Top 10 CakePHP Alternatives – Which is the best?

This article will explore ten of the best CakePHP alternatives. The list includes Laravel, Symfony, ExpressJS, Ruby on Rails, etc.

CakePHP is undeniably one of the most popular PHP frameworks available to developers right now. It brings several enhancements to PHP development, including better performance, improved session management, and consistency of conventions, among others. CakePHP has a widespread and growing community with 270 contributors to the code and over 300 to the documentation.

Being a highly opinionated framework, CakePHP has always been about rapid and consistent development. While using CakePHP and the features it brings has always brought a change to a project for the better, there are instances where developers look for a bit more flexibility for the exact requirements of their deployment. 

In the following post, we take a better look at what CakePHP is, followed by its pros and cons and the best alternatives available to developers right now. If you have been looking for CakePHP alternatives for your next project, the following list should help you with an idea about the best features of each alternative, allowing you to make an informed decision.

What is CakePHP?

CakePHP is an open-source PHP web framework modelled after the concepts of Rails, which helps developers build web applications faster by eliminating the need to build an app from scratch.

It brings multiple features for developers to improve the performance of several processes, provides enhanced support for flash messages, powerful and robust themes that provide the same capabilities as plugins, and ORM improvements that make the learning curve easier.

CakePHP uses some of the most well-known concepts from the world of software engineering and design patterns, which include a front controller, association data mapping, MVC architecture, and convention over configuration.

Once the developer learns the basic conventional rules, the backend of CakePHP generates the code itself, allowing developers to create models, views, and controllers very easily.

Advantages of CakePHP

  • Open Source

CakePHP is a free and open-source web apps development framework, which provides a great deal of flexibility for developers using it to build robust web apps.

The built-in libraries eliminate the tedious development tasks, allowing developers to focus on improving their code and delivering a superior user experience. 

  • Supports the MVC model

Building on the concepts of Rails, CakePHP also uses the model-view-controller architecture pattern that turns an app into an easily maintainable rapidly developed package.

Crafting an app into separate layers, i.e., models, views, and controllers, makes it easier to separate logic from presentation, which makes even the larger apps lightweight.

Moreover, the MVC model enables rapid and parallel development, enabling faster time to market.

  • Easy CRUD operations

The ability to create, read, update, and delete items in a web app is crucial for full-stack projects. Easier CRUD operations in CakePHP allow you to view a demo of the app and enable developers with the means to modify the models and controllers to achieve the specific needs of the application.

Disadvantages of CakePHP

  • One Way routing

With CakePHP, developers need to define routes that allow them to separate how the app is implemented from how the URLs are structured.

This one-way routing is a supposed disadvantage compared to CakePHP alternatives, which allow reverse routing, i.e., transforming an array of parameters into a URL string.

  • Documentation

The documentation for CakePHP does not seem to be written with a beginner in mind and is less comprehensive compared to its competitors.

Important information is sometimes simply glossed over, leaving developers to rely on third-party sources for further insights.

Luckily, CakePHP is a community-driven framework and the users contribute to the documentation frequently.

  • Update default routes

The conventional rules of CakePHP, like calling a class in a certain way only, force developers to update the default routes if they want to create custom URLs.

While it may be easier for smaller projects, updating default routes in a larger network is difficult and time-consuming. 

Top 10 CakePHP Alternatives

Here are ten of the best alternatives to CakePHP.


 Laravel is arguably one of the most popular alternatives to CakePHP which works on the object-oriented model. It is a backend, PHP-based, open-source web framework that can be used to create and deploy a wide range of custom web apps.

Laravel is an entirely server-side framework that also follows the model-view-controller architecture to segregate the backend into logical parts. It brings several features like an effective ORM, innovative template engine, secure migration systems, etc.


Symfony is one of the oldest PHP web application frameworks with the MVC architecture and one of the most popular app frameworks among open source developers.

It is primarily used to build robust, enterprise-grade complex web applications using a set of reusable PHP components and libraries.

A key difference between CakePHP and Symfony is how the models are created; CakePHP models are written in PHP, while Symfony models are written in YAML and powered by Propel.


