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Laravel vs Symfony – Side-by-Side Comparison to Choose among PHP Frameworks for Development

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When starting with a new PHP application, one decision pops into everybody’s mind: “which is the best framework to choose?” And when it comes to the best PHP frameworks for web development, the fight often goes down to Laravel vs Symfony. 

Laravel and Symfony have established their name in PHP development for several years in building leaner codes and speeding developer’s jobs. 

Both these frameworks are suitable for a fast and efficient web development process and develop  apps that fulfill business requirements.

In this post, we will go through the best features, pros & cons, and basic configurations of both Laravel and Symfony for a decision-making comparison.

Key Takeaways

  • Laravel vs Symfony comparison to choosing the best API 
  • Features of Laravel & Symfony
  • Symfony vs Laravel in performance
  •  Symfony vs Laravel in speed
  • Advantages & Disadvantages of both

Briefing Laravel and Symfony

Laravel is a common open-source PHP framework with the traditional Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern built into its core. Laravel is a framework that has minimal basic configurations with expressive syntax. Laravel reuses existing components taken from various frameworks to create web applications. 

On the other hand, Symfony is also a framework that brings a community of users and many projects of open-source nature. Similar to Laravel, it also has an MVC design pattern and is suitable for performing on almost every computing platform. 

Both these frameworks have many things in common. Additionally, Laravel has many of its libraries taken directly from Symfony, making it about 30% similar to Symfony’s code. 

However, Symfony has a more complicated framework that is harder to understand and  suitable for large-scale projects.

Let’s list some of their common points before diving deep into the features of each PHP framework. 

  • Both can handle open-source projects based on the MVC pattern
  • Availability of CLI tool for common tasks
  • Testing tools availability
  • Covers full stack projects such as ORM, Template Engines, etc
  • Compatible with multiple operating systems and database engines
  • Built-on internationalization features and extended easily

Now let us note the individual features of both Laravel and Symfony.

Features of Laravel & Symfony


Authentication: Laravel has a built-in authentication system that only configures models, controllers, and views that makes applications operative. 

Template Engine: Laravel offers a template engine that allows developers to buit dynamic websites. Widgets available in Laravel act as a robust foundation for application structure.

Effective ORM: Laravel has an inbuilt effective ORM with an easy system of PHP Active Record implementation. ORM allows developers to utilize a database of syntax-query comparison without writing SQL code, and it allows the integration of developers and database tables with each corresponding model.

MVC Core Support: Laravel works on MVC design pattern and architecture as its core function, allowing faster development. Laravel development services benefit from this MVC design to create an aesthetically pleasing interface for an application. Besides, the feature prevents code duplication and separates business from presentation logic.

Migration: The Laravel framework broadens the database without too much effort by developers into making changes. The migration is secure because it uses codes of PHP in place of SQL. 

High Security: The Laravel framework utilizes multiple tools to protect application code from outside interference and hackers. It prevents attacks such as Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF), XSS vulnerabilities, SQL code injections, and others.


Structured MVC: Symfony has an MVC architecture best for scalable and systematic website development. MVC ensures that the project in development has a structured file system divided into Model, View, and Controller. It allows users to add new features and functions without much effort and time.

Pre-Established Directory: Symfony creates support folders and sub-folders according to user input. The organization of folders enables model creation, using views and controllers for improvement. Programmers utilize the database while Symfony manages the rest itself. 

Independent Components: Symfony has 30 independent components with reusability and decoupling with PHP libraries to make a foundation for the project. Developers can choose from these components independently to complete common tasks without long codes. 

Dependency Manager: Symfony has a component supervision system called Composer, an efficient dependency management tool. It can download and install multiple components and packages, while developers can declare libraries without much effort. Additionally, all the installed components need manual enabling and utilized only when required. 

Profiler: One of the key challenges developers face is maintaining the application’s health. Symfony Profiler maps all the backend activities and actions to monitor application behavior. Profiler appears as a dashboard to detail activities such as routing, user authentication, and logging.

Pros & Cons of Laravel and Symfony

Laravel Pros

  • Laravel has regular updates with new PHP features
  • Authorizes any third party or platform to integrate using API
  • It houses a substantial structure of tools and features

Laravel Cons

  • Some heavy applications built by Laravel development company might have a slow loading time on mobile
  • There is a possibility that upgrading to a newer version of Laravel might break the code due to non-compatibility with updates

Symfony Pros 

  • Symfony has become a commonly used development framework with one of the biggest communities in the world
  • Popular platforms such as eZ Publish, Magento, and Drupal use Symfony and is a good recommendation for this framework
  • Symfony releases regular updates according to developers’ needs

Symfony Cons

  • Learning Symfony is a lot harder than other PHP frameworks
  • There is a lack of origin components, and it relies on other technologies for better loading
  • Symfony requires more time and room for testing and needs prebuilt codes. Hence the process of development is slow.

Similarities and Differences

Similarities in Laravel and Symfony

The most prominent similarity is that they use PHP as their programming language. Another point is that they have cross-platform functions meaning they can be implemented on multiple machines simultaneously.

Other similar features support multi-language and multi-user content that provides a foundation for the application, interface, and text search. 

Key Differences

Symfony is a conventional PHP language framework that can be modified into Java or C#. It has unique elements and built-in features that make it stand out from others. Laravel, on the other hand, is a framework that relies on traits, attributes, and methods, and the framework is easy to understand with shortcodes and syntax.

