The Top 5 Worldwide PHP Conferences

February 17 2017

Read more about the top 5 PHP conferences you should attend to update your skill set, and build relationships with key developers and decision makers.

Despite the rapid growth of new programming languages and platforms, PHP continues to be a stable workforce that powers much of the web. More than 82 percent of the internet is powered with server-side programming apps using PHP — more than ASP.NET, Java, and ColdFusion. For a while, it looked like other stacks might surpass PHP. However, with the release of the first major update in more than ten years, PHP 7 has silenced many critics.

PHP conferences continue to offer attendees the opportunity to learn new skills, keep up on PHP developments, discover recent trends, view the latest technologies offered by exhibitors, and meet new friends and contacts in the industry. Here are five of the top PHP conferences around the world you should consider attending to broaden your horizons, update your skill set, and build relationships with key developers and decision makers.


The SunshinePHP conference is held in the first part of the year in Miami, Florida, usually in February. It is produced by the South Florida PHP Community and features speakers, talk topics, panels, breakout sessions on the latest news, best practices, and technologies related to PHP. The conference lasts three days, with the first day filled with in-depth workshops and tutorials. The following two days feature high-level industry keynote speakers as well as more than 40 talks about PHP covering four different tracks.

SunshinePHP is directed to veteran programmers and newbies alike. It is organized and hosted by working developers at the South Florida PHP Community, so it naturally focuses on current industry topics and real-world challenges. The 2017 SunshinePHP conference will be its fifth consecutive year and it set for February 4 – 7, 2017 in Miami, Florida. It sells out every year, so be sure to plan ahead.

In 2016, around twenty companies sent at least five developers, and several others sent around ten developers. Conference sponsor participation was also strong, with a majority of participants taking space in the exhibit area.

At that conference, several topics were discussed that aren’t normally covered at many PHP conferences. For example, speeches covered diverse areas such as teamwork and collaboration, how rest affects the way we think, brain functionality, how humans learn, and how to help customers and developers meet mutual goals.

The 2016 conference speaker lineup consisted of 36 percent female speakers and 20 percent female convention attendees. These were promising numbers, as all areas of tech seek to engage more women in the industry. Evening hours were spent with panel discussions and games, as well as an outdoor buffet and a fully stocked bar.

Despite the growth of newer technologies such as Node.js and Go, PHP remains dominant. Review these five top PHP conferences, as well as regional conferences in your area, and make plans to attend one in the future. You’ll improve your techniques, insight, and programming skills while developing contacts from around the world. You’ll find that every conference has friendly and welcoming organizers, and you’ll enjoy the entire experience.


Confoo is the biggest web technology convention in North America. The 2016 conference was held from December 5 – 7 in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and the 2017 Confoo conference is set for March 8 – 10, 2017 in Montreal, Canada. A couple of the 2016 speakers included Adam Culp, Abraham Williams, Anna Filina, Billy Gregory, and Brittany Martin. Sessions were extremely diverse. Past talks have included “An introduction to deep learning” and “Extremely defensive PHP programming.”

Attendees from past Confoo conferences comment that they like the wide variety of technologies, knowledgeable attendees who are eager to share information, the opportunity to learn new concepts from developers around the world, understanding how your current skill set matches up with market demand, cutting-edge sessions, the multi-language approach, and the open and friendly atmosphere.


php[tek] is one of the older conferences, organized since 2006 by the group behind php[architect] magazine. It has long been dubbed informally by attendees as the PHP community’s “annual homecoming,” so conference organizers adopted the phrase as their slogan. The conference takes place around May every year, and tries to focus less on business interests and more on the interests of the attendees. The 2017 php[tek] conference is the twelfth edition, and is slated next for a May 24 – 25, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The 2016 event displayed innovation in the form of live streams of keynote speakers and several key events. Videos of the captured streams are featured on the php[architect] YouTube channel. The first day focused on PHP and Laravel basics and web security. The second day had a full slate of PHP tutorials.

