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10 Best Free PHP Code Editors for Web Developers

  1. What is a PHP Editor?
  2. Top 10 Free PHP Editors for Web Developers
    1. Aptana Studio
    2. Atom
    3. Brackets
    4. Codelobster
    5. Eclipse PDT
    6. Notepad++
    7. Netbeans IDE
    8. PHP Designer
    9. Sublime Text
    10. Visual Studio Code
  3. Conclusion
  4. FAQs

PHP is a server programming language used to write scripts in the environment of the hosting operating system. It is often noticed that the server part of any website includes a huge number of SQL queries and intensive interactions with databases; so it becomes crucial for your program to support the FTP protocol by understanding the syntax of SQL and providing an interface for connecting databases to advanced editing capabilities.

Let’s have a brief representation of all the best and free PHP editors which proves to be a boon for the PHP developers.

1. What is a PHP Editor?

When it comes to PHP code, anyone can edit its file using a basic text editor like Notepad. But that doesn’t mean that it is an easy task to do. The main issue with this is that the source code files are difficult to read when the editor doesn’t highlight the syntax and makes people understand the code structure. When the code is highlighted, you can easily see the code structures like parameters, variables, and keywords as they are in different fonts and colors. 

When the code readability is low it doesn’t only lead to errors but also slows down the developer as they might have to spend more time going through the blog and figuring what to do next. Therefore, to edit the PHP code files effectively, the majority of PHP development companies prefer tools that can highlight the PHP syntax as per its true meaning. 

Though these editors highlight the syntax and it is one of the best features, there are many different features beyond just highlighting. So, the best PHP editors have multiple functionalities that can help the PHP web app developers to write and edit the code and create a perfect structure of the project and file and project, with lesser errors.

2. Top 10 Free PHP Editors for Web Developers

Some of the most popular PHP code editors are:

1. Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code

It is an open-source editor developed by Microsoft which supports debugging, embedded Git control, syntax highlighting, intelligent code completion, snippets, and code refactoring to run on all platforms be it Windows, Linux, or Mac OS. The developers can change the editor’s theme, keyboard shortcuts, and highly customizable preferences.

Features of Visual Studio Code

  • Visual Studio Code enables auto completing, syntax highlighting, and code navigation.
  • Color theme picker.
  • Built-in Emmet support.
  • Smart code completion
  • Built-in integration of Git and GitHub.
  • Extensibility
  • Integrated terminal.
  • Live share

2. NetBeans IDE

Netbeans IDE

Netbeans is a free and open-source integrated development environment that comes with all the tools developers need to create large-scale web applications. It supports almost all programming languages like C, C++, PHP, JavaScript, Groovy, Ruby, and others. But, among all, it runs under the Java platform and so the developers need to install JAVA before running this editor.

Features of NetBeans IDE

  • NetBeans IDE can easily see the PHP class structure.
  • Automatically completes the brackets of the code.
  • Highlights PHP keywords and variables.
  • Enables formatting a piece of code with the use of a keyboard shortcut.
  • Offers ready-to-made templates for creating the code script.
  • Provides parameter hints.

3. Sublime Text

Sublime Text

It is a sophisticated text editor for code, markup, and prose for a slick user interface with extraordinary features and amazing performance. This editor is a proprietary cross-platform source code editor with a Python API and supports many programming languages. The developers can also add markup languages and functions which can be added with the help of plugins either community-built or maintained under free-software licenses.

Features of Sublime Text

  • Sublime Text offers menus, customizable snippets, key binding, and macros.
  • Extensible through plugins.
  • Command palette.
  • Offers advanced editing functions like multiple selections, split view, auto-completion, document map, and more.
  • Comes with a built-in package manager.

4. Eclipse PDT

Eclipse PDT

Eclipse is the most popular and widely used IDE which also has an open-source PHP development kit. Eclipse is regarded as the best PHP editor to run large-scale projects, but it also requires installing JAVA for getting work done. It is a cross-platform IDE that allows running code on multiple platforms like Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Features of Eclipse PDT

  • Eclipse PDT offers a ready-made code template.
  • Supports code refactoring
  • Automatically validates syntax
  • Can work on Linux, OS X, and Windows.
  • Enables managing the project remotely

5. Atom


It is an open-source and source code editor which runs on all platforms by providing support for plug-ins written in Node.js and GitControl. Atom is a desktop application built using web technologies that extend packages including free software licenses. It is based on a framework named Electron that enables cross-platform desktop applications using Chromium and Node.js.

Features of Atom

  • Offers customizable UI with more than 3,000 themes
  • Extensibility
  • Advanced tool
  • Syntax highlighting The appropriate selection of editors and IDEs has become crucial for the developers as they spend a lot of time when it comes to choosing software. A good programming environment comes up with syntax checking, code correction, auto-completion, and auto-addition at max to offer a complete package of code intelligence. Every year, many new code editors are launched, and so the developers of different programming languages get a little confused on which one to go for?
  • Smart autocompletion
  • Integrated package manager
  • Real-time code collaboration
  • Easy-to-access command palette

6. Notepad++


It is a free and open-source code editor supporting several languages, licensed by GPL and running in the MS Windows environment. Notepad++ is based on a powerful editing component called Scintilla, written in C++, and utilizes pure Win32 API and STL to ensure a higher execution speed and smaller program size.

Features of Notepad++

  • Notepad++ enables zooming in and out of the screen.
  • GUI is customizable with this editor.
  • Possible macro recording and playback.
  • Highlights the syntax like HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, and more.

7. Brackets


Brackets were created by Adobe Systems, licensed under MIT as an open-source editor written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript which primarily focus on web development. Currently, it is maintained on GitHub with the support of other open-source developers. The developers can use the brackets for live editing functionality in HTML, CSS, and JS.

