Basic Difference in Web Development with Core PHP and PHP Frameworks



Contrary to popular opinion, PHP isn’t “Dead” yet – there are just too many advantages of using PHP and its frameworks that prevent it from going on a vacation. The statistics on W3techs point to the same conclusion; about 77.6% of the websites surveyed are built on PHP.

Given that most of the web is powered by PHP, when companies need to hire a dedicated PHP developer, they basically consider whether to use a framework or core PHP for the purpose. There are marked differences between the two, so let’s understand where core PHP and PHP frameworks diverge.

What is Core PHP?

Core PHP is a scripting language. It is the base on which frameworks and applications are built. Core PHP offers immeasurable flexibility in programming a website or a web application, and makes it simple for the developer to do so. This is the reason why enterprises like WordPress, MailChimp, Slack and Facebook run on core PHP.

What is a PHP Framework?

A PHP framework is basically a skeleton of code packets with basic, necessary functionalities for a website written in PHP that are put together to create a foundation to build the website on. Developers can source custom code from libraries or write specific code as per required functionality and embed it on the framework, saving tons of time. PHP framework, thus, is a readymade base of code which a developer can freely customize without having to write everything from scratch. Laravel is the most popular PHP framework today, and of the top 10,000 websites, about 4.5% use Laravel.

Basic Difference between Core PHP and PHP Framework

PHP may not be the most popular choice of the developers today (PHP frameworks seem to be trending higher and better), but certain marked qualities make it a great programming language. Here is how core PHP and PHP frameworks differ from each other.

Developing Web Apps Using Core PHP

Since core PHP is a programming language, there is greater dedication and focus involved in crafting a website or a web app out of pure code. The developers are usually more skilled and know the scripting language inside out, giving them a higher level of control over what’s happening and the results they want to see.

There really isn’t any limitation to developing a website using core PHP; since it is pure code, a developer can shape it to do whatever his client requires. Any kind of functionality or behavior can be coded into a website. Perhaps this is what makes core PHP a classic favorite – despite its longer turnaround times.

It is no wonder that 40% of the WordPress websites are powered by core PHP – you can see how fluid, customizable and beautiful these websites look and feel.

 Developing Web Apps Using a PHP Framework

A PHP framework already consists of a skeleton of inbuilt, coded functionalities that can be called by using a command. This flexibility saves PHP developers from having to write each code from scratch – saving a lot of time and effort that would otherwise be spent writing easily reusable code. Whenever a functionality is needed for a website, the developer can type in a short line of code to call it, and the framework delivers it.

Using frameworks also provides developers with certain flexibility in web development. They can write custom code and embed it on the framework in combination with existing code, or they could also use ready code from numerous libraries to achieve the result. All in all, frameworks help developers save a lot of time and effort.

They may still be a bit limiting in terms of code control – which can be overlooked if the requirement isn’t highly specific.

Pros and Cons of Core PHP and PHP Framework

Regardless of how good the core script or the framework is, there are bound to be roadblocks in both. The table below highlights the pros and cons of using core PHP and PHP framework.

Programming MethodProsCons
Core PHPIt is better for the long-term as it teaches you the backbone of all coding – you can switch to frameworks without effortsIt may not be the easiest language to master for a full-scale, specialized web development project
 It gives you total control over the code you typeCosts involved in developing websites using core PHP are high
 It gives you full spectrum of flexibility for your websiteIt requires a longer timeline to get to the market
PHP FrameworkIt eliminates the need to know PHP in-depth by embedding core functionalities on the skeletonBecause the core code can’t be changed, the performance may be slower than core PHP
 It is easier to manage because the core code on the framework doesn’t change: all troubleshooting needs to be done on the applied code onlyYour entire code is dependent on the creator of the framework – if the framework runs into a problem, so will your implements on it
 A larger support community is available to help in case it is requiredIt requires skill to structure an app on a framework; if not done right, it can create a lot of problems


While core PHP always seems like the right choice, it drastically increases the cost of a project. Therefore, unless you are certain that your project requires high flexibility and customization, opting for a PHP framework would be the more economical choice.


Core PHP and PHP framework – both run on the same code. The only difference is that a PHP framework reduces the load on a developer in places where a code can be reused by invoking a simple command. PHP, being a highly versatile programming language, will always be around – whether in the form of its core self, or in the form of a framework.