Did you know that PHP is used to create a wide variety of dynamic sites and web applications around the web? Even more, PHP powers some extremely popular platforms like WordPress, Wikipedia and more.
As part of CodeConquest’s Top 50 Series, we are going to highlight 50 of the best websites to learn PHP!
Note: for a deeper look at PHP, check out Code Conquest’s very own PHP tutorial.
The thing most people don’t realize about coding PHP or any other programming language is that it’s fairly easy to teach yourself.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to attend an Ivy league university. You don’t even need to go to a tech school for a certification — though it certainly helps.
As with anything in life, like riding a bicycle or learning to swim, you can hone your skills through practice.
That said, everyone has to start somewhere. And you’re not going to learn PHP overnight.
To help, we’ve compiled a huge list of resources that will help you get started with PHP or broaden your skillset if you already know the basics. Not into PHP? That’s ok, stay tuned for the next post in this series, the Top 50 Websites To Learn WordPress.
We’ll explain which options are more suitable to your tastes — whether you’re at a beginner, intermediate or expert level.
Keep in mind, the first ten resources are some of the best around. The rest (numbers 11-50) are not listed in any particular order. Feel free to add your favorites to the comments section to make this article even more valuable.
The Top 10 Websites to Learn PHP
1. PHP Manual
This is the official manual for the PHP language. It is a comprehensive guide on PHP and covers everything from basic commands and their usage to overall security and functions. If you need to know something — nay anything — about PHP you’ll find it here. It’s not exactly the most user-friendly or attractive guide out there, but it is arguably one of the best. Plus the simple structure and layout makes it remarkably accessible via mobile devices — so you can read a lot of the content while you’re on-the-go.
2. PHP Tutorial by Tizag
This resource is ideal as PHP reference material and largely focuses on the definition of PHP, commands and methods for using them. In that respect, it’s not what you’ll want to turn to when it comes to actually applying those commands or using them in the real-world. Instead, it serves as a direct reference — similar to a textbook. Keep it bookmarked though, because you will eventually need it especially when you dive into practical coding.
3. PHP 101
As the name implies, PHP 101 is designed with “the absolute beginner” in mind. If you’re just starting out with PHP and you prefer to learn by example, this is a great place to go. The site offers a series of entertaining and useful tutorials written by none other than Vikram Vaswani — founder and CEO of Melonfire. The content is clear, concise and extremely easy to understand especially for coding newbies. Once you complete the entire tutorial, you’ll move on to creating a simple RSS news aggregator via PHP. The only downside to this site is that there aren’t many screenshots to reference, so you’ll have to learn the appearance of PHP code all by your lonesome — which isn’t necessarily a deal breaker.
4. Hacking With PHP (Formerly Practical PHP Programming)
This guide is separated into chapters, with each breaking down a different topic or element pertaining to PHP. An overview of the language leads the way, providing you with a brief introduction to the field and then it closes out nicely with some practice exercises and additional links to resources. As the name explicitly states, this is a great reference for those who prefer lessons that adopt a more practical approach.
5. Killer PHP
This is one of those eccentric wildcards that actually turns out to be remarkably useful. Why is it eccentric or strange? Well, unlike most of the other tutorials here you jump right in and start playing around with PHP. It’s a “hands-on” tutorial that doesn’t mess about. You get in, learn “usable PHP skills as quickly as possible” and then get out. That’s it. As an aside, there are complimentary videos that cover each section of the tutorial although they’re not what you could call a high caliber. That is, don’t go into Killer PHP specifically for the videos, they’re not anything special.
6. The Learn PHP Tutorial
The Learn PHP Tutorial is essentially a list of downloadable videos that walk you through the basics of PHP. It’s great for beginners and offers a more visual guide. You’ll not only learn PHP, but you’ll also learn what you can do with it through examples and best practices.
7. PHP Tutorial by W3schools
This guide is similar to the tutorial by Tizag above. In fact, the style and presentation are almost identical. Tizag’s tutorial covers a lot more ground — although that doesn’t mean W3schools’ content isn’t worth checking out. Once again, it should be used as a reference as opposed to a step-by-step tutorial or guide.
