Yii vs CodeIgniter: Comparison of Top PHP Frameworks

PHP is one of the most popular open-source platforms in the world of web development that enables developers to create a customized PHP web application. On top of that, PHP frameworks make the work even easier and give the utmost flexibility.

There are plenty of frameworks available for developers today. Frameworks contain a set of technical tools that are united together to shape an appropriate solution to make life easier for developing open-source web app development.

That is the reason business owners get confused about which is the best PHP framework they should use and when? To help them out we are going to do a PHP framework comparison between Codeigniter and Yii and check out their abilities, practical capabilities, and performance.

Let’s discuss the Yii framework and CodeIgniter framework and their ability against each other before we directly move forward for its comparison.

An Introduction: CodeIgniter Framework

CodeIgniter is a PHP framework that developers trust to quickly develop dynamic and comprehensive web apps. It is used to increase the speed of the development process. CodeIgniter is a web framework that helps developers in resolving complex PHP development by maintaining high-performing libraries, plugins, and simple interfaces.

You must have read all the basics about what is CodeIgniter framework? And the reasons to choose CodeIgniter is stated in one of our previous blogs.

CodeIgniter has become one of the popular PHP frameworks mostly because of its remarkable originality. Despite having some setbacks in its development, it bounced back with a 3.x version. Not only this, but CodeIgniter is expected to get upgraded and become more advanced with its latest version. The key offerings are:

  1. Structural Appearance And Regular Updates

    This framework is based on Object-Oriented Programming (OOP). It provides ease of confidence to developers to adopt it without any hassle. Previously, the older version of CodeIgniter was less flexible for developers till the 3.x version arrived because it was very strict in its approach and it was also lacking support for composer and middleware.

  2. Inbuilt Libraries

    CodeIgniter framework offers a handy guide and built-in libraries along with other functionalities. However, it lacks some kind of support compared to other frameworks such as Yii and Laravel, though version 3 provides stronger coding now.

  3. Market Popularity

    Many developers choose CodeIgniter because of its popularity and it is easy to use. Even though there are lots of people using this framework many people have not updated their version after 2.0. So, if you are looking for a framework that is more relevant to your web app development make sure you choose the latest popular version.

  4. Database Management

    CodeIgniter provides default MySQL and PostgreSQL for database management. But it does not have a composer that might make third-party integration of databases a difficult task because it will require performing tests before moving files.

    On top of that, database support is also limited. No doubt, CodeIgniter has its own ORM tool, but the other frameworks do not have the same kind of database tools.

  5. API Support

    The earlier versions of CodeIgniter did not provide built-in API support. But somehow, CodeIgniter’s previous versions were missing out on the latest development practices that other frameworks use. Even it offers the best community support for quick web application development.

What is Yii Framework?

what is Yii framework?

Yii, an acronym for “Yes It Is” is a very powerful framework that is based on components and is used for large-scale web apps. It is a popular open-source framework that has faced lots of difficulties in its earlier versions (1.0 and 1.1).

Then in 2014 it fixed many errors and came back with version 2.0 that made huge popularity and many developers started taking advantage of the Yii framework.

  1. Structural Appearance And Regular Updates

    Yii supports a strong MVC approach and for defining their files it follows conventions. It does not release updates frequently like other frameworks so as a result, it is still following its long-lasting version 2.0.x.

  2. Inbuilt Libraries

    Yii offers plenty of packages on Packagist.org for developers. It also has a lot of online resources and tutorials that facilitate online support for Yii developers. Developers believe that its documentation is detailed and organized and answers many curious questions.

  3. Market Popularity

    The overall progress of Yii has been comparatively slow and clumsy. The websites and web applications built using Yii’s older version need some maintenance. Even though it is quite popular in the market and has a good learning curve, still it is not a highly preferred framework.

  4. Database Management

    Yii supports MySQL, SQLite, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and some more DBMS. Basically, Yii is a decent PHP framework when it comes to database management and meets security standards. You can also integrate third-party packages such as MongoDB despite having the ActiveRecord ORM tool which is included in Yii.

  5. API Support

    If you talk about API support, Yii is similar to Laravel’s API support. Yii provides APIS routes and permits quick onboarding and code generation along with APIs. The core advantage of Yii is it supports both OAuth 2 and JSON data inputs. The odd thing about the Yii API module is it looks like an add-on rather than an inbuilt feature.

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CodeIgniter vs Yii: What’s the Difference?

CodeIgniter, a PHP Framework, is an agile and open web app framework with a trivial footprint. It is fuelling the next age of web applications. While Yii, a PHP framework, comes with ActiveRecord, MVC, caching, testing, scaffolding, and authentication, and role-based access control.

It reduces your web app development time considerably. The following table depicts the difference between CodeIgniter and Yii.

Aspects CodeIgniter Yii
Current Version Current version of CodeIgniter is v4.0.4 Current version of Yii 2.0
Requirement It requires PHP 5+ for smooth functioning It also requires PHP 5+ for better results
Object-Relational Mapping Active records Active records and database access objects
Template System PHP, Simple template parser “{var_name}” PHP, PRADO, extension such as Smarty, Twig, etc.
CRUD Generation It does not support CRUD generation It supports CRUD generation with Gii
VCS Support VCS support through Git subversion and GitHub It provides VCS support through Git subversion
Multiple Database support Yes Yes
Database Model It has a relational object oriented database model It has a relational object oriented database model
Testing Library It has a PHPUnit as testing library It has a PHPUnit and Selenium as testing library.
Security It provides security through Xsrf, SQL injection, and inbuilt Xss It provides security through Xss, SQL injections, and CSRF

Yii vs Codeigniter – Which One is Better?

which one is better - Yii or codeigniter?

As we can see CodeIgniter is for beginners developing simple web apps as we discussed earlier. CodeIgniter is a PHP MVC framework whereas Yii is a complete web-based development framework. However, when it comes to choosing one out of them the first choice of many developers is CodeIgniter.

That does not mean that Yii is not preferable, it suits projects that belong to clients having large project requirements and their region is China or Russia. Both CodeIgniter and Yii have unique features and both of them give outstanding performance to their users.

But choosing the best for your project depends on the suitability of your project requirement. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Which one is a better framework CodeIgniter or Yii?

    Both frameworks have their own uniqueness if we compare both of them feature-wise. Both provide sufficient features to complete web app development. As a business owner choosing one out of CodeIgniter and Yii depends on your requirement and the development company you choose.

  2. Is CodeIgniter a good framework?

    Definitely yes, CodeIgniter is a good and powerful framework. It is built for developers who want to develop web applications using a simple and elegant toolkit. CodeIgniter is considered one of the best options for developing dynamic PHP websites.

  3. Is Yii a good choice for large projects?

    Yii is the first choice of the developers over the other PHP frameworks because of its developer-friendly features. Its features are secure, reliable, and easy to configure. It is ideal for websites and web apps that are having high traffic for example web portals, eCommerce portals, or CMS Websites.


Based on our experience and knowledge of customized PHP web app development, we think that both the frameworks have their own individuality and both are performing well according to their users’ needs. Still, you can contact us anytime if you need any further help in choosing the ideal framework for your project.

Jeel Patel

Written by

Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the Founder of Monocubed and is the main curator & writer of the content found on this site. With ideals of quality, commitment, and perseverance, he believes in creating lasting business relationships with the clients.