Laravel vs. CodeIgniter: Which Is A Better PHP Framework

Laravel vs. CodeIgniter_ Which Is A Better PHP Framework _ MediaOne Marketing Singapore

Code Igniter or Laravel? It’s an age-old question that has plagued many developers and project managers since the two frameworks emerged.

One could say it’s a matter of preference, but if you’re looking for the best PHP framework, the answer may surprise you. 

In this article, we’ll compare the two frameworks and weigh some of their pros and cons to determine the best choice for your web development project.

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What’s Laravel?

Laravel is a modern, open-source PHP framework that has been gaining popularity over the past few years. It’s ideal for developing custom web applications and is highly extensible and feature-rich. Its main features include routing, authentication, templates, and Eloquent ORM.

The framework is based on the MVC architecture, which allows developers to separate the application’s data, logic, and display components. It also comes with an integrated packaging system and a devoted dependency manager.

Popular Applications using Laravel: 

  • Buffer
  • 9GAG
  • Digg
  • Laracasts
  • World Walking
  • Asgard CMS
  • Barchart

What’s CodeIgniter?

CodeIgniter is an open-source PHP framework for building fully functional, dynamic web applications. It was released in 2006 and has grown to become one of the most popular PHP frameworks. 

The framework uses a simple interface with a controller-based approach, allowing developers to create custom web applications quickly. It is also highly optimized for performance and comes with various libraries and helpers.

Popular Applications using CodeIgniter:

  • Nexmo
  • Buffer
  • Nissan
  • The Guardian

Market Usage Statistics: Laravel Vs. CodeIgniter

Market Usage Statistics for Laravel

Market Usage Statistics for CodeIgniter

  • CodeIgniter holds 0.17% of the total market share of all web frameworks, ranked 26th in popularity among all web frameworks.
  • At the time of writing this, more than 55,838 companies are using CodeIgniter for their development needs.
  • The framework has over 18.2K stars on Github and over 7.7K live projects.

Top Laravel Features

Laravel is based on the Symphony framework and follows the MVC architecture pattern. 

It’s best known for its server-side handling of routing, templating engine, and HTML authentication. 

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Let’s look at some of the features that make it stand out:

  • Template Engine: Laravel has a built-in template engine that you can use to create beautiful website layouts. The available widgets allow you to create simple and complex layouts with minimal effort. 

It can also help you with custom software development and give your website an elegant look and feel.

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It has a lot of built-in functions and libraries to help developers create applications quickly and easily.

That’s also good for security and scalability.

  • Security: Laravel has one of the best security features of any PHP framework. It uses salted and encrypted passwords to store user information and hashes for authentication. 

It also has a built-in authentication system that protects your website against SQL injection and cross-site scripting attacks.

  • Modular Packaging System: Laravel’s modular packaging system allows developers to quickly and easily install and manage packages. 

It has an integrated composer to manage packages and supports third-party package management systems like Node Package Manager and Bower.

  • Query Builder: Laravel’s query builder allows you to write SQL queries using simple PHP functions. 

It helps developers save time and effort when writing queries, making their code easier to debug.

  • Unit Testing: Laravel is preferred by developers because of the way it incorporates unit testing. 

It has an integrated unit test framework that allows developers to write and test individual code units. 

Developers can run multiple tests simultaneously, ensuring their code is stable and well-tested before deploying it to production.

Popular Features of CodeIgniter: 

CodeIgniter is an open-source web framework for PHP. It’s best known for its rapid development capabilities and straightforward syntax.

  • Lightweight: CodeIgniter is designed to be lightweight, meaning it doesn’t require a lot of resources to run. It also has a straightforward directory structure, making it easy to understand and use.
  • MVC Architecture: CodeIgniter uses the model-view-controller (MVC) architecture, which helps developers organize their code into separate models and views.

It also makes applications easier to debug and maintain.

  • Database Abstraction: CodeIgniter simplifies connecting to a database, allowing developers to use simple commands to access and manipulate data. 

It also supports multiple databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and MongoDB.

  • Security: CodeIgniter provides solid security features to protect your application from potential threats. 

It has built-in functions that you can use to prevent SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and other vulnerabilities.