Price: Free, but if you want a certification from W3schools, that costs $95.
8. PHP with MySQL Essential Training by Kevin Skoglund
This is actually a Lynda.com course, that offers about 11 hours of training. If you don’t have an active subscription to Lynda you can sign-up for a 7-day free trial which is plenty of time to complete the course. Why did it make the list? The teacher does a great job of explaining PHP programming in layman’s terms making this course ideal for newbies.
Price: After a 7-day free trial, access to this course ranges from $19.99/month to $29.99, depending upon the kind of access you want to the course (such as offline access).
9. Getting Started with PHP by Randy Hoyt
Treehouse is one of our favorite online coding schools, which explains why this lesson made the list. It actually walks you through the process of using PHP to build an ecommerce store. You’re not just learning the necessary elements, commands, and steps — you’re putting them to good use.
Price: After a 14-day free trial, Treehouse starts at $25/month
PHPBuddy contains a smattering of online tutorials, lessons and articles on programming with PHP. It’s quite text-heavy and there are limited videos, screenshots and media available. Don’t let that scare you away though, it’s still a worthy reference.
Other Helpful Online PHP Resources
11. About.com PHP and MySQL
Back in the day, About.com was a great place to go for reference material for anything. It’s still a great place to go for select topics, like PHP. There are quite a few specific tutorials that teach you how to use PHP to do things like functions, loops, generate forms, call upon simple math functions, use time and calendars, redirect URLs and pages, and enable countdowns.
If you’re looking for basic tutorials that cover nearly every topic about PHP, then 1Keydata is the place to go. It offers a series of text-based tutorials and guides on MySQL and PHP. You’ll learn basic commands, string functions, syntax and more.
This site is a simple RSS news aggregator for PHP tutorials and references. It’s great if you’re looking for something in particular or if you just want to see timely content.
14. SitePoint PHP
SitePoint takes a more modern approach with their guides and tutorials, which are offered in an article-like format. It’s great for any skill level, but intermediate and expert coders will find is useful for staying up-to-date with current PHP trends.
15. PHP The Right Way
This site is dedicated to PHP coding “the right way” as advertised. Outdated information can often cause issues and propagate bad practices while coding particularly with new coders. You’ll find extensive tutorials on various PHP topics and plenty of references to other “good practice” tutorials and sites.
Pear is actually a “framework and distribution system” for existing PHP code and components. In other words, depending on what you need you might be able to find pre-existing components to use or even learn with.
17. PHP Cheatsheets
A PHP Cheatsheet for intermediate to advanced coders that might need help with variable comparisons, arithmetics, and variable testing throughout various versions of PHP. If you have no idea what any of that means, you’d be better off starting with a beginners guide or basic coding tutorials.
18. PHP Academy (YouTube)
If you’re more of a visual learner and prefer to see the code and how PHP works, then the PHP Academy YouTube channel is right up your alley. There are hundreds of tutorials, spanning years of lessons. New content is added weekly — if not daily — and it covers a wide range of PHP-related topics. It’s great if you’re looking for something specific, like how to utilize PHP to create a user registrations and login system, or setup PHP authentication.
19. PHP Training on Tuts Plus
Like Lynda.com or Treehouse, Tuts Plus is a site dedicated to online coding lessons. The PHP Training section covers a wide variety of topics, with course levels ranging all the way from beginner to expert. Lessons for Tuts Plus also tend to be more specific, with topics like WordPress plugin development, creating a PHP Woocommerce theme, and setting up an automated testing network through PHP.
Price: Ranges from $15/month for monthly access to $360 annually for pro access. Student discounts are available.
20. Learn-PHP Interactive Tutorial
The Learn-PHP interactive tutorial will walk you through PHP development. The site is still under construction, which means some of the later tutorials are still being revamped and new stuff has yet to be added. It’s still a great site for beginner to intermediate PHP coders.
