Hire best PHP developers the right way

According to Stack Overflow, PHP is currently in the top 10 of the most popular programming languages in the world (top 5, according to GitHub). PHP outpaces Java and Python in terms of demand and has been used to create Facebook, WordPress, Magento, and a bunch of other programs and services we use daily. 

Why PHP?

PHP owes such popularity to several reasons: 

  • it’s easy to learn and simple to work with
  • It’s an OOP (object-oriented programming) language 
  • it’s an open-source language, which means PHP is free and accessible by anyone
  • it performs well on almost any platform
  • it’s flexible and develops constantly (the large community of developers creates all kinds of add-ons and extensions to it regularly)

and so on. 

Considering this, the number of developers working with PHP is huge, and probably even more of them are learning it as you’re reading this. For you, it means that you will always be able to find PHP programmers whenever you need them. The main question here is how to hire best PHP developers the right way. 

Let’s figure it out. 

How to find PHP developers?

Below we’ll overview several platforms where you can hire PHP developers. For now, let’s focus on what steps you should take, and what to pay attention to when recruiting, and typical mistakes people make when they hire PHP programmers.

PHP development company vs. freelance development

What suits you best

Depending on the nature of your project, your estimated budget, and deadlines, as well as other factors, you might find yourself choosing between freelance developers vs. development agencies. Each has its strong and weak sides: you can read about them in detail in our article, “Freelancers vs. software development company: what’s right for you.” So far, here’s what you need to know.

Hire PHP development companies

Simply put, you want to hire a development company when you want a brand new website or a web application. Of course, you can use the services of a full-time freelancer team (which can be more beneficial in a number of ways). But, if you are looking for a development company for some reason, here are some aspects you should consider.    


  • They usually provide a full cycle of development, from site layouts to the maintenance of a finished website
  • There is a large team working on your project. Managers, coders, web designers, testers, QA specialists – a whole bunch of people do their best to meet your requirements
  • You can expect support and troubleshooting throughout the whole course of the development process
  • Deadlines are clearly estimated and rarely postponed
  • There is always a person whom you can address with your concerns: your project manager.


  • Pricey! Imagine how much resources it takes a company to employ in-house staff, pay taxes, salaries, and insurances, office rent, etc. At whose expense do you think a dev company will try to compensate for all that? (Psst, at yours!
  • Ownership rights. You might think that since you pay the money, you own the final product. Sometimes, things don’t work that way. And development companies often have an army of lawyers to prove to you why it is so. 
  • You have little control over what’s going on during the course of development. Of course, they are the experts, not you. But, sometimes it’s good to have full access to the “workshop,” so to say.  
  • Implementing even small changes to the project when it’s in progress  is not that easy. Development companies are bigger and clumsier than freelancers you can hire online. Every alteration to the project requires additional coordination, rearrangements, and often – money. Your money, because no one is going to provide you with free revisions.
  • Poor management can kill all the positive experience of working with a company. If your project manager isn’t quite competent (e.g., fails to keep you updated, hesitates to reply to your questions and requests, misinterprets your instructions/requirements when passing them on to the dev team, etc.) the project will turn into an ordeal for both you and the company developers. 

Hire freelance PHP programmers

Development companies hate us for disclosing their biggest secret 

The truth is that you can handle website development with freelancers alone, no development companies involved. Given that these freelancers are skilled and experienced, and you can manage them right

In other words, do outsource. Working with independent contractors has many advantages, like 


  • Prices. This is the most obvious and one of the main advantages freelance PHP developers have over their colleagues working for development agencies. Hourly rates of top-rated contractors are often pretty affordable, even if you search on specialized platforms for vetted developers
  • Flexibility. Remember what we said about companies being reluctant to implement changes mid-project? Due to direct communication with hired contractors, and to the smaller number of people involved in the work on your project, sudden changes and alterations to it can be implemented faster. 
  • Simplicity. When you outsource, a temporary work contract is all that binds you to a freelancer. No legislative complications, no ownership confusions. Freelancers get the money, you get the product. Them – money, you – product. Simple.
  • Easy to find. Show us an online marketplace in 2020 with no PHP devs registered on it, and we’ll buy you a donut (gluten-free).  