  • Error Handling: CodeIgniter has a powerful error-handling system that helps developers quickly identify and fix bugs. 

It also supports custom error pages that make detecting and fixing errors a snap. Developers don’t have to spend a lot of time debugging the application.

  • Validation: CodeIgniter provides numerous built-in tools for validating data. 

It also supports custom validation rules, allowing developers to create and add their own validation rules.

Developers can also set as many validation rules as they need to ensure their application is secure and bug-free.

So which is better, Laravel or CodeIgniter? Here are some of the key differences between these two Laravel frameworks. 

Comparison Between Laravel and CodeIgniter
Features Laravel CodeIgniter
ORM Laravel is built on top of the Eloquent ORM, which provides an object-oriented interface to interact with databases. CodeIgniter does not provide an ORM, so developers have to write their own code to interact with databases.
Active Record Laravel provides an Active Record implementation that simplifies data retrieval from databases. CodeIgniter also supports Active Record, which allows developers to build and execute database queries quickly.
Packaged Module Laravel supports a modular packaging system, allowing developers to quickly and easily install and manage packages. CodeIgniter does not have a modular packaging system.
Routing System Laravel provides a powerful routing system that makes creating and managing routes easy. CodeIgniter has a simple routing system that allows developers to define routes manually.
Inbuilt User Auth Laravel provides a robust authentication system that simplifies the process of authenticating users. CodeIgniter does not provide an authentication system, so developers have to write their own code.
Template Engine Laravel has a powerful templating system called Blade, which allows developers to quickly and easily create HTML views. CodeIgniter does not have a templating engine, so developers have to use PHP code to create HTML views.
Inbuilt Captcha Laravel doesn’t provide a built-in captcha system, but it does have packages that allow developers to quickly and easily add captcha support. CodeIgniter provides a CAPTCHA helper class that simplifies creating and managing captcha codes.
Code Generation Laravel has a code generator called Artisan that simplifies the process of creating code.  CodeIgniter does not have a code generator. Developers have to write their code for creating the application’s components.
Namespaces Laravel supports namespaces, allowing developers to organize code into logical units. CodeIgniter does not support namespaces, so developers have to use other techniques to organize their code.
Inbuilt CLI Support Laravel’s powerful command-line interface makes it easy to manage tasks such as running migrations, creating models, and generating code. CodeIgniter does not have a command-line interface, so developers must use other tools to manage tasks.
Log Management: Laravel has a built-in log manager that simplifies tracking errors and debugging applications. CodeIgniter does not have a log manager, so developers have to track errors and debug applications manually.
Included JS Library Laravel doesn’t have an included JavaScript library, but it does support popular libraries like jQuery. CodeIgniter includes its own JavaScript library called CI_JS, which provides an easy way to write JavaScript code.
HHVM Support Laravel supports HHVM (Hierarchical Model View Controller). a high-performance virtual machine for running PHP applications. Think of it as a turbocharged version of PHP. CodeIgniter supports HHVC (Hierarchical Model View Controller) with its Bonfire extension.
HHVC Support (Bonfire) Laravel doesn’t support HHVC (Hierarchical Model View Controller) out of the box. CodeIgniter supports HHVC (Hierarchical Model View Controller) with its Bonfire extension.
Community Support Laravel has a large and active community of developers who are always willing to help with any issues or questions. CodeIgniter also has a large and active community of developers who are always ready to offer assistance.
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1. Database Modeling

  • Laravel: Laravel provides a powerful database modeling system that allows developers to quickly and easily create models from their tables.
  • CodeIgniter: CodeIgniter works on relational object-oriented data models, which allow developers to define relationships between data objects.

2. Built-in Module

  • Laravel: Laravel has a built-in module system that makes it easy to build and install modules.
  • CodeIgniter: CodeIgniter does not have a built-in module system, so developers have to create and install modules manually.

3. Popularity

  • Laravel: Laravel is the most popular PHP framework in the world, with over 1.64 million websites using it. It’s preferred for its elegant and expressive syntax and ability to create powerful web applications quickly. 

It’s the most popular PHP framework and ranked 24th among other frameworks. 

It’s the second most popular PHP framework and ranked 26th among other frameworks. 

