Laravel VS CodeIgniter: A Comprehensive Comparison Between the Top PHP Frameworks

By November 23, 2021Web Development
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PHP frameworks have been gaining popularity among developers for enterprise-grade web application development. Business owners of various industries are searching for the best framework to develop high performing and dynamic web applications.

Currently, two of the best PHP frameworks are Laravel and CodeIgniter. With so many varying features, benefits and drawbacks, it is extremely difficult to choose one to meet the required web development needs.

Our expert web developers have come up with this article to thoroughly examine and explain the difference between Laravel and CodeIgniter, hoping to aid you in making well-informed decisions.

We’ll carefully examine each aspect of these two PHP frameworks and form a comprehensive comparison.

Before we get into it, check out this quick video by Happy Developers:

Let’s begin with a basic overview

Introduction: Laravel VS CodeIgniter

What is Laravel?

“The PHP Framework For Web Artisans”

Laravel is an open-sourced PHP web framework, adored by developers for its exceptional benefits like server-side routing, blade templating, HTML authentication, etc.

Developed by Taylor Otwell and released in 2011, Laravel’s architecture is Symfony-based and written in PHP with reusable libraries and components. Also, it is a modern substitute for the CodeIgniter framework.

This PHP framework can be used to develop dynamic, modern and robust web applications using the MVC architecture. Laravel provides many tools and benefits for developing a flexible backend for full-stack development, SaaS products, high performing web applications and more.

What is CodeIgniter?

“The Small Framework with Powerful Features”

CodeIgniter is a powerful and open-sourced PHP framework that leaves a negligible digital footprint. It is an ideal framework for developers who prefer a simple and smart toolkit for building feature-rich web applications.

Launched in 2006, this lightweight PHP framework was developed by EllisLab, facilitating the development of dynamic and flexible websites and web applications.

CodeIgniter substitutes complex functionalities with simple solutions that provide robust security and offer clear documentation. Additionally, this framework lets the developer have complete control with zero reliance on the architectural pattern.

Popularity & Community: Laravel VS CodeIgniter

The data from Stackoverflow trends paints a clear picture of the popularity between CodeIgniter VS Laraverl in terms of “most discussed”

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Image Source: StackOverflow

CodeIgniter led this race till 2014 and then witnessed a steady decline in popularity, on the other hand, the popularity of Laravel shot up after 2014. This makes it clear that Laravel is the most talked-about PHP framework when compared between CodeIgniter VS Laravel.

According to BuiltWith, both Laravel and CodeIgniter are being used by more than 1.4 million websites on the entire internet.

The information from BuiltWith and SimilarTech explains the popularity in terms of usage.

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Image Source: SimilarTech

In terms of usage, Laravel takes the trophy by defeating CodeIgniter in all website categories.

Let’s study the comparison of the top backend frameworks:

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Image Source: Statisticsanddata

As of March 2021, Laravel takes first place among the top backend frameworks, proving once again, the dominance of Laravel around the globe.

It is extremely important to study the maturity and community support of a web development framework before implementing it.

A well-matured framework with strong community support provides the necessary documentation, tools, libraries and source codes for an easy development process.

GitHub accurately represents the maturity for a web framework, let’s look at the data:

GitHub Stars
GitHub Forks
Laravel 67.4k 21.8k
CodeIgniter 18.2k 7.8k

Performance: Laravel VS CodeIgniter

Although Laravel is used for complex enterprise-grade web applications, the performance and speed can be slow at times. But there are many ways to enhance the performance by optimizing the backend logic, facilitating web applications to run efficiently and seamlessly below 20ms.

Already stored data and information can be utilized to further improve the performance and latency of a Laravel-based web application with the help of cache tags.

Web applications run with CodeIgniter display unwavering performance. According to speed and performance tests, it shows impressive response times with respect to the user population.

Here’s a representation of the data:

100 users 11.5 seconds
500 users 45.6 seconds
1100 users 26 seconds

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Scalability: Laravel VS CodeIgniter

Many enterprise-grade web applications are using Laravel and successfully scaling up over the years. Being a PHP-based framework, continuous support and maintenance are available from the ever-growing community, making it ideal for businesses of all sizes.

Maximum scalability can be attained by using an effective database management system like MySQL. The load balancer and modern caching systems can also be used to enhance scalability even more.

The lightweight structure of CodeIgniter makes it ideal for scalable web applications as it renders only the required or requested data/information. Optimizing the caching system can further boost scalability in CodeIgniter. Increasing vertical scaling in this framework requires you to develop an architecture that supports the addition of new modules and features without affecting the performance.

Read More: Laravel Framework: An All-Round Solution for Successful Web Development

Architecture: Laravel VS CodeIgniter

Laravel is based on the Model-View-Controller framework architecture which allows the developer to segregate different parts of the web application for an easy and efficient development process. For instance, one developer can work on the frontend part of the development, while another develops the backend logic at the same time.

The MVC architecture offers complete control to the developer in the development process. Additionally, the codebase and the backend logic can easily be reused with an MVC architectural pattern along with effortless API integrations and enhanced SEO capabilities. Therefore, the MVC structure helps you create web applications with flexible backends for long-term usage.

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Image Source: Researchgate

The CodeIgniter PHP framework also follows the Mode-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern, facilitating rapid development speed, high functionality, JavaScript-based framework integration, and much more.

Testing: Laravel VS CodeIgniter

Bearing in mind that Laravel is a PHP-based framework, there is an abundance of tools accessible for testing your web application, enabling a post-development testing process that delivers a flawless web application.

