FPDF Alternative for PHP for Generating PDFs

October 10th, 2018 / by api2pdf /


FPDF is an open source library to generate PDFs in PHP. There are some key advantages to this.

  1. No external dependencies — can generate basic PDFs straight from PHP code.
  2. Free

This might be okay for some, but there are issues with FPDF. With a pure PHP implementation, you run into serious problems. You effectively have to build the PDF “by hand” using PHP code in the style that FPDF requires. This results in a serious loss of flexibility and ease of use that an HTML to PDF generator would provide. Additionally, if you need very high performance for large PDFs, FPDF will probably fall short.

I would say FPDF would be sufficient for small web applications that need to generate tiny receipts with no images.

FPDF Alternative for PHP

The best alternatives to FPDF, and free to use are wkhtmltopdf and Headless Chrome. wkhtmltopdf is based on webkit and Headless Chrome is, well…Chrome. Both are browser based and do a great job of rendering the HTML / CSS to PDF.

The main challenges with working with either of these PDF rendering engines with PHP is that they are dependencies that you have to install on your servers. This may be extra challenging to accomplish in cloud environments.


Api2Pdf is an HTML to PDF API that is a wrapper for wkhtmltopdf and Headless Chrome. You can get started with generating PDFs using either of these rendering engines in minutes, avoiding the whole installation and configuration process on your own servers.

Api2Pdf provides a PHP client library to make it super easy to connect to the REST API.

In addition to using PHP to convert HTML to PDF, Api2Pdf is a LibreOffice API to support the conversion of docx to pdf, ppt to pdf, xlsx to pdf, and much more. And finally, you can use PHP to merge PDF files together.

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