Features of Brackets

  • Horizontal and vertical split view
  • Inline Editing
  • Lightweight
  • Support for CSS preprocessors
  • Custom themes
  • Live preview with the use of real-time connection

8. Aptana Studio PHP Editor

Aptana Studio

Developed by Aptana Inc, it is a leading open-source HTML editor which also supports PHP Framework. It is also developed on the Eclipse platform as many people are not aware of it. It comes with in-built support for Smarty and Debugger exclusively for PHP developers that are considered very stable and powerful which support all the operating systems like Linux, Windows, and Mac OS.

Features of Aptana Studio PHP Editor

  • Aptana comes with annotations for syntax error
  • Supports CSS and DOM
  • Comes with built-in PHP Server
  • Auto Indexing and Code Formatting
  • Supports PHP Debugger

9. Codelobster

This PHP edition is easily accessible from CodeLobster Software and also maintains the Windows platform. The code editor installs the debugger automatically and helps to configure it by having the ability to deploy projects on your local web server or remote server by FTP. The developers can use the plug-ins to operate with famous CMS and frameworks like Facebook, CakePHP, Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Smarty, Jquery, Symfony, CodeIgniter, and Yii.

Features of Codelobster

  • Autocomplete for different methods of Magento
  • Tooltips for Magento context, methodologies, and dynamic help.
  • Higher capacity to create projects automatedly

10. PHP Designer

PHP Designer

The latest release of PHP Designer version 8 is a fast and powerful PHP IDE and code editor which has full-blown HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript built-in editors. It is a highly customizable IDE with intelligent syntax highlighting, debug support, syntax analyzing, supports object-oriented coding, provides code insight, templates, snippets, and bug managers. It also provides intuitive code navigation, code formatters, and minifers to work with the projects and frameworks to give a good-looking user interface.

Features of PHP Designer

  • PHP Designer offers all-in-one web editing features.
  • Helps in boosting productivity.
  • Easy to Understand and Use

3. Conclusion

As seen in this guide, there are many PHP editors and IDEs in the market and we have listed some of the best here. These best free and open-source editors by PHP developers enable editing of the PHP files with ease. If you are a beginner, working on editors like Notepad++ or Sublime Text. And once you get a grip on it or have basic knowledge about the PHP code structures, you can start working on PHP editors like NetBeans IDE, Atom, Brackets, and more. 

All these code editors can make it much easier by highlighting the syntax, offering customized features, and helping boost the productivity of the PHP web app development process. 

Hope you find out your best IDE and code editor for your projects. Happy Coding.

4. FAQs

1. What is a PHP IDE?

A PHP IDE is nothing but a simple text editor tool that enables PHP developers to write and edit computer programs and source code. An IDE helps PHP app developers develop various in-built routines and elements. Basically, PHP IDE offers an environment that can make it easy to create, edit, run and debug the PHP source code.

2. Which Code Editor is best for WordPress?

Some of the best code editors for WordPress are –

  • Atom
  • Sublime Text
  • Vim
  • Notepad++
  • Brackets

3. Which is the Best Code Editor for Magento development?

The best code editor that the developers can use for Magento development is PHPStorm. It is one of the renowned cross-platform IDEs used for the PHP language.

4. How to Download Free PHP Code Editors?

If you want to download a free PHP code editor, visit the site of any free tool on Google. Then find out the tool extension, download it, and run it on your computer system. There are no other options, the installer is very simple. 

5. Is Visual Studio code editor good for PHP?

Visual Studio Code is one of the best code editors for PHP development. It offers various features like bracket matching, syntax highlighting, color theme picker, smart code completion (IntelliSense), snippets, and more. All these functionalities are out of the box and more can be added to this list by the community that created VS Code extensions.


  • Leave a message...

    1. Leo Fernandes

      I am a web developer for the last several years. I am developing web apps in PHP and I am so confused about which code editor to use. Now after reading this blog, I have cleared all my doubts. Thank you editor for this amazing post. Kudos

    2. Akram Khan

      Indeed a great piece of article! Really appreciated the way you mentioned PHP code editors in depth. Visual Code Editor and Sublime Text are two of my favorites. Keep sharing valuable info. Thanks!

    3. Jenny Jackson

      Really Awesome Article! I have been searching these types of valuable information since days, Keep writing and sharing more! Kudos!

    4. Lisa Thomas

      Hello Author, It is an awesome post! Thanks for sharing this blog regarding PHP code editors. There is huge demand of PHP nowadays and your blog is very helpful for that. You see everytime I read your blog I happen to find something new. You always surprise me! There is always an outstanding informations are there in your posts. Eagerly looking for more related posts like this. Cheers!

    5. Jordan Harvey

      Hey, Thanks for putting these 10 free code editors all together. It looks worth the read. I would personally like to recommend you all to use aptana and sublime text editor. Based on your article, I think we must give special attention to Atom, it is really easy to use. Thanks for a wonderful read. Keep writing! Cheers!

    6. Avinash Sharma

      Indeed a great article with nice collection. Thank you so much for sharing the list! Your content will surely help our develpers community. Keep up the good work. Thanks for Sharing!

    7. Trevor

      Great article.

    8. Sadye

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    10. Arnulfo

      My coder is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of thhe costs. But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using Movable-type on various websites for about a year and am anxious about switching to another platform. I have heard very good things about Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it? Any help would be really appreciated!

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    12. Margie

      Appreciate the recommendation. Will try it out.

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    14. Mike

      Should have put links next to each editor.

      1. Tatvasoft Team

        Yes, it's already added in the description part.

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      1. Tatvasoft Team

        Thanks a lot Beverley.

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      1. Tatvasoft Team

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      1. Tatvasoft Team

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      1. Tatvasoft Team

        Thanks a lot for your comment. Cheers!!