8 Best PHP IDE for Website Developers

Looking for best PHP IDE? We have shortlisted some of the best PHP editors including paid, free and open source options. These PHP IDE may help you be even more productive on web development.

The use of an IDE eliminates a lot of efforts that go in web development. A PHP language aware editor can certainly help you focus your attention on a real job. Some of these IDE is very popular and used by thousands of PHP developers and programmers on a regular basis.

In order to get success in developing PHP sites, it is necessary to have a good development environment. While producing web sites it is often necessary to edit HTML, CSS and JavaScript files. That is why usable IDE should supply all those file types and provide a full set of tools for effective development.

PHP is one of the most popular web programming languages on the planet. The open source community of PHP has contributed many good tools for developers productivity, however, there is no one size fits all. Every project is unique and the requirements and preferences of developers are different.

This article includes a list of some most popular PHP IDEs: Codelobster PHP Edition, Eclipse PDT, Komodo IDE, NetBeans IDE, PHPStorm, NuSphere PhpED.

Below are the best PHP IDEs in our opinion, (not necessarily in any order)

Codelobster PHP Edition

Codelobster PHP Edition is accessible from CodeLobster Software. CodeLobster PHP maintains a Windows platform. Plug-ins are not free but the registration is absolutely free. CodeLobster makes possible to install the debugger automatically. To get help on how to configure the debugger, please, visit the official site. You have an ability to deploy projects on your local web server or remote server by FTP. By downloading free version of the mentioned software you get PHP, HTML, JavaScript, and CSS code highlighting; JavaScript, HTML, PHP, and CSS code collapsing; HTML and CSS autocomplete; PHP and JavaScript Advanced autocomplete; HTML toolbar; Bookmarks; PHP Debugger; Context and Dynamic Help with search functionality for work with PHP, MySQL, HTML; Portable option; Pair highlighting; Pair selection, tags and attributes selection commands; Tooltip; Navigation by holding CTRL key; HTML/CSS code inspector; Class View; Project manager; Preview in a browser; File Explorer with FTP/SFTP support; Incremental find and other possible functionalities of similar programs. These plug-ins allow operating with famous CMS and Frameworks: Facebook, CakePHP, Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Smarty, JQuery, Symfony, CodeIgniter, Yii.

Eclipse PDT

Eclipse is designed to allow developers to choose the language, platform, and vendor environment. Eclipse Platform includes a wide range of plug-ins, tools, and examples. Eclipse is a program that makes available to construct, integrate, and use software tools. Supported operating systems: Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. Installation includes all necessary tools to elaborate on PHP. It also involves Data Tools Platform to control the databank, plug-ins for interaction with JavaScript, C / C + +, XML editor, and other different tools. You can use Zend debugger or Xdebug for Debugging PHP applications on Eclipse PDT.

Komodo ActiveState

Komodo ActiveState is a PHP IDE that can be used as an international language development environment and supply Ruby, Perl, and Tcl Python. It can be installed using Smarty and Zend PHP frameworks. You can also use integration involving version control systems (CVS, Subversion and Perforce). Supported operating systems: Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. Komodo allows you to begin CGI Environment Simulation and construct web server holodeck. It simulates activities on a real web server. One of the advantages of CGI Environment Simulation is a very fast installation. It is possible to download free 21-day version of Komodo from ActiveState site.


PhpStorm provides qualitative and rich facilities for PHP code editing including highlighting, the conformation of code formatting, fast error checking, intensive code autocomplete. PhpStorm editor is compatible with PHPDoc in your code and provides appropriate code ending based on proprietary, device and var annotations. PHP code refactoring also reviews PHPDocs to keep them up-to-date. Supported operating systems: Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. PhpStorm is focused on developer’s productive capacity that profoundly co-operates your code, assures smart code ending, quick navigation and very fast error checking. It will help you to form your code, run unit-tests or perform full debugging. PhpStorm is an IDE for HTML, JavaScript, and PHP. PhpStorm code ending functionality (Ctrl + Space) completes classes, functions, variable names, PHP keywords, and besides often used names for fields and variables depending on their types.

NuSphere PhpED

NuSphere PhpED works on Windows environment. If NuSphere is certificated you can use IDE with OS MAC or Linux via Wine emulator. Supported operating systems: Windows 2000, XP, 2003, 2008, Vista, Windows7. PhpED is provided with Advanced PHP Editor, PHP Debugger and PHP Profiler, Code Insight, Database Client, Integrated Help System, Code Insight. It completely supports JavaScript, HTML, CSS, XML, SMARTY, XHTML and others. IDE maintains PHP from 4.2 to 5.3 version and the Editor – from features and variables to spaces and aliases, Dynamic Syntax Highlighting, Multiple Language Syntax Highlighting, Auto Highlight variables, etc. IDE PhpED provides customers with a lot of tools and features useful for elaboration on PHP. There is a database management client, separate window to manage Telnet or SSH connections, NuSOAP window to work with web services. PhpED supports its own embedded web server adjusted in IDE, but the server is available for small applications only. Full web applications should be adjusted on the outer web server. Debuggers PhpED, DBG can interact with Apache, IIS, web server which maintains standard PHP utilization.

Zend Studio

Zend Studio is one of the very comprehensive PHP IDE available. It has very powerful PHP and Javascript debugging, team collaboration and remote server tools. The Zend studio is one of the highest priced PHP IDEs, though it has a free version however that does not come with very good features.

+2 Open Source Free PHP IDEs

NetBeans IDE(Free)

Elaboration of NetBeans IDE is performed by independent NetBeans community and NetBeans Org Company. Oracle maintains and invests in NetBeans IDE. The program allows editing several files at once by dividing the screen into several parts. In order to do it, you need to open two files and drag a marker of any file to the bottom of the screen. Then you can see a red framework in the text box in the lower part of the screen. Supported operating systems: Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. All the tools necessary for the construction of professional desktop, web, and mobile applications with the Java platform, C/C++, PHP, JavaScript, and Groovy are accessible. A library of free source codes is integrated for software developers. NetBeans IDE 7.0, produced with language supporting to elaborate on Java SE 7, supports GlassFish 3.1, Oracle Database, Maven 3, Oracle WebLogic, HTML 5.

Aptana Studio PHP Editor(Free)

Aptana Studio, Developed by Aptana Inc. is a leading open-source HTML editor and many people are not aware that it also comes with a PHP support. Aptana Studio is developed on the Eclipse platform. Supported operating systems: Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. It has inbuilt support for Smarty and the recent versions for Aptana also include a Debugger for PHP developers. Aptana Studio is built on top of the Eclipse platform and is very stable and powerful.


Most of the IDEs have the opportunity to add and parse any library or framework. After this well-read work autocomplete feature works for the corresponding classes. However Codelobster PHP Edition, thanks to a special plug-in, has a possibility to create PHP projects using many open source PHP frameworks automatically, add new modules and components, look-ahead Templates in special Theme Editor and serve Context with help original sites. The choice is yours!

There are a number of other productivity PHP IDEs too, besides the ones mentioned. Do let us know if you have used some other tools or plug-ins which you were impressed with.

Article Updates

  • Updated on May 2019: Minor changes and updates to the introduction section. Images are updated to HTTPS.
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