PHP Vs CodeIgniter: Do They Differ?

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Since it was first introduced more than 25 years ago, PHP has become the most popular framework for developing web-based applications worldwide. There are several frameworks based on PHP, and one of the most sought-after among them is CodeIgniter. 

So in this article, we’ll compare CodeIgniter with PHP, which it is based on. We’ll see the pros and cons, applications, popular brands developed with it, and several other factors.

What Is PHP?

PHP, or Hypertext Preprocessor, is an open-source, server-side scripting language used for web development and easily embedded with HTML files. You can also write HTML codes in a PHP file. Where HTML codes are executed directly on the browser, the PHP codes are executed on the server side. 

What Is CodeIgniter?

CodeIgniter is a prominent PHP framework with a minimal digital footprint. It is preferred by developers looking for a simple yet rich toolkit to create full-featured web applications. With this platform, you won’t have to depend on the MVC development platform. 

Now that you know what PHP and CodeIgniter are let’s see their pros and cons.

Pros & Cons Of PHP

Let’s first look at the pros of PHP.

  • Plenty of Guides and Documentation: If you are a developer with no prior experience or training in PHP, creating a new web application with it may be a little daunting. But you can take a sigh of relief knowing that there are loads of guides and documentation that will help you set up the framework and create the best applications possible.
  • Wide Range of Databases: With PHP, you can connect to almost any kind of database, and the most popular choice is usually MySQL because it’s free and effective. 
  • Cheaper Hosting: PHP websites most commonly operate on a LAMP stack, which means they run on an Apache HTTP web server set up on a LINUX system, and use MySQL as a database. These components are all free, make for a well-tested stack, and result in reduced time and resources for development. 
  • Flexibility: PHP is flexible, which means it can work in combination with other programming languages to ensure your web application will have the best features with the most suitable technology. 
  • Choice of Experts: PHP is an incredibly popular framework, which means thousands of experts can help you develop the best web applications. Moreover, the competitiveness has made their services quite affordable. 
  • Enhanced Load Speed: When compared to several other web development platforms, PHP accounts for a better page loading speed. In fact, PHP is currently almost three times faster than python. Faster loading speed results in better competitive advantages as search engines promote faster-loading websites to higher ranks. 
  • Economic Open-Source Platform: At its core, PHP is free to use and open-source, which saves quite a lot of your application development budget. Moreover, most of the tools used in the development process are free and open-source, which eases the load on your pocket even further. 

Other than these pros, PHP combines with HTML quite effortlessly, and it is compatible with cloud computing services like AWS. That’s why so many companies like to hire PHP developers for their websites.

Here are a few cons of PHP:

  • Scarcity of Dedicated Libraries: Although PHP has loads of libraries to create the best applications, very few are dedicated to modern needs, like machine learning. On the other hand, python has dedicated libraries to help you with machine learning. 
  • Sinking Popularity: Although PHP is an incredibly powerful tool with a massive community of users and developers and a comprehensive collection of guides and documentation, there are other languages, like python, available that can help you develop web applications more efficiently. That’s why beginners usually prefer learning python rather than going for PHP. 
  • Security Issues: More than 25 years later, PHP’s security issues are still going on. One of the most prominent issues is that since PHP is an open-source platform, any kind of vulnerabilities in the code will be public knowledge. So any developer with malicious intent may take advantage of this fact and try to tamper with the program before this issue is fixed with the new version.

These pros and cons will definitely give you more insight into whether or not PHP is the suitable platform for your requirements. 

Now let’s discuss the pros and cons of CodeIgniter.

Pros & Cons Of CodeIgniter

Here are the pros of CodeIgniter:

  • Smaller Footprint: As you might already know, CodeIgniter is a lightweight PHP-based framework. So it has a smaller footprint than other powerful PHP frameworks, which means it is much faster in comparison. Moreover, the 2MB memory eliminates any chance of performance lags. Furthermore, the developer or the user won’t have to worry about optimizing its performance anytime. 
  • Modern Separation Concept: With CodeIgniter, you won’t be forced to implement MVC (model-view-controller) pattern. But still, for larger, more complex applications, CodeIgniter will encourage you to use the modern separation concept, according to which the developer can use models for data, views for HTML, and libraries and controllers for control. 
  • Built-In Security: The built-in security offered by CodeIgniter helps secure the applications against threats like cross-site scripting attacks, SQL injection, remote code execution, etc. 
  • Easy Set-up: Anyone, whether they are an expert developer or a beginner, can easily set up CodeIgniter without investing much time and effort. Moreover, there are loads of guides and documentation, along with a massive community, which can help you set up and use CodeIgniter to develop a wide range of web applications. 
  • Extendable and Customizable: Thanks to its smaller footprint, you can easily extend and customize CodeIgniter to your preferences through custom libraries, class extensions, and third-party add-ons/plugins. 