4. Structure

  • Laravel: Laravel has a hierarchical file structure that easily organizes code into logical units. It follows the MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern, which helps developers keep their code modular and organized. 
  • CodeIgniter: CodeIgniter has a flat file structure, which makes it easier to organize code into smaller chunks. It also follows the MVC pattern for structuring its code.

5. Support for Other DBMS

  • Laravel: Laravel supports many databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, IBM DB2, JDBC, and Microsoft SQL Server.
  • CodeIgniter: CodeIgniter supports many databases, including MySQL, Oracle, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, and MongoDB.

6. Templates:

  • Laravel: Laravel provides an expressive template engine called Blade for creating dynamic and reusable views.
  • CodeIgniter: CodeIgniter does not have a built-in template engine, but it does support popular templating engines like Smarty and Twig.

7. Libraries

  • Laravel: Laravel has a variety of built-in libraries, including authentication, Cookies, encryption, and sessions. Their official documentation is elaborate and comprehensive, providing developers with all the information they need to develop their apps with Laravel. 
  • CodeIgniter: CodeIgniter also has a wide variety of libraries, including email, calendar, pagination, and unit testing. Its official documentation is also decent, though it is not as detailed as that of Laravel.

8. Testing

  • Laravel: Laravel has built-in testing features, with an API for unit and integration tests. It also supports popular testing frameworks like PHPUnit, Selenium, and Codeception.
  • CodeIgniter: CodeIgniter has no built-in testing features but is compatible with popular testing frameworks.

9. Authentication

  • Laravel: Laravel includes a robust authentication system that makes creating and managing users easy.
  • CodeIgniter: CodeIgniter developers must write custom CodeIgniter extensions for authentication. 

10. Learning Curve

  • Laravel: Laravel has a steep learning curve due to its many features. Developers must be familiar with MVC, object-oriented programming, and database design first before diving into Laravel. 
  • CodeIgniter: CodeIgniter has a much shallower learning curve. Developers can get up to speed on the framework in just a few hours, making it ideal for beginners.

11. The Verdict

The PHP framework debate between Laravel vs. CodeIgniter may seem like a never-ending one, and it won’t be easy to declare a winner. Ultimately, it depends on the needs of your project and what you prioritize in terms of features and performance.

Some developers prefer the expressiveness and powerful features of Laravel, while others find CodeIgniter’s simplicity and small footprint more appealing. So, pick your poison, and happy coding.

CodeIgniter Vs. Laravel: Speed and Performance

CodeIgniter Vs. Laravel: Speed and Performance | MediaOne Marketing Singapore

Both Laravel and CodeIgniter are pretty fast and reliable. However, in terms of speed and performance, CodeIgniter has the edge. 

In addition to being easy to develop, CodeIgniter is known for its blazing-fast performance (and not only in comparison to Laravel but to other frameworks as well). 

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So, if speed is your top priority and you’re looking for the best performance, then CodeIgniter might be the better option.

Although Laravel isn’t quite as speedy as CodeIgniter, there are a few workarounds that can help boost its performance:

  • Remove functions or services that you don’t use regularly
  • Add a limit to the number of requests per second or content in your libraries
  • Remove whitespaces and other unnecessary characters in your code
  • Optimize your images and code
  • Create packages of your code, especially CSS and JavaScript assets
  • Use session drivers to store your data

Reasons to Choose Laravel

Laravel is the first name that comes to mind when discussing PHP development. The framework offers almost everything a developer needs, from powerful ORM and templating engines to robust security features.

It is an excellent choice for projects with large teams, as developers can easily collaborate on the same codebase. 

So, why choose Laravel?

  • It supports ORM and database management platforms like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB.
  • Laravel includes a robust authentication system that makes creating and managing users easy.
  • It has an expressive template engine called Blade for creating dynamic views.
  • Laravel follows the MVC architecture pattern, which helps developers structure code better.
  • It supports artisan commands, making tasks like creating views, controllers, and models easier.
  • It uses an advanced query builder mechanism to make database operation faster and easier.

Reasons to Choose CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is also a popular PHP framework that has been around for quite some time. The framework provides an easy way to build projects quickly with its simple yet powerful features. It is lightweight and fast, making it ideal for smaller-scale projects. 

So, why choose CodeIgniter? 

