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PHP Books for Beginners, Intermediates and Advanced

Another blog post about books! What was missing in the collection of best programming books, was a list of books to get started with PHP. This time I’ll share some of the best PHP books for beginners, intermediate and advanced. PHP is a server-side scripting language designed for web development but also used as a general-purpose programming language.  So, looking for a good place to learn PHP? Look no further and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Beginner PHP Books

  • PHP & MySQL: Novice to Ninja by Kevin Yank
    PHP & MySQL: Novice to Ninja PHP & MySQL: Novice to Ninja is a practical hands-on guide to learning all the tools, principles and techniques needed to build a fully functional database-driven web site using PHP & MySQL. This book covers everything from installing PHP & MySQL under Windows, Linux, and Mac through to building a live web-based content management system. While this is essentially a beginner’s book, it also covers more advanced topics such as the storage of binary data in MySQL, and cookies and sessions in PHP. It comes complete with a set of handy reference guides for PHP & MySQL that include: MySQL syntax, MySQL functions, MysQL column types and PHP functions for working with MySQL.
  • Head First PHP & MySQL by Lynn BeighleyMichael Morrison
    Head First PHP & MySQL If you’re ready to create web pages more complex than those you can build with HTML and CSS, Head First PHP & MySQL is the ultimate learning guide to building dynamic, database-driven websites using PHP and MySQL. Packed with real-world examples, this book teaches you all the essentials of server-side programming, from the fundamentals of PHP and MySQL coding to advanced topics such as form validation, session IDs, cookies, database queries and joins, file I/O operations, content management, and more. Head First PHP & MySQL offers the same visually rich format that’s turned every title in the Head First series into a bestseller, with plenty of exercises, quizzes, puzzles, and other interactive features to help you retain what you’ve learned.
  • PHP for the Web: Visual QuickStart Guide (4th Edition) by Larry Ullman
    PHP for the Web: Visual QuickStart Guide (4th Edition) With PHP for the World Wide Web, Fourth Edition: Visual QuickStart Guide, readers can start from the beginning to get a tour of the programming language, or look up specific tasks to learn just what they need to know. This task-based visual reference guide uses step-by-step instructions and plenty of screenshots to teach beginning and intermediate users PHP. Technology author Larry Ullman guides readers through the latest developments including use and awareness of HTML5 with PHP. Other addressed changes include removal of outdated functions and more efficient ways to tackle common needs. Both beginning users, who want a thorough introduction to the technology, and more intermediate users, who are looking for a convenient reference, will find what they need here–in straightforward language and through readily accessible examples
  • PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide (4th Edition) by Larry Ullman
    PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide (4th Edition) It hasn’t taken Web developers long to discover that when it comes to creating dynamic, database-driven Web sites, MySQL and PHP provide a winning open-source combination. Add this book to the mix, and there’s no limit to the powerful, interactive Web sites that developers can create. With step-by-step instructions, complete scripts, and expert tips to guide readers, veteran author and database designer Larry Ullman gets right down to business: After grounding readers with separate discussions of first the scripting language (PHP) and then the database program (MySQL), he goes on to cover security, sessions and cookies, and using additional Web tools, with several sections devoted to creating sample applications. This guide is indispensable for beginning to intermediate level Web designers who want to replace their static sites with something dynamic. Also new to this edition are chapters introducing jQuery and object-oriented programming techniques.
  • Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript: With jQuery, CSS & HTML5 (Learning Php, Mysql, Javascript, Css & Html5) by Robin Nixon
    Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript: With jQuery, CSS & HTML5 (Learning Php, Mysql, Javascript, Css & Html5) The fully revised, updated and extended 4th edition of this popular web development book – includes CSS, HTML5, jQuery and the mysqli extension. Build interactive, data-driven websites with the potent combination of open-source technologies and web standards, even if you only have basic HTML knowledge. With this hands-on guide, you’ll tackle dynamic web programming with the help of today’s core technologies: PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, jQuery, CSS, and HTML5. Explore each technology separately, learn how to use them together, and pick up valuable web programming practices along the way.