Other than these pros, you can hire CodeIgniter developers to easily implement both database and web page caches to speed up web applications.s. However, there are a few drawbacks to choosing CodeIgniter, which are mentioned below.

The cons of CodeIgniter are as follows:

  • Lacks Comprehensive Libraries: CodeIgniter has a number of helpful libraries, but it only lets the developers use the ones that are absolutely necessary for the application. Moreover, it lacks the kind of comprehensive libraries provided by other PHP frameworks. 
  • Lacks Focus on Code Maintainability: With CodeIgniter, developers may find it harder and have to put more time and effort into maintaining or updating the code because this framework doesn’t support or offer modular separation of code by default.

Despite the cons, you may find that since CodeIgniter is a lightweight framework offering excellent performance and security, developers around the world prefer it for smaller and medium web applications. 

PHP & CodeIgniter on Various Aspects

Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of both PHP and CodeIgniter, we’ll see these two platforms on various aspects:

Community Support


Millions of websites and web applications are currently using PHP for their server side. So you can imagine there is a massive community that can help any developer with a range of issues from installation and set-up to developing the best web applications. Moreover, this community has developed tons of relevant FAQs, tutorials, and guides for the support of newbies in the industry. 


More than 1.4 million websites and applications are using CodeIgniter. It holds a 0.23% market share in web frameworks today. So there are tons of developers and companies offering support to anyone struggling with any aspect of CodeIgniter. 

Use Cases


With several additional tools for assistance, PHP provides a convenient development process for the development of technologies like:

  • Developing Flash features.
  • Web-based applications and websites.
  • Data Analytics and presentation.
  • Graphical interface design-based applications.
  • Content Management System.
  • eCommerce applications and websites.
  • Image processing.


CodeIgniter is used for the development of applications like

  • POS (Point of Sales) system
  • eCommerce web applications
  • Payroll processing web app
  • Invoice management system
  • SaaS-based web applications
  • On-demand streaming web apps
  • Customized CRM

These use cases might be enough to show you how popular PHP and CodeIgniter are; so many prominent white-collar fields are using these frameworks. 

Brands Using PHP & CodeIgniter

Now that you know about the use cases of these frameworks, let’s check out the popular applications developed on them.


Applications developed on PHP:

  • Yahoo: It is one of the biggest web portals around the world and clocks more than 7 billion views per month. It was developed on PHP. 
  • MailChimp: This popular email marketing platform is also based on PHP and takes full advantage of the framework to create newsletters and campaigns more easily. 
  • Baidu: Simply put, Baidu is to China what Google is to the rest of the world. PHP has helped develop some of its most prominent features, including finding videos and images online, searching via a toolbar, and online advertising. 
  • Wikipedia: Although not limited to this framework, Wikipedia, the information and resource giant, partly uses the PHP framework. 

Other than that, the social media giant Facebook was also initially developed on PHP. Looking at these brand websites, it would be a good idea to hire an expert for custom PHP web development.


Now, let’s take a look at the applications developed on CodeIgniter:

  • Built with CodeIgniter, this company has been hugely popular for its kids’ clothing and toys.
  • Nissan: This automotive giant’s website is also built on the CodeIgniter framework.
  • Casio America Inc: This watchmaker built its website with CodeIgniter and has managed to generate massive revenue through it.
  • Creative genius Inc: They developed their website through CodeIgniter and generated incredible amounts of traffic through it.

If the pros and use cases weren’t able to convince you to build your web application through PHP and CodeIgniter, these applications might have done the job. So if you want to take your business to newer heights with high-quality web applications, hire the services of an expert CodeIgniter web development company.


PHP is a server-side web framework, and CodeIgniter is based on it. But still, both have their own pros and cons. So it would be best to go through the options, check out every aspect of their user experiences, and make a choice carefully. 

Finally, we hope you are able to create a PHP or CodeIgniter-based web application that changes the world. You can also read our Blog on the best PHP frameworks to choose from.

Jigar Shah is the Founder of WPWeb Infotech - a leading Web Development Company in India, USA. Being the founder of the company, he takes care of business development activities and handles the execution of the projects. He is Enthusiastic about producing quality content on challenging technical subjects.

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