Top 7 Backend Frameworks for Web Development in 2023

Top 7 Backend Frameworks for Web Development in 2023 image

The exciting world of web development relies heavily on backend frameworks—the toolsets that enable you to build robust, scalable, and efficient web apps. Whether you are a business owner looking for a framework developer or a coder in need of some recs, we’ve got you covered. We’ve scoured the web and found the crème de la crème!

Read on to discover the best backend frameworks that take projects up a notch!

The Best Backend Frameworks for Web Development

While there are several backend frameworks that you can use, we’ve compiled a thorough list of the top performers based on criteria such as security and popularity.

1. Laravel

  • Operating since: 2011
  • Programming language: PHP
  • No. of websites built: more than 1.7 million including WorldWalking

Laravel is an open-source PHP framework that features a model-view-controller (MVC) architecture to allow users to develop Symfony-based web apps.

  • Security: Using a Bcrypt Hashing Algorithm to generate encrypted passwords, Laravel strives to reduce susceptibility to SQL injection attacks, ensuring top-notch security;
  • Popularity: With a growing number of websites that use it now and over a million sites that have used it before, Laravel is one of the most popular frameworks out there;
  • Laravel Devs: With half of PHP developers opting for Laravel, the number of Laravel dev companies is high! On average, a US developer earns around $97,000 annually;
  • Learning curve: Laravel is a beginner’s dream! Easy to learn via platforms like Udemy, it can open many doors to beginners for both job opportunities and career growth.
Built-in system for authenticationLimited built-in support
Open-source code available on GitHubSlower development than other backend frameworks
Built-in command-line interfaceIrregular updates that could hinder a site’s security
PHPUnit support allows for application testingA limited list of built-in features

2. Django

  • Operating since: 2005
  • Programming language: Python
  • No. of websites built: more than 88.000 including Instagram and Pinterest

Django is another open-source backend framework that uses the same MVC architecture, but unlike Laravel, it uses the Python programming language.

  • Security: Django strives to prevent several security concerns, such as cross-site scripting, clickjacking, and request forgery. Even Dropbox is using it;
  • Popularity: Django’s simplicity, scalability, and extensive documentation make it a top Python-based choice. In fact, YouTube and Google Search are built with Django;
  • Django devs: With over 32,928 companies that use Django, it’s no wonder devs make an incredible $59/hour in the US alone;
  • Learning curve: Django’s learning curve can be steep, especially for beginners. Thus, companies usually look for candidates with previous Python and Django experience.
Devs spend less time learning and writing code with DjangoUnsuitable for customized web apps
Comprehensive list of features, such as ORM for database managementSlower than other popular frameworks
Huge active community that develops, fixes, and documents Django
Compatibility with different databases

3. Express.js

  • Operating since: 2010
  • Programming language: JavaScript
  • No. of websites built: over 2 million including Yummly and Apiary

Express.js, or simply Express, is an open-source software available under an MIT license, which uses the popular JavaScript programming language.

  • Security: Using a TLS system that encrypts outgoing data and providing the option to disable client-side caching, Express JS is safe against malicious attacks;
  • Popularity: With around a million active sites and ranked 11th in the Framework Usage Distribution in the Top 10k Sites, Express is a rather popular pick;
  • Express devs: Express.js developers are high in demand and, according to ZipRecruiter, they can earn around $110,000 annually on average;
  • Learning curve: Devs familiar with JavaScript will have an easy time mastering Express.js; that said, JavaScript is an easy-to-learn language too!
Very easy to masterDevs need third-party libraries
Highly customizable and flexibleUnsuitable for building user interfaces
Implements the convenient RESTful API for handling server requests and responsesDevs have to master Node.js first
Strong community support

4. Ruby on Rails

  • Operating since: 2004
  • Programming language: Ruby
  • No. of websites built: close to 4 million including Airbnb and Twitter

This server-side web development framework uses the MVC framework and is available under an MIT license. Also, it provides structures for web pages, services, and databases.

