PHP Market Share in 2021

PHP is the most used server-side programming language on the web. In fact, 79.2% of all websites rely on PHP to some degree, making it one of the most popular languages among programmers and web developers due to its widespread use.

Percentages of Websites Using PHP

If you’ve heard that PHP is dead, you’re checking the wrong sources! This programming language still commands a massive market share in 2021.

There’s always a new and shiny programming language or framework that catches fire among developers. It’s all too common for employers to seek programmers with experience with the latest and most innovative technologies. Still, there are a few languages that have massive staying power, including PHP.

Percentages of Websites Using PHP

PHP saw its first release in 1995, and now in 2021 we’re up to PHP version 8. Each new version of PHP brings significant improvements to the language. We can attest to that because WordPress is built on PHP — and if there’s one area that we know about, it’s WordPress.

Part of the reason PHP remains so popular is because of WordPress itself. This content management system (CMS) powers 40% of all the websites on the internet, which makes up a significant part of that 79.2% of sites that use PHP.
However, WordPress is not the only poster child for PHP among well-known CMSs. If you take a look at the top three CMSs by market share, they’re all written in PHP:

If you’re using a CMS, chances are that your website is powered by PHP, even if you’ve never personally dealt with a line of code. Considering how prevalent these systems are in website development, it stands to reason that PHP’s market share has remained steady throughout the last decade:

Another reason PHP is so prevalent among web developers is that there are many frameworks that make the language a lot more efficient and user-friendly. In the next sections, we’ll explore some of the most accepted PHP frameworks and discuss how many people use them.

PHP’s Market Share Compared With Its Popularity Among Developers

Although PHP is the most used server-side programming language globally, it’s not as universally loved among developers. If you take a look at GitHub projects by language, PHP programs only make up 5.081% of the website’s pull requests in 2021.

PHP is the eighth most popular language in terms of GitHub pull requests. If we look back a few years, we can see that PHP’s popularity on GitHub has been slipping little by little.

In 2014, 12.278% of all pull requests were for PHP projects, and it was the fourth most widespread language on the site. By 2015, that percentage slipped down to 10.223%, and by 2018, it was down to 6.109%.

Although PHP is not the first choice of language for many developers, its market share remains rock steady. More importantly, the past decade has seen the birth of a lot of amazing PHP frameworks. Those frameworks make using PHP a lot more enjoyable, and in a lot of cases, they fix design flaws in the core programming language.

There are many options for PHP frameworks, but some names are so well-known that you’ve probably already heard of them. In this section, we’ll discuss market share numbers for some of the most favored PHP frameworks that you can use.

Laravel Market Share

Laravel is one of the easiest PHP frameworks to get started with, thanks to its Homestead virtual development environment. If you download Laravel Homestead, you’ll also get a Vagrant box that includes all the software you need to use Laravel.

With this framework, you gain access to a massive range of packages (over 15,000) and advanced security features. Below are the percentages of websites that use Laravel among the most popular URLs in the world.

Laravel is the most popular PHP framework for web development.

Although those numbers might seem small, Laravel is the most popular PHP framework among web developers. That makes it one of the most sought-after languages in the world by extension.

Symfony Market Share

Symfony is one of the most scalable PHP frameworks you can use, thanks to its modular system. You can choose which Symfony modules you need for your project, and the framework is particularly flexible when it comes to database software.

As far as numbers go, Symfony is also one of the most popular PHP frameworks in the market.

Symfony is another popular PHP web development framework.

If you’re a Symfony developer, you probably earn more than programmers who specialize in using Laravel or other PHP frameworks. The average Symfony developer makes approximately $96,000 per year, compared to $92,000 if you specialize in using Laravel.

CodeIgniter Market Share

CodeIgniter sits as one of the most streamlined PHP frameworks available. It’s also among the fastest PHP frameworks by our tests, and it’s incredibly flexible. CodeIgniter is an excellent match if you’re relatively new to PHP, as it has an easier learning curve than other frameworks.

In terms of usage, CodeIgniter sits between Lavarel and Symfony. Here’s how it stacks up by the numbers:

CodeIgniter is a popular PHP web development framework.

As far as remuneration goes, a CodeIgniter developer earns $90,000 per year on average. This puts it behind both Symfony and Laravel in terms of salaries.

Summary

PHP is far from dead, no matter what any disgruntled developer may tell you. After all, 79.2% of all websites in the world can’t all be wrong, and most importantly, PHP’s market share has remained relatively steady throughout the last five years (oscillating between 78–80%). Few programming languages command that type of staying power.

If you’re a web developer, you should have at least a basic understanding of PHP to round out your skillset. Ideally, you’ll also become familiar with one or more of the most popular PHP frameworks, such as Laravel, Symfony, or CodeIgniter. If you do, chances are you’ll be able to earn a high salary.

At Kinsta, we’re proud to always offer our users the chance to upgrade to the last version of PHP much faster than other web hosts do. We’re already offering PHP 8 for Kinsta websites on all of our plans, so feel free to check them out!