By Bruno Skvorc

Best PHP IDE for 2014 – Survey

By Bruno Skvorc

Note: The survey is now closed. Results here.

The choice of editors and IDEs is vast in the PHP world – from platform specific to web based ones, from open source fully-fledged IDEs to commercial text editors, there’s more choice than one can have time to try out. In an effort to single out the best and most popular, we’ve put together a survey.

Participation is most appreciated, and to show you how much we love you for giving us a minute or two of your time, completing the full survey makes you eligible for winning some prizes. Several commercial IDE/code editor vendors have banded together and decided to offer their licenses to up to three lucky winners. If you win, you have the choice of picking from the pool of rewards which consists of the following:


Please read the survey very thoroughly in order not to get disqualified from the draw. There are some questions that are optional, but render you ineligible for the prizes, so please take your time.

This survey aims to gather usage data for various PHP IDEs and text editors in an attempt to identify the most popular one being used in 2014 Q1 and the reasons for its popularity. The survey will remain open for exactly one month, and the results will be published in full on In the interest of transparency, the data will also be made available to all in an unfiltered state shortly after the results are published.

Please do your best to write answers in English, and be mindful of grammar and punctuation. The more elaborate and detailed your answer is, the more chance it has of being featured in the results article.

As it would be overly easy to skew the results with the help of a bot, this survey requires you to input a valid and publicly accessible Google+, Twitter or Facebook username as a means of identification and fraud prevention. Alternatively, you can post a link to your personal website if you have one, as long as the website contains some type of information about you that identifies you as a unique human being (the about section, perhaps). This bit of information is called the identifier.

The “personal” information like age, gender etc, is required to gain more insight into the PHP community. Note that the actual identifier will NOT be made public after the survey – so if you input all the “personal data”, everything will be made public EXCEPT that. We only need your identifier as a proof of uniqueness. If you refuse to input any personal data, this will disqualify you from entering the reward pool at the end of the survey. Please answer those questions to help us more accurately gauge the PHP community.

The survey is now closed. Results here.
  • Just entered the survey. Good luck everybody!

  • Luís Alberto

    Hey, where is Aptana Studio. It isn’t here because they didn’t pay you?

  • Taylor Ren

    Submitted my answer. Hope I can get a lucky draw.

  • Etienne

    Can you explain why not answering the gender question could disqualified someone from the draw?
    Why do you need this information?
    And what if theses two answers are not good, you know that facebook has now more than 50 genders options?

    • Only two genders exist in the human race, period. I need this information to gauge the PHP community as a community too, as explained in the text before the survey. You don’t have to answer it, but it’s appreciated. If you’d just like to support your IDE/editor, feel free to participate without giving this information if you’re not comfortable with the question.

      • Etienne

        So facebook just invented 50 genders options, and organism around the world are just messing around for something that does not exists? Welcome to 1950!

        • MarcioAlmada

          I think in this survey “gender” means “sex” (male OR female), not “gender identity” which can be unique for every human kind.

        • > “So facebook just invented 50 genders options […]?”

          Yes. Anyway…

          I’ve updated the form to read “sex” now. Hope that’s less confusing.

          • Etienne

            Yes?!?! Well thank you for showing us how uninformed you trully are… how about reading something other than a programming book for once?

      • Evan Byrne

        Gender and sex are generally considered two different things. Sex refers to your biological makeup and gender refers to what you identify as. It wasn’t until 1955 when someone used gender in this way and not until much more recently that it gained significant traction outside of academia, so confusion is understandable.

  • No one paid. Aptana is in there too, you must have missed it.

  • @brunoskvorc:disqus May I ask, which one do you use? :)

    • Jan

      If you read sitepoint than you would see that he wrote whole article about PHPStorm and how he use it.. .

    • Jan is correct, I’m a PhpStorm user. I used to use Zend Studio originally, then Netbeans with Sublime Text thrown in for good measure for a number of years until I finally ended up on PhpStorm. I mostly ignore everything that isn’t available every major OS, but that’s just personal preference

  • dojoVader

    Anyway entered the contest hope i win, but a curious question Isn’t Zend + Aptana Studio + Eclipse PDT partially almost the same environment.