Like SunshinePHP, php[tek] places a strong emphasis on community. The organizing team consists entirely of members of the PHP community. The emphasis is on core PHP elements, as well as related topics such as JavaScript, MongoDB, and others. There are sessions for both new and experienced developers.

php[tek] develops fun ways to increase participation from attendees, using games and puzzles throughout the conference, with cool prizes awarded. There is plenty of opportunity for socializing — past events have included community nights, a casino night, newcomer sessions, and designated open spaces.

There is also an emphasis on looking down the road to upcoming developments with PHP and working to test new features as soon as possible. For example, past conferences stressed the importance of adapting PHP 7 as soon as possible, and getting involved in reporting issues to help eradicate problems as the new version was rolled out.

Speaker preview videos are posted on the conference website as they become available. You can also stay up-to-date with conference developments and news on their Twitter feed at @phparch.

Dutch PHP

Self-identifying as “Europe’s Most Exciting Web Conference,” Dutch PHP ran June 23 – 25, 2016 in Amsterdam, Netherlands and it’s set to appear in the same city from June 29 – July 1, 2017. Organized by Ibuildings, the convention is completely in English. The focus is on networking, best practices, know-how, technology, and tips and tricks. Ibuildings is a company that was founded in 1999. They began with PHP and then grew to incorporate other runtimes. The 2016 convention was the tenth edition of the Dutch PHP Conference.

Dutch PHP is targeted toward mobile web and PHP developers at every experience level. They encourage decision-makers outside of the developer community to attend, such as management and vendors. Experienced developers will learn how to refine their current programming skills, as well as take away new knowledge about the latest technologies. Beginning programmers will learn techniques to expand their knowledge and grow their skill set faster.

Past speakers have included John Ledrew, Dennis Degreef, Niels Nijens, Luis Cobucci, and Sara Golemon. Session topics have included such diverse areas as modern databases, lightning fast testing, containerizing in a production environment, migrating PHP extensions, graph databases, message-oriented architectures, PHP generators, secrets of cryptography, and solving cross-cutting concerns and PHP.

Past attendees have commented that the venue is large and the event is well organized by the staff. There are many standup tables to meet with other attendees while enjoying a refreshment, but there are also a number of sitting desks available if you want to do some work in between sessions. They also enjoyed the code night after the main sessions, where they can improve several open-source projects. They also commented that the talks were well presented with a wide variety of topics beyond PHP, including CSS, testing, JavaScript, DevOps, and more.


Like php[tek], php[world] is hosted by the folks at php[architect] magazine. This conference is specifically organized to bring together the wide variety of PHP frameworks such as Joomla!, Zend Framework, Laravel, Drupal, Magento, CakePHP, WordPress, and Symfony.

The 2016 conference was November 14 – 18 at the Sheraton Premiere at Tyson’s Corner near Washington, D.C., close to the Dulles airport. Past speakers have included Eryn O’Neil, Michelangelo van Dam, Edward Finkler, and Helen Hou-Sandi. The 2017 conference date is not yet announced.

This conference is designed to bring together the various PHP platforms into one event that discusses their shared concerns and challenges. With more than 80 percent of the internet running on PHP, the number of PHP frameworks has grown and fragmented. php[world] was designed from the ground up for developers from these different platforms to share ideas and best practices. Conference topics have included web security, object-oriented PHP, PHP essentials, containerizing PHP applications, building APIs, REST APIs, PHP, and IoT, using open source for small business operations and much more.

As Drupal, WordPress, and the other platforms listed have grown, users began to think of themselves as developers for each specific framework, instead of as a PHP developer first. The conference is geared toward learning from each other across framework walls, even as they begin to merge into each other. For example, Magento has become increasingly based on Zend Framework, and Drupal has incorporated core libraries from Symfony. Sessions are spread over eight tracks, with talks on each platform as well as cross-over sessions.


Omed Habib
Omed Habib is a Director of Product Marketing at AppDynamics. He originally joined AppDynamics as a Principal Product Manager to lead the development of their world-class PHP, Node.js and Python APM agents. An engineer at heart, Omed fell in love with web-scale architecture while directing technology throughout his career. He spends his time exploring new ways to help some of the largest software deployments in the world meet their performance needs.

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