The Best PHP IDE of the Decade (PhpStorm)

I hate to admit this, but for nearly 6 years of my life I refused to use an Integrated Developer Environment (IDE).

I’m smarter than other people because I write in notepad

I don’t need an IDE, I understand the code better

Just a few of the statements I would repeat in my head, convincing myself that using notepad was the best way. Then that fateful day arrived, the day I got shown how good an IDE was.

That’s why today I will share with you the best PHP IDE on the market.

As a Senior PHP Developer with 9+ years of experience, I’ve had the opportunity to really get my teeth into an IDE, give it a full test ride and share with you my opinion on what’s the best PHP IDE.

Honestly, it’s painful looking back at those years I didn’t use one, or used a bad one.

The amount of time I wasted trying to achieve the simplest of tasks which these days I do with a couple of clicks.

What will you find in this article?

In this article I’m going to show you some of my personal favourite points as to why I personally love PhpStorm from JetBrains.
As well as giving you references to other articles saying similar!

What is an IDE??

An IDE in an Integrated Development Environment.

Right…. What the h*** is that??

That’s what I thought when I first heard about them.
But I quickly learned that an IDE is an advanced version of notepad.
An IDE is a text editor with a lot of extra features added on.

Features like, Git, FTP, file history, advanced searching and many many more.

An IDE should have all you need.
Unfortunately, some IDE’s are not as good as others and it can be a pain to learn an IDE only to find that a much better one existed, and you wasted your time.

That’s why I promote PhpStorm from JetBrains as the best PHP IDE.

I love PhpStorm.

Best PHP IDE (PhpStorm)

What is so good about PhpStorm?

Well for starters, it’s not free, PhpStorm is $89 per year for individuals.

Wait… Why is that a good thing??

Have you ever known a free product to be the BEST at something??
I find, if you want quality, you have to pay for it.

JetBrains put in a lot of effort to fix bugs, make improvements to PhpStorm and give you the best PHP IDE on the market.
But to do that, you need to hire the best people, the best developers and that costs money.

Consistency with other languages

PhpStorm is built by JetBrains, they don’t just build tools for PHP, they build tools for nearly every coding language you can think of.

Each IDE has only slight differences in the style of the IDE with only language specific changes where appropriate.

The thing I love the most about their products is nearly all the hotkeys are the same no matter what product you use from JetBrains.

The colour scheme is the same, the feel of the product is the same, it feels much more natural when flipping between languages and you know that most of the menu’s and settings are the same.

The consistency between each IDE is what makes PhpStorm the BEST PHP IDE out on the market, not just because of PHP but because you can change language and not have to re-learn another IDE.

Version Control / Git

Git is a version control package, it assigns versions to the code you write and every time you change that code, it’ll highlight it for you so you can visually see the change.

Git is the industry standard, almost all companies use Git into their tech stack, which is why PhpStorm is the best PHP IDE.

Because it integrates Git beautifully.

JetBrains PhpStorm Git Comparison
JetBrains PhpStorm (Git)

It’s easy on the eyes and you can clearly see the green block of new code added on the right side.

It keeps the colour highlighting which you are familiar with when coding and it clearly defines where the code was added with a simple highlight of the line insertion.

Let’s compare this to another GIT application: TortoiseGit

Tortoise Git Comparison

As you can see, this is not the best-looking interface, all the colour highlights are missing, it’s much more difficult to read and on the left side it’s missing a huge chunk of the code.


Quick note: These figures were taken at the time of writing and might be different when you’re reading.

Google Android IDE

Google uses JetBrains IntelliJ IDE for building apps for Android, that’s the Java version of PhpStorm, built by the same company.

So if Google likes it, it must be good.

Another PHP developer opinion

Speaking as a developer who has used PHPStorm professionally for 2 years and paid for a personal license and convinced the company i worked at to purchase licenses for all our developers, YES.

PHPStorm provides an extreme amount of time saving shortcuts, refactoring tools and advanced syntax-hinting that is in my opinion just better than what you get from free IDE’s.

Trust Radius (9.2 out of 10)

Trust Radius provides reviews from actual users, at the time of writing this, Trust Radius had 22 review with an average of 9.2.

That’s pretty good!!

Slant (321 positive vs. 43 negative)

With over 300 positive reviews at the time of writing with less than 50 negative, most people like PhpStorm.

In conclusion

When choosing your IDE, don’t think about the short term, think about the long-term benefits.

PhpStorm is not a small IDE, it’s a big feature packed IDE.

But the rewards of investing the time and money into PhpStorm will be 10x what you give.

Being able to learn one IDE and code in ten without having to re-learn another IDE is a huge game changer and when it looks and feels great, you have nothing to lose.

So go out there and download PhpStorm, the BEST PHP IDE on the market to date.

As always… Keep learning and levelling UP!


About Me

I'm what people call a Location Independent Freelancer.
I write awesome code and my clients are happy, they don't mind where I am in the world as long as the job gets done.

This has given me the wonderful privilege of living in both Chiang Mai, Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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About The Author

Ross Edlin

I'm what people call a Location Independent Freelancer.
I write awesome code and my clients are happy, they don't mind where I am in the world as long as the job gets done.

This has given me the wonderful privilege of living in both Chiang Mai, Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Ross Edlin

I'm what people call a Location Independent Freelancer.
I write awesome code and my clients are happy, they don't mind where I am in the world as long as the job gets done.

This has given me the wonderful privilege of living in both Chiang Mai, Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


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I see you have a post about Siteground hosting.
Do you use the staging environments with a git repository?

If so, have you connected PHPStorm using the ssh keys to those Git repositories?
I as of yet have not figured it out.
I am getting the public key, access denied error when I try to clone a repository.

Thanks for any help.

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Ross Edlin


Yes, I do use a staging environment for my siteground hosted websites.
Normally what I do with siteground is keep it simple, no SSH keys.

I just use the HTTPS auth for Git.

Normally with public keys, you need to generate a private / public key on siteground when you're logged in via SSH.
Then put the public key into your git repo on github or bitbucket.

You then must clone the repo using SSH via the account that you added the public key on github or bitbucket.

Hope that helps you, let me know if you need any more help!

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It is funny, I found the answer about 3 hours after I posted this question. I had looked for days. Being new to SSH, Git, and Siteground, there was a a lot to figure out. Getting it to work in PHPStorm was another obstacle. I finally got it. The step I was missing was to run these two commands locally in the terminal
( I named my private key file downloaded from Siteground, privatekey)

# chmod 600 privatekey
# ssh-add ./privatekey

Once I did these two steps the default Git integration in PHPStorm worked great. I was able to run the clone command in the terminal and have used the push and pull toolbar without any issues.

Thanks for your response.

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Ross Edlin

Ahh yes!!

It's possible you are storing the public / private key in the wrong place.
Which is why you needed to "ssh-add".

Normally you put the keys here.


id_rsa is the private key. is the public key.

Have a read on digital ocean, they have a huge tutorial on it.

Hope this helps you some more.

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Shiva Prasad

Nice post

Thanks & Regards
Shiva Prasad

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Ross Edlin

Thank You!

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Jannat Fathima

Nice Post

Thanks & Regards,
From Ivrs software.

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Ross Edlin

Thank You Jannat!

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Also I recommend to look at Codelobster IDE -

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Ross Edlin

Thanks Stas,
I'll have a look at it.

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