21. PHP Freaks
This site is great for any skill level, and includes over 400 snippets of usable code that you can either use with existing projects or study to learn PHP. It’s not exactly the most user-friendly site, nor is the design attractive, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to learning the techniques presented. Give it a try, you might be surprised at what you find on the PHP Freaks site.
This site offers a handful of PHP-related video tutorials that range from about 6 minutes to 22 minutes long — depending on the lesson. When used in combination with any number of the other sites found here, it could be considered invaluable to learning PHP. However, on its own, it’s rather weak.
23. After Hours Programming PHP Tutorial
After Hours offers a basic, and extremely simple look at coding with PHP through text-based tutorials. Beginners only.
24. Develop PHP
The Develop PHP website offers a great deal of video tutorials related to PHP from beginner to intermediate levels. The videos are actually hosted via YouTube and embed on the site, but the website provides a much easier way — and more organized way — to pull up the different courses.
25. HTML.net PHP Tutorial
26. Home and Learn Beginners PHP
Once again, the Home and Learn PHP tutorial is designed specifically for beginner coders and starts by introducing you to the basics. The lessons include an introduction to PHP, working with variables, conditional logic, HTML forms, programming loops and finally arrays.
27. Bento PHP Resources
Similar to Treehouse, Lynda or Code School, Bento is an online coders library. Their specialized PHP resources will take you through easy, medium and hard tutorials ranging from beginner to expert coding levels.
28. The PHP Basics
As the name of the site implies, the PHP Basics tutorial will walk you through all the beginner to intermediate elements of PHP coding. There’s also an extremely useful Q&A forum of sorts that you can use when you run into problems of your own during exercises.
29. TheNewBoston PHP video tutorials
This website has a ton of PHP-related video tutorials. Once you’re done with the basic and introductory lessons, you can move on to more advanced stuff like PHP with MySQL, creating a CMS, and much more. Even if you’re an expert, there might be something for you here.
30. PHP Tutorial for Beginners by WebMonkey
Once again, this is a basic tutorials website for those new to the world of PHP coding. Most of the tutorials are text-based, and there isn’t much media. However, there are plenty of code snippets that you can use during personal exercises.
31. PHP 5 Power Programming
PHP 5 Power Programming is actually an eBook – or eTextbook — for PHP beginners that you can download completely free. It’s not a beginner’s book at all and certainly requires prior coding knowledge. It would be best suited for intermediate to advanced programmers. To download the book, select the “Downloads” tab and you should see two options, one to download as a zip file and the other to download as a PDF. You do not have to pay for the eBook version, it’s only the print version that costs money.
Price: free for eBook version
32. Wikibooks PHP Programming Guide
Similar to Wikipedia, Wikibooks has an open, crowdsourced approach to knowledge distribution. The PHP programming guides are remarkably comprehensive and cover a wide variety of topics from beginner to intermediate levels. If you’re a more advanced coder, or you want to learn how to do something specific — like create a CMS with PHP — you might want to look elsewhere.
33. Tutorialzine PHP Guides
If you already know the basics and you understand PHP, yet want to know how to do something specific then Tutorialzine is the place to go. You can learn how to make things with PHP and jQuery like a shoutbox, file browser, registration system, CMS and much more.
34. Video PHP Blog
The resource we have linked — called Diving into PHP — was actually created by Jeffrey Way from Theme Forest. All of the episodes have been embed on the Video PHP Blog website. Why does this matter, you ask? Well, because if you’re a beginner to intermediate coder you can follow the Diving into PHP lessons. If you’re a more advanced coder, you can visit the other areas of the Video PHP Blog website where you’ll find plenty of additional resources.
This site is actually primarily dedicated to CSS, HTML and WordPress oriented coding. It does have a useful PHP section, which is what we’re including here. You will need prior experience to work with a lot of the concepts discussed, so intermediate to advanced PHP coding skills are ideal.
