Quick Summary:

This blog is all you need if you are dicey about which PHP framework to choose between Laravel vs CodeIgniter. To make an informed decision that best suits your project requirements, you need to have a precise piece of knowledge on both Frameworks. This blog states a comprehensive and detailed comparison of the two classic frameworks CodeIgniter and Laravel. By the end of this guide, you will be aware of the underlying concept and difference between Laravel and Codeigniter on various factors. Additionally, you will also get knowledge on when to use which framework.

Table of Contents


In the list of backend frameworks, it becomes challenging to choose one over others. A few of them are quite similar, while many have major differences. The two PHP frameworks that had my heart are Laravel and CodeIgniter. And the reason being its flexibility, scalability, rapid development, third-party integrations, security measures, and extensive feature set.

Apart from the similarities, these two backend frameworks are still a point of debatable discussion. And to simplify the discussion of Laravel vs CodeIgniter, I have written a blog on it. At the end of the article, you will also know which PHP framework best suits what type of development. So, you are just a blog away from selecting the best of the two.

Comparison Table: Laravel vs CodeIgniter

Feature Laravel CodeIgniter
In-Built Modules Build projects by compiling small modules Requires leveraging modular extension to create and maintain
Support for RESTful API No spending of additional time to create RESTful API No support for RESTful API
Template Language Support for Blade template language Support of PHP proprietary
HTTP Support Allows to determine HTTP routes Doesn’t support HTTP
Unit Testing Allows developers to leverage PHPUnit for thorough code testing Requires depending on third-party testing services for checking code and app quality
Support Laracast Depending on other community
Architecture MVC (model-view-controller) architecture HMVC architecture for specific modules
Database Model Relational object-oriented Object-oriented
Programming paradigm Component-oriented Object-Oriented event-driven functional
Eloquent ORM Supports Doesn’t support
Clients Toyota, World Walking, CachetHQ G Shock, WHO, Public Record Reviews

Brief Into Laravel

Laravel is an open-sourced web framework based on Symfony and written in PHP that offers reusable PHP libraries/components. Built by Taylor Otwell, Laravel is known for its exceptional HTML authentication, server-side handling of routing, templating, and many more.

So, whenever you want to build apps with a pre-defined architecture, need a custom backend, or develop web portals, templates, or full-stack apps, Laravel is the ideal server-side framework to your rescue. Also, Laravel is best suited for managing SaaS products.

  • According to SimilarTech, around 136,515 websites use Laravel, of which 96,875 have unique domains.
  • Laravel holds 71.1k GitHub stars, along with 23k live projects.
  • According to BuiltWith, almost 1,601,267 websites today are built on Laravel.

Brief Into CodeIgniter

Created in 2006 by EllisLab, CodeIgniter is a framework that helps build dynamic websites using PHP.

CodeIgniter is a robust PHP framework with a minimal digital footprint created for developers seeking a rich yet simple toolkit to build full-featured web apps.

CodeIgniter offers no dependency and has absolute freedom on the Model View Controller(MVC) pattern. Alongside, CodeIgniter authorizes third-party plugins that further facilitate the implementation of complicated functionalities.

  • According to SimilarTech, 99,887 websites use CodeIgniter, of which 74,135 have unique domains.
  • CodeIgniter boasts 18.2k stars along with 7.7k forks on GitHub.
  • According to BuiltWith, almost 1,466,413 websites today are built on CodeIgniter.

In-Depth Comparison: CodeIgniter vs Laravel

Ideally, Laravel and Codeigniter are two distinct frameworks that intend to serve different purposes. While Laravel enables the web developer to enjoy the benefit of articulate object-relational mapping ORM, CodeIgniter lacks the ORM feature. Similarly, Laravel is assembled with inbuilt modularity properties, while CodeIgniter demands modules and modular extensions.

Furthermore, while CodeIgniter is best described as a minimalistic microframework, Laravel is a complete full-stack framework.

If you are a startup and want to put your foot strong in the market in the first move, you must know the Benefits of Laravel Development Services for New Businesses.

Considering this, there is a vast field of difference between the two frameworks: Laravel and Codeigniter, which have paved the path of CodeIgniter to laravel migration. That said, below is a comparison table stating the other field of differences among both the frameworks. Let’s look into it.

Laravel vs CodeIgniter Speed

Laravel: The PHP framework is feature-rich, powerful, and flexible yet sluggish than CodeIgniter. Also, it is a more complex framework than its competitor, and it even has to load more code, which makes it slower.

