How to Convert a PHP Web App to Mobile Apps for Android and iOS

MobiLoud is the best way to turn a website into a mobile app, no matter your tech stack. You can convert your PHP web app to mobile apps with MobiLoud in under two weeks - and save yourself a ton of time and money in the process.

It's the most efficient, most cost-effective and, all up, the best way to turn a PHP app into mobile apps.

If you’ve got an app or a website powered by PHP, and want to turn it into a mobile app, keep reading and learn more about converting PHP apps to mobile apps.

Can You Build Mobile Apps with PHP?

PHP is a server-side scripting language used to develop websites and web applications. It is a go-between for the server and the front end of a website or web application that manages dynamic content, databases and such.

While PHP is typically used in web development, it can be used as the backend for mobile apps too. The issue is the front-end of your app. You’ll need to pair it with a native mobile front-end framework to create a mobile app.

If you have a PHP website or app built for the web (perhaps you pair it with a front-end framework like React or Vue, or a simple HTML/CSS/JavaScript UI), there are two ways to turn it into a mobile application.

  1. Rebuild the front-end of your existing PHP application as native apps from scratch, using either native mobile languages or a cross-platform framework like Flutter or React Native.
  2. Convert your PHP web app into hybrid mobile apps by packaging your web content inside a native container.
An example of a web app put packaged inside the container of a native mobile app

The first option is certainly possible, but will take a lot of time, effort and money. You’ll also be left with two codebases to maintain, which will add a lot more ongoing expense and overhead.

The second is much more efficient, and in almost all cases, the best option.

Converting a PHP App to Native Mobile Apps

PHP is good at what it does, but it isn't exactly known for its adaptability - and it certainly wasn't made for anything close to mobile app development. It would be difficult to find people with the requisite skills who were willing to take on such a project.

You'd need at least two full time developers, one for iOS and one for Android, and the cost could reach six figures by the time you’re able to get the APK for your PHP mobile app - assuming you actually get there.

If you do, you'll have a lot of added work and expense to update the apps, maintain them, and put out new features and versions. You'll need to keep developers around, which will get expensive.

David Cost from Rainbow Shops discovered this while they were looking for the best way to create an app:

"If we had unlimited time and money, we would probably go for a custom native app, but that is half a million to a million a year to maintain.”

This route is just not feasible in >90% of cases. Even if you use a cross-platform framework like React Native or Flutter, which will be quicker than building separate apps in Java/Kotlin (for Android) and Swift (for iOS), it’s still a big project that will need to be maintained separately from your web codebase.

Learn more: We broke down the pros and cons of using React Native versus Kotlin (for Android apps), Swift (for iOS apps) and Flutter (for cross-platform mobile apps)

Convert a PHP Web App to Hybrid Mobile Apps

If you want to actually convert your PHP web app into mobile apps, without rebuilding the front-end from scratch, you’ll want to turn it into a hybrid mobile app.

A hybrid app is one that pulls from the same codebase for web, Android and iOS. It combines your web code with native mobile code to reuse the same functionality of your web app in the mobile apps.

This is what MobiLoud does.

Example of an app we built using MobiLoud

Our platform converts your PHP website into hybrid apps, which look and feel native on both Android and iPhone.

The apps can be installed on users’ devices, published on the App Store and Google Play, send push notifications - and generally behave like a native mobile app. 

There’s no rebuilding of features or the UI - because the iOS and Android apps are your PHP web app, combined with native code to allow it to work on mobile.

If you're happy with apps that essentially do the same thing as your web app, this is the way to go. The only reason you’d do it any other way is if you need features that go above and beyond the web app and can only be achieved through the native APIs.

If you want that you basically can’t use your PHP code anyway, so it’s academic.

MobiLoud works with any website platform, language or framework. Built a PHP app with Laravel, for instance? We’ll help you turn it into a mobile app, no problem.

How to Convert a PHP Web App to Mobile Apps with MobiLoud

Here's how you can turn your PHP website into a native app with MobiLoud:

  1. First, book a free consultation to discuss your project, your needs, and learn more about the process.
  2. Sign up for a MobiLoud plan. Plans require no long-term commitments, a 60 day money-back guarantee, and start from $199/mo.
  3. After discussing what you want from your app, our team will do all the heavy lifting to bring your PHP app to life as mobile apps, including all coding, tweaking your UI for the apps and testing to ensure the apps are fast and bug-free
  4. We ship the final build, we submit your app to the Apple and Google Play app stores, taking care of 100% of the submission process (which is notoriously complicated for first-time app publishers).
  5. Once your app is live and in the app stores, we'll handle all updates, tweaks, bug fixes and maintenance for your mobile apps as long as your MobiLoud subscription is active, helping you keep delivering a modern and professional UX to your users.

