A Comprehensive Guide to Hiring Freelance PHP Developers

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Nowadays, freelancing is one of the fastest-growing job models around the world. As of the start of 2023, over 1.5 billion people are freelancing, most of whom are youngsters. Youngsters are enticed by the fact that they can work independently and earn well. As for PHP freelancers, they can easily find their own clients as well as work in collaboration with a PHP development company. Moreover, they are not bound to a specific employer or company and can find multiple clients for a better monetary output.  

This guide will explain to you everything about a freelancing expert in the field of PHP development. Not just the aspirants, but this blog will also help those who want to hire PHP freelancers. If you are one of them, this write-up will offer a better perspective on what you should look for in a freelance PHP developer. They’ll also learn how to go about the hiring process. 

But before all that, we’ll check out who a PHP freelancer is and what they do.

Who is a PHP Freelancer & What do They do?

A PHP freelancer is an individual who offers PHP development services and makes money on a per-job basis. PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is an open-source, general-purpose programming language used for web development. They must possess expertise in PHP programming with experience in building high-quality websites and web applications.

They should also know how to write efficient and scalable PHP code, implement database functionality, and integrate various web technologies. As PHP is only meant for back-end development, the freelancer should also know how to pair it with JavaScript, the go-to front-end language.

Here’s everything an expert PHP freelancer should be able to do proficiently:

  • Freelancer WordPress developers should understand the technical and non-technical requirements for a client website. Otherwise, the website won’t turn out according to the client’s expectations.
  • As a freelancer, a PHP expert will have to work on multiple projects simultaneously. So time management is the key. They should allocate specific time for every task of every project and set realistic deadlines. Otherwise, there will be project delays and quality issues.
  • Another thing a PHP freelancer needs to be good at is constantly staying in touch with the client throughout the process. That way, the website (or whatever the project is) is developed and customized according to the client’s requirements. The constant feedback will also ensure quality assurance and client satisfaction. 
  • It’s understandable for clients to want custom functionalities on their websites. So the freelance PHP expert should be able to write custom codes. That will help the client’s website stand out among the crowd. 

Now, although the roles and responsibilities of a freelancer will be similar to that of a dedicated PHP developer, some additional points come into play due to the independence. 

Roles & Responsibilities of a PHP Freelancer

Whether you are a beginner or a veteran in the industry, your roles and responsibilities as a PHP freelancer would roughly be the same. How well you match up to these roles would dictate how experienced you are and how much you deserve to be paid. 

So ensure you have these PHP freelancing roles and responsibilities down to the tee. 

  • Web Development: Now, of course, the most crucial thing a PHP freelancer needs to be proficient at is creating websites and web applications. For that, not only should they be experts in PHP, but they should also be able to pair it with other techs like HTML, CSS, JS, and more. That way, you will be able to provide full-service web development. 
  • Frameworks and CMS: Freelancers often have to work with popular PHP frameworks like Laravel, Symfony, or CodeIgniter. So they can streamline development processes, enhance code efficiency, and leverage built-in functionalities. PHP freelancers should also know how to customize and extend the functionalities of CMS like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal for outstanding website development.
  • Database Integration: PHP freelancers integrate databases, such as MySQL, into web applications. They design and implement database schemas, create efficient queries, and handle data processing and manipulation.
  • Troubleshooting and Bug Fixing: PHP freelancers are skilled at identifying and resolving technical issues, bugs, and errors within PHP applications. They perform debugging tasks, conduct testing, and implement fixes to ensure the smooth operation of the developed software.
  • API Integration: PHP developers often work with APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to integrate third-party services or functionalities into web applications. They understand how to consume and utilize APIs effectively to enhance the functionality and usability of the applications they develop.
  • Performance Optimization: Freelancers should also be experienced in PHP performance optimization. So they should identify and resolve bottlenecks, improve code efficiency, and implement caching mechanisms. They ensure the application performs well, responds quickly, and efficiently utilizes server resources.
  • Security Considerations: PHP freelancers pay attention to security best practices while developing applications. They implement measures to protect against common vulnerabilities, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and cross-site request forgery (CSRF).

With a handle on these responsibilities, you, as a PHP freelancer, can develop all-around quality websites and web applications. So the clients will be happy and provide you with more business and better pay. But does that make you the best freelance PHP developer? If not, what does? Well, let’s find out.

What are the Skills of a PHP Freelancer?

The first step of gaining expertise in any field is to learn the necessary skills involved in the process. That applies to PHP freelancing as well. From learning the latest version of PHP to creating custom codes for personalized features and functionalities, you need to be skilled in every aspect of this scripting language. 

Here are the technical and non-technical skills required in every PHP freelancer.


