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Differences between Laravel and Symfony

When working with PHP programming languages, their characteristics must be taken into account to evaluate which of all the available frameworks offers the best advantages and is the right one for each job, since it will allow to accelerate the processes and facilitate the development of the tasks.

Nowadays multiple frameworks are offered for the development of web projects. However, the two most popular are Symfony and Laravel that, although many of their attributes are similar, there are other big differences that can be decisive when choosing one of them.

In this article we mention their differences so you know which one is more convenient to choose for your own project.


Modularity and scalability

On scalability, we can say that Laravel is less flexible because it uses applications based on the MCV design pattern and with dependencies that are designed in a predefined way. Therefore, in this case you must write your code with the aim of scaling in the future.

To improve it, you can use MySQL, a database management system, a load balancer or a caching system.

For its part, Symfony has a library of PHP components that can be reused with third-party containers, guaranteeing a better organization of the code and a more robust modularity that allows it to be used in more sophisticated applications easily. In addition, it provides several platforms that allow you to maintain scalability from the first moment of use.


Ease of use

Regarding the use, we can say that Laravel is much easier and has a more comfortable learning curve. This is due, in principle, to the fact that it has methods that make it simpler, with a minimum development and simple to understand. At the same time, its interface is intuitive and is specially designed to facilitate the processes, allowing us to focus on what is really important in our project.

For its part, in Symfony enormous functions must be taken into account, making the adaptation process slower and require more effort in the initial stage of the project. However, all this will be reflected in great advantages in the long term and you will get a project with personalized functions.

In addition, although both frameworks have a lot of resources, tutorials, guides and extensive and detailed documentation on the network, Laravel information is much easier to understand and put into practice, while in Symfony you must have a minimum knowledge of the basic concepts to use them easily. Also the Laravel community is much more active and constantly growing.

Template Engine

Template engines are software designed with the aim that, through a combination of templates with a data model, several pages with the same appearance can be obtained.

In the case of Laravel, the default template engine is Blade, although you can use a different one or not use any. Its biggest advantage is that it allows you to reuse the code and can cache the views through a standardized set of APIs.

Symfony’s default template engine is Twig, whose advantage is to develop more readable and compact templates, making it easier to use. In addition, it allows you to cache and by default views and strong code.


Power and performance

Power and performance is always a very important aspect to take into account when choosing the framework to use and this can be determined by many variables.

According to statistics, we can say that Laravel always had a better performance than Symfony. A clear example is that websites developed with Symfony take longer to load. The main reason is because of the cache that stores the same.

However, with the latest update, both have become quite even. In addition, Symfony has a variety of optimization options. The disadvantage is that it requires a lot of knowledge to be able to take advantage of all of them.


Regarding database support, both framewoks offer a relational mapping of objects, better known as ORM, to access data. This makes it possible to simplify the processes to a great extent.

In laravel’s case, the ORM is Eloquent. And, while this one offers many advantages, its simplicity makes its compatibility not high. Your migrations are done manually and there is no need to identify the fields. This is based on the ActiveRecord pattern.

In the case of Symfony, the ORM is Doctrine. Their migrations are automatic, but it is necessary to identify the particular fields within the code. In addition, it implements the DataMapper pattern, which allows the high optimization of database operations, allowing them to be queued and not run all at the same time.

Symfony supports a greater number of options for database support than Laravel, such as: SQL Server, SQLite, postgresql, SAL, Sybase SQL, Drizzle and mysql. While Laravel supports 4 systems: postgres, SQLite, sql and mysql.



Scaffolding is a tool that allows you to automatically generate the basic code needed for CRUD, using templates as a basis on which to develop applications.

Laravel does not have a predetermined scaffolding tool, but it is possible to integrate it.

For its part, Symfony has the so-called Sensio Generator Bundle, which offers all the necessary commands for various packages, forms and scaffolding controllers.

Other differences

  • Middleware: While Laravel uses the decorator pattern, Symfony uses the observer pattern to support middleware.
  • Debugging tools: Laravel has a simple panel to show the problems, while symfony with an advanced one.
  • Extensibility: Laravel has many more packages than Symfony, the first has around 9000, while the second about 2800.
  • Routing: Laravel runs only in PHP and its advantage is that it does not need any account registration, unlike Symfony, which although it has compatibility with more languages (PHP, YAML and XML), necessarily requires a registration.
  • Development costs: While the development cost is lower for Laravel projects, if complex applications are required, Symfony allows for greater savings by being more scalable.
  • Internationalization: Both offer several translations. In the case of Laravel, the translation formats are PHP and JSON, while Simfony offers many more, such as INI, PHP, JSON and CSV.
  • Coding style: In the case of Symfony, it is based on dependency injections, which allow long-term maintenance and facilitate its testing. Laravel is similar although it has default functions that, while easier to use, can become a long-term inconvenience.
  • Safety: Both Symfony and Laravel offer a powerful security system, although we can say that the former is much more complex to configure, but, at the same time, it allows everything to be very detailed. For its part, Laravel’s approach is simpler, although it only offers the basic features.

Conclusion: Which one to choose?

In the case of Laravel, we can say that it serves mainly for small projects that require faster and simpler handling, and where you do not want to spend so much money, since it does not have so many demands. While Symfony is ideal for complex web applications that require specific development, greater speed and long-term scalability.

However, the choice will depend on the type of specific project of each one, the needs of the organization and the knowledge that the work team has.

The recommendation is to test both frameworks and evaluate for yourself which one suits your specific requirements. This will be the only way to really know the benefits that can give you one over the other.

About the author

Gina Parente

Member of the team of and professionals

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