Free PHP Development Tools For Windows

Free PHP Development Tools For Windows

PHP is a powerful, open-source server-side scripting language that is used to create dynamic web pages. It’s also the most popular server-side programming language in the world, and has been around since 1994.

PHP was originally designed for web development, but it has since evolved into a general-purpose programming language that can be used in many different programming contexts. It’s free, open source software (FOSS) that can be used on any operating system (OS), including Microsoft Windows.

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The goal of this article is to list some of the best free PHP development tools for Windows users who want to work with this popular programming language.

23 Best PHP Editors and IDEs (Free and Premium)

Free PHP Development Tools For Windows

PHP is a server side scripting 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 India.

  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 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 php 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 PHP editors highlight the syntax and it is one of the best features, there are many different features beyond just highlighting. So, the best free 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.

  1. Top 10 Free PHP Editors for Web Developers
    Some of the most popular PHP code editors Free PHP IDE are:
  2. Visual Studio Code
    Visual Studio Code
    It is an open-source PHP 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, code validation and navigation.
Color theme picker.
Built-in Emmet support.
Smart code completion
Built-in web server integration of Git and GitHub.
Integrated terminal.
Live share

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

  1. 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 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.

  1. 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 code on multiple platforms like Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Features of Eclipse PDT

This best PHP IDE 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

  1. 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
Advanced tool
Syntax highlighting The appropriate selection of php editors and php 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

  1. Notepad++
    It is a free and open-source php code editor supporting multiple 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 commercial code editor.
Possible macro recording and playback.
Highlights the syntax like HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, and more.

  1. Brackets
    Brackets were created by Adobe Systems, licensed under MIT as an open-source php 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
Support for CSS preprocessors
Custom themes
Live preview with the use of real-time connection

  1. 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 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

  1. Codelobster
    This PHP code editor 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 web development
Tooltips for Magento context, methodologies, and dynamic help.
Higher capacity to create projects automatedly

  1. 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 php editors. It is a highly customizable integrated development environment 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 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

  1. RJ TextED
    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.

The best aspects include the following:

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.

  1. 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 dollars


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.

  1. Rapid PHPEditor
    Rapid PHP Editor is a paid-for code editor for Windows. 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 but 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.

The best aspects include the following:

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

  1. 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.

The best aspects include the following:

Auto-completion, multiple choices, a minimap, a change tracker, and calltips 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

  1. 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), panes for multiple views, task management, code completion, and project execution.

The best aspects include the following:

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
Diff Tool For Both Files And Folders

  1. 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 code 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 code 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 development process.

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

  1. FAQs
  2. 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.
  3. Which Code Editor is best for WordPress?
    Some of the best code editors for WordPress are –

Sublime Text

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

best php development tools

Some of the names among these websites include Facebook, MailChimp, and Tumblr.

Okay, now you too want a website built on PHP. However, before you hire a dedicated PHP developer, make sure the developer knows how to use these eight PHP development tools:

Zend Studio
PHP Debug Bar
AWS Cloud9
Aptana Studio

  1. PHPStorm
    If you’re developing projects using several third-party applications and using large codebases, PHPStorm is the best choice for you. The tool offers the code editing environment.

The Java-based lightweight IDE supports PHP coding frameworks including Laravel, Yii, and Zend. Furthermore, the PHP development tool supports popular Content Management Systems such as WordPress and Drupal.

The background code indexing connects the code together and catches common errors.
The in-built terminal allows you to run code management tools and pre-processing directly from the editor.
Cross-platform support allows running the software on any operating platform.
Operates slowly in machines with lower than 16 GB RAM.
A rigid project-based structure prevents from taking throwaway notes or performing quick edits.

  1. Zend Studio
    Google. Microsoft. StrikeIron. These are some of the giants that use Zend Studio.

The PHP development tool can deploy PHP applications on any server and offers stunning speed. Zend Studio is compatible with PHP 7.

Offers fast coding along with an intelligent code editor.
Integrates with Zend Debugger, X-ray, and Xdebug.
Offers PHP profiling and debugging both independently and with the Zend Server.
Supports all the leading programming languages including PHP, JavaScript, C, and C++.
Offers interoperability with GitHub, Git, SVN, and CVS.
The PHP development tool has a steep learning curve and huge documentation.
The plug-ins are expensive.

  1. PHP Debug Bar


PHP Debug Bar allows you to display profiling data from multiple web applications. The development tool comes with two parts — the main DebugBar and data collectors and the render.

The development tool works on the data collector architecture. Furthermore, the tool allows you to save your requests and reopen them.

