15 Best PHP Editors for Web Developers [Free and Paid]

PHP is one of the most popular scripting languages that enable programmers to write high-quality code. To work with PHP, developers use various PHP code editors. All these  PHP editors might look the same at a glance but they come with unique features and optimal use cases. Therefore, which one to choose for the next project depends on the programming requirements, workflows, and preferences.. In this blog, we will go through the top PHP editors that every web developer can use to edit PHP codes and create scalable and robust PHP applications. 

1. What is a PHP Editor?

When it comes to editing PHP code, anyone can edit its file using a basic or advanced text editor like Notepad or Notepad++. But that doesn’t mean it is an easy task to do. The main issue with this is that the source code files are difficult to read when the basic PHP editor doesn’t highlight the syntax and makes people misunderstand 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 programmer as they might have to spend more time in going through the blog and figuring out what to do next. Therefore, to edit the PHP code files effectively, the majority of PHP developers in India and around the globe prefer tools that can highlight the PHP syntax as per its true meaning. 

One of the best features of these online PHP editors is to highlight the syntax, other than that they also provide many useful features. 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 with less errors.

2. Top 15 PHP IDE and Editors

Some of the most popular premium and PHP IDEs and Code Editors are:

1. Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code

It is an open-source PHP editor developed by Microsoft which supports in debug code, 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, code validation, and navigation
  • Color theme picker.
  • Built-in Emmet support.
  • Smart code completion
  • Built-in web server integration of Git and GitHub.
  • Extensibility
  • Integrated terminal.
  • Live share

Pros and Cons of Visual Studio Code


  • It’s popular among developers across technology stacks due to its extensive language support.
  • VS Code’s extensive plugin and extension library allows for specialized configuration for each programming language and process, hence boosting efficiency.
  • It has a simple design that makes it simple to use, and it also allows users to modify the interface to their liking.
  • The development process is simplified by the editor’s built-in support for Git’s version management system.


  • It’s not as large in size as others, but it can still use a lot of RAM if you have a lot of plugins installed or are working on a big project.
  • While the fundamentals are easy to grasp, mastering the editor’s full potential for personalization and optimization may take more time and effort.
  • VS Code’s heavy reliance on extensions means that it may not have as many pre-built functionalities for certain languages or frameworks as competing IDEs.
  • Editing configuration files to personalize particular parts or adjust settings may be difficult for novices.

2. NetBeans IDE

Netbeans IDE

Netbeans PHP IDE is a free and open-source integrated development environment that comes with all the tools which web 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 PHP code 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.

Pros and Cons of NetBeans IDE


  • NetBeans is useful for projects involving more than one programming language since it supports a wide range of languages, including Java.
  • It has an approachable layout with simple controls and functionality, making it useful for both novices and seasoned pros.
  • Provides a number of useful utilities, including code generation, refactoring, GUI creation, and interaction with popular version control systems.


  • Particularly when larger projects are involved, NetBeans can use more system resources than other lightweight editors.
  • Its upgrades and new features are not released as frequently or as quickly as with other IDEs.
  • Although it’s compatible with many languages, it may require additional plugins for certain features.

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 rapid PHP editor is a proprietary cross-platform source code editor with a Python API and supports many programming languages. The web 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.
  • Supports multiple languages
  • Offers advanced editing functions like multiple selections, split view, auto-completion, document map, and more.
  • Comes with a built-in package manager.

Pros and Cons of Sublime Text


  • The UI is simple and straightforward, and using the program’s many keyboard shortcuts is a breeze.
  • Users can make use of the editor’s flexibility by utilizing the wide variety of packages and plugins available for it.
  • It works the same on all of the major operating systems and is available for them all.
  • Functions like the command palette and the ability to make numerous choices increase efficiency by facilitating rapid editing and command execution.


  • While Sublime Text’s built-in capabilities are vast, users rely largely on third-party plugins for additional functionality, and these plugins’ quality and level of support can vary widely.
  • Some customers may be put off by the fact that, despite the unlimited free trial, ongoing use necessitates acquiring a license.
  • It’s a text editor, not entirely an IDE, lacking crucial capabilities like built-in debugging or extensive project management tools.
  • Extending functionality using plugins would need considerable skill, and users might have difficulty in customizing it considerably.

4. Eclipse PDT

Eclipse PDT

Eclipse is the most popular and widely used commercial PHP 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 PHP code on multiple platforms like Windows, Linux and Mac OS.

