I missed out on making this post last year, so I figured it best to get one up for 2019. I still use Visual Studio Code every day, and that doesn’t look to be changing in the near future. Let’s take a look at the top 5 extensions that I’m currently using.

Visual Studio Code is Microsoft’s cross-platform IDE.  Its lightweight operation can be attributed to the fact that it does only the basics by default, and adds functionality via extensions. This allows you to start with the basics, and add only the things you really need. There are some Visual Studio Code extensions however, that I recommend to people as soon as you install the program. These are my top five for 2019.

1. PHP Intelephense

This is one of the best extensions to have installed in regards to PHP. The extension features the following (From their page):

  • Fast camel/underscore case code completion (IntelliSense). Offering detailed suggestions for document, workspace and built-in symbols and keywords. Automatic addition of use declarations.
  • Detailed signature (parameter) help for document, workspace and built-in constructors, methods, and functions.
  • Rapid workspace wide go to definition support.
  • Workspace wide find all references.
  • Fast camel/underscore case workspace symbol search.
  • Full document symbol search that also powers breadcrumbs and outline UI.
  • Multiple diagnostics for open files via an error tolerant parser and powerful static analysis engine.
  • Lossless PSR-2 compatible document and range formatting. Will format combined HTML/PHP/js/CSS files too.
  • HTML request forwarding allowing for a full HTML/Javascript/CSS/PHP development experience.
  • Detailed hover with links to official PHP documentation.
  • Smart highlight of references and keywords.

You can learn more about it or install it here.

2. PHP Debug

This extension is an adapter for XDebug extension for PHP. The XDebug extension helps to debug and troubleshoot projects. To utilize this, you’ll need PHP and XDebug installed on your machine in addition to this extension. I have a whole post about getting that setup on a windows machine with MAMP here.
You can learn more about it and get further instructions here.

3. GitLens

This extension is tremendous if you are utilizing Git in any capacity. It allows you to see who, when , or why a line or code block was changed, right from the editor window. You can also go back through the git history to get a better understanding of how we got to that point.
You can learn more about it or install it here.

4. Better Comments

Better comments will help you create better comments in your code. It allows you to color code a bit and categorize your comments as Alerts, Queries, ToDos and more. You can define anything you’d like in the settings.
You can learn more about it or install it here.

5. Settings Sync

Settings Sync is one of my favorite extensions to have and I recommend it to anyone. Settings Sync will sync all of your custom settings, key binds, themes, and plugins with GitHub. This helps tremendously if you work on multiple machines at work, or even just between work and home. Once you have it linked up with your GitHub account, a single shortcut will call a sync, and you can also configure it to either upload or download settings automatically.
You can learn more about it or install it here.


One post with a few extensions is never enough. There are thousands of extensions on the VS Code store, and your needs can vary wildly, especially depending on the language(s) you primarily code in. It’s best to take a look at the Visual Studio Code Marketplace yourself and see what’s out there as the sky is the limit.