Jemin Desai
Jemin Desai 25 April 2022
Categories Technology

List of Useful Tools that PHP Developers Should Have

There are dozens of PHP tools available on the market. It might consume the developer or beginners to select the best ones for PHP development. This guide will help PHP programmers to choose and use the right tools for development.

Every day, developers use several programming languages and tools to build highly-efficient business solutions. And most developers use PHP for their web-based app projects. For efficiently working on software projects, engineers utilize various useful PHP development tools.

Sometimes even developers get confused about selecting the best PHP development tools, as new IDEs, debuggers, and text editors are coming on to the market daily.  So, it is essential to know about the most appropriate tools, which a developer can prefer for their software creation and promise an avant-garde solution to the client.

Let's go through this PHP developer guide to find the relevant PHP development tools.


PhpStorm is software for writing PHP code for your application. It offers Integrated Development Environment (IDE), aligning with the latest PHP updates.

It works efficiently with every primary PHP framework, such as Drupal, Laravel, Magento, Joomla, CakePHP, WordPress, etc.

In addition, it comes with in-built tools, which analyze your code and help make it clean, stable, and streamlined. Due to this, it is becoming a mandatory PHP tool in a developer’s stack.

Moreover, with its Live Edit feature, you can view your modifications instantly in the web browser and even refactor the HTML5, JavaScript, CSS, TypeScript, and many more frontend technologies.

On top of this, embedding a database with your application is a piece of cake with PhpStorm. You can take advantage of its built-in modules for creating a scalable and secure backend for your business solution.



  • It supports both new and old versions of PHP (5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2).
  • It highlights your code as per the syntax and aids in cold folding, automatic refactoring, and error checking.
  • It offers a Visual Debugger for setting breakpoints and assessing the variable.
  • A remote debugging feature is also present to access your code from anywhere.
  • You can quickly jump to any method and function through its reliable navigation mechanism.


Thirty days free trial, then US $199/year and US $19.90/month.

Apache NetBeans

Most of us use Apache NetBeans for writing Java code, but its new updates enable the developers to produce clean and clear PHP code.

It is a multi-purpose tool, offering a development environment, application framework, and tooling platform for fast and significant code editing.

It offers excellent features, such as syntax highlighting, PHP, HTML5, JavaScript templates, and synthetical, semantical code refactoring.

You will find all the essential development modules and components in this tool, and it will allow you to adjoin third-party APIs and plugins to test and debug your source code reliably. In addition, you can access your files remotely and complete your work using its built-in SSG and Git support.



  • Platform independent. You can download and install any operating system through GUI and a command-line interface.
  • You can easily find many learning resources on how to write PHP code in NetBeans.
  • It offers a built-in feature to connect your GitHub repository.
  • It always aligns with the latest PHP updates and provides hints while you code.


It is free to use.

Sublime Text

It is a text editor, a different tool from traditional IDEs, but behaves similarly to writing the application's source code.

You can enter, modify and store values according to your requirement and avail the benefit of syntax suggestions and tab multi-select features.

You can open as many tabs as you want and simultaneously view their data while working on your project. Moreover, it has an auto-complete mechanism, which you can utilize to produce the code rapidly and compile it in a shorter time.

You can rely on this text editor to complete your tasks with efficiency, no error, and seamlessly for shorter time-to-market projects.



  • Side-by-side viewing, offering Goto definition, reference, and symbol.
  • Effortless interface rendering, as it can utilize your GPU, consuming less power and impeccably updating graphics up to 8K resolution.
  • You will have support for TypeScript, JSX, and TSX languages.
  • It can handle non-deterministic grammars and lazy embeds, making the application more stable.


It costs US $99 for individual purchases, and for business, it varies between US $50 to $65/seat.

AWS Cloud 9

If you don't want to install any IDE on your system, you can utilize Cloud 9 IDE, which leads you to write, compile, and run your code on a secure remote server.

You only need an Amazon Web Services account to use this development environment. Once you log into your account, you can directly start your project without downloading any external files.

It is a master software creation package and is becoming the first choice of many industry experts. In addition, large project teams can flawlessly collaborate and bundle up their work through its intuitive user interface.

The only essential requirement for accessing this powerful IDE is a browser and an internet connection; the rest of all the documentation, modules, and third-party modules will be available on the platform.



  • Suggestions and hints display on the screen as you write your code.
  • You can access it with minimal system specification, saving your cost on buying new hardware and software.
  • You can produce code using 40+ programming and scripting languages.
  • The debugger is available by default for variable inspection and setting breakpoints.
  • You can connect your IDE to any Linux server and deploy your app directly onto it.
  • Offers revision history file, aiding to discover the changes made to the source code.


You can avail of the benefits of Cloud 9 by paying a monthly fee of US $2.05.


Developers consider Eclipse one of the most advanced and modern PHP IDE, which encompasses every crucial element to extend the app's functionality, performance, and stability.

It is an open-source tool, and you can customize it as per your need and embed external APIs, plugins, and widgets for your convenience.

The primary reason for using this tool is its low computing power utilization, easy-to-install, and easy-to-update architecture. Moreover, it supports both Graphical User Interface and Command Line Interface applications, assuring you to provide a variety of business solutions using a single IDE.



  • PHPUnit
  • In-built components for code refactoring.
  • The installation package contains a Git client, XML editor, and a terminal.
  • Pre-developed code templates.
  • Features to access resources through secure remote connections.
  • Code Navigation, Debugging, and Profiling.


You can use Eclipse for free and tailor it as per your needs.


Creating project documentation is equally important as writing a streamlined, clean, and transparent code for the business application.

Documentation helps to understand the code, and it functions as a primary component while updating and modernizing the legacy enterprise system. It is essential to have all the project documents before making it live for the end-user.