  • Trial and errors. If you have little experience in recruiting freelancers, it will take time and resources to find a skilled and reliable one (multiply your expenses proportionally to the number of contractors, if you’re hiring a remote team)
  • Reliability. Sometimes, freelancers disappear. They’re people, after all. They can get sick, get bored with your project, receive a better offer, or disappear because of other 9000+ reasons. 
  • Security concerns. When hiring a development company, you most likely sign an NDA agreement with them. With freelancers from the internet, you sign nothing. Get ready to disclose sensitive project info to complete strangers! 

Fortunately, experienced outsourcers know how to neutralize these cons. We’ll get to that a bit later when we analyze freelance platforms where you can find dedicated PHP programmers. 

What skills a PHP developer should possess

The list of necessary skills for a PHP developer includes: 

  • Obviously, excellent knowledge of PHP. Familiarity with JavaScript is an asset, too. 
  • OOP should mean to a developer more than just first three letters in “oops”
  • HTML and CSS (even my grandma speaks HTML)
  • Knowing how to work with structured query languages (SQL) and SQL databases
  • Database management and optimization 
  • DNS management
  • Knowing Laravel, PHPixie, Phalcon, Slim, or other PHP frameworks

This list is not complete, but it should give you the vision of the programmer you want to hire. 

And for now, when you know what to look for, time to find out how much you’ll have to pay for it. 

How much does it cost to hire PHP developers?

The most affordable option

Sometimes it seems that fooling the system is easy. If you want to hire PHP developers India might look like a perfect option, in this regard. Why?

Prices! This is why companies and startups consider hiring Indian developers in the first place. Indeed, the yearly income of a PHP programmer from India is often a dozen times lower than that of their American or European colleagues. In 2021, an average yearly income of an Indian PHP developer is about $6,100.

Bangalore developer salary
Source: glassdoor.com
Indian rupees to USD

But, don’t forget that globalization is still a thing. High quality costs accordingly regardless of the country a freelancer comes from. So, if you want a thoroughly developed product for reasonable money, you might want to consider hiring elsewhere. 

PHP developer salaries in the US and Europe

On the other hand, you can hire PHP developers in the United States or in Western Europe. Traditionally, an immaculate work ethic, professionalism, and a broad range of skills and experiences come at a price: as you might expect, PHP developers here cost a lot. Here are some numbers for you. 

If you live or hire in New York, you will have to pay on average $86,000 per year for the services of a PHP developer.

salary of a PHP developer in New Uork
Source: glassdoor.com

In Los Angeles, a PHP developer will count on at least $80,000 per year. 

PHP developer salary in Los Angeles
Source: glassdoor.com

If you believe that hiring overseas would be cheaper, you might technically be right. But still, it’s pricey. In Germany, for example, a freelance PHP developer will count on €49,259, which is $54,200. 

Efficient alternatives

So, Indian developers are more affordable, but the risks of running into an underskilled freelancer are pretty high. On the other hand, mature pros from the United States or Europe cost much, much more. Not every startup or new business can afford to hire PHP programmers in the West. 

So, what can you do about it? 

If you haven’t paid attention to Eastern Europe – Ukraine, in particular – it could be just about time to do so. Sharing the Western mentality and work ethic, PHP developers from this region gain popularity around the world year to year. You can read more about why it is so in our article, “Top-7 reasons for you to hire Ukrainian developers.”

Here, we’ll only mention the average annual salary of a Ukrainian PHP developer, which is about $26,400, or $2,200 per month.

average ukrainian PHP developer salary
Source: glassdoor.com

Do our eyes deceive us, or is it truly a perfect balance between price and quality?

Where can you find PHP developers?


This is a platform for vetted developers only. Meaning that no newbies, scammers, or underskilled wannabes work on it. Meaning that you can safely hire dedicated PHP developers here in just a couple of clicks. What is also important, Lemon mostly works with Ukrainian developers, which means high quality of work for reasonable prices. 


  • Super-meticulous vetting leaves no chances to devs who haven’t nailed all of the testing procedures. These include:
    – code quality control 

– assessment of proficiency (Lemon recruiters check not just the knowledge of programming languages, but also the applicants’ ability to solve practical tasks, both typical and unusual ones)

– live interviews with the candidates to evaluate their personal qualities and communication skills 

– tests of English to ensure fluent communication.