Inspects monitor networks and CSS elements.
You can create customized collectors and view the collectors in the bar.
Supports leading programming languages including Java, PHP, and Ruby.
Offers an in-built data collector for standard PHP highlights.
Can handle AJAX requests with ease.
Offers detailed documentation.
Incompatible with PHP versions lower than 5.5.

  1. CodeLobster
    If you’re searching for an IDE to modernize and streamline the development process, CodeLobster is the perfect choice for you. The PHP development tool supports all the leading PHP frameworks including Laravel, EmberJS, and CodeIgniter.

The developers offer CodeLobster at a price of $39.95 per feature.

In-built PHP debugger validates the code locally.
Offers an auto-complete feature for PHP arguments, characters, tags, functions, and attributes. Thus, you won’t need to remember anything during coding.
Autocompletes DOM elements, keywords, and their respective properties.
Supports all leading platforms including Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Furthermore, among these top eight PHP development tools, CodeLobster supports all the major programming languages such as JavaScript, CSS, and HTML as well.
The user interface is outdated.
Doesn’t showcase larger data items in their entirety.
Also read: Identifying the Best Web Development Framework for Your Business Needs

  1. AWS Cloud9
    AWS Cloud9 offers a pre-configured environment to allow developers to start coding right away. Furthermore, if you want to build a server less application and write, debug, and run code in a browser, AWS Cloud9 is the perfect tool for you.

The web services unit of has created the Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The app comes equipped with an in-built code editor, debugger, and terminal.

Offers a real-time language analysis, image editor, and debugger.
Offers real-time input tracking and a shareable development environment.
The collaborative coding feature allows developers to code along with their colleagues.
Offers supported tooling for over 40 programming languages including PHP, JavaScript, Python, Node.js, and C++.
Offers file revision history to help you see all the changes you made.
Doesn’t support language debugging other than PHP.
Doesn’t sync with file storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

  1. Netbeans
    A free, lightweight, open-source, and cross-platform IDE for PHP applications. That’s Netbeans for you. The PHP development tool supports several languages other than English such as Russian, Japanese, Brazilian, Chinese, and Portuguese.

The tool was originally built for Java development.

Offers a Netbeans profiler, intelligent code completion, and a visual debugger.
Offers sturdy project management, code templates, efficient refactoring, and getter setter generation.
Compatible with all the leading PHP frameworks such as WordPress, Zend, Symfony 2, Smarty, CakePHP, and FuelPHP.
Excellent for testing and debugging code.
Allows you to run server-based applications with ease.
Takes up lots of space. Furthermore, the IDE runs slow on computers with i3 processors.
Compilation and execution performance is slower when compared to other IDEs.

  1. Aptana Studio
    Aptana Studio is the perfect choice for you if you want to build dynamic web applications. The PHP development tool integrates with several server-side and client-side applications that use technologies such as PHP, HTML5, Python, and many others.

The tool upholds the command-line interface and debuggers and makes them more advanced for PHP website development.

Offers IDE, FTP, and SFTP customization. Furthermore, code assistant allows you to write programs in different languages including JavaScript and CSS.
Integrates with JavaScript and AJAX popular libraries.
Supports information availability from all leading internet browsers such as Firefox, Opera, and Safari.
Allows you to build and test web applications in one environment.
Offers a deployment wizard, an integrated debugger, an integrated terminal, and code help.
Aptana Studio among all he PHP development tools is heavy and can get stuck when several apps are working simultaneously.

  1. Eclipse
    If you’re searching for a tool that offers a wide range of plugins to make coding easier, Eclipse is your best shot. Developed by IBM, the PHP development tool is customizable. Furthermore, the tool supports both GUI and non-GUI applications.

The tool offers both the PHP and Java environment as standards.

Offers code templates, code assistance, code restructuring, code formatting and navigation, and syntax highlighting. The feature helps you to write better code with ease.
Supports all the leading programming languages such as JavaScript, COBOL, Ruby, C, C++, and Python.
Auto-completion which helps you save a lot of time.
A wide range of plugins including code formatter plugins and unit testing plugins.
Offers multiple language support too.
The user interface is simple and easy to use.
Offers detailed documentation and an active community. Thus, any time you have an issue, there’s an answer.
Doesn’t offer an in-built code replacement feature.
Intellisense feature can hang at times.
Tech Professionals

A PHP developer’s skills should match their salary
A PHP developer salary ranges from $29,040 to $91,508 a year on average. If you’re going to pay someone that much, you must make sure they have the necessary skills and knowledge.

In this article, you have learnt about the top eight PHP development tools a developer must have knowledge of:

Zend Studio
PHP Debug Bar
AWS Cloud9
Aptana Studio


Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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