PHP Dox is a tool that gains popularity due to its authentic features to create API documentation for PHP projects. You can directly upload your codebase file in the tool, and it will automatically assess for generating all the necessary files.

Furthermore, it will also include information about XML log files, such as PHP_CodeSniffer and PHPUnit.


  • It only takes 1.2 minutes to analyze the 50MB of data and to create reports and other documents based on it.
  • All the files comply with the latest industry standards, and you can modify them according to your need.
  • You can download the documents on your system with Microsoft Document (.docx) extension.


It is a free tool if your use a basic package. After that, you have to pay up to US $ 599 for its premium license. Also, you can directly download it from the GitHub repository.


For writing PHP code, software engineers use IDEs and text editors, but not all IDEs come with the congenital debugging mechanism.

For removing errors, glitches, and unexpected exceptions from the application, developers perform debugging. And for having a cleaner PHP code, XDebug is the primary tool in a developer’s tech stack.

It offers a step debugging structure, providing details of errors at each line. Due to this, you can easily understand the code and make the suitable correction. In addition, it traces down the variable assignment and value definition for every individual function.

In addition, you will get all the documentation of XDebug in the online repositories, which can provide you with every step in setting up this extension for your software project.

You can gain a deep insight into the internal app's working through its diagnostic log feature. By following its suggestions, you can flawlessly improve the performance, security, and data transmission.

Moreover, you can add its extension in your Chrome Browser for perfectly performing code debugging.



  • It displays all the errors in the form table and categorizes them for better developer understanding.
  • You can install it on any machine with any operating system.
  • It helps identify bottlenecks in the PHP software and provides components to visualize the application’s performance.


It is freely available, and you can search it on the chrome store for adding it as an extension in your browser.


DebugBar is also a PHP debugger tool widely popular among PHP developers.

You have to fork it from the GitHub repository for using this tool. Then you can integrate it into your project for removing errors and profiling the source code or any particular component.

Using DebugBar, you can find bugs in your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which can aid you in removing them and make your business solution faster and more secure from cyber-attacks.

Furthermore, DebugBar offers features to analyze the network traffic for preventing illegitimate authors from accessing the resources.


  • Open-source solution. You can tailor it according to project requirements.
  • You can inspect errors for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.


It is free to use PHP debugging tool.

Code Lobster

In 2022, Code Lobster can be your favorite PHP IDE, as it releases frequent updates to comply with their features with the latest PHP web development framework.

It is portable, which you can use on any device without limiting features, modules, and integration with external tools. Besides this, you can utilize it for assessing the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code written for your solution’s interface.

In addition, its auto-complete mechanism reduces the effort, as you don't have to remember the name of functions and arguments.

And, if you are stuck at producing the code, you can instantly click F1, and it will navigate you to the documentation, through which you can resolve your query and continue your work.


  • Cross-platform compatible. You can run it on any machine.
  • Support multiple interface languages, such as English, Spanish, German, Turkish, Russian, Chinese, etc.
  • Offers Angular JS, Ember JS, Bootstrap, Joomla, Meteor JS, Cake PHP, Drupal, Magneto, Symfony, Laravel, WordPress, and many more plugins.


You can use Code Lobster for free. Download it, Install it, and you are ready to go.

SolarWinds AppOptics

Once you deploy your PHP solution, its responsibility is not over. You have to monitor it evaluate its performance on various vital metrics consistently.

Maintenance and support are the two primary post-development procedures necessary to execute for maintaining the functionalities of your business solution.

And for such purposes, you can consider the SolarWinds AppOptics tool.

With this tool, you can automate the tasks for monitoring applications over on-premises and cloud servers. In addition, you will have visibility to both frontend and backend for precisely maintaining the software.

Moreover, if you have multiple applications running on different servers, you can monitor them through a single interface and login id.



  • Can monitor the overall IT infrastructure and boost the performance and speed.
  • You can identify the root cause of any error, glitch, or bug.
  • Along with monitoring the app's performance, it can also assess the functioning of cloud servers.
  • It is a SaaS software, which you can access through your web browser


You can test this tool for free for 30 days, and after that, you have to pay US $9.99 per month for every individual host.

PHP Developers Guide to Choosing the Best PHP Development Tools

While selecting any PHP development tool, you must always consider all the below-listed aspects, as it will support your decision-making. As a result, you will be able to furnish a top-notch solution.


You must always go through the features of a tool, such as its compatibility with your operating system, in-built modules, and if you can integrate external plugins and extensions with it or not.

Also, you must always check the reviews and feedback about the tool, as it can help you identify some essential drawbacks and advantages.


Here, accessibility refers to how easily and effortlessly you can download, install and use the tool.

It is crucial to ensure that the software you will use is readily available on the internet and in a legitimate repository. It would always be best to verify its authenticity using the hash values and developer’s license.

Resource Availability

Before choosing any PHP development tool, you must check whether its learning resources are readily available or not.

If the official documentation and other learning resources, such as YouTube videos and tutorials in blogs and articles, are not present, you should avoid using them.

A lack of documentation can increase your efforts, and there can be a vulnerable loophole in your code.

Which Tool Should You Use?

There are several useful PHP development tools available. Every tool uniquely offers different features and functions.

Some are text editors, some are IDEs, and some tools you can only use for generating the documents and debugging the source code. For picking out any tools for your software project, you must check the features of every tool and view its demo.

If you are satisfied with the features and are assuring that it can fulfill the requirements of your project, then you must select that tool and utilize it.

Besides this, you must always learn about different PHP development tools, as every tool has significant features. Knowing multiple means can help you fabricate cutting-edge applications.

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