best PHP books this year [learn php asap]

13 Best PHP Books in 2021 [Learn PHP ASAP]

Best PHP Books

🧠 Did you know? PHP is used by nearly 80% of all websites whose server-side programming language is known.

What is PHP?

PHP is an open source, server-side scripting language used for web development. It’s used to manage:

  • dynamic content
  • databases
  • session tracking

PHP is generally considered an easier language to learn for programming newbies.

Do I need to learn PHP in 2021?

Over 244 million websites use PHP, making it the most widely used programming language on the web. So while some may claim it’s on the decline, there’s still plenty of demand for PHP developers.

That’s because in the corporate world, you’re going to have to tap into legacy code which is almost guaranteed to include PHP.

And you don’t want to be caught with your pants down if you don’t know how to handle the code. 👖

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you buy something. Read my disclosure for more details.

TLDR: Best PHP Books


🔥 Best Overall 🔥
Programming PHP: Creating Dynamic Web Pages


💥 Best for Newbies 💥
PHP: Learn PHP in One Day and Learn It Well

💸 Best Value 💸
PHP & MySQL in easy steps: Covers MySQL 8.0

Best PHP Books

1. Programming PHP: Creating Dynamic Web Pages

Programming PHP is the best PHP book overall.

↘️ Ideal for: PHP newbies
↘️
Topics covered: big picture, programming techniques, language syntax

Programming PHP highlights features covered in PHP 7.4. Starting with a general overview of PHP, you’ll then tear into language syntax and programming techniques.

Some concepts you’ll cover include:

  • data types
  • flow control statements
  • functions

You’ll also learn how to interact with relational databases like MySQL and NoSQL.

You should have a working knowledge of HTML before reading Programming PHP.

Lesson on PHP forms in the book Programming PHP

💻 Need interactivity while learning PHP? Check out the course Learn PHP from Scratch on Educative.io.

2. Learn PHP in One Day and Learn It Well

Learn PHP in One Day and Learn it Well is one of the best PHP books for newbies.

↘️ Ideal for: PHP newbies
↘️
Topics covered: form handling, security management, exception handling

Learn PHP in One Day and Learn it Well is a concise PHP reference. Giving you a broad exposure to PHP, you’ll learn about:

  • HTML form handling
  • security management
  • object-oriented programming
  • exception handling

And beyond.

At the end of the book, you’ll work on a project, building a mini-blog.

You should have a basic knowledge of HTML and SQL before reading this book.

💥 Learn PHP in One Day and Learn it Well takes a hands-on approach to teaching you the basics of PHP.

What developers are saying about Learn PHP in One Day

The book is well written, contains a lot of practical info with examples, covers everything important. I recommend this to everyone.

This book is well written, contains a lot of practical info with examples, covers everything important…

David E A., PHP Developer

🔥 Geena’s Hot Take

There’s no miracle cure to taking the time and effort to learn a new programming language.

So are you really gonna learn all of PHP in one day? Probably not.

But you will learn the fundamentals in a timely fashion so you can start putting your programming skills to use right away.

So if you want to learn some valuable PHP skills in less time, Learn PHP in One Day and Learn it Well is a good place to start.


💻 Get your basics on with the video-based course PHP Fundamentals on Pluralsight.

3. PHP & MySQL in Easy Steps: Covers MySQL 8.0

PHP & MySQL in Easy Steps is one of the best – and inexpensive – PHP books.

↘️ Ideal for: programming newbies
↘️
Topics covered: PHP and MySQL fundamentals

PHP & MySQL in Easy Steps is a fully illustrated, easy to follow guide written in nontechnical terms. Throughout the book, you’ll explore how to produce data-driven web pages.

In addition to learning how to write PHP server-side scripts, you’ll discover how to make MySQL database queries.

With ample examples, you’ll learn how to:

  • retrieve session data
  • provide a message board
  • create an e-commerce shopping cart

💥 PHP & MySQL in Easy Steps is newbie-friendly with no prior programming experience required.