  • Familiarity with popular PHP frameworks like Laravel, CodeIgniter, etc. 
  • Knowledge of working with database management systems such as MySQL.
  • Understanding of the front-end tech like JavaScript framework and CSS. (Since you’ll need to create a complete website with a working front-end.)
  • Proficiency in integrating APIs (to leverage external services and data in your PHP applications)
  • Adept at debugging code, identifying and fixing issues, and troubleshooting technical problems.
  • Familiarity with common security vulnerabilities (e.g., SQL injection, cross-site scripting) and how to prevent them.
  • Proficiency in using version control systems like Git for effective code management and collaboration.
  • Understand how to optimize PHP code, improve database query efficiency, and more to optimize website performance.
  • Ample knowledge of QA & Testing to ensure the quality and reliability of the project.

It’s not just about technical skills though. A professional, no matter their field, should have some non-technical/soft skills to work with clients efficiently. 


  • Active listening 
  • Clear, concise communication
  • Responsiveness (with professionalism)
  • Managing client expectations
  • Conflict resolution
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Managing feedback
  • Documentation and project tracking

By honing these technical and non-technical skills, a PHP freelancer will be able to handle various PHP development projects and deliver high-quality solutions to clients. But even with the skills and expertise, a PHP freelancer will encounter some issues during the project development process.

Challenges as a PHP Freelancer

Whether you are a dedicated PHP developer or a freelancer, you are bound to encounter some challenges during the development and deployment process. But the former can easily deal with these challenges as they have a whole company and support system behind them. However, freelancers have to face them independently, which is the name of the game. And before that, they have to understand these challenges. Let’s check them out.

Difficult Clients

Dealing with difficult clients can be challenging. They may have unrealistic expectations, demand constant changes, or be difficult to communicate with. To tackle this, set clear expectations from the start, maintain open and transparent communication, and establish boundaries. Clearly define project scope, timelines, and deliverables to manage client expectations effectively.

Time Management & Work-life Balance

Time management and a healthy work-life balance can be a struggle as a freelancer. Create a schedule and set realistic deadlines for your projects. Prioritize tasks and allocate specific time slots for work, breaks, and personal activities. Avoid overcommitting yourself, and learn to say no when necessary. Utilize productivity tools and techniques to stay organized and focused.

Keeping Up With the Latest Trends & Practices

The field of PHP development is constantly evolving, with new frameworks, tools, and practices emerging regularly. Staying updated can be a challenge. Allocate time for continuous learning and professional development. Follow industry blogs, participate in online communities, and attend relevant webinars or conferences to stay abreast of the latest trends. Invest in courses or tutorials to learn new technologies and expand your skill set.

Staying Motivated

Working independently as a freelancer can sometimes lead to a lack of motivation. Set clear goals and milestones for each project to maintain focus. Break down tasks into smaller, manageable chunks to make progress. Celebrate achievements and reward yourself to stay motivated. Seek inspiration from other developers, participate in coding challenges, or engage in side projects to keep your passion alive.

Continuous Learning & Development

As technology advances, continuous learning is crucial to stay competitive. Allocate time for self-improvement and skill enhancement. Identify areas where you want to grow and invest in learning resources such as online tutorials, courses, or books. Join coding communities, participate in forums, or find mentorship opportunities to learn from experienced professionals. Embrace a growth mindset and be open to new challenges and technologies.

By proactively addressing these challenges, freelance PHP developers can enhance their careers and proliferate their professional journey. Moreover, it’s important to prioritize communication, manage your time effectively, and invest in continuous learning. That way, they can stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of PHP development.

Tools for PHP Freelancers

Although PHP is a popular scripting language used for developing millions of websites and web applications around the world, the development process can overall be a little complex. So our PHP programmers have listed some critical tools for PHP development that every freelancer should use.

Integrated Development Environment (IDEs): IDEs ensure that PHP freelancers work in a comprehensive development environment. They have features like code editing, code completion, debugging, and project management. Examples: PhpStorm, Eclipse PDT, and NetBeans.

Code Editors: As the name suggests, these lightweight tools focus on editing the program code. They offer features like syntax highlighting, code folding, and basic code completion. Examples: Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, and Atom.

Debuggers: The role of a debugger is to identify and resolve issues within PHP code. They help web developers to set breakpoints, step through the code, inspect variables, and trace program execution. Example: Xdebug.

Package Managers: These tools simplify the management of PHP dependencies. They automate the installation and update and remove the libraries and packages required by a PHP project. Example: Composer.

Performance Profilers: They help analyze the performance of PHP websites, identifying bottlenecks and measuring execution times. With performance profilers, PHP freelancers can optimize their code for improved application performance. Examples: Xdebug and Blackfire.

Testing Frameworks: These frameworks help freelance PHP developers to write and execute tests for their code. They provide assertions, test runners, and reporting tools, ensuring code quality and bug detection. Examples: PHPUnit and Codeception.

Code Quality Tools: They analyze code adherence to coding standards, detect potential issues, and enforce best practices. With these tools, freelancers can ensure consistent code quality in PHP websites and applications. Examples: PHPCodeSniffer and PHPMD.

Database Management Tools: These tools offer graphical interfaces for managing databases, allowing PHP freelancers to execute queries and inspect data efficiently. Example: phpMyAdmin.

Deployment Tools: They automate the deployment process for PHP applications. They simplify tasks like code deployment, configuration management, and environment setup. Examples: Capistrano and Deployer.