Tip: follow these tips to boost Laravel’s speed:

  • Keep no room for whitespaces
  • Keep a limit in libraries for the content
  • Make use of session drivers for rapid performance
  • Make sure you delete unnecessary functions

CodeIgniter: This backend framework is more lightweight than its competitor, requiring less running resources, leading to agile load time. Besides, a simple coding style is a cherry on the cake for making the framework load faster and boosting performance.

Laravel vs CodeIgniter Syntax

Laravel has an expressive and elegant syntax with many features that enables building complex applications. Laravel is quite difficult to learn, and if you are a newbie, it becomes more challenging to understand the framework.

On the other hand, CodeIgniter is comparatively easy to learn due to its simple syntax. This PHP framework is a great choice for projects requiring limited resources. And since there is a lack of features, opting for this framework for building complex projects is not advisable.

In the past 12 months, Google trends show how much Laravel dominates and how less developers are interested in leveraging CodeIgniter. And all due to the features of Laravel and the flexibility to integrate with third-party services.

Laravel vs CodeIgniter Performance Benchmark

Several factors affect CodeIgniter 4 vs Laravel performance, including

  • Framework overhead: Due to heavy functionalities, there can be performance overhead, while CodeIgniter outperforms due to its lightweight design.
  • Class & autoloading: Dependency on a Composer for autoloading puts pressure on the performance, and that’s why Laravel lefts CodeIgniter behind of it.
  • Middleware: Laravel also stays behind CodeIgniter in performance due to the middleware system. It adds processing time, resulting in performance issues than CodeIgniter’s simpler method of handling requests.

Laravel vs CodeIgniter Real-Life Use Cases

Laravel is a versatile PHP framework, meaning most types of applications can be built using the backend framework. From web apps to content management systems to e-Commerce sites and API development to prototyping and microservices, Laravel has its footprints everywhere.

Some big organizations using Laravel are:

  • Toyota
  • BBC
  • GitHub Education
  • Union Bank of Philippines
  • World Walking

Like Laravel, even CodeIgniter is a versatile PHP backend framework that helps to develop small-to-medium-size websites, custom web apps, e-commerce websites, education projects, and agile prototyping.

Some big organizations using CodeIgniter are:

  • Accenture
  • Ola
  • BirdView
  • Wisesight
  • Esummarizer.com

CodeIgniter vs Laravel for Beginner

The battle between Laravel and CodeIgniter for beginners depends on the following notable points:

  • Laravel is complex to learn, while CodeIgniter has an easy learning curve.
  • Laravel has large community support than CodeIgniter, resulting in more availability of resources for newbies.
  • Laravel’s code organization is much better than CodeIgniter’s due to the difference in the architectural pattern and understanding of it.
  • For beginners, what matters the most is the availability of features to avoid building from scratch, and that’s what Laravel offers.
  • Both Laravel and CodeIgniter build applications at a faster pace due to the availability of features and minimalistic design, respectively.

CodeIgniter vs Laravel for E-commerce

Laravel is created with inbuilt modularity features. It enables developers to break a certain project into tiny trivial modules via the bundle.

CodeIgniter lacks this feature and does not deliver any inbuilt modularity. Hence, developers need to generate and store modules using Modular Extension.

CodeIgniter vs Laravel Database Schema Migration

As such, no particular features exist that help eases the database schema migration in CodeIgnitor however, in Laravel, it is significantly possible to make a considerable difference between both CodeIgniter and Laravel.

CodeIgniter Vs Laravel API Building And Template Engine

Laravel has an uncomplicated yet vigorous template engine, Blade. The Blade engine allows performance optimization of the web application by manipulating and elevating views.

Codeigniter does not involve any in-built template engine. The developers need to incorporate it with a third-party templating engine tool- Smarty. This enables them to perform all common tasks besides enhancing the CodeIgniter website performance and benchmark.

CodeIgniter vs Laravel Routing

Laravel offers vast libraries and routing options for web development; additionally, it is effective and adaptable when sending routing requests.

Codelighter, on the other hand, also has routing support; it supports implicit and explicit routing options for web development. Whereas, in comparison to Laravel, it is far less effective and adaptable.

CodeIgniter Vs Laravel Eloquent or Active Record

CodeIgniter possesses a modified version of the Active Record Database Pattern, which allows managing the operations database with minimal coding, accompanied by more secure queries, as the system automatically escapes the values.

(CodeIgniter) Example to get a specific user by id:

Copy Text
$this->db->select('name, email');$this->db->where('id', 
$id);$this->db->limit(1);$user = $this->db->get('users');

Whereas Laravel utilizes Eloquent as the ORM, integrating automatic paging efficiently, relationships one-to-one, many-to-many, polymorphic, validations, field protection like a mass assignment, array / json generation, and dynamic queries based on model properties which makes it easy to generate queries to the database.

