Best PHP IDE and PHP Text Editor For Web Developers 2021

IDE is a software package for programmers, which is used to build a wide range of applications. The acronym stands for (Integrated Development Environment).

A more technical definition would be “the IDE is an integrated development environment, which has the features of automatic suggestions, syntax linter, and bug fixes.

With an IDE, you can also make use of the debugging feature, test your code, compile the code etc.

We must clarify that it is possible that the same PHP IDE can work with different programming languages, a good example is Eclipse.

What is the difference between the IDE and the code Editor? Both of these tools are used to edit the code. A text editor is a tool which lets you write code, but might lack other features like debugging, testing, integrating with tools etc. On the other hand IDE comes with full feature that enables you to edit code, debug code, test code and integrate with third party tools.

Best PHP IDE and PHP code editor

Visual Studio Code

Visual source Code is open-source IDE, created by Microsoft, and is also available for a variety of environments: like Windows, Linux, and mac os. Visual code is very light weight and easy to install on any platform.

This IDE comes with inbuilt InteliSense, that expedite the development. Other than PHP it has native support for JavaScript, TypeScript, JQUERY, HTML, CSS, SCSS, and Less.

In the extensions section of the VS Code, you can find a variety of additional features for other languages. Some of the features that the VSCode has:

  • in-built InteliSense
  • Snippets view
  • JS DOC Support
  • Auto Imports
  • Refactoring

Zend Studio

Many developers work with Zend Studio, the reason is that it is possibly one of the best PHP IDE moment.

It is a PHP IDE provided by Zend Technologies, one of the biggest drivers of PHP, designed to develop web applications and mobile applications in PHP.

Zend Studio is a PHP text editor for PHP programmers, provides a number of features from the creation and management of projects to debug the code.

A few months ago  Zend announced the availability of Zend Studio Neon. Unlike previous versions, it is no longer an IDE developed in Java which was too slow and memory consumption was high in some cases, is now based on Eclipse, Eclipse is a software platform-independent and open-source platform for developing the project called “Rich Client Applications”.

  • Features: excellent code completion, syntax-colored code,
    advanced project management, multiple languages, incorporates the Zend Framework, PHP Documentor, PHP manual. Integration with subversion, browsers, advanced integration with FTP. Support for Web Services, PHP4, PHP5, and SQL.
  • Advantages: speed up your work, has a good debugger, endless options that allow the professional development of your applications.
  • Disadvantages: requires a license fee that does not include some complex visual HTML editor,.

Download the beta: Zend Studio Neon (registration required, free).

Open Komodo Project

It is a quite unique project for PHP IDE because it is based on the creation of Web applications that run on Firefox while the application is still in still in the developing phase.

The Open Komodo Project meets the requirements of the tools for developing free web technology, promoting innovation in web and freedom of choice for developers and end-users.

With the creation of the Open Komodo Project, ActiveState joins other advocates and Mozilla in promoting the open web. The open web philosophy aims to maintain the integrity of the web as a neutral public space in terms of platform and browser language.

  • Features: support for languages: CSS, HTML, Javascript, XML, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, auto-completion of code, syntax checking, syntax colors, HTML preview, project manager, allows you to add extensions or plugin add features.
  • Advantages: Quick and easy, help speed the development of our application.
  • Disadvantages: cost of the license, does not include a debugger.


NetBeans is a PHP IDE originally created as a free alternative to the Java IDE. NetBeans supports multiple languages ​​(PHP, JavaFX, C / C ++, JavaScript, etc.) and frameworks. NetBeans was made ​​open source in 2000 by Sun Microsystems who remained the main sponsor of the project until 2010 when they were acquired by Oracle.

NetBeans is free, open-source, and cross-platform. It has a huge community of support that is responsible for providing plugins, tutorials, and all kinds of training.


Eclipse is platform-independent open source IDE used for different programming languages. It can equally be used for other types of client applications such as BitTorrentAzureus.

Eclipse is a great choice for developing in php , or javascript. It can be customized using extensions that will give you support in your local language

The best thing about Eclipse is that it has a large community of users and constantly extending the use of eclipse in different programming languages.

