The 10 Best PHP Books to Read in 2023


PHP is a server-side scripting language used to create static and dynamic web pages and online applications. Formerly known as Personal Home Pages, PHP is a recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Pre-processor. PHP is undoubtedly the most widely used and largest web programming language. The bulk of well-known websites, including Digg, Facebook, and every WordPress blog you are familiar with, have been powered by it since the 90s.

The initial step in web programming is typically learning PHP. Finding the appropriate learning resources will help you shorten the amount of time it takes to learn everything.

Here is a list of the top books for beginners and professionals to learn PHP. These books are helpful for all those who are interested in understanding the basics of programming and come highly recommended by PHP specialists. With the help of these learning resources, you can advance your career in this exciting industry and become a better PHP developer.

What is PHP Used for?

PHP serves as the foundation for many well-known websites and features. Additionally, PHP has frameworks for many popular applications, so you don’t have to start from scratch each time you wish to customize a new project.

PHP is a time-saving option for programmers who need to produce something new in a constrained period of time or on a tight budget because of the numerous shortcuts that can be found inside the embedded functions.

CRM systems, which are used to administer websites that cater to customers, are frequently made using PHP.

Since PHP is frequently used to power e-commerce websites, small businesses can easily set up an online store without having to shell out money for specialized development using PHP.

Top PHP Books

The books on this list are suitable for beginners as well as experienced developers who wish to master PHP. Let’s check them out below:

1. Head First PHP & MySQL

Author: Lynn Beighley 

Publisher: O’Reilly

It focuses on the ideas of server-side programming and enables you to use PHP and MySQL to create dynamic websites. The examples provided therein will help you better understand the topics. It has an engaging visual design that makes learning more fun.

The main attractive point of this book, which keeps the readers engaged throughout its entirety, is the practical examples being used.

As you learn more about this PHP book, you will come across ideas like form validation, session IDs, database queries and joins, file I/O operations, content management, and others.

2. Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript: With jQuery, CSS & HTML5

Author: Robin Nixon

Publisher: O’Reilly

It is a great book if you’re looking to develop social media PHP projects. This book will teach you how to build a fully functional social networking site using PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5. This will enable you to learn PHP inside and out and start by learning the MySQL database.

This PHP book also covers uploading and editing files and photos, building engaging and dynamic websites, and modifying CSS values from JS.

Examine each technology in turn, learn how to combine them, and pick up useful web programming techniques along the way. You’ll put everything together at the conclusion of the book to create a fully functional social networking site using XAMPP or any other development stack of your choice.

3. PHP: A Beginner’s Guide

Author: Vikram Vaswani

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

You can learn how to use PHP to build a dynamic, database-driven website with the aid of this book. You may use it to integrate MySQL and SQLite databases, develop simple PHP apps, and more.

Examine various topics as you advance through the book, including software installs, syntax, data structures, built-in functions, flow control procedures, and best practices. You will have gained knowledge of the PHP language by the book’s conclusion.

This PHP book not only teaches beginners the basics of PHP coding but also assists them in advancing to developing an intermediate proficiency in PHP.

In addition to resolving errors, using classes, operators, and variables, working with arrays, utilizing data from outside sources, and securing and extending PHP are also significant topics covered in PHP: A Beginner’s Guide.

Despite its name, this book is not only for beginners albeit it is suitable for all web developers, be they freshers or experienced.

4. The Joy of PHP Programming

Author: Alan Forbes

Publisher: Plum Island

This programming book begins by explaining how to write and execute simple PHP scripts in HTML. As you learn more about it, you will use your knowledge to create a website for a car dealership. It will make learning PHP simple, pleasant, and well-organized for you. You will be able to apply your PHP skills to a real-world project by the book’s conclusion.

Before jumping to advanced topics, readers get the chance to read about simple topics like how to construct and use fundamental PHP scripts. You also have the chance to assess yourself by attempting the exercises provided in the book.

This PHP reference book covers topics like installing and configuring PHP, fundamental PHP syntax, control structures, and integrating PHP with MySQL. You can also learn about forms, PHP hints and security in this amazing book.

5. PHP & MySQL-Novice to Ninja

Author: Tom Butler & Kevin Yank

Publisher: Sitepoint

This book is suitable for individuals who wish to learn PHP and create a fully functional database-driven website using PHP and MySQL. Starting with installing PHP and MySQL, it moves on to more complex subjects like binary data storage in MySQL and cookies and sessions in PHP.

