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Where and How to Hire PHP Developers: The 2024 Guide

Hiring Developers

As PHP powers 77% of websites, this programming language is as alive as ever. 

Its high versatility, long-standing community, and broad compatibility with any type of server make it a default choice for back-end web development projects. 

With such high demand, it’s no wonder qualified PHP developers are thus hard to find and retain. So, how do you secure a top PHP programmer for your project?

Here’s everything you need to know to make a confident hiring decision. 

Why hire a PHP developer?

PHP is the most popular back-end web development programming language. As such, it covers a variety of use cases and business projects.

Dynamic websites

PHP is exceptionally well-suited for building dynamic websites. It offers features for server-side scripting, allowing developers to create interactive and data-driven web pages that change based on user interactions and input. PHP can easily integrate with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, making it an excellent choice for handling forms, user authentication, and dynamic content updates on web pages. A PHP developer can efficiently manage server-side processes, handle user inputs, and interact with databases to ensure seamless functionality on dynamic websites.


PHP plays a significant role in e-commerce development. Many popular e-commerce platforms, such as WooCommerce (for WordPress) and Magento, are built using PHP.

PHP provides the necessary backend support to handle product catalogs, user accounts, shopping carts, and payment gateways. It is a reliable choice for building secure and feature-rich e-commerce websites. A PHP developer can customize and extend existing e-commerce platforms or build a tailored e-commerce solution to meet specific business requirements.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

PHP has a long history of powering content management systems. CMS platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are PHP-based and widely used to manage website content efficiently. Hiring a PHP developer with CMS experience allows you to create, modify, and organize content easily, providing a user-friendly interface for non-technical content editors to manage the website. PHP developers can develop custom themes, plugins, and modules to enhance the functionality of the CMS, tailoring it to your unique needs.

Web applications

PHP is a versatile language for web application development. With PHP frameworks like Laravel, Symfony, and CodeIgniter, developers can rapidly build scalable and robust web applications. PHP developers are skilled at managing server-side logic, handling databases, implementing security measures, and integrating third-party services, ensuring the success of your web application project.

Desktop and mobile applications

While PHP is primarily used for server-side web development, PHP developers can contribute to desktop and mobile application development by building APIs and backend services. PHP can be utilized to create RESTful APIs that serve as the backbone of desktop and mobile applications, enabling seamless data exchange between the client-side and server-side components.

Customer service chatbots

PHP can be employed to build the backend infrastructure of a customer service chatbot. The language’s ability to handle data processing and integrate with databases allows developers to manage chat interactions efficiently. PHP developers can integrate the chatbot with customer databases, knowledge bases, and support ticketing systems, making the chatbot a powerful tool for enhancing customer support services.

What are the technical skills required of a PHP programmer? 

A top PHP candidate is well-versed and has significant experience in PHP programming. To be sure you’re dealing with a qualified candidate — whether for junior or senior positions — you should look at.

Core PHP and OOP

A PHP developer should have a solid foundation in core PHP and Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) concepts. Understanding PHP syntax, data types, arrays, loops, functions, and classes is essential for building PHP applications.

Web development frameworks

Proficiency in popular PHP frameworks like Laravel, Symfony, or CodeIgniter is crucial for efficient web development. These frameworks provide a structured and organized approach to building web applications, offering features like routing, database ORM, authentication, and templating engines.

Database management

PHP developers frequently interact with databases to store and retrieve data. Therefore, they should be well-versed in SQL queries and have experience working with relational databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, or MariaDB.

Front-end integration

While PHP is primarily a server-side language, a PHP developer should understand front-end technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript well. This knowledge enables seamless collaboration with front-end developers and facilitates the integration of back-end and front-end components.

Security best practices

As PHP powers a substantial portion of the web, PHP developers must be familiar with security best practices to safeguard applications against common web vulnerabilities like SQL injection, XSS (Cross-Site Scripting), and CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery).

PHP testing

A skilled PHP developer should be well-versed in testing methodologies, including unit, integration, and functional testing. Using tools like PHPUnit for unit and integration tests and Selenium or Behat for functional testing, they ensure code reliability and catch bugs early in development.

How much does a PHP developer typically cost? 

According to Glassdoor, in 2023, the average salary of a junior dev is $96,000 and $157,000 for a senior PHP developer in the US. 

You need to add the cost of the recruitment itself ($4000 on average) and the cost of the employment benefits (29.6% of the salary on average in the US). 

For freelance developers, you will find an hourly rate of $15+ for junior-level, $30+ for Mid-level, and $45+ for senior-level developers, according to Upwork. 

Where to find & source PHP developers?

While there are plenty of PHP developers, they still have the upper hand. They get job offers every week, so don’t expect the best-fit PHP developers to come naturally to you. You might better make yourself visible utilizing a variety of touchpoints.

Job boards


Laravel is one of the most popular PHP frameworks and has its own community job board – Larajob. On it, you can post your job offering and get access to a vast pool of qualified PHP developers.


Indeed is the largest job board in the US, so you’ll also find an unlimited number of PHP developers. You just need to post an attractive, easy-to-read job description and sort through applications. You’ll have a lot of options since many PHP candidates have job alerts setup through Indeed.


As many PHP developers maintain a LinkedIn profile, you’ll attract many candidates for your job opening on social media. You just have to post it, and many PHP job seekers will apply to your offer. You can also use LinkedIn Recruiter’s advanced filters to reach out proactively to promising talents and broaden your talent pool even more.

