Choosing a PHP Editor or IDE

PHP files can be written in any plain text editor (like the Windows notepad), but real code editors and so called IDEs (integrated development environments) provide many additional features to make your life as a coder easier. Those include, but are not limited to:

  • Syntax highlighting: Provides colorized code/text which helps you navigate and identify specific parts of you code.
  • Code-Completion / Auto-Suggest: As soon as you type the first few letters of a function, language keyword, variable name etc. a list of suggestions pops up. Just like when you type in the google search bar.
  • Syntax Checking / Linting: Helps you identify syntax errors in your code early by highlighting them and/or providing suggested solutions to fix those errors.
  • Live- / Step-Debugging: Allows you to navigate through the execution path of your code while your script/application is running.
  • Version Control Integration / Support: To help keeping track of changes in your code and when they were introduced.

Seriously - by using a code editor you feel comfortable with, you will be having much more fun along the way.
If you're just starting out and don't have a favorite yet, Visual Studio Code is a very good choice - and it's 100% free.

SublimeText - (free with occasional registration reminder or $80)

SublimeText is my personal #1 choice when it comes to code editors. It has been around for over 10 years and there are tons of awesome plugins. Although I see many fellow devs switching to Visual Studio Code, I still prefer to stick with SublimeText.


Visual Studio Code - (free)

Another really great editor is Visual Studio Code by Microsoft. It's actually not only free, but also open source and even offers some advanced features like step debugging. It's a really good choice and especially favored by many of my frontend peers nowadays.


Atom - (free)

Atom is a code editor by Github Inc. It's quite similar to SublimeText in many ways. The only downside in my opinion is it's performance. It feels quite laggy/heavy sometimes ... even on a i7 cpu.


Notepad++ - (free)

Notepad++ was actually my replacement for the Windows Notepad for a long time xD. It's still an okish editor, but I myself dont use it anymore.


PHP Storm - (1 month trial, license from $89)

w00t!!! This one is - hands down! - by far the most amazing development environment you could get your hands on. It offers an insane amount of features and is the number one choice for many professional PHP developers.

PHP Storm

Eclipse for PHP Developers - (free)

Eclipse is a really good multi purpose IDE. Before I switched to PHPStorm, this was my number one choice for writing PHP and Java code. Similar to PHPStorm, it offers a ton of advanced features.

Eclipse PHP