  • Kalpesh Singh

    Loved the survey. I hope my answer will help.
    Good luck guys!

  • Bilal Ishaq

    Submitted my answer. Hope i,m right.

  • Finished!!! Hope i’ll get my prize

  • Nguyễn Văn Ánh


  • Kirk Hansen

    This is pretty awesome.

  • Correct, thanks. If this causes confusion (although… really?!), I’ll update the form.

    • MarcioAlmada

      Bruno Skvorc, I too usually expect people to simply pick gender as male or female according to their DNA, specially when there is a potential bounty lol. But I guess “sex” is the most politically correct option nowadays.

      Should gender be an open text input? Nice topic for a data modeling article BTW.

      • Well, if the majority feels it should say sex instead of gender, who am I to argue. Changed now :)

        • Normally I prefer Gender over Sex.

  • Nothing to be right about, there is no right answer :) But good luck!

  • gafitescudaniel

    I went from Eclipse to Netbeans and then to Sublime Text 2 and 3 for the past few years but I am hearing good thing about PhpStorm.

    One of the main reason I switch was the fact that the IDE were on Java and they were slow compared to Sublime Text.

    • Speed was the main reason of my switch from Netbeans to PhpStorm.

      • gafitescudaniel

        I haven’t tried PhpStorm yet at all but I will give a try now. I usually if something works I don’t change the “winning team”.

        • PhpStorm was worth learning for me. Yes, the key commands were different, the setup was different and it took a while to setup, but this wasn’t any different when I was using ST2/3 after using BBEdit for years. PhpStorm seriously helps me write better code and after 45 days of immersion, I’m more productive.

      • You should try the new Netbeans. They’ve improved speed in every version of 7.x & 7.4 is pretty fast. From what I’ve been reading about, 8.0 (which is coming soon) will be even faster.

        I think speed is one of the main reasons people switch. I started out with Eclipse, moved to Zend Studio (it was faster & my employer at that time paid for the license) & then moved to Netbeans when Zend decided to base their IDE on Eclipse. Its been 5 years since I moved to Netbeans and I still don’t know of a better option.

        • JoelSimpson

          I went from Eclipse to Netbeans and finally to PhpStorm. Even if Netbeans is now lightning fast like PhpStorm, there is so much more in PhpStorm that Netbeans hasn’t even started to address. I think the switch from Netbeans to PhpStorm is like the switch from Eclipse to Netbeans…it’s that much of a leap in functionality/performance.

          • > there is so much more in PhpStorm that Netbeans hasn’t even started to address

            Would be interesting to know what those are. I haven’t explored PhpStorm a lot, though I did play with it for a couple of days or so & I didn’t find it convincing enough to switch from Netbeans. This also keeping in mind that PhpStorm has a price tag of $99 & upgrade costs half as much, while Netbeans is free & open source.

          • Keep in mind that it’s free for open source projects. All you need is proof you’re engaged with the open source community in a proper way.

          • That is at their discretion though. So you can’t just apply & be sure you’d get a license.

          • Of course, there are specific requirements. Still, nice to have the chance to do it.

          • Yup, always good to have options

          • JoelSimpson

            Yeah, a lot of the functionality is kind of hidden out of the way so it’s easy to miss when you first start…I’m still discovering new features on a weekly basis. The biggest for me were the refactoring tools and the epic level of “intellisense”. It can infer types based on how you use them later in code. Fully parses all phpdoc so you can use @method on classes to provide type-ahead methods for available php magic methods in a class. Also, Bruno (same who is commenting in this thread I think) did a fantastic post here that taught me several new things. I think PhpStorm might be the only commercial tool that I use.

      • I have used PhpStorm only previous version 6, so, cannot say about the latest one, but comparing PhpStorm 6 with Netbeans 7.4, I think Netbeans is faster for me.

        Not to forget both are made in Java and resource hungry. The average Memory consumption of Netbeans and PhpStorm is 500~700 Mb, depending on Project size.

        For me, one benefit of PhpStorm is it can WATCH Sass files directly from IDE (if not using Grunt) but the amount of CPU it consumes for this task makes in literally unusable.