(Laravel) Example to get a specific user by id:

Copy Text
$user = User::select(['name', 'email'])->whereId($id)->first(); 
Trend chart Laravel Eloquent - CodeIgniter Active Record

Laravel vs CodeIgniter Performance Benchmark

Both Laravel and CodeIgniter observe some differences in terms of performance. Laravel is slower in performance and concentrates more on the project’s success. However, it is not a drawback as the Laravel performance can be improved by proper optimization, which allows apps to perform effectively under 20ms speed. The cache tags also contribute to enhancing the performance as they allow the app to load the pre-stored information first with faster response time and better performance;

On the other hand, the CodeIgniter apps work via functional tests to determine the performance. A few projects portray the various response times based on the number of users. For instance, the average response time to run the app was 11.5 seconds with 100 users, 45.6 seconds for 500 users, and 26.0 seconds for 1100 users.

CodeIgniter Vs Laravel Unit Testing

Laravel enables developers to look into the application code keenly without any interruption with the help of the PHP Unit.

CodeIgniter lacks the inbuilt unit testing tool. As a result, CodeIgniter developers need to utilize additional unit testing support to assess the code and the value of the application.

CodeIgniter Vs Laravel HTTP Support

Laravel enables programmers to explain custom HTTP routes. In other words, Laravel developers can generate a separate URL for every HTTP route.

Codeigniter does not facilitate HTTP entirely. Thus, CodeIgniter developers can implement URLs to manage the data transmission securely by generating paths.

CodeIgniter Vs Laravel Authentication

Developers find it very easy to apply authentication and authorization rules in Laravel because of the authentication class trait.

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Codeigniter lacks the inbuilt authentication traits. Consequently, developers are required to authenticate and authorize the users by forming custom CodeIgniter extensions.

CodeIgniter Vs Laravel DBMS Support

Laravel: Supports MySQL, ORACLE, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, orientDB, and JDBC compatible.

CodeIgniter: Supports MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Microsoft BI, and MySQL. Additionally, it offers integration support for several prevalent databases like Oracle, DB2, and Microsoft SQL Server.

CodeIgniter Vs Laravel Facilitate RESTful API

RESTful Controller methods enable Laravel developers to generate a set of REST API without the need to invest additional time and effort.

CodeIgniter does not clarify the streamlined development of the REST APIs.

Comparison between Laravel and CodeIgniter: Features

Features Laravel Codeigniter
ORM ✔️
Active Record ✔️ ✔️
Packaged Module ✔️
Routing ✔️ ✔️
Inbuilt User Auth ✔️
Template Engine ✔️
Code Generation ✔️
Namespaces ✔️
Inbuilt CLI Support ✔️
Log Management ✔️
Included JS Library ✔️
HHVM Support ✔️
HMVC Support (Bonfire) ✔️
Community Support ✔️ ✔️
Inbuilt Captcha ✔️

Comparison Between Laravel and CodeIgniter

Whether it is CodeIgniter or Laravel, the frameworks possess significant differences and features under various heads. Lets’s look at the brief comparison table of both the frameworks and post that take a glimpse of the feature comparison between Laravel and CodeIgniter

Parameter Laravel CodeIgniter
Learning Curve Offers additional features which make it tedious for novice developers to learn Comparatively easier to learn and use for developers
Developed by Evan You & Team Facebook
Popularity More Popular mainly because of the expressive coding style, which developers prefer Popular as it offers ease to use in 2.x and so is preferred by many developers.
Supporting Other DBMS Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, MYSQL, ORACLE, PostgreSQL orientdb, and JDBC. Microsoft BI, Postgre SQL, MySQL, and MongoDB. It also supports databases like Microsoft SQL Server, ORACLE, DB2, and others
Libraries and Online Assistance Extensive official documentation. Further, help can be taken from Laracast.com. Has several inbuilt functionalities and also has a guide that can be used without prior knowledge of the same.
Structure and Updates Follow the MVC filing structure and have a CLI tool called the Artisan. Also, follows the MVC and furnishes easy onboarding. The structure is loosely based on OOP. However, many developers use it as per their needs.
RESTful API Support The RESTful Controllers allow developers to manufacture an assortment of REST APIs with no extra time. It does not facilitate the streamlined development of REST APIs.
Built-in Modules Designed with built-in modularity features, hence, developers can divide a project into small modules via bundles. No built-in modularity features. So, developers create and maintain modules via Modular Extensions
Data Base Model Relational Object-Oriented Object Oriented
Programming Paradigm Component Oriented Object-Oriented Event-Driven Functional
Template Language Blade Template Engine PHP proprietary
Template Engine and API Building Uses Blade a simple and strong template engine which allows PHP programmers to optimize the web application’s performance by enhancing and manipulating views. Does not have a built-in template engine. The developers must integrate it with a template engine tool like a smarty which helps conduct common tasks and improve the website’s performance.
HTTP Support Allows defining custom HTTPs routes ad also supports creating a specific URL for each HTTPS route Does not support HTTPS entirely. So, developers can use URLs to keep the data transmission secure by creating pats.
Authentication The Authentication Class feature makes it easier for developers to implement authentication and authorization rules. It doesn’t come with built-in authentication features. So, developers must authenticate and authorize users by writing custom CodeIgniter extensions.
Unit Testing It allows checking the application code thoroughly and continuously with the help of PHPUnit. It doesn’t have any inbuilt unit testing tools. So, developers need to use additional unit testing tools to assess the application and code quality.
Prominent Companies using the product 9GAG, Union, Geocodio Buffer, Machester.com, Webedia

