Laravel vs Symfony: Which is Best for Your New Project?

Laravel vs Symfony: Which is Best for Your New Project?

Paweł Kamiński - Senior Full Stack Developer
Andrzej Lis - Senior Symfony Developer
7 minutes read

According to a Developer Nation survey, 60% of web developers use either client-side or server-side frameworks in their work. Of course, you could build a website or web application without either of those, but just how much time and energy would it take to code everything from scratch? Using a framework is simply faster and more efficient, since they provide several features that allow developers to build full-featured applications without having to write a lot of code.

And when it comes to PHP development specifically, there are two frameworks that are frequently mentioned: Laravel and Symfony. What are the differences between the two, for which projects are they best suited, and which should you use?

To answer those questions, we have created this comparison article.

Laravel & Symfony: A brief introduction

Before we get into the details, let’s quickly describe both frameworks.


First version released: June 9, 2011.

Newest version: 10.0 (released February 7, 2023).

Laravel is an open-source PHP framework with a model-view-controller (MVC) design pattern. This framework was designed to be a more convenient alternative to CodeIgniter, including previously unsupported features (such as user authorization). As Laravel has grown in popularity in recent years, it now ranks among the most popular frameworks for PHP development. On Github, the framework has 72.6k stars.

Pros of Laravel:

  • Made with ease of use in mind so developers can quickly learn how to use the framework
  • Comes with most of the necessary development tools available straight away
  • Very fast


  • Laravel receives frequent updates that sometimes lead to compatibility issues
  • The amount of documentation available for Laravel can be overwhelming initially for beginner developers
  • Opinionated (though whether this is a benefit or a disadvantage depends on the project)


First version released: October 22, 2005

Newest version: 6.2.7 (November 2022)

Symfony is also an open-sourced PHP framework for web development that, like Laravel, relies on an MVC design. What makes it stand out, though, is that Symfony also includes an extensive library of reusable components. Currently, the framework has 208 components inside its library, including Routing, Translation, Mailer, and Error Handler.

While Symfony can be used to build a wide variety of web apps, it’s most often used for complex or unique development projects. That’s because the framework is very flexible, scalable, and can be customized with ease. On Github, the framework has 28k stars.

Pros of Symfony:

  • Very flexible
  • Supports backward compatibility
  • Reusable components can be used independently from the framework


  • Configuring the framework takes a lot of time due to there being dozens of options to pick from
  • Quite difficult to learn
  • Very limited number of third-party resources available

Laravel vs Symfony comparison

Now that we’ve introduced both frameworks, let’s take a closer look at how they compare.

Speed and performance

If we look at the performance benchmarks available online, Laravel wins in most cases. In a ScoutAPM test, for example, Laravel needed six seconds to handle ten requests inside Apache and 202 seconds to handle 1,000 requests from ten users. For the same tasks, Symfony required 15 and 638 seconds, respectively.

Laravel Octane, released in 2021, can make web applications run even faster thanks to its use of high-powered application servers like Swoole, Open Swoole, and RoadRunner. In a Redberry test, Laravel with Octane could handle 266 requests per second (RPS), compared to 121 RPS with Apache.

That said, Symfony has many areas where its application performance can be optimized. So, with a bit of tweaking, you can boost the performance of Symfony apps as well. Figuring out how to improve performance and which features to use can take some time, however.


Symfony’s main strength lies in its flexibility and customizability. Most of this framework can be tailored to match the project needs or developers’ preferences, plus the modular architecture makes it easy to scale the project as required.

Developers can also pick the libraries, tools, or databases they want to use, as well as add custom tags and filters or use their own Domain-Specific Languages (DSL) with the framework.

Laravel, on the other hand, isn’t as flexible. This framework comes with all the necessary tools, libraries, guidelines, structure, and workflows already in place and also handles most of the configuration settings itself.

While this can make development work much faster, as most of the prep work is already done for you, it also means that Laravel will expect you to follow a set path. Adding anything different to the framework can therefore be quite tricky.

Database access

Both Laravel and Symfony provide object-relational mapping (ORM) for data access, although they do so differently. Laravel has a built-in ORM system called Eloquent, while Symfony uses a third-party library, Doctrine, to interact with the database. How those frameworks interact with databases also differs. The former uses the ActiveRecord approach for the task, while the latter uses Data Mapper.