Features of Eclipse PDT

  • This best PHP IDE offers a ready-made code template.
  • Supports code refactoring
  • Automatically validates syntax
  • Can work on Windows, Linux and Mac OS.
  • Enables managing the project remotely

Pros and Cons of Eclipse


  • The Eclipse platform offers a wide range of plugins. Users can have the choice to create their own Plugin Development Environment (PDE). 
  • In addition, Eclipse has support for modeling. This encompasses Unified Modeling Language (UML) projects. 
  • The Eclipse software platform has been specifically engineered to effectively manage and accommodate extensive development projects. 


  • Eclipse has a tendency to exhibit poorer performance compared to other integrated development environments (IDEs). There exist other factors contributing to this issue, including inadequate allocation of memory resources. 

5. Atom


It is an open-source PHP 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 PHP tool
  • Syntax highlighting 
  • Smart autocompletion
  • Integrated package manager
  • Real-time code collaboration
  • Easy-to-access command palette

Pros and Cons of Atom


  • The easy nature of coding is enhanced by the presence of the autofill function.
  • Designed for software engineers who like experimenting with modifying their coding environment.
  • The performance exhibited a remarkable display of strength and impact.


  • There is an absence of instructional resources available for learning proficiency in utilizing this integrated development environment (IDE).
  • Acquiring proficiency in advanced features can a time-consuming work, particularly for novice developers.
  • In comparison with other IDEs, tool upgrades appear less often.

6. Notepad++


It is a free and open-source PHP code editor supporting multiple programming languages, licensed by GPL, and running in the MS Windows environment. Notepad++ is based on a powerful editing component called Scintilla, written in C++ language, 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 commercial code editor.
  • Possible macro recording and playback.
  • Highlights the syntax while writing code like HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, and more.

Pros and Cons of Notepad++


  • Notepad++ is perfect for rapid modification of small to medium-sized projects since it is lightweight, speedy, and has a minimum effect on system resources.
  • Code is easier to understand and errors are easier to spot because of the syntax highlighting support for several programming languages.
  • It offers a large variety of plugins that extend its capabilities, including support for file transfer protocol (FTP) and code completion.


  • It contains certain features that are useful for coding, but it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a full-fledged IDE.
  • Larger projects may find it deficient due to a lack of powerful project management tools and in-built version control.
  • Some developers do not support its inconsistencies which leads to their program’s reliability, especially when working with very big documents or certain plugins.

7. Brackets


Brackets was created by Adobe Systems, licensed under MIT as an open-source PHP editor written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript which primarily focuses on web development. Currently, it is maintained on GitHub with the support of other open-source web 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 and Auto Completion
  • Lightweight and Robust
  • Support for CSS pre processors
  • Custom themes
  • Live preview with the use of real-time connection

Pros and Cons of Brackets


  • With its inline editing feature, users can make rapid changes to CSS and HTML components without opening new files.
  • Many useful add-ons can be used with Brackets to extend the editor’s capabilities and make it more flexible for users.
  • Included assistance for LESS and SASS preprocessors, with syntax marking and code suggestions.
  • Facilitates rapid revisions by providing direct access to applicable CSS rules from HTML components, and vice versa.


  • Although it is a beneficial IDE for web development, it could be restricted in its ability to handle languages other than HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • Brackets can be resource-intensive according to the magnitude of the task and the number of addons used, which might have an impact on the execution of less powerful systems.
  • There might be compatibility concerns or a need for third-party assistance if you rely on certain features or functions that necessitate the installation of special extensions.

8. Aptana Studio PHP Editor

Aptana Studio

Developed by Aptana Inc, it is a leading open-source HTML code 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 PHP template engine and Debugger exclusively for PHP developers that are considered very stable as well as powerful and supports all the operating systems like Linux, Windows, and Mac OS.

Features of Aptana Studio PHP Editor

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

Pros and Cons of Aptana Studio


  • Aptana Studio is built specifically for web development and provides extensive resources for working with web languages including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • It is included with a debugger for JavaScript, making it easier to track down and fix programming errors.
  • It includes code aid, autocomplete, and syntax marking, increasing the programming experience and eliminating mistakes.
  • To manage your projects simpler, the IDE has a terminal built right in for running commands and scripts.


  • It’s a great IDE for building websites, but its support for other languages might be limited in comparison to other, more versatile IDEs.
  • When engaged in bigger tasks or utilizing particular features often, it is observed with occasional failures or instability.
  • Upgrades and new feature launches are not as regular or prompt contrasted to certain other current IDEs, perhaps leading to losing out on new functionality.