Laminas Project is an enterprise-ready web app framework implemented in PHP7 that follows the same object-oriented model as Laravel but is licensed under the New BSD License.

It provides components for any kind of PHP application, including input validation, dependency injection, event dispatchers, feed generation, parsing, etc.

Laminas provides an excellent interface for databases, the custom routing works flawlessly, and developers enjoy much more flexibility in the controllers when dealing with the view.


Based on TypeScript, Angular is a complete rewrite of the Angular.JS structural framework led by the Angular Team at Google.

The current iteration of Angular is a component-based free and open-source web application framework and platform that can be used to build scalable web applications rapidly.

It brings a collection of well-integrated libraries that enable multiple features like client-server communication, routing, forms management, etc.


Launched in 2012, Phalcon is one of the newer PHP web frameworks that also follows the model-view-controller architecture and is licensed under the terms of the BSD License.

Unlike other PHP frameworks, Phalcon is implemented as an extension built using C, which makes it extremely fast and efficient in execution, reduces the use of resources, and handles more HTTP requests per second compared to other CakePHP alternatives.

It is a loosely coupled framework, allowing developers to use the objects as components as per their requirements.


Slim is another popular yet starkly different alternative to CakePHP. It is a microframework written in PHP released under the MIT public license, which allows developers to write and deploy robust web apps and application programming interfaces.

Essentially, Slim is a service aggregator that efficiently routes HTTP requests by invoking appropriate callback routines. It is a minimalistic framework that excels in designing APIs but lacks certain functionalities like database abstraction, input validation, authentication, etc.

That said, it can be easily extended and even supports packages used in other PHP frameworks, like Laravel. 


Besides Laravel, CodeIgniter is one of the most popular CakePHP alternatives. It is a powerful PHP framework with a minimalistic footprint to create fully-featured web applications.

CodeIgniter provides out of the box libraries that extend various features like managing sessions, uploading files, sending emails, etc.

Despite being based on the MVC architecture, CodeIgniter is loosely coupled and lacks model association, allowing developers to build robust applications without relying too much on other components.


Express.js is a free and open-source backend web app framework released under the MIT license and provides a robust set of features to build complex web apps and APIs.

It is the de facto standard server framework in Node.js and is one of the best web frameworks to create a web REST API. Express.js is relatively easier to learn and can be deployed across a wide range of projects.

It brings multiple unique features like robust routing, content negotiation, and HTTP helpers to concentrate on optimizing performance.

Ruby on Rails

Initially launched in 2004, Rails is one of the oldest server-side web app frameworks written in Ruby and is distributed under the MIT public license.

It follows the model-view-control architecture and can be used to create websites and APIs. Rails implement the changes made to the app almost immediately, allowing developers to skip the time-consuming steps and deliver their MVPs quicker and more efficiently.


Django is often referred to as the Python contemporary of Rails. It is a free and open-source web app framework that follows the model-template-view architecture instead of the MVC architecture of Rails and hierarchical-model-view-controller of CakePHP.

Django is a high-level framework that allows developers to build highly secure and maintainable websites rapidly. It also provides an optional CRUD interface that can be generated dynamically and configured via admin models.


There is no denying the fact that CakePHP is one of the most popular web development frameworks available to developers right now.

It is designed to improve the speed and consistency of web development and provides a structured framework that enables all PHP developers to build and deploy robust web apps without losing flexibility.

That said, for certain projects, the CakePHP alternatives mentioned above can be extremely helpful in implementing the specific needs of the project.

If you cannot decide among the alternatives mentioned above, consider getting in touch with the experts at one of the leading app hosting companies, who can also help you get your hands on the ideal software solutions for your project.


What is CakePHP?

Open-source PHP web framework modelled after the concepts of Rails.

What are the pros & cons of CakePHP?

Pros: open-source, CRUD operations, MVC model
Cons: one way routing, documentation, update default routes

What are ten of the best alternatives to CakePHP?

– Laravel
– Symfony
– Laminas
– Angular
– Phalcon
– Slim
– CodeIgniter
– ExpressJS
– Ruby on Rails
– Django

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