💻 Time to put this theory into practice with the course Building Web Applications in PHP on Coursera.

4. Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript

↘️ Ideal for: web designers
↘️
Topics covered: PHP, MySQL, JavaScript

Just when you thought you’d see PHP and JavaScript on the next episode of Jerry Springer in an epic catfight to win the Internet, they got along long enough so Robin Nixon could write this book.

Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript teaches you how to create interactive, data-driven websites. You’ll explore the world of dynamic programming using up-to-date technologies:

  • PHP
  • MySQL
  • JavaScript
  • CSS
  • HTML5
  • jQuery
  • React

You’ll take what you’ve learned and build a fully functional social networking site.

💥 Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript takes a project-based approach to learning web programming using PHP 8.

Diagram of dynamic client/server request/response sequence in Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript

5. PHP and MySQL Web Development

↘️ Ideal for: PHP newbies
↘️
Topics covered: PHP, MySQL, JavaScript

PHP and MySQL Web Development is a project-based book where you’ll build your PHP, MySQL and JavaScript skills. You’ll design and build multiple projects including web-based email and a shopping cart.

In addition to learning PHP and MySQL, you’ll learn how to use JavaScript in your applications to integrate front-end and back-end technologies.

💥 PHP and MySQL Web Development is a heavily project-based book featuring PHP 7.

What PHP developers are saying about PHP and MySQL Web Development

This is the book that made my web development dreams a reality.

This is the book that made my web development dreams a reality.

Chuzymatics, Web Developer


6. Laravel: Up & Running: A Framework for Building Modern PHP Apps

Laravel: Up & Running is one of the best PHP books covering a PHP framework.

↘️ Ideal for: experienced PHP developers
↘️
Topics covered: Laravel framework

Laravel: Up & Running teaches you how to use the popular PHP framework Laravel (It’s cool and hip… think of it like React but for PHP). Using concrete examples, this high-level overview of Laravel covers features such as:

And more.

💥 Laravel: Up & Running focuses exclusively on the features of the rapid application development framework Laravel.


💻 Learn more about Laravel in the course Laravel Basics on Treehouse.

7. PHP and Algorithmic Thinking for the Complete Beginner

↘️ Ideal for: programming newbies
↘️
Topics covered: PHP fundamentals

PHP and Algorithmic Thinking for the Complete Beginner has a course structure where you’ll learn the fundamentals of PHP with:

  • 700 exercises
  • 475 true/false questions
  • 150 multiple choice questions
  • 200 review questions
  • crossword puzzles

You’ll find that you’ll learn PHP using algorithmic thinking. So instead of just learning the code, you’ll learn the process of coding.

💥 PHP and Algorithmic Thinking for the Complete Beginner is for students with no prior programming experience.


8. Learn PHP 8: Using MySQL, JavaScript, CSS3, and HTML5

↘️ Ideal for: PHP newbies
↘️
Topics covered: PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, CSS, HTML

Learn PHP 8 will teach you the most popular PHP fundamentals alongside MySQL, JavaScript, CSS and HTML. This includes:

  • web applications
  • modular programming
  • databases

And beyond.

For each chapter, you’ll work on a small application using the algorithms you’ve learned.

💥 With Learn PHP 8, you’ll learn by doing while completing coding examples and applications.


9. PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites

↘️ Ideal for: PHP newbies
↘️
Topics covered: PHP 7, MySQL, jQuery, object-oriented programming

PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites takes you on a programming journey. You’ll follow expert tips and step-by-step instructions to learn about issues like security and session management.

You’ll also dabble in jQuery and object-oriented programming.

💥 PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites will teach you how to build database-driven web sites using PHP 7.


10. Murach’s PHP and MySQL

↘️ Ideal for: PHP newbies
↘️
Topics covered: PHP, MySQL, MVC, Apache

Murach’s PHP and MySQL teaches you PHP 7 alongside MySQL while showcasing the Model View Controller (MVC) and Apache. You’ll start building applications immediately as you explore working with:

  • form data
  • arrays
  • sessions
  • cookies
  • exceptions

And beyond.

