The Battle of the Titans. Zend vs. Symfony

zend vs symfony

Zend and Symfony are the two frameworks that are often compared. Which one is more functional? Which one is more preferable in terms of productivity? Which one is better for general understanding? Which of these two has a larger community? I’ve asked Zfort Group experts to help me with these questions, and here’s what we have come to.

Zend Framework

ZF is an open source web application framework based on PHP5 and licensed under the New BSD License. It is object oriented and it utilizes MVC paradigm. All elements of Zend are E_Strict compliant, there is a use-at-will architecture with freely connected parts and slight inter-independencies. There is also an extensive MVC implementation which supports PHP based templates and layouts by default. Support for various database systems and service providers, including MySQL, Postgre SQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Maria DB, SQLite, IBM DB2 and Informix Dynamic Server is delivered through Zend. E-mail delivery and composition as well as retrieval via mbox, POP3, IMAP4 and Maildir are another features done by Zend. Last but not least there is a flexible caching sub-system which maintains a great deal of different sorts of backends such as memory or a file system.


Symfony is a free web application framework created in PHP which follows an MVC paradigm. It was released under the MIT license. Symfony aims at advancing formation and support of web applications and re-establishing repetitive coding tasks. At present it is compliant with such object-relational mappings as Doctrine and Propel. It has low performance overhead costs in case of dealing with environment supporting a byte code cache. Symfony framework is aimed at developing solid apps in the context of an enterprise and strives to provide developers with complete control over the configuration: from the structure of the directory to the foreign libraries, where nearly everything may be configured. In order to fit enterprise development instructions Symfony is packaged with a number of supplementary tools to assist programmers to test, debug and document their projects. Finally, this framework utilizes a great deal of common and clear design patterns such as MVC.

Which of the two frameworks is more functional?

Symfony brings innovations to PHP. It was among the first major frameworks to cover PHP 5.3, to present the use of a Dependency Injection container, and to utilize the templating engine for its default templates, Twig which is now adopted by leading CMS’s such as Drupal and eZpublish. Symfony has a number of special properties, such as an amazing debug toolbar and its wonderful built-in profiler.

Which one is more preferable in terms of productivity?

Both frameworks may be utilized for large websites or web apps, and both are excellent choices to develop either one. However, Symfony has more overhead in regards of resource usage (RAM and CPU) than ZF even if only by a small margin.

Which of the two frameworks is better for general understanding?

Symfony because with this framework it is easy to create new projects from scratch, and you can create your first prototype really quickly and advance from there on.

Which of these two has a larger community?

There is more community behind Symfony, there are a lot of great plugins available, and it has well written documentation. During the past year over 500 people contributed to the Symfony core and the community developed more than 1,600 bundles for the full-stack framework. In addition Symfony has a few yearly dedicated conferences around the globe and a great deal of user groups. Symfony is utilized by a lot of big companies (BBC, CBS etc.), by many large websites (TED, and some open source projects that are also powered by Symfony CMS’s (Drupal, eZpublish, libraries (PHPUnit, Doctrine), products (phpBB, shopware), and frameworks (PPI, Laravel). This leads to interoperability between all of these solutions. However, Zend Framework has experienced as many as 15 million downloads and a number of yearly conferences, as well as a few user groups around the world just like Symfony. Then, in terms of being used by large companies and websites – Cisco, Discovery, Panasonic, and many more are done with the use of Zend Framework. Additionally a lot of open source projects and other frameworks are powered by Zend Framework, among them are: Magento, Centurion, Webfolio, Tomato CMS, Digitalus CMS, Concrete5, PHProjekt, pimcore and what’s interesting that PPI framework mentioned above utilizes Zend Framework (version 2) in addition to Symfony components.


Zend and Symfony belong to the same enterprise niche. Their quality and complexity is at the same level, and both of their functionality allows for highly professional web application development. However, we believe that Symfony is slightly better than ZF, according to a number of factors mentioned in this article. What do you think? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.

14 responses to “The Battle of the Titans. Zend vs. Symfony”

  1. […] publié en anglais sur le site de l’agence web ZFort sous la plume de Elena Bizina, effectue un comparatif entre Symfony et Zend Framework. Qui sortira vainqueur de la bataille […]

  2. GeeH says:

    Fluff piece.

  3. Soós Gábor says:

    Well, it has to be mentioned, that ZF 2 documentations and tutorials are miles behind Symfony 2 in quality and number

  4. You must test Jelix from, it is faster and more efficient than Zend and Symfony but less modules. I have benchmark all for my company.

  5. “All elements of Zend are E_Strict compliant.”
    I would be very careful to make such a statement. It is a goal of Zend Framework. The reality is, that is has it’s bugs and they generate notices.

  6. Hubermann says:

    Both are shit, I prefer laravel.

  7. Zfort Group says:

    Thanks everybody for the feedback!