        I tried SublimeText 2 and 3, apart from scrolling, its just waste of money. Its lightweight, has code hint, easy multiline editing etc, but you get that for free with Vim or Emacs. I installed lots of extensions in sublime and now I get mix-match code hinting and completion. While working with PHP I get Python hints, which is not at all useful.

        • > The average Memory consumption of Netbeans and PhpStorm is
          > 500~700 Mb, depending on Project size.

          Interestingly, it seems that when PhpStorm indexes a project (while its open & you’re working), it hogs a ton of resources & brings stuff to standstill on a mbp with 8gigs RAM (on a bit big project w/ ton of files in it). A colleague mentioned this yesterday. That used to happen with Netbeans before 7.x but since v7 I’ve not had this problem even with a big project open, indexing goes on in background and does not affect my work.

    • Peter Nijssen

      Your story is exactly my story ;) Now I have my eyes focused on PhpStorm. Haven’t tried it yet though.

  • dannykopping

    Really great multiple choice widget thing – did you guys build it yourself or is it a lib?

  • It’s all Tell them we sent you :)

  • Ahmad Samiei

    I tested most of choices you guys are talking about.
    currently I
    strongly recommend to use Zend Studio 10.5. ZS 10+ is awesome it is not
    just like older versions. it’s truly improved to being perfect IDE. I
    was hating older versions. but 10+ is really awesome.

  • scamo

    Did the Survey.

    How long did it take you to make it with typeform, out of curiosity?


    • I had questions prepared, so purely transferring them into Typeform took an hour or so. Still far too long – but it had some bugs I needed to either hack around manually through the dev tools, or discuss with them directly. They’re working on upgrades, as far as I know, and the building frontend will be rebuilt more efficiently soon.

  • Bez Hermoso

    Participated in the poll. As for the draw; may the odds be ever in my favor!

  • Tristan Bailey

    I will be interested to see the results.
    1 point the questions on IDE are worded 99% the same, what was it meant to be what IDE for professional vs private?

    Point 2 I have a BA degree in graphic design and interactive media not a CS degree, but would have liked to put that as feel its slightly different as i learned web and cd-rom building at uni not CS just with a design angle and now I do not do the design part.


  • I’m not sure I understand question 1.
    Re: point 2: what’s cd-rom building? As for your degree – unless you have a programming degree, you should leave it at none, or at online courses, depending on where you got your knowledge.

    • Tristan Bailey

      just me feeling bad for saying i have no degree ;)
      We build cd-roms with Director (Lingo and Javascript) and websites. So I was learning to code at Uni but not CS. All of which was me just wanting a box for other to make me feel better in your survey

      thanks for your reply


  • I’d prefer a membership rather than a memebship please ;)

  • Kaloyan Doichinov

    Did the survey this morning, gave my facebook username and my email, but I have not received any confirmation that I’ve taken part in the survey. Is this normal?

    • We don’t send out confirmations, I think people have enough spam in their inboxes :) If the survey said “Thanks” in the end, you’ve been successfully registered, thank you!

  • Mr B

    I know it is blasphemous on a PHP survey but, due to our having to also maintain several .Net applications, we have begun using Visual Studio with the VS.PHP plugin. It allows me to use one IDE for both.

  • Yep, that’s me :) Indeed, I too learn new things about PhpStorm every time I dive in a little deeper. That article alone taught me a new trick or two while writing it.

    • Nice, gonna look at that article, might give a better idea about the good stuff in PhpStorm

  • Jurik

    Hey Bruno, I hope that I’m not that idiot, but I was looking several times on this page to find the survey until I found it. It just looked like an ad placement and I didn’t realize, that this is the survey. ;)

  • > Fully parses all phpdoc so you can use @method on classes to provide
    > type-ahead methods for available php magic methods in a class.

    Yeah Netbeans does that too :) It offers suggestions as well (like I might be better off doing a type & value match with === instead of just ==), its not perfect but handy many a times.

    • JoelSimpson

      Yeah, I agree with that, I go the minimal route as well, use the keyboard for everything (ace jump plugin), hide tabs and windows, use recent files list (ctrl+e) and quick nav (ctrl+shift+n) to get to files and things.