9. Codelobster

This PHP code editor is easily accessible from CodeLobster Software and also maintains the Windows operating system. 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 web developers can use the plug-ins to operate with famous CMS and frameworks like  CakePHP, Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Smarty, Jquery, Symfony, CodeIgniter, and Yii.

Features of Codelobster

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

Pros and Cons of CodeLobster


  • Users like it because it provides beneficial features for troubleshooting issues and for the reason that it is a basic yet strong editor for web development.
  • Codelobster’s ability to effortlessly categorize and allocate files makes it a fantastic choice for large-scale projects. When debugging, underlining is an invaluable time saver.
  • It’s a simple and effective application that helps greatly in graphical structuring using PHP, HTML, and JavaScript.


  • In comparison to certain other IDEs, CodeLobster does not offer certain advanced capabilities like in-depth debugging tools, extensive refactoring choices, or comprehensive code analysis.
  • Due to its unique workflow and set of features, CodeLobster requires some familiarity on the part of new users or those making the switch from another IDE.
  • The scale of the CodeLobster community and the availability of assistance tools is more limited compared to that of other notable IDEs, thereby limiting the scope of community-driven help.

10. PHP Designer

PHP Designer

The latest release of PHP Designer version 8 is a fast and powerful PHP IDE which has full-blown HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript built-in PHP editors. It is a highly customizable integrated development environment with intelligent syntax highlighting, debug support, syntax analysis, supports object-oriented coding, and provides code insight, templates, snippets, and bug managers. It also provides intuitive code navigation, code folding, 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

Pros and Cons of PHP Designer


  • Extremely Scalable
  • Free to use
  • Strong Community Support
  • Adaptable with multiple platforms and technologies


  • Limited Debugging Capabilities
  • Security is not best
  • Not as versatile

11. RJ TextED


Rickard Johansson’s RJ TextEd is a one-man endeavor and a very remarkable one. It is a feature-rich source code editor designed primarily for web development on Windows operating systems. While the website for RJ TextEd appears to be rather simple, this is a text editor with a slew of fascinating features.

Features of RJ TextED:

  • HTML and CSS wizards
  • browser preview for HTML files
  • theme manager with pre-designed themes
  • built-in project manager
  • regular expression creator
  • macro manager
  • FTP/SFTP client with syncing
  • Editing features include side-by-side file comparisons, sophisticated sorting, code folding, and auto-completion.

Pros and Cons of RJ TextED


  • Effective text editing in huge files or projects is made easier by the inclusion of powerful search and replace features.
  • With its built-in snippet manager, developers can save and reuse frequently used bits of code.
  • It allows interaction with various tools and compilers, enabling users to smoothly include extra features or personalize their workflow.


  • Some first-time users might get lost in the sea of functions and customization possibilities.
  • Developers unfamiliar with installing and configuring external tools or compilers might find the procedure to be difficult.

12. Novi HTML Visual Editor

Novi HTML Visual Editor

Novi Builder is a real-time visual HTML editor that enables you to manage your content properly.

Platform(s): Chrome 50+ or Safari 10+

Supported languages: HTML, CSS, and PHP

Price: 16 USD


Features include a drag-and-drop visual builder, a powerful text editor, a code editor, and an easy context menu. You can use Visual Builder to construct lead-generation landing sites, sell your templates, and create multipage pages by switching and duplicating existing pieces.

Pros and Cons of Novi


  • Novi creates clean HTML, enabling users to have more freedom and exposure to the underlying code, compared to numerous other visual website builders that employ exclusive standards.
  • It provides users with a variety of customizable website templates from which they can create their own websites.
  • Built-in plugin and extension compatibility make it easy to add functionality like buttons, galleries, and contact forms.


  • Though easy to use for newcomers, more complex functions will need practice or study to master.
  • While the drag-and-drop interface saves time, it may not allow for as much granular adjustment for those who have refined design needs.

13. Rapid PHP Editor

Rapid PHP Editor is a paid-for code editor for Windows OS. While the term ‘PHP’ is contained in its name, it is not limited to PHP editing; it may also be used to edit other file formats. Rapid PHP Editor is a subset of a product line that includes the same editor with incremental enhancements. 

The primary motivation for this configuration is to keep the editor as light as possible. For example, if you simply want HTML and CSS support, you can use Rapid CSS Editor; but, if you also require PHP support, you may use Rapid PHP Editor, which is effectively the same application with additional features.