Intermediate PHP Books

  • Modern PHP: New Features and Good Practices by Josh Lockhart
    Modern PHP: New Features and Good Practices PHP is experiencing a renaissance, though it may be difficult to tell with all of the outdated PHP tutorials online. With this practical guide, you’ll learn how PHP has become a full-featured, mature language with object-orientation, namespaces, and a growing collection of reusable component libraries. Author Josh Lockhart—creator of PHP The Right Way, a initiative to encourage PHP best practices—reveals these new language features in action. You’ll learn best practices for application architecture and planning, databases, security, testing, debugging, and deployment.
  • Programming PHP by Kevin TatroePeter MacIntyreRasmus Lerdorf
    Programming PHP This updated edition teaches everything you need to know to create effective web applications with the latest features in PHP 5. x. You’ll start with the big picture and then dive into language syntax, programming techniques, and other details, using examples that illustrate both correct usage and common idioms. If you have a working knowledge of HTML, the authors’ many style tips and practical programming advice will help you become a top-notch PHP programmer. Nice addition: interact with relational databases like MySQL or NoSQL databases such as MongoDB.

Advanced PHP Books

  • PHP Objects, Patterns, and Practice by Matt Zandstra
    PHP Objects, Patterns, and PracticeThe book begins by covering PHP’s object-oriented features. It introduces key topics including class declaration, inheritance, reflection and much more. It covers many of the classic design patterns and includes chapters on enterprise and database patterns. Furthermore, the book describes and demonstrates PHP’s built-in object-oriented features and breaks down the principles of object-oriented design, explaining key design patterns using practical examples.
  • PHP Cookbook: Solutions & Examples for PHP Programmers by David SklarAdam Trachtenberg
    PHP Cookbook: Solutions & Examples for PHP ProgrammersWith more than 350 code-rich recipes revised for PHP 5. 5, this third edition of the PHP Cookbook provides updated solutions for generating dynamic web content—everything from using basic data types to querying databases, and from calling RESTful APIs to testing and securing your site. Whether you’re an experienced PHP programmer or coming to PHP from another language, this book is an ideal on-the-job resource.
  • Advanced PHP Programming by George Schlossnagle
    Advanced PHP Programming Over the past three years PHP has evolved from being a niche language, used to add dynamic functionality to small sites, to a powerful tool making strong inroads into large-scale, business-critical Web systems. While there are many books on learning PHP and developing small applications with it, there is a serious lack of information on “scaling” PHP for large-scale, business-critical systems. Schlossnagle’s Advanced PHP Programming fills that void, demonstrating that PHP is ready for enterprise Web applications by showing the reader how to develop PHP-based applications for maximum performance, stability and extensibility.
  • Essential PHP Security by Chris Shiflett
    Essential PHP Security Being highly flexible in building dynamic, database-driven web applications makes the PHP programming language one of the most popular web development tools in use today. However, as more web sites are developed in PHP, they become targets for malicious attackers, and developers need to prepare for the attacks. Security is an issue that demands attention, given the growing frequency of attacks on web sites. Essential PHP Security explains the most common types of attacks and how to write code that isn’t susceptible to them. Chapters describe potential attacks with examples and then explain techniques to help you prevent those attacks.

What do you think? If you have more suggestions, I’d love to hear about them!


Featured Image by Ginny.
  • I wrote a book on getting started properly with PHP environments, what one should do *before* starting to code. Perhaps it could fit into the beginner section?

    • Hi Bruno, thank you for sharing! I’ll have a look into it :)

  • Rafael Mollá

    Should i read just one book in the beginner list or more than one?

    • Approved

      2016-06-11 15:09 GMT+02:00 Disqus :

    • Hi Rafael, it depends on what most convenient for you. You can start with just one, there’s no need in reading them all and if your comfortable enough with the code, start coding :)

      • Rafael Mollá

        Thank you very much! There are so many books that you sometimes don’t know where to start

        • Hi Rafael, I completely understand. I’d start with one, which one appeals to you most and start coding :) you can always try some online tutorials first on codecadamy or team treehouse to check if php is something for you. Good luck :)

  • Linda Johnson

    Good list of PHP books for beginners. This can be a ideal source for leaning PHP language. Learning PHP is an excellent idea and it can be a great decision for you and for your career.

  • Artem Travlo

    Thanks a lot))))