For PHP, the Eclipse has the PHP Development Tools, which comes with following features

  • Syntax Highlighting In Editor
  • Syntax Validation
  • The Content Of The Assist
  • Code For Navigation Menu
  • PHP Debugging (Zend Debugger / Xdebug)
  • PHP Profiling (Zend Debugger / Xdebug)
  • PHPUnit
  • The Code Formatter


Geany is a small and lightweight PHP IDE created with the objective of having the least amount of package dependencies for a specific desktop environment and only requires the GTK2 libraries to run. Geany is able to run on Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, MacOS X, AIX v5.3, Solaris Express, and Windows. Only the Windows version lacks some features.

Geany supports over 30 programming languages ​​and has syntax highlighting, autocomplete, automatic closing tags, tips, plugins, etc.

PDT (PHP Development Tools, Eclipse)

PDT (PHP Development Tools), this project has had a great response from the developers of PHP and has been downloaded more than 300,000 times.

The current version of PHP development tool has:

  • Context-sensitive editor, which provides a compile-time error, code assistance, and code completion.
  • Integration with the Eclipse project model that allows us to inspect the use of skyline views and the new PHP Explorer view.
  • Support for graphical debugging of PHP code
  • Extensive frameworks and APIs that enable developers and ISVs (independent software vendors) to easily extend PDT to create new and interesting PHP oriented development tools.

You can download this version from the following link

Aptana (Eclipse)

Aptana is a development environment targeted toward web applications written in Ajax / JavaScript. It is based on Eclipse and can be download for three major platforms (Win, Mac, and Linux), either as the same plugin Eclipse, or as a separate application. In either case, if you want to edit PHP code with all features provided, the best way is to download eclipse and install Aptana as a plugin for Eclipse.

The features of this PHP IDE is similar to other more general IDEs: project management, outline view and preview autocomplete, macros (in this case, written in JS), document management, etc …

  • Features: HTML development, CSS, Javascript, AJAX support includes popular AJAX libraries (JQuery, Prototype, YUI, Spry, among others), support for Adobe AIR development and iPhone via plugins, Ruby on Rails development, PHP using plugins, FTP communication protocols.
  • Professional Edition Features editor JSON (Javascript Object Notation), Communication protocols FTPS, SFTP, support Forum.
  • Advantages: Allows you to check the compatibility of functions with different browsers, multi-sync local and remote folders, includes plugins for Eclipse.
  • Disadvantages: resource consumption.

Supports the most popular libraries: Prototype, Scriptaculous, Dojo, MochiKit, Yahoo UI, Aflax, JQuery, and Rico.


WebStorm is an IDE created by JetBrains, and is focused on creating the tools for the development of software.

WebStorm is the IDE for the project on the ecosystem and supports Javascript, Node, React, Angular, situated nearby, Ionic, Cordova, and ReactNative.

Some of the features that comes with WebStorm are:

  • Auto-Complete shortcut.
  • Support in the form of current.
  • Debugging
  • Testing
  • Tracing and Profiling
  • Version Control

You can check out each and every detail of the features on WebStorm website.

Php Designer

Php Designer is a complete development environment and programming designed specifically for PHP developers but also allows us to work comfortably in other programming languages ​​such as HTML, XHTML, CSS, and SQL.

It offers a range of integrated wizards and dialogs that make your task simpler, as well as allows direct access to code libraries and scripts which is handy and commonly used. It has various utilities, and all kinds of tools, elegant interface design that you can customize with as many as eighteen different ways.

It has an FTP client that integrates file browser, correction, and autocomplete utilities, integrates Google search and support for projects.


GNU Emacs text editor is highly customizable PHP text editor, basically, it is an interpreter for Emacs Lisp, a dialect of the Lisp programming language, with the addition of extensions that make text editing support.

Emacs supports syntax highlighting colors for a variety of languages. The editor includes documentation and a tutorial for new users. Full support of Unicode for almost any human language and scripts. And a long number of extensions that add more functionality.

Emacs runs on multiple operating systems, the main are GNU, GNU / Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Mac OS X, Windows, and Solaris.


PHPEdit provides a working environment for those specializing in PHP programming but also allows working with HTML, XML, and TXT. An integrated development environment for Windows with a verity of collection of tools.


EditRocket is a PHP source code editor that supports multiple languages, with basic features such as auto-completion, search, and syntax highlighting. Also integrates its own FTP and SFTP client with spell checker and text to HTML converter.

EditRocket can be installed on Windows, Linux, or Mac for free for a trial period of 30 days, then requires the purchase of a license to continue using it.


Notepad++ is a PHP text editor open source for Windows and is also a perfect replacement for Notepad (the simple Microsoft Notepad). It is under a GPL license.