Symfony is designed to handle complex and large-scale projects with value-added features used by high-profile or corporate clients. The Laravel web development process is relatively easy to understand with the MVC design pattern for the session.

If we consider scalability, Laravel needs the awareness and understanding of writing codes, whereas Symfony offers several platforms to scale and score points for development. Laravel allows the reusability of codes, while Symfony does not.

The speed of application and development in Laravel is the same as in any other framework. It has a version control system that allows application migration whenever needed. Symfony, if appropriately implemented, significantly improves application development speed. It adjusts the core feature of speed so the application can prioritize the required features and set them accordingly.

Laravel vs Symfony – In-Depth Comparison of Frameworks

Although both Laravel and Symfony have many similarities, a professional web development agency in Houston does consider its comparison before choosing a framework.

PerformanceLaravel framework uses Symfony components with an average load time of 60 milliseconds. This framework is best for projects that have a shorter timeline.Symfony development takes more loading time, with an average of 250 milliseconds. Compared to Laravel, Symfony PHP requires more time and effort.
ScalingLaravel has an architecture different from other PHP frameworks with an MVC-based designSymfony works on a package module architecture with various reusable components
Default Template EngineLaravel's Blade is one of the most powerful default template engines that allows developers to use simple PHP code. The template allows the creation of applications without any additional costs.Symfony uses Twig's default template engine to develop concise and designer-friendly templates. It allows companies to offer high-end development services.
Database Support SystemLaravel uses manual Eloquent and database migrations. Laravel makes data manipulating easily with object mapping and supports only MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQL Lite, and SQL Server Symfony uses doctrine for repository functions, data access, and support. It has simple and automated data migration with more options such as SAP Sybase SQL, MySQL, Drizzle, and Oracle 
Learning CurveLaravel has a simple learning curve, and developers can learn the framework through various methods, including documentation, video support, and tutorials. Symfony has a complex learning curve as it does not offer support and tutorials compared to Laravel.
SecurityLaravel has robust security but is difficult to set up due to numerous authentication methods.Symfony has simple security with basic features enough for many scenarios. 
SpeedLaravel can expand its performance to allow rapid development with minimal effort.Symfony has a slower speed than Laravel, which supports peak performance and adaptability. 
StructureLaravel has no integrated structuring tool. This framework has several tools combined. Symfony has its structuring tool that offers instructions for scaffolding and CRUD backend.
DependencyLaravel removes the need for dependency injections as it has a built-in auto-detection feature.Symfony has a feature called Autowire that offers comparable functionality and dependency creation.

How is Laravel Better than Symfony and Vice Versa

Both PHP frameworks have distinct features and practical tools for development. Let us dig deep into four features that make comparison relatively easy to understand.

Development Projects

Symfony is an excellent alternative to certain complex and difficult web apps or development requiring unique, non-standard features. Such development can include an eCommerce app, an enterprise app, or a streaming service.

Examples of brands with complex web platforms that use Symfony to handle their development include Dailymotion, Spotify, and NatGeo.

Comparatively, Laravel works best with projects that are small and require a speedy implementation. Laravel’s features of authentication, database migration, and facilitating configuration give the development process a boost.

Brands that use Laravel best practices include Canvas, Invoice Ninja, My Rank, and others with simple web design.

Development Speed

Professional web and software developers with extensive experience with the Symfony PHP framework can optimize its features for better development performance and speed. However, those starting with development and Symfony might find it hard to understand and implement the scalability options offered.

Developers using Laravel have an amazingly speedy experience with many auto-configured features. Web developers do not need to amend or maintain anything with Laravel manually.

Access to Database

Symfony automatically migrates all the information in its database that developers can access by creating repositories.

Laravel uses an Eloquent ERM database requiring developers to manually migrate the data. They need to use eloquent syntax to perform access operations within the database.

Support System

XML, PHP, and YAML are all languages that Symfony supports and require account registration. Laravel only has PHP and manual support for factories and does not need registration.  

Final Verdict in Laravel vs Symfony 

Choosing Laravel

Laravel is the best PHP framework for projects when you want rapid development at a low cost. You receive many ready-to-use implementations after downloading Laravel to make work easier. However, not every solution is helpful, and developers might not use some features. Laravel is best as it avoids lengthy and complicated codes and saves developers time, money, and effort.

Choosing Symfony

Symfony is a long-term answer for complex projects requiring higher development costs but favorable returns. Newer functions of Symfony provide necessary features and the most demanded elements. The performance of this framework depends on the velocity of individual elements, and careful selection proves helpful. The crucial point to consider is the consideration of the project, its features, and the goal to achieve. 

FAQs for Laravel vs Symfony

Yes, Laravel borrows many of its libraries directly from Symfony components, making it about 30% similar to Symfony’s code.

Laravel and Symfony have their features, pros, and cons. The selection of each framework depends on the project’s duration, costs, complexities, and other factors. Laravel has simple development procedures that you can complete in a short time and at a minimal cost. In comparison, Symfony has a complex set of procedures and is a long-term solution for applications with high development costs but yields better results.

As mentioned in the blog, Laravel borrows some components of Symfony. It is not based on Symfony but only takes a few key components for development.

Laravel is easier to learn and understand compared to Symfony. Users can learn about Laravel through video tutorials, guides, and other support documents, whereas Symfony does not offer any of these features.

Symfony allows developers to create entire applications or only specific elements, making it an ideal technology for those who want to create a solution from scratch and those who want to add specific functionalities to the existing code.

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