This is what we had for the comparison table between Laravel vs CodeIgniter. Now, let us jump to the features of Laravel vs CodeIgniter.

Laravel vs CodeIgniter: When to use which framework?

Now that you know the differences between the two popular PHP frameworks, it’s time to know when to use which one. Well, both the frameworks serve differently for distinct purposes yet are highly popular. While deciding on which is better, Laravel or Codeigniter, you need to consider your business requirements and the nature of your project.

Select CodeIgniter when

  • You need a minimalistic framework that has zero built-in tools for database management and testing
  • You have a scalable and simple website
  • You give importance to speed. In other words, CodeIgniter performance is better than Laravel when it comes to development speed and execution
  • You require a framework that is ideal for building eCommerce web platforms

Select Laravel when
• You and your team are familiar with Laravel
• You have huge and complicated websites that have advanced features
• You have database-driven web applications that need to manage large datasets
• You want a full-stack blog framework that covers the entire web development lifecycle

With these insights, we hope tech stakeholders and users can wisely choose the best-suited framework.

Popular apps using Laravel:

  • World Walking is a charity-led healthcare platform that encourages people to do more walking by offering rewards and recognition programs.
  • Laracasts is an e-learning website that offers different courses and provides a platform for experts to answer technical queries.
  • Neighborhood Lender uses Laravel as the backend support to serve as a mortgage calculator with a wide range of financial functionalities, making complex mortgage processes more comfortable and straightforward.
  • Barchart is a financial portal that gained an advantage of the latest global market data in stock, currency exchange, trade offers, gold prices, and more.
  • Asgard CMS is a modular multilingual CMS that provides futuristic ready-to-use modules like dashboards, media management, and flexible backend support.

Popular apps using CodeIgniter

  • Firstcry.com, built with CodeIgniter, received an investment of $2000, bringing reasonably good traffic.
  • Fastphone by GCI Communication Corp was built with CodeIgniter and got a project investment of $10,000 and drives good traffic.
  • Casio America Inc built its website with CodeIgniter, which generates high traffic with a $10000 tech investment in project development.
  • Textify built in CodeIgniter with a tech investment of $1000+ and is successfully generating sales revenue of $189k
  • Creative genius Inc developed their CodeIgniter-based website with a project investment of $5000+ which generates medium traffic and reaps profits of sales revenue of $624k
  • Philippine Airlines Inc built its boutique website with CodeIgniter, financing it with $10,000. It brings in significant traffic and generates a sales revenue of $203k.

Final Words

To build a complex project with amazing functionality and humongous database support, you must partner with the top Laravel development company, which serves altruistic facilities and development expertise. The ideal Laravel development partners will ensure providing you with the right solution to your requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Laravel is a secure, MVC-based, authenticated framework with a template engine, ORM support, and HHVM support. Hence, Laravel is the ideal PHP framework for building complex web applications.

Not straightaway possible by some automated tool or script. Both frameworks have a different architecture, so writing is separately is better.

CodeIgniter is a suitable choice only when you want to build a simple web application such as an eCommerce website. Otherwise, Laravel is a better choice in all other aspects for developing a complex web application with multiple functionalities.

CodeIgniter performance aids speedier web apps as compared to Laravel performance comparison. But you can always enhance the performance of Laravel web applications by using cache tags and Laravel performance benchmark.

Some of the big names that use Laravel framework are Pfizer, 9GAG, CrowdCube, About You, Ratio, and BBC.

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