In ActiveRecord, the database records and objects are tightly connected, so the database schema is easy to read and follow but hard to test, and might also become slower as the database grows. Data Mapper, meanwhile, is more flexible and works smoothly even with large databases, but is pretty complicated to set up and configure.

Which of the two methods would be better depends on what application type you are building. ActiveRecord is usually better suited for small applications, whereas Data Mapper might be a better choice for larger ones.

Symfony wins against Laravel when it comes to the number of out-of-the-box supported databases, though. Symfony supports Drizzle, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SAP Sybase SQL Anywhere, SQLite, and SQLServer, plus it can also work with NoSQL databases like MongoDB. Laravel, on the other hand, only has out-of-the-box support for MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and SQLServer.


When it comes to security features included in the framework, Symfony is in the lead, as the framework has multiple advanced tools for securing your website or application. For example, you can take advantage of detailed access control settings, several ways to authenticate users, and plenty of other security features. However, all of those features have to be configured manually, which makes setting up the security in Symfony quite time-consuming.

Laravel doesn’t have as many security features, but the functionalities included (cross-site request forgery and SQL Injection protection, cookie protection, in-built encryption, etc.) should be more than enough for most projects. Plus, you can use the available packages like Laravel Breeze, Fortify, Passport, or Sanctum for additional security features. For example, Laravel Passport can help you implement an OAuth2 server and API authentication packages.

Templating engine

Templating engines allow web developers to design several web pages that will share the same layouts without having to code all of them separately, making them very useful tools. That’s why most frameworks come with a dedicated templating engine, including both Symfony and Laravel.

Symfony uses Twig as its default templating engine, while Laravel comes with Blade. The syntax of Blade is just a simpler and more explicit version of PHP, which basically means that everything which can be done in PHP can also be done with Blade. For reusable pages, meanwhile, developers can turn a given layout into a single Blade component and then use it throughout the application.

That said, Twig has far more functionality available inside its engine. For example, the engine comes with a Sandbox feature for extra security, where an untrusted template code can be stored and tested. Twig also allows developers to define their own custom tags and filters, as well as even use a DSL for the templates.


When it comes to the number of third-party packages, available development tools, and community activity, Laravel easily wins over Symfony. On, Laravel has around 70k packages available, while for Symfony there are around 15k of them. The community groups centered around Laravel are much bigger than Symfony’s too.

Having such a large community for Laravel also means that the documentation and number of training resources for the framework are much higher than for Symfony.

Laravel vs. Symfony: which should you use for your project?

So, which one of the two frameworks should you pick for your project in the end? Well, the only thing we can say here is: “It depends on your project requirements.” For example, do you want to build a web application quickly, almost on auto-pilot? Then Laravel might be the framework for you, as it comes with virtually everything you need to start working on your webpage or application straight away.

Conversely, Symfony is a great option for large, complex, or non-standard development projects, as you can tailor the entire framework to your needs and are free to choose which tools or databases you want to use.We’ve summed up the main characteristics of both frameworks in the table below:

Laravel vs Symfony - comparison

If, when you have finished reading this article you still aren’t sure though which out of the two frameworks you should use, how about asking our developers at Polcode for an opinion?

After looking at your project requirements and talking with you about your goals, we’ll be able to tell which of the two frameworks would fit your project the best. And as we have developers who know how to use both Symfony and Laravel, we can introduce you to them right away to talk in more detail about your development goals.


Both Laravel and Symfony are amazing frameworks with plenty of features you can use for handling the backend side of your website or application. However, their focuses are slightly different – for Laravel, it is ease of use and speed, while Symfony puts flexibility at the forefront. So, in order to choose the right one, you should think about what type of website or application you want to build and then examine how each of the frameworks would fit your project requirements.

After all, there is no better or worse framework, only different levels of suitability for your project.

On-demand webinar: Moving Forward From Legacy Systems

We’ll walk you through how to think about an upgrade, refactor, or migration project to your codebase. By the end of this webinar, you’ll have a step-by-step plan to move away from the legacy system.

moving forward from legacy systems - webinar

Latest blog posts

See more

Ready to talk about your project?


Tell us more

Fill out a quick form describing your needs. You can always add details later on and we’ll reply within a day!


Strategic Planning

We go through recommended tools, technologies and frameworks that best fit the challenges you face.


Workshop Kickoff

Once we arrange the formalities, you can meet your Polcode team members and we’ll begin developing your next project.