  • Security: Rails implements many security features to protect against cross-site scripting (XSS), cross-site request forgery (CSRF), and other malicious attacks;
  • Popularity: With over 600,000 live websites using RoR and close to 30,000 jobs in the US only, this framework is still a popular developer choice;
  • Ruby on Rails devs: The average salary of a Ruby on Rails developer in the U.S. hovers around $102,000 as of 2023, with the maximum close to $135,000;
  • Learning curve: Ruby and RoR are rather complicated to master for beginners, as they implement several different coding concepts, languages, and technologies.
Ready-made modules and plugins save timeLack of documentation
Designed with scalability in mindRuby is a slower-performing language
Built-in testing functionalityUpdates can affect its functionality
Easy to interact with Ruby databases

5. Flask

  • Operating since: 2010
  • Programming language: Python
  • No. of websites built: 3000+ including Pinterest and Netflix

Built on top of the Wekzeug WSGI toolkit, Flask is a microframework that does not utilize any special tools or libraries to function but implements an extension ecosystem.

  • Security: Flash is unable to provide user authentication, authorization, and login functionality, and devs have to rely on third-party additions for that;
  • Popularity: Voted as the most popular web framework on the Python Developers Survey 2021, Flask has not yet lost an ounce of its popularity among Python devs;
  • Flask devs: According to ZipRecruiter, Flask developers earn an average of about $135,000 annually, reaching a maximum of over $197,000;
  • Learning curve: To be adept at Flask, developers must have prior knowledge of Python, which in itself requires prior programming knowledge; therefore, Flask does come with a steeper learning curve than some other frameworks.
Easy to configure and implementBarebones framework lacking certain functionalities
Does not impose specific libraries or toolsLack of proper community support
Third-party extensions do not affect its performanceComplicated maintenance
Works well with other Python frameworks

6. CakePHP

  • Operating since: 2005
  • Programming language: PHP
  • No. of websites built: over 184,000 including Netflix and Reddit

As the name suggests, CakePHP is an open-source framework written in PHP. Like most other entries here, CakePHP follows the MVC pattern and has been licensed by MIT.

  • Security: Implements various security features, including XSS and CSRT protection, SQL injection prevention, and from validation features;
  • Popularity: Almost 50,000 live websites utilize CakePHP as a main web framework; that said, its popularity is on a slight decline in 2023;
  • CakePHP devs: CakePHP development is a somewhat lower-paid job in the US compared to other framework devs on this list, with an annual average of over $78,000 in the US as of 2023;
  • Learning curve: CakePHP has a steep learning curve that requires intensive training and research. You would need to learn the basics of PHP and MySQL, which can take around six months.
Fast and error-free interaction with databases with ORM supportSlower performance for complex applications and larger datasets
Built-in authentication and authorization functionalityLack of up-to-date documentation
Convention over configuration principle that speeds up the development processNew developers face a steep learning curve

7. Symfony

  • Operating since: 2005
  • Programming language: PHP
  • No. of websites built: over 110,000 including Trivago and Dailymotion

Symfony is a component-based PHP framework that uses the MVC architecture and integrates with the Doctrine ORM library for intuitive and efficient database interactions.

  • Security: Like most frameworks here, Symfony implements a host of security features that protect against SQL injections and scripting and CSRF attacks;
  • Popularity: As of 2023, almost 30,000 live websites utilize the Symfony framework, with most of them based in Russia and the United States;
  • Symfony devs: ZipRecruiter also reveals the average salary paid out to Symfony devs, which is estimated at almost $100,000 in the US as of 2023;
  • Learning curve: Symfony is relatively easy to use for developers that are familiar with PHP, and it can take around a month for them to learn its ins and outs. However, there is a steep learning curve when adapting to the framework.
Robust support and a strong community presenceRequires a web server with PHP
Flexible and modularLonger development times
Built-in support for caching, routing, and configuration managementIntroduces some performance overhead

Bottom Line

With these 7 backend frameworks in mind, you are now ready to conquer the web. Choose the right fit based on its security, popularity, and learning potential, and rest assured—we’ve handpicked the best, so whichever you choose, you are on the right path to success.

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