  • Understanding that many projects are urgent, Lemon finds competent PHP devs suitable for your job within just 24 hours.
  • Of those, matching is so good that 98% of Lemon.io clients actually hire the very first developer the platform offers them. 
  • Working with Lemon.io is safe. It’s possible to sign NDA agreements with the freelancers you hire, to ensure the protection of project-related information. Besides, the platform guarantees that no developer will abandon your project until it’s finished.
  • Customer support addresses requests almost instantaneously.  


  • Lemon.io is almost exclusively focused on vetting freelance developers. So, if you need experts in other fields, e.g. graphic design or marketing, you will have to look elsewhere.  


Kind of a black sheep on this list, Upwork is a bidding freelance platform and a nice place to start looking for freelance PHP programmers. It’s a black sheep not because it’s bad (it’s not!), but because it’s the only bidding platform mentioned in this article. It will probably take a great deal of your time, but eventually, it’s possible to find a great developer (or even a team of developers!) for a reasonable price on Upwork. Just keep the following nuances in mind.  


  • There are literally millions of qualified contractors registered on Upwork. There got to be some great PHP developers out there as well!
  • Upwork’s easy to use. Just register and post a job description specifying order nuances, estimated budget, and deadlines. Freelancers will start applying to your order on their own, you’ll just need to look through their profiles and find the most suitable candidate. TBH, it’s a chore, actually. 
  • Low hourly rates and fixed prices. 


  • Unfortunately, low prices are not followed by a high quality of work. Accidentally hiring a beginner or an underskilled contractor is a common thing on Upwork.
  • This is not to mention scammers. Despite ID verification procedures, it’s still possible to run into one from time to time.
  • Awful Poor customer service will sometimes make you pull your hair out.
  • Hiring on Upwork is sloooooooow. If you employ a team of recruiters who would search out and interview candidates for you, that can go great. But, if you’re doing everything on your own, it can take weeks to find a reliable and skilled enough PHP developer on Upwork.


Gigster is a unique service that not just matches you with a freelance developer but gathers a whole team of freelancers to work on your project. Such teams usually include developers, designers, and managers, who can build and supervise your project from start to finish. 


– A team of professionals assembled to work specifically on your project

– Thorough vetting process: Gigster claims to weed out about 99% of freelancers applying to work with it

– Strong safety policies, strict NDAs, and attention to the customer’s project security.


– Team members are selected by AI algorithms. “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature,” as the saying goes. But, judging from some user reviews, the platform would be better off selecting freelancers manually. 

– Gigster pricing starts with $150,000. 

– Customer experience is not all that brilliant.


This is probably one of the first places you’d want to go to when you need a PHP developer. The logic is simple: Codeable specializes in vetting and hiring WordPress experts + WordPress is built on PHP = Why not give it a try? However, here are some aspects you might want to consider before hiring PHP programmers on Codeable. 


  • An extra stage of the vetting process: Codeable requires every hired developer to additionally pass a 45-days trial period.
  • High security of payments due to escrow policies
  • Narrow specialization (WordPress!) and additional QA procedures guarantee freelance devs you hire on this platform really do know their thing.


  • If you are a smaller company or a startup, you’ll probably find Codeable expensive. Hourly rates start at $60 and are followed up by a commission of 17,5% of the project’s estimate.
  • Codeable’s strong suit is also its disadvantage. Don’t expect to hire good devs here if WordPress is not the only thing you need. 


Imagine that you’ve been driving a no-name car on diesel fuel, and then you bought a shiny, futuristic-looking Tesla. This is how working with Gun.io feels compared to Upwork. Well, the downside is that it costs as much. 


  • Gun’s vetting procedures are extremely detailed and thorough, even compared to other vetting platforms. 
  • Payments are super-secure. Due to Stripe Connect API, the money you pay to the hired freelancer goes directly to their bank account. 
  • No nonsense with ownership and intellectual rights. All the code your hired PHP developer writes belongs to you, as per a special Consultant Agreement that you sign when beginning to work with Gun.io. 


  • You thought you knew what “costly” means? Think again. Get ready to pay up to $150 per hour for the services of Gun’s developers.


As you can see, it’s not that easy to hire a skilled and affordable PHP developer – especially when it comes to freelancers. Luckily, you’ve got Lemon.io to back you up.

Lemon.io = (good prices + high quality) x hand-picked freelance PHP developers. 

That is all the calculations and planning you’ll need if you call us. Trust us with the rest.