Features of Rapid PHP Editor:

  • Detailed Customization Options
  • Built-In Html/CSS Validator
  • Preview Of Php Files (Using Your Local Web Server)
  • Real-Time Php Syntax Checker
  • Multi-Browser Preview
  • Php Framework Support (WordPress, Laravel, Cakephp, Codeigniter, Symfony, Yii, Nette, Prado)
  • Built-In Php Debugger (Xdebug) And Php Beautifier
  • Support For The Smarty Template Engine
  • Svn- And Git-Integration
  • Can Save Files Directly Via FTP/STFP/FTPS
  • Extensible Via Plugins

Pros and Cons of Rapid PHP Editor


  • In addition to PHP, it provides solid backing for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, along with other functionality and tools for creating fully functional websites.
  • The user interface, plugins, shortcuts, and settings can all be altered to better suit individual needs and methods of operation.
  • It’s easy to create in certain ecosystems because it’s compatible with a wide range of web technologies and frameworks.


  • According to the project scope and use, Rapid PHP Editor might require substantial system resources, possibly affecting execution on lower-end computers.

14. Komodo IDE

Komodo IDE

The Komodo IDE is a component of the ActiveState Platform, a collection of sophisticated development tools for open source programming languages. It is a cross-platform integrated development environment (IDE) that incorporates PHP support (besides other languages). Komodo IDE is an enhanced version of the Komodo Edit source code editor; it includes all of Komodo Edit’s capabilities, plus many more, such as live previewing, unit testing, dependency detection, and Chrome debugging.

Features of Komodo IDE:

  • Auto-completion, multiple choices, a minimap, a change tracker, and call tips are just some of the sophisticated editing capabilities available.
  • Refactoring, code browser, visual debugging, regular expression toolkit, database explorer, and HTTP inspector are just some of the features available.
  • Docker And Vagrant Integration
  • Supports Many Version Control Systems (Git, Subversion, Mercurial, Cvs, Perforce, And Bazaar)
  • Onboarding And Project Wizards
  • Dom Viewer
  • Real-Time Collaboration
  • Sharing Via Slack
  • Built-In Tutorials

Pros and Cons of Komodo IDE


  • Free, cross-platform IDE support for a wide variety of languages.
  • Standard IDE features and popular PHP functions.
  • Komodo Edit is an alternative, PHP-only editor.


  • Only a paid commercial membership package can get you access to expert assistance.

15. CodeLite


CodeLite is a free and open-source integrated development environment (IDE) primarily for the C++ programming language, although it also supports PHP and Node.js (as pre-installed plugins). Although it is not the most powerful IDE available, it is free and has all of the essential IDE features for PHP including project and workspace management, integrated debugger (Xdebug), and panes for multiple views, task management, code completion, and project execution.

Features of CodeLite:

  • Customizable Design With Many Themes To Choose From
  • Powerful Find And Replace And Go-To Functionality
  • Php Linting, Refactoring, And Debugging
  • Php Class Wizard
  • Sftp Support With An Ssh Account Manager
  • Git-Integration
  • Different Tools For Both Files And Folders

Pros and Cons of Codelite


  • A programming environment that is both free and open-source.
  • This solution does not rely on the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) or Java Development Kit (JDK) as a prerequisite.
  • Account signup is not necessary.
  • Adaptable to many settings.


  • There is a lack of thorough tutorials or beginner project options available.

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 open-source code editors by PHP developers enable editing of the PHP files with ease. If you are a beginner you can start 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 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 development process. 

Hope you find out the best PHP 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.

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  • Leave a message...

    1. Lauren Silva

      Indeed, excellent content and a very valuable blog. Thank you for putting together this list of the best IDEs and visual editors for PHP! Your contribution to the Web developer's community will undoubtedly be helpful. Keep up the great work. Thank you for sharing this!

    2. Thomas Gibbs

      This is a fantastic piece of writing! I liked how you mentioned in detail about PHP IDEs and code editors. As a web developer, my favourite text editors are Notpad++ and Sublime Text because of their simplicity and user friendly environment. Continue to share useful information. Thanks!

    3. 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

    4. 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!

    5. Jenny Jackson

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

    6. 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!

    7. 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!

    8. 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!

    9. Trevor

      Great article.

    10. Sadye

      Thank you for publishing, I truly enjoy your work, keep it up.

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      Ꭼxcellent post. I'm experiencing sоme of these iѕsues as well..

    12. 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 blogengine.net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it? Any help would be really appreciated!

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    14. Margie

      Appreciate the recommendation. Will try it out.

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      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

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      1. Tatvasoft Team

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        Thanks a lot for your comment. Cheers!!