You’ll also learn how to create a database while accessing and maintaining its data.

💥 Murach’s PHP and MySQL covers day-to-day skills you’ll use in PHP.


11. PHP 8 Quick Scripting Reference

PHP 8 Quick Scripting Reference is one of the best PHP books for experienced PHP developers.

↘️ Ideal for: experienced PHP programmers
↘️
Topics covered: PHP 8, object-oriented features, constructs

PHP 8 Quick Scripting Reference is a code-rich guide. You won’t find samples or stories, just the meat. 🥩

While exploring new features in PHP 8, you’ll also dive into:

  • reusable code
  • object-oriented features
  • variable testing
  • error handling

And much more.

💥 PHP 8 Quick Scripting Reference is a handy pocket guide for experienced PHP programmers.


12. Learning PHP: A Gentle Introduction to the Web’s Most Popular Language

↘️ Ideal for: PHP newbies
↘️
Topics covered: PHP 7, web forms, databases, APIs

With Learning PHP, you’ll learn how to work with:

  • web servers
  • browsers
  • databases
  • web services

In addition, you’ll learn how to build and validate web forms. You’ll also learn how to work with APIs and PHP web application frameworks.

💥 Learning PHP touts itself as “a gentle introduction to the web’s most popular language.”


13. The Joy of PHP

↘️ Ideal for: programming newbies
↘️
Topics covered: HTML, PHP, MySQL

The Joy of PHP starts off with some basic HTML so complete newbies can learn the ropes of programming. As you progress, you’ll build a web site for a used car dealership, modifying features as you learn new concepts in PHP and MySQL. 🚗

This book is not intended to teach you all of PHP. Rather, you’ll go from a complete newbie to being able to read, write and modify PHP scripts… and program interactive web applications.

💥 The Joy of PHP uses one large project to help teach you the fundamentals of PHP.


Best PHP Books: Conclusion

Today we looked at the best PHP books including:

🔥 Best Overall 🔥
Programming PHP: Creating Dynamic Web Pages


💥 Best for Newbies 💥
PHP: Learn PHP in One Day and Learn It Well

💸 Best Value 💸
PHP & MySQL in easy steps: Covers MySQL 8.0

No matter if you’re on a budget or a newbie: we think these are the best PHP books for aspiring PHP developers.


PHP Developers are also reading:


  1. What is PHP?

    PHP is an open source, server-side scripting language used for web development. It’s used to manage dynamic content, databases, and session tracking. PHP is generally considered an easier language to learn for programming newbies.

  2. What are the best PHP books?

    Overall, we think Programming PHP: Creating Dynamic Web Pages is the best PHP book. For newbies, we liked PHP: Learn PHP in One Day and Learn it Well. And for best value, we chose PHP & MySQL in easy steps: Covers MySQL 8.0.

  3. Do I need to learn PHP this year?

    Over 244 million websites use PHP, making it the most widely used programming language on the web. So while some may claim it’s on the decline, there’s still plenty of demand for PHP developers. That’s because in the corporate world, you’re going to have to tap into legacy code which is almost guaranteed to include PHP. And you don’t want to be caught with your pants down if you don’t know how to handle the code.

  4. Is the book Programming PHP: Creating Dynamic Web Pages worth it?

    We think so. Programming PHP highlights features covered in PHP 7.4. Starting with a general overview of PHP, you’ll then tear into language syntax and programming techniques. You’ll also learn how to interact with relational databases like MySQL and NoSQL. You should have a working knowledge of HTML before reading Programming PHP.

  5. Is Learn PHP in One Day and Learn It Well worth it?

    Learn PHP in One Day and Learn it Well is one of the best PHP books for newbies. It's a concise PHP reference. You should have a basic knowledge of HTML and SQL before reading this book. You can learn more about this and other PHP books in today's post.