June 22, 2020

The Top 6 PHP IDEs and Code Editors a Web Developer Uses

PHP developers: choose your tools wisely. We help you do this.

Today we will talk about the top 6 PHP IDEs and Code Editors. To begin the article, we will define what an IDE is what a Code Editor is.

An IDE is an Integrated Development Environment. It´s a package that gives developers the power to write compile execute and debug all in the same place. In the IDE you can program in specific languages. 

A Code Editor is a place where you can write your code using all the code Editor's functions. A Code Editor is not an IDE. You can use multiple programming languages within your Code Editor.

You can have code completion, highlighting code, among other tools within the Code Editor and the IDE. What should you consider before choosing between a Code Editor and an IDE? It depends on your programming language and the project you are working on. They may look similar, but indeed they are not the same.

Following next we will talk about the top 5 Code Editors and IDE´s you can use to empower your PHP development. The aim is to help you choose the tool that can help you the most.

1.    PHP STORM 

PHPStorm is one of the most used PHP IDEs. Developers choose it because it is always up to date and it provides the ultimate features. It is developed by JetBrains. The IDE is written in Java.  It works with all the most used frameworks such as Laravel. It works with Wordpress and Magento. The IDE is essentially built to help developers work on their back-end, but they can also work on their front-end. You can use HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, Sass, Stylus. The IDE integrates with databases based on SQL.


Eclipse is one of the most used and known PHP IDEs.  It's available for all operating systems, Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is mostly used for Java and Android development. To use it, you must download the software and its package.  It's open-source and free. It counts with many features such as Code Formatting, code highlighting, code completion, refactoring, debugging.  

3.    NetBeans 

Another IDE that fits into the most known and uses PHP IDEs is NetBeans. It´s open-source, free, and counts with many useful features. It supports multiple languages other than PHP, such as C, C++, and HTML5. You can integrate your Wordpress sites and other systems too. Its features are code templates, smart code completion, hints, and refactoring.  


Zend Studio is a less used PHP IDE, but still fits into the top 5 most used. It has over 40,000 users. It counts with rich features such as fast performance, code validation, and PHP searching. Zend allows you to work based on existing PHP apps and backend functionalities.  


It is considered the most used code editor. Sublime comes with a custom User Interface toolkit. It is the most customizable and flexible Code Editor. It is supported in all devices across all operating systems.  

One major advantage of using Sublime is that you can convert the Code Editor into a fully working IDE. With the use of plugins and packages available to make this happen. It's the most recommended practice, allowing the developer to enjoy the easiness of PHP coding of a Code Editor and the Environment of an IDE.

6.    ATOM

Atom, an open-source and free Code Editor. It's the most used Code Editor in the world and it was developed by GitHub. It's available for all platforms and it supports all operating systems.

Atom counts with multiple plugins and packages that can be downloaded and installed in a matter of seconds.

This Code Editor can also be converted into an IDE. By the use of integrated packages, this can be done in minutes. It counts with many unique features such as hyper click-PHP, PHP-cs-fixer, autocompletion for PHP, among others.  

In conclusion, we can see how there are different options and different kinds of programs when it comes to developing in PHP. Some use Native Code Editors such as Atom, or Sublime, and others prefer to work directly in IDE´s such as Eclipse or NetBeans. The question the developer has to ask himself is: What am I working on? The answer has to match the features the program offers. As we've previously seen, you can turn your Code Editor into an IDE. So if you prefer to have the functionality of a Code Editor, with a simple package installation you can count on it and the Environment of an IDE. PHP is the most used and preferred back-end programming language, if you are proficient in it, make sure to choose your tools correctly, if you are a developer but not a PHP developer, we surely recommend you to add it to your stack as it is one of the most demanded languages in the world.

TagsPHPIDECode Editors
Lucas Bonder
Technical Writer
Lucas is an Entrepreneur, Web Developer, and Article Writer about Technology.

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