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PHP remains to be one of the most-used server-side programming languages. Some of the biggest sites using PHP are WordPress and Facebook. 

CodeIgniter and Laravel are some of the biggest PHP frameworks. However, deciding which framework to use has been challenging for many developers.

In this article, we will go deeper into the CodeIgniter vs. Laravel debate, and check their usage, differences, and features to help you make informed decisions. 

What is CodeIgniter?

CodeIgniter is an open-source minimalistic PHP framework for building dynamic and fully functional web pages. This framework has a rich set of libraries that developers use to perform repetitive and common tasks. 

The framework is suitable for developers seeking simple and elegant toolkits to create full-featured web apps. CodeIgniter does not lean much on the MVC development pattern, giving developers control over the development process. 

Some big sites that use CodeIgniter are,, and 

What is Laravel?

Laravel is an open-source PHP framework that Taylor Otwell created. Developers can create full-featured web applications following the model-view-controller (MVC) architecture. 

Laravel’s source code is hosted on GitHub and operates under an MIT license. This web framework has an extensive library with reusable components, object-relational mapping, web development tools, and command-line interfaces. 

Bonappetour, Startups, Laracasts, Explore Georgia, Yulair, Fox47, Global Dietary Database, and Toyota Hall of Fame are examples of big brands that use Laravel. 

CodeIgniter vs. Laravel

Unit Testing Has an inbuilt Unit Testing Feature (PHPUnit) that helps developers test their app as they develop it. Lacks an in-built Unit Testing feature. However, you can use 3rd party libraries to test your application. 
Learning CurveLaravel has a steep learning curve as it has loads of features. It may, thus, take time before you master and apply various concepts in this web framework.Shallow learning curve. CodeIgniter is minimalistic and does have loads of features to implement. 
HTTP routesDevelopers get a chance to define custom routes when using Laravel. You can also go ahead and create specific URLs for different HTTP routes. You can only set HTTP routes using the response and request mechanism while developing web applications using CodeIgniter.
API buildingLaravel has a template engine known as Blade. This simple but vigorous permits developers to manipulate and augment views to enhance the execution of the web application. CodeIgniter lacks an inbuilt template engine. However, you can use this web framework with Smarty, a 3rd party templating engine. 
DBMS SupportLaravel supports database management systems such as OrientDB, Oracle, IBM, DB2, PostgreSQL, JDBC, and MYSQL.It Supports Oracle, DB2, PostgreSQL OrientDB, and MYSQL. On top of that, CodeIgniter supports Microsoft BI and MongoDB. 
Authentication Lavarel comes with an authentication class feature that aids in the authentication and authorization of web applications. CodeIgniter lacks an inbuilt authentication feature. As a developer, you must write custom CodeIgniter extensions if you want to implement user authorization and authentication. 
Inbuilt Modules Laravel has inbuilt modularity features. Thus, a developer can split the code into small modules using the bundle. CodeIgniter lacks inbuilt modularity features. However, developers can still split their code using an extension. 
Eloquent ORMEloquent ORM feature is available in Laravel. Developers can thus interact with a database using a single model. CodeIgniter framework does not support Eloquent ORM
Online Support Laravel has official documentation that is always updated. There is also a robust community that learners can always interact with to get unstuck. CodeIgniter has an easy-to-follow guide on its official website. A great community also supports the platform. 

Benefits of using CodeIgniter

  • Extremely lightweight. CodeIgniter won’t take much of your space as it is just 1.1MB download + 1.6MB for the user guide (epub format). 
  • Has many libraries for image manipulations. If you intend to create web applications rich with visuals, this framework supports GD, NetPBM, and Image Magick for resizing, cropping, and rotating images. 
  • Instant configuration. Setting up CodeIgniter and writing your first program is straightforward. This web framework also has a guide you can easily follow when you get stuck. 
  • Support test-driven development. Even though CodeIgniter lacks an inbuilt testing feature, it has several 3rd party libraries you can use to test your code as you develop. 
  • Website customizability. CodeIgniter does not strictly follow the MVC architecture and thus allows developers to customize their web applications to their liking. 
  • Inbuilt class to send emails. Sending emails is easy when you are using CodeIgniter due to this feature. 

