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What are the best PHP Automated Testing Frameworks?

Faraz Karim

PHP is one of the most widely used server-side scripting languages available today. Nearly 80% of all websites on the internet have a server programmed in PHP. PHP owes its popularity largely to its simplicity. To make sure the code works as intended, one must test it at each stage of development, however, the manual testing process is very time-consuming. For this reason, we have automated testing Frameworks.

This article will shed some light on the possible choices you may have to test your code; but first, it is imperative to learn what Automated testing frameworks are and why they are so popular.

Automated testing frameworks

An Automated testing framework is a software tool that can automatically test your programs and point out possible optimizations, errors, code duplications, or security threats. These tools have preset test-cases that are used to thoroughly check your software’s performance and basic functionality without dedicating too much time to it.

As mentioned earlier, PHP is a very popular server-side scripting language and, because of that, there are several options for choosing a supported automated testing framework.

Best automated testing tools

We have made a list of 5 of the best testing frameworks available that support PHP. There are several other useful options out there, but you cannot go wrong with these:



This automated testing framework is by far the best for automated unit testing. PHPunit allows the users to test specific pieces of codeunits independently. This is especially useful when you are taking the test-driven development approach. For every new feature you include, you need to test it before vigorously moving on to the next.


  • The PHPunit has presets that allow you to test and verify your scripts’ functionality

  • Generates in-depth analysis reports in HTML and log files in XML.

  • Improves the user’s testing experience by allowing the user to bundle tests together using XML configuration files.

  • Unlike most other tools, it raises exceptions in case certain tests go unimplemented during the testing process.



Codeception is one of the most comprehensive automated testing frameworks for PHP and includes tools to facilitate unit testing, functional testing, and acceptance testing.


  • Comes pre-integrated with frameworks like Yii, Symfony, and Laravel. For this reason, it is called a full-stack testing framework for PHP.

  • It is easy to write new assertions in Codeception as it uses a simple PHP domain-specific language to make new tests tailored by the user.

  • It also has the capability to check external software behavior as it allows storyBDD.

  • Has several modules, like the database and webdriver modules, that makes it easier to test a specific part of the code.



Behat is an amazing tool for BDDBehavior Driven Development, where the software is checked for its conformance to the user requirements at each stage of development. Basically, Behat tests if the behavior of the software meets user expectations.

Instead of program tests, Behat takes in user stories written in the simple, human-readable language following the Gherkin syntax. This language is specially designed to write behavioral descriptions of software products.

Once the tester enters a user story, Behat picks up the expected features from those stories and then checks the program for conformance with those features.


  • Is open source.

  • Is user-friendly in the sense that it is easy to install and use.

  • This is a tool that even a non-technical person would have no trouble using since you only need to describe user stories.

  • Can verify if the overall behavior of the software conforms to the expected behavior that the client describes.



PHPspec, like Behat, is another behavior-driven development framework. Similarly, it takes behavioral assertions that are written in human-readable language and follow the Gherkin syntax as input from the user. Behavioral requirements are then extracted from these assertions, and the software is tested against them.

One difference between PHPspec and Behat is that, while PHPspec caters to the internal behavior or functioning of the software, Behat is concerned with the overall external behavior of the software. Specifically, Behat is a storyBDD while PHPspec is a specBDD.


  • You can use plugins to improve connectivity and extend its language and functionality support.

  • It comes with matchers, which we can use to verify the outcomes of a test with its expected behavior.

  • Automatic generation of skeleton code for classes and function methods.

  • Helps developers verify that the internal working of the code is in line with the clients’ expectations.



Storyplayer another easy-to-use automated testing framework for PHP scripts. Its primary purpose is the end to end testing of APIs and web services


  • It is great for people who are new to testing as it is open-source,

  • Has multi-language support, so it does not require Domain Specific Language to write assertions and tests. Instead, Storyplayer allows users to test their PHP scripts using any of the most popular programming languages.

  • Comes pre-integrated with modules including Amazon AWS, HTTP, and cURL that make it easier to test APIs and web services.




Faraz Karim
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