MobiLoud was built specifically to convert web-based apps (such as PHP apps) to mobile apps.

It's fast, simple and affordable, and gives you a result that's not far off what you'd get if you paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a native app.

There's very little for you to do. The bulk of your mobile app is simply a recreation of your website, and our team does all the work under the hood to bring your mobile app to life.

All you need to do is ensure your web app is responsive and mobile-friendly.

From there, we'll build your mobile apps, using the functionality from your PHP web app.

Once your apps are published, you can promote them and start getting downloads. You could be live in as little as two weeks - as the EU-funded Season@Work app was:

“The delivery time was excellent. I mean 10 days, 10 working days.”

- Ivan Ivanov, Project Manager at the European Federation of Food, Agriculture, and Tourism Trade Unions

That’s how simple it is to convert a PHP web app to mobile apps with MobiLoud. You’ll have integrated all the features and functionality from your web app, and applied it through a new channel with the optimal mobile UX. 

With all the technical work done for you and the cost at just a couple of hundred dollars per month, you’ll have saved a lot of time, money and stress - and got your PHP app to the iOS and Android platforms efficiently.

Want to see our conversion process in action? Get a free preview of your PHP website converted into an app here, using our configuration dashboard.

Why MobiLoud is the Best Way to Build PHP Mobile Apps

We built MobiLoud to give established businesses a fast and stress-free route to the App Store and Google Play. Unlike many other hybrid app platforms MobiLoud isn't something for developers to tinker with, it's for businesses that just want to get the job done with minimal expense and headaches.

You might think you need a native app, but in reality, it’s very rarely worth it to build a new mobile app from scratch.

Hybrid apps can easily look and feel just as good as a custom native app, with significantly less effort and expense.

Most importantly, you’ll only have one codebase to manage.

When you rebuild your PHP website as a mobile app, you’ll need to maintain your website and mobile app separately, doubling your work every time you make an update or build a new feature.

This adds up significantly over the lifecycle of your app, and will inevitably result in cases where your website and mobile apps are out of sync.

With MobiLoud, you’ll get an app that looks and feels fully native, while still only maintaining your web code as you normally would.

Your apps update automatically with your website, which means there’s almost nothing added to your regular workflow.

Example of a hybrid app built with MobiLoud

We’ve helped more than 2,000 businesses build apps, and almost all rave about how much they saved by not having to maintain multiple platforms.

When you convert your PHP web app to mobile apps with MobiLoud, you’ll get apps for iOS and Android that have the exact same features and functionality as your web app, with the addition of the following native features:

  • Native tab bar and navigation
  • Unlimited push notifications on iOS and Android
  • Native splash screens and loading indicators
  • Push preferences and a message center to make your notifications more effective
  • Automatic ratings prompts
  • App analytics

You can manage your MobiLoud apps through a simple dashboard - with no code required.

MobiLoud isn’t just a tool, it’s a service. Our team helps out extensively with the configuration and build process, and we test, prepare and submit the apps to the App Store and Google Play - guaranteeing approval. 

Once your apps are live, we handle all ongoing updates and maintenance, saving you time and money every month for the lifetime of the apps. 

Convert Your PHP Web App to Mobile Apps Today!

In summary, MobiLoud is for you if:

  • You are happy with iOS and Android apps that essentially mimic your PHP web app
  • You want someone to take care of all the difficult parts of building hybrid apps
  • Your priority is getting to market fast and efficiently

MobiLoud is not for you if:

  • You need features that depart from what you have on the web and require the use of native APIs
  • You do not want to invest low-four figures to build an app, plus a manageable monthly fee for all ongoing updates and maintenance development work

We hope this article has been informative in introducing you to MobiLoud -  the best way to convert a PHP web app to mobile apps and get all the key benefits for a fraction of the cost of traditional development. 

If you want to learn more about MobiLoud and how we can bring you live on the App Store and Google Play - schedule a demo call with one of our team of experts and get answers to all your questions. You can also check out the FAQ section on the main MobiLoud page for more information. 

We’re ready to help you convert your PHP app to mobile apps today - just book a free consultation and let’s get started!

Get a working preview of your app prepared by our team. Your MobiLoud app integrates with your entire tech stack, works with all custom features, and automatically syncs with everything on your site in real time.
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