Price: Freemium, code tutorials free to access, but more comprehensive videos available to subscribers (starting $12.00/month)
36. Microsoft Azure PHP Tutorials and Documentation
Microsoft Azure is the tech giant’s answer to cloud computing. Most of the PHP tutorials and documentation you will find on the site are related to Azure, but there are some gems hidden in there. If you work with Azure, this is the place to go. It’s not an ideal resource for newbies so keep that in mind.
37. Webucator Free PHP Tutorial
If you have the cash, Webucator offers a 4-day $1,500+ introductory course on PHP. However, you don’t need to enroll to take advantage of their free PHP tutorial. Most of the elements discussed are pretty basic, so intermediate to advanced coders won’t find much interesting. On the other hand, beginners should find a lot of great material.
Price: Freemium – if you want more comprehensive learning, prices range from $199.80 to $1,580
Much like we’re doing here, MPSoftware has compiled a list of useful PHP tutorials, guides and lessons. You won’t find much that we haven’t covered already, but it’s still worth checking out.
39. Freewebmasterhelp PHP and MySQL Tutorial
This site offers a comprehensive introduction to PHP and MySQL and takes you through the first stages of working with the language. It’s great for beginners, but there are no images or videos — it’s strictly text-based. If that’s not an issue for you then check it out.
40. PHP Everyday
Instead of offering a comprehensive tutorial and guide database, this site operates more like a traditional blog. However, nearly everything is related to working with PHP. There are more traditional tutorials if you need them.
41. The Site Wizard Writing PHP Guides
Through the Site Wizard, you can learn a great deal of basic to intermediate PHP coding concepts. The lessons are bland, yet easy to follow.
42. PHP Jabbers
The site is kind of a hidden gem for intermediate to advanced PHP coders. There are a lot of specialized guides on offer here, ranging from creating a PHP calendar to setting up a custom captcha system.
If you prefer to learn by studying real-world examples, then look no further. HScripts offers a huge list of PHP coding examples that you can pour through one-by-one. Due to the nature of the site, it’s best left to coders with prior experience. Beginners would have a tough time sorting through the various functions, commands and elements.
44. TutorialsPoint PHP
Like many of the sites on this list, TutorialsPoint has an entire section dedicated to PHP programming with lessons that range from beginner to intermediate course levels. There’s even a free eBook on offer that you can download as a PDF file.
Unlike many of the other resources listed here, Webassist is a premium portal. You can search for PHP-related guides through the internal search feature. You’ll be able to browse all the available tutorials and see the first section of each guide for free. After that you’ll need to login for complete access.
46. PHP for Kids
This resource is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a series of PHP tutorials and guides for children. Don’t be fooled, it’s a great resource for coding newbies of any age.
47. FreeBookCentre PHP Books
FreeBookCentre offers a huge library of free eBooks. Naturally, the PHP section has a decent selection of guides, textbooks and more. Most of them are offered in the PDF file format.
This is another great programming and development blog that covers a variety of topics. Of course, the most relevant are the PHP-based guides. The content is ideal for intermediate to advanced PHP coders. Beginners need not apply.
49. SiteGround PHP and MySQL Tutorial
This free online guide starts with simple topics like “what is PHP” and then moves on to working with MySQL.
Unfortunately, this blog hasn’t been updated in a while — since 2011 — but it’s still a decent resource. Most of the PHP tutorials and guides you’ll find on the site are for more advanced projects.
That’s a Massive List of PHP Websites and Resources!
You should be able to find at least one website or resource on this list that will help you get familiar with PHP.
If you’d rather learn in a more classroom-style format, give one of the many online code schools a try such as Treehouse, Lynda or Code School.
Finally, stay tuned for our next entry in the Top 50 Series: The Top 50 Websites To Learn WordPress – coming next Monday!
Recommended Training – Treehouse
Although this site recommends various training services, our top recommendation is Treehouse.
Treehouse is an online training service that teaches web design, web development and app development with videos, quizzes and interactive coding exercises.
Treehouse's mission is to bring technology education to those who can't get it, and is committed to helping its students find jobs. If you're looking to turn coding into your career, you should consider Treehouse.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.