Benefits of using Laravel

  • Inbuilt authentication. The inbuilt authentication feature allows users to register, login, and even retrieve passwords when using a web application created using Laravel. 
  • Has a configuration management system. The applications we build may, at times, run on different environments and with different configurations. Laravel provides an easy and consistent approach to managing such configurations. 
  • Inbuilt testing suite. Laravel has an automated testing feature through its inbuilt testing kit. Developers can thus identify bugs early and fix them before they become expensive or cause total failure. 
  • Defined routing. Laravel has a defined routing feature to make it easy to create different routes on the application. 
  • Modularity. Developers can split their code into small bits when using Laravel. The Composer dependency manager also comes in handy when developers want to update different bits of the code base. 
  • Has an autoloading feature. You don’t have to do manual maintenance or inclusion paths, as Laravel has an autoloading feature. 

CodeIgniter vs. Laravel, which framework should you use?

CodeIgniter and Laravel are both awesome PHP frameworks. Both have big and robust communities, not forgetting the guides and documentation created with precision to help developers get started easily. However, there are some use cases where Laravel will be most suited than CodeIgniter and vice versa. 

You should use Laravel when;

  • Want to create large and complex web applications with advanced features?
  • Want to create data-driven web apps where large datasets will be handled? 
  • You want a full-stack framework that covers the entire web development app lifecycle.

You should use CodeIgniter when;

  • You want an app with minimal features
  • Developing an eCommerce platform
  • When you want to create web applications fast
  • When you want to create simple but scalable websites 

Learning Resources for CodeIgniter

#1. CodeIgniter 4

This CodeIgniter 4 course teaches how to create fully-featured web apps using CodeIgniter 4. This is also the resource to use if you want to learn how an MVC-based framework like CodeIgniter differs from plain PHP.

The course teaches how to implement Create, Read, Update, Delete (CRUD) operations. CodeIgniter 4 is also perfect if you want to learn how to style websites using CSS and securely deploy web applications. 

#2. PHP MVC Framework CodeIgniter Tutorial for Beginners Project

This PHP MVC Framework CodeIgniter course takes learners through creating web applications quickly, securely, and easily. The course introduces and details various web development aspects such as Security, Form validation, Database configurations, and Database queries (CRUD). The course is split into 14 sections and has 125 lectures. 

#3. CodeIgniter Web Application Blueprints

This book teaches how to build full-featured dynamic web applications using the CodeIgniter MVC framework. The book introduces how to create a base application with the necessary building blocks to develop powerful web applications.

Preview Product Rating Price
CodeIgniter Web Application Blueprints CodeIgniter Web Application Blueprints $48.99

The book also goes deep to teach users authorization and authentication. This easy-to-follow guide has several projects that can help you implement what you have learned. 

Learning Resources for Laravel

#1. PHP with Laravel for beginners

This project-based course teaches how to set up and build a CMS app using Laravel. The course first teaches how to install and set up Laravel on Mac and Windows.

You will also learn about migrations and what they are. The course also teaches how to use Laravel Tinker, a command line tool, and Blade, a templating engine, to set and build web applications. 

#2. Laravel 9 – Build Complete Inventory Management System A-Z

This Laravel 9 course is project-based, where you will create two different projects to test your knowledge. The course is subdivided into 37 sections and 196 lessons. Authentication is a big part of a server-side framework, and the course teaches how to implement Authentication with Laravel breeze. 

#3. Laravel: Up & Running: A Framework for Building Modern PHP Apps

This book provides a high-level overview and concrete examples to help developers get started with Laravel with a few clicks.

The book introduces Laravel Dusk and Horizon and gives insights on how to get the best from the community. 


CodeIgniter and Lavarel are amazing PHP frameworks with diverse features and uses. Lavarel produces more robust web apps, while CodeIgniter is a perfect option if you want a web framework with an easy learning curve. 

Each framework has its strengths and weaknesses, and the final decision depends on the nature of the web application you want to build and your preferences. 

You may also explore how to optimize PHP Laravel web applications for high performance.

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  • Titus Kamunya
    Titus is a Software Engineer and Technical Writer. He develops web apps and writes on SaaS, React, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby and Ruby on Rails

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