Testing in a Laravel-based web application occurs in two different levels:
– Unit tests
– Feature tests

The tools and documentation available for testing a web application in the Laravel framework are more than adequate. Additionally, developers can execute mock tests to make sure that the web application code is error-free and ready to launch.

CodeIgniter offers a very simplified version of unit-testing, allowing the developers to conduct tests for the web application. It may not be an extensive test, but it does deliver a basic evaluation of the quality of the code with precise results.

Read more: Laravel VS Symfony: Which PHP Framework to Choose for Enterprise-grade Web Applications?

Microservices: Laravel VS CodeIgniter

The Laravel PHP framework supports the microservices architecture quite efficiently. It divides the application logic in a modular pattern, separating them into small units which serves different functionalities.

APIs are used to link the modules and deliver constant communication with each other, providing the perfect environment for the microservices architecture.

Another lightweight alternative, the Lumen framework was developed specifically for using the microservices architecture with Laravel.

CodeIgniter offers the full-stack libraries and tools of PHP for developing powerful microservices. The CodeIgniter3 provides the best approach for utilizing the microservice architecture.

This method optimizes the code for better performance and combines the data for building a highly efficient microservice infrastructure. As a result, it delivers utmost performance, scalability and database management support.

Database Management: Laravel VS CodeIgniter

Presently, Laravel supports 4 database management systems:

  • Postgres
  • SQLite
  • SQL
  • MySQL

Query builders like Eloquent ORM and raw SQL further enhance and simplify the interaction with the database management systems.
The web application development process is completely unconstrained with the available database management systems in Laravel.

CodeIgniter facilitates both Query Builders and traditional structures for efficient and effective database management. The simplicity of this framework’s structure makes it even easier to store, integrate, modify and migrate information in the database.

Here are some of the database management systems along with their drivers that can be used in CodeIgniter:

MySQL MySQLi driver
PostgreSQL Postgre driver
MSSQL SQLSRV driver
SQLite3 SQLite3 driver

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Pros & Cons: Laravel VS CodeIgniter

Now that we have discussed the comparison between the significant factors, let’s look at the pros and cons of Laravel and CodeIgniter

Advantages of Laravel:

  • Pre-built packages are available for executing simple functions like testing APIs and user authentication, further simplifying the web app development process;
  • Blade Templating system lets you modify data and add new features/modules without affecting the web application logic;
  • Reverse Routing automates the creation of URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers), increasing flexibility and creating a connection between relevant links and Laravel routes;
  • Artisan CLI facilitates the automation of repetitive tasks in the web application, increasing usability even more;
  • Post-development testing is also automated in the Laravel PHP framework, saving valuable time and creating an environment for launching bug-free web applications;
  • In-built security system features efficient authorization and authentication, providing a safeguard against unauthorized or unregistered users. Also, Laravel’s Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) utilises PDO that fends off hidden or unintended SQL injections.

Advantages of CodeIgniter:

  • Security features and protocols can be added according to needs due to the high customizability of web applications;
  • User-friendly and highly flexible UI can be developed with versatile functionalities and high responsiveness;
  • Seamless migration of data between servers, regardless of the size of the web application;
  • A massive community support offering pre-built source codes, third-party tools, documentation, etc.
  • Expression Engine is used for attaining high modularity, simplifying the developers’ work even more.

Disadvantages of Laravel:

  • The Laravel is a lightweight PHP framework, it can feel like a benefit in some cases but it adversely affects the performance of the web application due to data bottleneck;
  • Even though Laravel is open-sourced with large community support, it gives rise to undependable third-party libraries;
  • System upgrades may cause problems to the web application, that’s why it is recommended to take precautions before updating the Laravel version.
  • The development process seems slower when compared to other PHP frameworks in some cases.

Disadvantages of CodeIgniter:

  • The growth and development of the framework has stopped, offering fewer updates in contrast with other PHP frameworks;
  • Lack of extensive libraries, making it difficult for developers to get used to this framework;
  • Maintenance of the codebase is a hassle in this framework, making it time-consuming for developers to regularly modify and update the code.

Use Cases: Laravel VS CodeIgniter

When should you use Laravel?

  • Steaming platform web applications;
  • EdTech web applications;
  • Web applications for stock trading;
  • Recognition and rewards based web applications;
  • SaaS-based web applications;
  • CMS systems with multilingual functionalities;
  • Monitoring and tracking apps for website performance;
  • SEO-friendly web applications;
  • Web applications with unmatched security to prevent SQL injections, unauthorised users, etc.

When should you use CodeIgniter

  • Web applications for eCommerce;
  • Steaming platform web applications;
  • CRM system with high customizations;
  • Invoice management system;
  • Point Of Sales (POS) system;
  • SaaS-based web applications;
  • Web applications for processing payroll;
  • Web applications with dynamic and flexible UI;
  • Web applications with enhanced security;
  • Lightweight web applications.

Conclusion

In the battle between CodeIgniter VS Laravel, there is no conclusive winner. Both of these PHP frameworks are exceptional for developing highly dynamic and scalable web applications.

You must study the aforementioned aspects and leverage the pros and cons to determine the best technology for fulfilling your web development needs.

Between CodeIgniter VS Laravel,

Laravel is ideal for enterprise-grade web applications and CodeIgniter is a lightweight alternative for building feature-rich web applications.

Take your pick!

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