatting
    • Allows to navigate code
    • It allows unit testing

    Additional Specialties:

    • It supports languages like ABAP, Ada, C, C++, Haskell, COBOL, D, JavaScript, Fortran, Java, Julia, Perl, Lua, NATURAL, PHP, Prolog, Ruby, Python, R, Lasso, Rust, Scala, Groovy, Scheme, Clojure, and Erlang
    • Supported Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Solaris

These PHP development tools are a great start for anyone looking to start web development with PHP. Out of these 7 tools some are IDE (Integrated Development Environment) which make the task of web development easier. If you want to learn more then go through our post on best IDE for web development. This will help you find a development environment that is suitable for your specific project requirements.

If you are just starting with PHP and want to get better, we have a post full of helpful tips and smart tricks. It will help you code faster and learn some cool ways to program. Check out our PHP tips and tricks for developers to learn more and improve your coding skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is PHP and what is it used for?

PHP stands for “Hypertext Preprocessor” (it is a recursive acronym) which earlier meant Personal Home Pages. PHP is a server-side scripting language that is embedded in HTML. It is used to develop static or dynamic websites or web applications. This is because PHP is great to manage dynamic content, databases, session tracking, even build entire e-commerce sites.

Which software is used for PHP programming?

Different types of software can be used for PHP programming; however, there is one tool that is being used by most web developers. NetBeans (an open-source PHP IDE) has over 18M downloads and is the PHP tool or PHP IDE of choice for 800K developers worldwide.

Which are the most commonly used programming tools?

The most basic coding or programming tools are a source code editor (also called text editor) and a compiler or interpreter. These are used ubiquitously and continuously. There are other tools like debugger and profiler which are used more or less, depending on the language, development methodology, and individual engineer, often used for a discrete task.

Which is the best web development tool?

There are various web development tools, and here, we have enlisted some of the most popular and widely used PHP tools for web development.

  • TypeScript
  • Sketch
  • NPM
  • Bootstrap
  • Visual Studio Code
  • JQuery
  • GitHub
  • Sublime Text


So, these were the top 7 PHP development tools that you can use for your web applications or website projects. These PHP development tools are only some of the many tools that are available in the market. The best part about these is that most of them are open-source and have great features like syntax highlighting to debugging.

We hope this article has been helpful to you. Also, feel free to bookmark it as we will keep adding more PHP development tools to the list once we explore. Space-O Technologies is one of the leading PHP development companies and we have developed over 300 PHP projects for clients in dfferent industries. Here are some of PHP-based web applications developed by our team.

If you have any doubts or questions regarding how to hire PHP developers, or anything related to website and application development processes, do not hesitate to ask us. You can contact us with your query and one of our representatives will guide you through it.

Bhaval Patel

Written by

Bhaval Patel is a Director (Operations) at Space-O Technologies. He has 20+ years of experience helping startups and enterprises with custom software solutions to drive maximum results. Under his leadership, Space-O has won the 8th GESIA annual award for being the best mobile app development company. So far, he has validated more than 300 app ideas and successfully delivered 100 custom solutions using the technologies, such as Swift, Kotlin, React Native, Flutter, PHP, RoR, IoT, AI, NFC, AR/VR, Blockchain, NFT, and more.