  8. Peter Kokot says:

    Symfony is my preferred framework. For me as a developer and in companies it offers us so much that no other framework can compete with it. It is shame even more projects migrate to Symfony actually. Regarding performance Symfony could do a bit better though in exchange of complex architecture this is normal. Something like Ruby on Rails in Ruby world. I think that users are just too lazy to learn it properly and rather stay on old CodeIgniter frameworks or even worse on their own frameworks. Regards.

  9. Zfort Group says:

    Gleb, Peter, thanks for sharing your opinions guys!

  10. […] The Battle of the Titans. Zend vs. Symfony […]

Terms of Use


This Web site and all information contained herein are provided as is without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. The texts, documents and related illustrations published on this Web site could include technical inaccuracies or typographical mistakes.

Limitation of Liability

Under no circumstances and under no legal theory (including, but not limited to, negligence) shall Zfort Group be liable to you or any other person for any damages, whether direct, indirect, special, incidental, consequential, punitive or otherwise that result from, arise out of, or are in connection with the use of or access to, or the inability to use or access, this site or its contents, even if Zfort Group has been advised of the possibility of such damaged links.


All brands and product names used or mentioned on site are or may be the trademarks of their respective owners.


If we decide to change our Terms of Use, changes will be posted on this page.

Privacy Policy

What Information Do We Collect?

We collect information from you when you fill out a contact us form. If you like to contact us you may be asked to enter your: name, e-mail address or phone number. You may, however, visit our site anonymously.

What Do We Use Your Information For?

Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways:

  • To personalize your experience
    (Your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs.)
  • To improve our website
    (We continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feed
    back we receive from you.)
  • To improve customer service
    (Your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and
    support needs.)
  • To send periodic emails
    (The email address you provide may be used to send you information, respond to inquiries,
    and/or other requests or questions.)
  • To contact you
    (If you ask to contact you.)

How Do We Protect Your Information?

We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you enter or submit your personal information. Submitted information is stored in a secure password-protected database.

Do We Use Cookies?

Yes. Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computer hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow cookies). This enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information.

We use cookies to compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future.

Do We Disclose any Information to Outside Parties?

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.

Third Party Links

Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.

California Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

Because we value your privacy we have taken the necessary precautions to be in compliance with the California Online Privacy Protection Act. We therefore will not distribute your personal information to outside parties without your consent.

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.

Online Privacy Policy Only

This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.

Your Consent

By using our site, you consent to our websites privacy policy.

Changes to Our Privacy Policy

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page.

This policy was last modified on 15 April 2011

Cookie Policy

Cookies are small files that a website you visit (or its service provider) transfers to your computer hard drive via your web browser in case you allow cookies. That enables the websites or service providers systems to recognize your browser in order to capture and remember certain data, e.g. your settings etc.

Cookies play a significant role, and using the Internet without their help would take much more time and efforts.

At Zfort Group we use cookies for the single purpose – we would like our website visitors feel comfortable while surfing our pages. Therefore we gather and store cookies to compile general information about website traffic and interaction so that we could offer improved website experiences and tools in the future.

The list of cookies that we collect is provided below:

Cookie Name Purpose
Google Analytics _utma

These cookies are used to collect information about how visitors use our site. This information helps us to improve the site. The cookies collect information in an anonymous form.

Click here for an overview of privacy at Google

Type of device showMobile

This cookie type stores information about what site version is used now (mobile/full).

CMS 1d85235cca790dc3f8a91d588f4a7655

Stores information about user status (admin/registered/guest)

AddThis Addthis buttons

We use a few cookies form AddThis, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn services, so you had an opportunity to follow our updates or share our content at your social profiles.

Facebook Facebook share, follow buttons
Twitter Twitter share, follow buttons
LinkedIn LinkedIn share button

It is a widely known fact that the majority of web browsers permit a limited control of most cookies through the browser settings, which basically means that most browsers give you an actual ability to manage cookies that fit you best. Being aware of that some people prefer not to allow cookies. It can be done by adjusting rules in certain browsers to run cookies on a site-by-site basis, providing the user with a detailed control over their privacy. Generally users can disallow cookies from all websites except the ones they trust. To learn more about cookies, how to manage or delete them, visit


  • Management and content

    Roman Shekin - Structure

    Denys Kostin - Project Management

    Joel Kepple - Engagement

    Dmitry Pevnev - Marketing

  • Design

    Elena Chekalina - Ideas, Concept, Design

    Sergii Tymoshenko - Design

    Polina Tishchenko - Design

  • Development and testing

    Alexandra Zhmutskaya - Frontend Development

    Maxim Fedets - Frontend Development

    Yury Vasilenko - JavaScript Development

    Oleg Hladchenko - PHP Development

    Sergey Palkin - PHP Development

    Yuri Matuhno - Quality Assurance