      It’s been a year since I’ve used Netbeans, looks like I’ve either forgotten what it did/didn’t do or it’s changed since then. The big difference I noticed was the depth and intelligence of the features. It will be great to hear what you think of it…or don’t think of it. ;)

      • Earlier I used to go mad playing with features but I guess wisdom does come with age. ;) Now I just use whats absolutely needed, like hide the project explorer tree & access it quickly when another file needs to be opened or created & it auto-hides after that. Spaces get cleaned up from EOL on file save. Earlier I used to have auto-format on file save as well but now its hardly needed. Code templates are automatic for classes & functions (you dont have to write the whole thing), intellisense for autocomplete is pretty good. Tab switching, setting/unsetting breakpoints, start/pause/stop debug all from keyboard. Ability to see changes made in a file (working copy vs last commit). These are the only basic things that matter now, used frequently every day.

        I just read the PhpStorm article @brunoskvorc:disqus wrote, almost every feature he mentioned is in Netbeans which I’ve used at some point or use regularly. It was not surprising, since both of these are quite mature & would almost match feature to feature. Emmet in PhpStorm is nice (I think if I look there would be a plugin for Netbeans) but I don’t write a ton of HTML (its mostly PHP & JS) so its not a deal breaker for me. Might be a couple or so of other things which are *nice to have* but not compelling enough to warrant a switch.

        IMHO it just comes down to personal preference at this stage.


    stuck at 1.f
    i don’t publish any personal information on the internet – so no google, no facebook, no linkedin, no any other crap. I’m not stupid. This again makes me feel I’m not a “real” coder by forcing to participate in any so called “social” sh*t. Thank you! I am frustrated and angry now.

    To participate in the question: PHPStorm. I switched to it from Eclipse, the dev-support is much better.

    • Sorry about that, didn’t want to frustrate you. Unfortunately, there is no way around this.

  • Tom Higginson

    I used gedit, then jEdit for several years before a previous company introduced me to PhpStorm. I’ve got one with that far better than the other editors and IDEs I’ve tried. So many useful features and makes navigating the code so easy!

  • Trever Pehrson

    I have only use Sublime Text when it comes to php development. From plug-ins for customizing the text editor to work best for you, to the smooth and easy navigation of the editor. It is by far one of the best. I do have to note though that after watching a few laracast ( Jeffery Way has moved to phpstorm and it is looking pretty awesome!

  • Steve Michel

    I hated that form. Really an unpleasant experience for me.

  • Sorry about that. It was the only one that had some features we needed, and it looked pretty.

  • I love Sublime Text3.

  • Bolla Sandor

    I recently switched over to PHPStorm, it’s by miles faster than Netbeans which I’ve used for many years, the debugging possibilities are a way easier to get done in PHPStorm (I always failed to get it done in Netbeans). To be said the maven integration is completely missing in PHPStorm as of Selenium integration, these are the two major issues I have to use Eclipse as well.

  • One important PHP IDE is missing in the list – PHPEd by NuSphere – Should be added.

  • Kdevelop is missing in the survey ;)

  • I use PHPStorm, Eclipse and NetBeans are just not fast enough.

  • RobertSF

    I’ve tried just about every PHP IDE under the sun, and none of them really excite me. The Java-based ones are just too slow, and say what you want about Microsoft, but none of the PHP IDEs offer quite the power that Microsoft’s IDEs do. They don’t offer form builders, SQL builders, and refactoring. Also, there’s apparently only one debugger for PHP (XDebug), so that’s what they all use.

    That said, I don’t hate Code Lobster or WaterProof’s PHPEdit. They’re about as good as it gets, though I still generally use an editor like Notepad++ with an XDebug plugin, or the excellent Programmer’s Notepad 2 and Mathieu Kooiman’s simple GUI front end for XDebug (unfortunately, not developed further since 2007).

    • Seems like you haven’t tried PhpStorm or Netbeans then. PhpStorm is blazing fast, despite being Java, and offers both SQL building and refactoring of all sorts. Form builders? What.. like WYSIWYG? Does anyone still do that?

      • RobertSF

        I’ll give those two a try. Thanks for the recommendations. I did use Netbeans, but it was three years ago.