  1. It is a lightweight framework with a small footprint, making it perfect for projects with limited resources.
  2. CodeIgniter has no built-in testing features, but it is compatible with many popular testing frameworks.
  3. Its simplified code structure makes it easier to debug and maintain.
  4. It provides excellent documentation with code samples and tutorials. 
  5. CodeIgniter is extensible, allowing developers to customize the framework according to their needs.
  6. It supports popular databases like MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc., making it versatile for different projects. 
  7. CodeIgniter is a better choice for beginners as it has a much shallower learning curve compared to Laravel.
  8. The framework features many plugins, modules, ready-to-use libraries, and other resources that developers can leverage to get their projects off the ground faster. 

Top Laravel-based Web Solutions

Wondering which web solutions you can build with Laravel? Here are some of the popular web solutions: 

  1. E-commerce Platforms 
  2. Content Management Systems (CMS)

iii. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

  1. Social Networking Sites 
  2. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Solutions 
  3. Mobile Applications 

Websites like laracasts.com, asgardcms.com, startups.co, Toyota Hall of Fame, CacheHQ, Neighbourhood Lender, and many others have been built using the Laravel framework. 

Top CodeIgniter-based Web Solutions

Need some inspiration for your CodeIgniter project? Here are some popular web solutions: 

  1. Online Course Platforms
  2. Social Networking Sites 
  3. Database Management Systems (DMS) 
  4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 
  5. Event Management Platforms 
  6. Online Shopping Cart Applications
  7. Online video streaming services

Websites like intercom.io, World Health Organization (WHO), Record Reviews, G Shock, briteweb.com, and sunnydayapparel have been built using CodeIgniter.

So, Which Is Better?

A complete comparison between Laravel and CodeIgniter PHP Framework | MediaOne Marketing Singapore
Image Credits: MavenCluster

So, when it comes down to choosing between Laravel vs. CodeIgniter, which is the better PHP framework? Well, in terms of popularity, Laravel reigns supreme. Its expressive syntax and powerful database modelling system make it easier for developers to create web applications quickly.

It has a predefined architecture that takes the hassle off developing backend systems from scratch. 

CodeIgniter has its merits as well. The framework has been around for a while and still manages to hold its own against other frameworks. It is lightweight and fast, making it suitable for smaller-scale projects. 

Plus, CodeIgniter’s simple syntax and shallow learning curve make it easier for newbies to get up to speed faster.

In the end, it all comes down to personal preference and 

The decision between Laravel vs. CodeIgniter ultimately boils down to what you prioritize in terms of features and performance.

Which Web Framework is Great For Building and Scaling Your Project — Laravel or CodeIgniter?

Alright, now you’re probably wondering which PHP frameworks are better for building and scaling your project. The answer lies in the project itself.

Let’s paint two scenarios:

Scenario A: You’re building a simple, no-frills website.

In this case, CodeIgniter might be the better choice as its simple syntax and lightweight footprint makes it well-suited for such projects. Plus, it’s faster to build, has SEO scores, and easily handles errors and debugging. 

And since CodeIgniter has a shallow learning curve, it’s an ideal choice if you have a team of in-house developers with limited experience. 

Scenario B: You’re building a large-scale enterprise application with complex features and requirements. 

For this type of project, Laravel is the better pick. The framework offers powerful features like ORM, automated testing, etc., that simplify the development process and make it easier to scale the project in the future.

CodeIgniter Vs. Laravel: Developers’ Choice

CodeIgniter and Laravel are both remarkable frameworks that have their own advantages and disadvantages. 

Regarding developers’ choice, Laravel is often seen as being more popular because of its community support, comprehensive documentation, and wide range of features.

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On the other hand, CodeIgniter is easier to learn, faster to build, and a good choice for small websites and projects.

There’s more freedom and flexibility in CodeIgniter, plus you can easily extend it with third-party libraries, which is why many developers prefer the CodeIgniter framework for their projects.

So, there’s no one size fits all answer to this question. It all depends on your project requirements and goals. 

If you need something simple and reliable, go for CodeIgniter. If you’re looking for more features and flexibility, then Laravel might be your better option. Ultimately, it’s up to you.

Good luck choosing the right PHP framework for your project! You’ve got this.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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