Proactive sourcing


Laracasts is a web series platform to educate developers on Laravel programming. It also features an active forum where Laravel users can ask questions and chat. You can check the active contributors’ profiles, see their specializations, and potentially connect with them. is the Laravel community portal. Thousands of Laravel beginners seek answers, while Laravel enthusiasts and experts share their knowledge and insights. It’s a great place to look for Laravel developers specialized in specific domains and topics and reach out to them.

Stack Overflow

The Q&A platform Stack Overflow also has an extensive PHP community. Many PHP developers come naturally to educate themselves and contribute with their knowledge. Look out for top answers and they’ll lead you to passionate and highly experienced PHP developers.


The famous public repository GitHub stores all the essential PHP resources and libraries. It also features both hobbyist and professional PHP developers publishing their latest projects. You just need to browse GitHub’s trending page, filtering by the PHP programming language, to see exciting developers profiles.



Do you want to directly access top PHP freelancers? Toptal rigorously assesses and interviews each of their candidates and only keeps the most qualified ones. So, they can quickly provide you with expert freelancers for your development projects. You just have to give your role requirements and within 48 hours, you’ll be interviewing interesting candidates. 


Upwork features the most extensive pool of qualified PHP freelancers. It’s the gig platform of choice for most PHP developers, where they check new project opportunities and maintain a detailed profile. You can browse through the Upwork list of PHP developers by hourly rate but also post a mission offering on the job board.


Fiverr is another freelancing platform where the roles are reversed. Here, PHP developers post their work proposition and sell their services, and you have to choose between them. You can search for the specific gigs you’re looking for and find freelancing offers tailored to your needs. This is especially interesting for short-term development projects.

Screening and interviewing PHP developers: A 3-step approach 

Now that you have collected an extensive list of PHP candidates, it’s time to narrow it down to the most promising ones. To do that, our experts at CoderPad recommend a 3-step screening and interviewing process.

1. Technical screening 

The first step is to filter out PHP candidates according to their technical skills. You want to know whether they have the necessary skills for the job through technical assessments. This can be accomplished by providing asynchronous online coding exercises with questions related to PHP programming. That way, candidates can complete them on their own time, and they are automatically graded. 

You can find examples of PHP coding questions and exercises here. 

Based on the performance of your candidates on these tests, you can determine whether or not to move them to the next step.

2. Pair programming interview

Have you ever wished to work with your PHP candidates before making your final hiring decision? That’s what live coding interviews allow you to do. In this format of interviews, you have your candidates complete a PHP coding assignment while giving them immediate feedback and answering their questions.

The huge benefit? You can assess their thoughts and communication skills in real time like no other interviewing method. Traditionally, whiteboard interviews were conducted, but now you can use an online interviewing platform to make communication and interviewing easier.

What we recommend for PHP live coding interviews is to enable your candidates to work in a realistic PHP development environment (IDE). You also want to provide them with the most popular PHP frameworks like Laravel, CodeIgniter, or Symfony and give them access to PHP libraries like Standard PHP Library, Symfony Console Component, and Guzzle. 

During these interviews, it is important to assess their performance differently based on their seniority:

  • Junior: Do they already have some starting experience in PHP? You can assign the more constrained exercises, such as building a new feature or interacting with APIs. Example question: “What is the difference between abstract classes and interfaces in PHP?” 
  • Middle: To assess their drive, you want to see how they get through a difficult issue or concept and resolve it. Example question: “Explain the concept of namespaces in PHP and how they help organize code.”
  • Senior: You want to assess their understanding of key concepts beyond the surface level. You can see how they handle concepts like lazy loading and regular expression. You want to get their hands-on opinion about the libraries and frameworks they use and how they can justify their benefits and trade-offs. Example question: “Explain the concept of caching in PHP and describe a mechanism you used in a previous project.”

You can find more examples of tech interview questions here

A live interview is the best way to evaluate your candidates’ PHP coding skills in action. See how they handle unexpected challenges, whether they ask for help or not, and what they do to solve problems creatively. Make the most of it!

3. Cultural-Fit Interview

As with any recruitment process, cultural-fit interviews should be an integral part of hiring PHP developers. These types of interviews will help know if your candidate will fit within your team and company. They will help you understand your candidate’s work ethic, expectations, and aspirations for the job. 

Our approach for cultural-fit interviews is to do a short introductory call before interviewing. You want to find out about their background, motivation, and experience. This will give you an idea of their professional goals and see whether they’ll fit with your company goals.

You should also conduct onsite and peer interviews with your final candidates. You can invite them to the office to discuss with team members and even make them collaborate on a small project. That will also be an opportunity to promote your company’s employment benefits and share some of the fun office rituals. Remember, you’re trying to secure your last candidates and show how nice it is to work with you.

CoderPad: Make sure you hire the best PHP developer 

CoderPad is a platform that helps you feel more confident when recruiting PHP developers. It makes technical screening and interviewing easy to set up and provides you with an objective and fair grading system. Thanks to it, you can: 

  • Screen your candidates with tailor-made PHP questions and exercises.
  • Assess your candidates’ thought processes thanks to a live coding interview platform based on PHP projects.
  • Make the right hiring decision with a transparent scoring system.

Do you want to make the right recruitment decision for your PHP project? Try CoderPad for free.