  • RobertSF

    Sorry to hear that. It was pretty painless for me. I’m using Chrome.

  • nostalgic with phpDesigner8, but no mac os version and today people using sublime.

  • Jamie Devine

    It seems like a lot of people here have recently switched to PHPStorm. I’m one of them.

    I used to use Sublime which, in my opinion, is easily the best text editor out there but just lacks the intelligence and project awareness that an IDE can offer.

    I mentioned in the survey that the one thing I really miss about Sublime is the quick multiple selection. I used CMD+D all the time to quickly select all instances of a variable, string or method and edit them all in one go with multiple cursors. I know PHPStorm has the ‘Refactor’ functionality, but it just doesn’t seem as slick. Maybe it’s just because i’m still getting used to PHPStorm, but I find I can’t refactor as quickly at the moment.

  • Loved the survey tool, it’s simply awesome.

  • Kopax Anderson

    I think there is no discussion to have here,

    Payed IDE : IDEA IntelliJ ultimate edition <3<3

    Free IDE : Eclipse

  • atdev

    You might consider adding NuSphere PHPEd to the options.

    • It hasn’t been demanded almost at all, and this late in the game, I don’t see the point – you can add it to “Other”, and I’ll take it into consideration when compiling the final result set

      • atdev

        No problem. I saw someone suggested it 14 days ago and I just wanted to mention it as well since it was left out.

        • Cheers, appreciate it, but you and the other person were the only two people suggesting it :) We’ll see how it actually did in the final tally

  • Miša Brežanac

    Unfortunately PhpEd lost the race long ago. I was using it for a very long time but the lack in features compared to other solutions simply lead me to completely abandon it and switch to PhpStorm.

    • I agree that NuSphere’s adoption of popular features is somewhat slow. Nevertheless, if the list contains few IDEs that have no direct debugging support I just feel not fair not to include PHPEd in the list – for the sake of objectiveness. I’ve been using it for 7-8 years and still I am quite happy with it. I also tried PhpStorm, PHPEdit, Eclipse with PHP debugger, NetBeans – I think NuSphere is still one of top PHP IDEs. Cheers.

      • I included all the ones I heard of. That one didn’t appear on any list. We’ll see how many people put it into the “other” answer, and sum that up.

  • Miša Brežanac

    I was using PhpEd for a very long time because I am not that much of a Java fan. However, two years ago I couldn’t justify renewing my license for an IDE that was so heavily lacking in features compared to other solutions, especially PhpStorm which offered way more functionality and extensibility for less money (annual renewal is half the renewal price of PhpEd).

    And PhpStorm was my entrance to the wonderful world of the IntelliJ platform. I got so hooked to the platform that I’ve also decided to ditch Eclipse and start using Android Studio for my Android projects although its still in it’s early beta stage.

    But be warned, PhpStorm can be a resource hog sometimes especially with large projects. That’s the price you have to pay for having a great all-round IDE on which you can always rely on. So even if I didn’t want to take the survey (it asks for too many personal information imho) I’ll just leave a clear vote for PhpStorm.

  • Steven Armstrong

    Thanks to this survey, I’ve switched to PHPStorm. Will wait to see if I win before getting a license.

  • akhilendra

    I see lots of folks talking about phpstorm here & i agree that its awesome but what is surprising that nobody is talking about zend studio. I think it is also one of the IDE one can look at, zend studio 10.6 is lighter & provides most of the features, its just that it is expensive than phpstorm. What do you guys think about zend studio?

    • I’ve used version 6 long ago, and was immediately put off by the fact that it was Eclipse based. By default, it used more RAM and more CPU than PhpStorm or Netbeans, was far less stable, far buggier, and had far fewer features at the time. I haven’t given it a chance since, so it may have become awesome in the meanwhile, but if it’s still based on Eclipse, I remain skeptical.

  • I develop applications with SWING, so I use NetBeans and I feel it as a great IDE for PHP too.

  • ajbapps

    Netbeans? Eclipse? Who made this list?

  • gsivaprabu

    When they post the results?

    • Tonight/tomorrow depending on where you are and how much processing they need

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