By leveraging these professional PHP development tools, freelancers can enhance their productivity, ensure code quality, and streamline the development and deployment processes for their PHP projects.

Where to Hire the Best PHP Freelancers?

Now that you know their skills and responsibilities, the question is, “Where to hire the best PHP freelancers?” There are several freelance job platforms and marketplaces available where PHP freelancers can find work opportunities and connect with clients. These platforms provide a convenient way to showcase skills, bid on projects, and establish professional relationships. Here are some popular freelance job platforms:

1. Upwork

Upwork is one of the all-time great freelancing platforms with a wide range of job categories, including PHP development. Freelancers can create a profile, search for PHP projects, submit proposals, and negotiate terms with clients.

2. Freelancer

Freelancer is another well-known platform where PHP freelancers can find projects. It allows freelancers to compete in bidding contests or apply for fixed-price projects. The platform also offers additional features like skill tests and certifications to enhance a freelancer’s profile.

3. Toptal

Toptal is a platform known for its rigorous screening process. It connects top-tier freelancers, including PHP developers, with high-quality clients. Toptal focuses on providing premium freelance talent to clients seeking expertise and professionalism.

4. Fiverr

Fiverr is a highly-popular platform for freelancers offering services at different price points. PHP freelancers can create “gigs” showcasing their skills and expertise. Clients can browse these gigs and hire freelancers for PHP-related projects.

When using these freelance job platforms, it’s important to create a compelling profile, showcase relevant skills and experience, and craft well-written proposals. That will help you stand out among other freelancers. But make sure you regularly update your profile, build a strong portfolio, and maintain positive client feedback. That will significantly increase your chances of securing PHP freelance projects.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a PHP Freelancer?

Like dedicated PHP developers, the cost of hiring a PHP freelancer can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Skills & Expertise: PHP freelancers with better technical and non-technical skills will be able to create better websites. Moreover, if they have years of expertise, they will be able to manage the projects and ensure client satisfaction much more fluently.
  • Project Complexity: The complexity and scope of the project play a massive role in determining the cost. Projects requiring advanced functionalities, intricate database designs, or integration with multiple systems may require more time and effort, leading to higher rates.
  • Project Timeframe: The cost will be higher if the client requires a high-quality, complex project quicker than usual.
  • Additional Services: If the PHP freelancer offers additional services such as UI/UX design, front-end development, or server administration, the pricing may be adjusted accordingly.
  • Freelancer Location: The geographical location can significantly impact the cost of hiring a PHP freelancer. 

Now, although all these factors are quite important to consider when finding a freelance PHP developer, the final one, i.e., location, impacts the cost more than others. 

So let’s check out the approximate cost of PHP freelancers based on their geographical location.

LocationCost Per Hour (Based on Upwork)

FAQs Related to PHP Freelancers

How can I ensure the quality of work from a PHP freelancer?
To ensure the quality of work, you can review the freelancer's portfolio. Also, check their client feedback and testimonials, and discuss their approach to quality assurance and testing. Another necessary thing to do is clearly communicate your project requirements. During the development, try to provide detailed feedback and conduct regular progress reviews.
Are PHP freelancers responsible for hosting and server setup?
Typically, PHP freelancers focus on the development and coding aspects of a project. However, some freelancers may have experience with server setup and hosting. It's important to discuss hosting requirements and responsibilities upfront for more clarity. That will help you determine if there is a need for additional expertise. It will raise the cost of development quite significantly.
How do PHP freelancers typically communicate with clients?
PHP freelancers usually communicate with clients through various channels, such as email, chat platforms (like Slack, Skype, etc.), project management tools, and video calls. Communication preferences can be discussed with the freelancer during the initial consultation. That will ensure smooth collaboration.
How do PHP freelancers manage multiple projects simultaneously?
Managing multiple projects simultaneously requires effective time management and organizational skills. PHP freelancers often create a schedule or use project management tools like Asana. That helps them track the tasks, set priorities, and allocate time accordingly. Clear communication with clients regarding project timelines and expectations helps in managing workload efficiently.


Freelancing in web development has grown to stratospheric heights. Thousands of professionals are available on the job portals like Freelancers, Fiverr, Toptal, and more. All these options can be a little daunting for anyone looking for PHP freelancers for their own website.

So we have tried to make things a little easier by showcasing the ideal skills, roles, and responsibilities of a PHP freelancer. We’ve also mentioned the PHP development tools. You must ensure your chosen freelancer uses these tools. That will help the freelancers ensure the development quality and efficiency. Last but not least, we have mentioned what factors contribute to the cost of hiring freelance PHP developers. Hopefully, we have made your decision just that bit easier. But if you would rather go with a professional PHP development company, schedule a call with our experts today!

Nikita Shah is a technical content writer at WPWeb Infotech known for simplifying complex topics. With expertise in various technical fields, she crafts engaging articles that makes technology easy to understand. Her clear and concise writing style ensures that readers gain valuable insights while enjoying the content.

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