Notepad++ is based on the Scintilla edit component code is written in C and is extremely lightweight. It features syntax highlighting, search, customizable interface, document map, auto-completion, tabs to open multiple documents at once, etc.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS3

Dreamweaver CS3 though it is paid, is one of the most used tools to create web sites. Developed for groups of beginners and advanced users.

The importance offered by its extensions tool which allows us to add features to Dreamweaver developed by Adobe, or other user community, which will add functionality to this application.

  • Features: HTML, Coldfusion, PHP, ASP VBScript, ASP.NET C #, Javascript, XML, XSLT, CSS, ActionScript, JSP: Windows and MAC, available in several languages, very good completion, syntax coloring in code language platforms, among others. Includes Framework for AJAX, CSS administrator, mobile device support, integration with Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Fireworks.
  • Advantages: generates enough clean code, allows the creation of pages in different languages, creating templates, site definition.
  • Disadvantages: Internet connection required for product registration, requires at least 512 MB ​​of RAM to install, cost of the license.


Coda is a PHP text editor created by the people of Panic for Mac OS oriented development. Integrates with a transmission site, SSH client, visual style sheet editor. The license will cost $ 79. Its version 1.1 supports HTML and ActionScript-JPS.

  • Features: comfortable and intuitive interface, this PHP text editor includes auto-completion for the most common languages, organization of open files in tabs, works smoothly, works for Mac OS.
  • Advantages: features a powerful text editor handles HTML, XHTML, CSS, Javascript, Java, Perl, Python, Ruby, and SQL. Terminal has an SSH connection.
  • Disadvantages: cost of the license is not compatible with other operating systems, only mac.


Vim is an advanced PHP editor, and highly configurable. It is an improved version of Vi, the editor distributed with most UNIX systems. Vim is often called a “programmer’s editor”. While some consider it a complete PHP IDE, Vim is not just for programmers, it is also perfect for all kinds of text editing, from writing an email to editing configuration files.

Although an advanced editor and its use as a programming tool has a curve somewhat steep learning, Vim can be configured to run a very simple way, the style of Notepad, called evim or Easy Vim.

Vim is charityware, ie, your license is compatible with GPL and distributed freely, but the developers requested a donation for the children of Uganda through the ICCF, for those who want to collaborate.

Vim runs on multiple operating systems and is available in different versions.


NVU is a PHP editor compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. It is an open-source project, MPL / GPL / LGPL licenses. NVU is based on the Mozilla platform and the design is based on Gecko. Primarily developed by Linspire.

  • Features: FTP site administrator, Editor CSS, HTML and CSS validator includes.
  • Advantages: very fast, easy to use, allows maintenance according to W3C standards, support for XML and CSS.
  • Disadvantages: only allows working with tables, few options, few languages ​​support.

Quanta Plus

Quanta Plus PHP Editor is a code based on Bluefish. It is an open-source project under the GPL. Available for Linux under the KDE environment.

  • Features: project manager, HTML, XML, PHP, CSS support, templates, plugins support, integrated preview files.
  • Advantages: Free, easy to use, provides color code faster, code completion.


Sublime Text is one of the best editors available today. It is light and simple, the simple yet elegant visual appearance, automation for code changes, but mostly for its great customization ability: Sublime Text incorporates a lot of plugins to do just about anything.

It is available for all platforms, and although it is a commercial product, it can be tested for the free full version.


With a look similar to Sublime Text, Atom is a text editor created by GitHub, the popular collaborative platform project with version control. It is developed with C ++ and Node.js, using different technologies websites like CoffeeScript, CSS, or HTML. A true wonder for the programmer.

Currently, the executable is available for Mac, however, the source code is available for Windows, Mac and GNU / Linux.

Adobe Brackets

If you’re a front-end developer working with technologies such as PHP, HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, or similar, an interesting option is to use Adobe Brackets. It is an open-source PHP code editor designed specifically for web designers, which has a fantastic and visually appealing with integrated utilities that greatly facilitate the work of a developer. Also supports add-ons and plugins, making it very customizable.

It is released under an open-source license (MIT) and is available for Windows, Mac, and GNU / Linux.

Your favorite PHP text editor did not appear in the list editor? or know any equal or more powerful than any of these? I invite you to share it with us in the comments.

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With 10+ years in software engineering, I specialize in blogging and web development. My skills span front-end, back-end, database design, web security, and SEO. Passionate about crafting helpful digital experiences.

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