PHP & MySQL is beautifully written, entertaining, and more than adequately explains the fundamentals of MySQL and PHP. As a result, it serves as a fantastic introduction to PHP.

6. PHP In Action: Objects, Design, Agility

Author: Daginn Reiersol, Chris Shiflett, and Marcus Baker

Publisher: Manning Publications

One of the best books for learning PHP is PHP in Action. The book shines at showing how PHP techniques and principles can be applied to address some of the most common problems encountered in online programming, such as input validation, form management, object persistence, and web presentation.

PHP in Action demonstrates how to use PHP techniques and principles to address many of the most typical web programming difficulties, including:

  • Web templates and presentations
  • Including model-view-controller architecture in user interaction
  • Form management and input validation
  • Connecting to, accessing, and abstracting databases
  • Object persistence

You will gain a lot from the PHP book if you are someone who has a solid understanding of Java. This is because the author frequently alludes to Java when discussing PHP-related ideas.

7. Programming PHP: Creating Dynamic Web Pages

Author: Kevin Tatroe, Peter MacIntyre & Rasmus Lerdorf Foreword by Michael Bourque

Publisher: O’Reilly

The Programming PHP book contains all of the information that a web developer needs to know to produce effective online applications. The PHP book is packed with examples that demonstrate proper usage and popular idioms in addition to syntax and programming approaches.

The basics of PHP programming, which include arrays, functions, objects, and strings, are covered first before moving on to a general review of PHP programs’ potential.

The book covers the idea of creating dynamic content in addition to explaining how to use typical web application approaches. Learning about how PHP interacts with relational databases is another skill that can be acquired through programming.

8. PHP 7 Programming Cookbook

Author: Doug Bierer

Publisher: O’Reilly

To optimize your code and make it run faster than in earlier versions, PHP 7 comes with a ton of new capabilities and fantastic tools. Most notably, it makes it possible to run a multithreading web server on inexpensive hardware and servers while still maintaining high traffic levels on your websites.

With a focus on PHP 7, this book illustrates intermediate to advanced PHP skills. Each recipe is made to address issues that PHP developers just like you encounter on a daily basis. We also go over new PHP coding techniques that are only available in version 7.

Additionally, this PHP book talks about backward compatibility breakdowns and provides detailed instructions on how and when to modify PHP 5 code so that it will function correctly in PHP 7. Additionally, this book includes the most recent PHP 7.x features.

These recipes cover a ton of highly specific topics, including class replication, unit testing, database table security, and many others.

By the time you will finish reading the book, you will have the knowledge and abilities necessary to produce effective applications for your websites and businesses.

9. PHP Objects, Patterns, and Practice

Author: Matt Zandstra

Publisher: Apress

The first section of PHP Objects, Patterns, and Practice discusses PHP’s object-oriented features. In addition to many other important topics, it introduces class declaration, inheritance, and reflection.

Design patterns are covered in the next section. It explores the fundamental ideas behind the potency of patterns. Numerous traditional design patterns are covered in the PHP book, which also has chapters on corporate and database patterns.

The tools and procedures that can help turn great code into a successful project are covered in the book’s last section. The section demonstrates how to use Composer to manage builds and dependencies, as well as how to use Git to manage many developers and releases. It also looks at continuous integration and automated testing techniques.

10. PHP: The Complete Reference

Author: Steven Holzner

Publisher: McGraw Hill Education

As the name implies, PHP: The Complete Reference is a comprehensive reference book for the commonly used PHP. This book explains how to customize the PHP work environment, define operators and variables, work with strings and arrays, and use HTML.

Additionally, it offers specifics on how to execute FTP and email operations, retrieve database information, track client-side preferences using cookies, and publish your apps to the Web.

This book also covers AJAX, XML, and RSS, the latest Web 2.0 design elements for PHP. The object-oriented PHP tools can also be used to create blogs, guest books, and feedback sites with server-side file storage.

How to publish your apps to the web is also covered in this PHP book.

You will learn how to create blogs, guest books, and server-side file storage using PHP’s object-oriented capabilities.


If you don’t know which PHP book is best for you, you could get lost in the sea of available options. There are many PHP books available that are great at explaining the fundamentals, but some books take a more thorough approach to educate.

The top PHP books are listed above for both inexperienced developers and seasoned programmers. You are now aware of the top PHP books that will help you master the language.

Reading books is your best bet if you want to learn more about PHP. Nonetheless, you can also learn PHP programming with courses, YouTube videos, tutorials, and so on.

Whether you’re a novice programmer or a student of computer science, the aforementioned PHP books would be an excellent addition to your library.

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