I’ve been teaching myself PHP on and off for a while now, and in the process I’ve amassed sources and links, some of which have been very useful and others very frustrating, with some in the middle.  There are numerous blogs, websites, and forums out there from which you can pick enough information to build a complete project and call yourself a PHP guru, and I think I have probably looked at most if not all of them, and have many of them bookmarked somewhere. In this post I plan to share what I have found to be the best (mostly free) resources for a complete beginner to PHP.

If you’ve been following some of my tutorials on this blog you know that I like to do walk-throughs, where I start at the very beginning with the basics and then build on that, adding new topics and concepts in a somewhat logical manner, using a form of instructional scaffolding.  I believe this approach is less frustrating and provides the tools and foundation for the learner to move on and be able to understand and utilize other resources.  This is how I learn best.  This method, of course, doesn’t work for everyone, but I think it’s the best way to master the basics without being overwhelmed and/or bored out of your mind 🙂

In meandering around the web, I’ve found several resources that blend in with my style of learning and teaching by starting from the basics and then building up, and if you’re a complete PHP beginner, you will probably find them useful too.  This list is an ongoing resource, and the links I add here will ONLY be to what I feel are “from ground up” resources good for complete newbies to PHP.

Written Tutorials

PHP Manual – This is ofcourse, your best friend and starting point for learning and for reference, at all times.

PHP101 – This is a really amazing multipart tutorial for PHP beginners that will take you from zero and help you build up your PHP skills. I recommend you work through these tutorials step by step and code along with the tutorials for the best benefit. You should also read the comments at the end of each part to see any corrections or suggestions from the readers that will be helpful to you.

Webmonkey’s PHP Tutorial for Beginners – This is a one-post tutorial that hits all the basics and should get you up and running! It is pretty long though, so you may want to divide it into manageable chunks.

Video tutorials

KillerPHP Beginner PHP Video Tutorials – This is an amazing website by Stefan Mischook, with really good beginner tutorials that assume no knowledge of PHP. If you’re a visual learner this will be awesome for you because he writes the code as you watch and talks you through it.  The entire beginner series as well as OOP series are free to watch online, and you can download them for a minimal fee.  I think it’s free for the ipod versions.

Once you’re done with the basics and want to build some apps, you can purchase the Building a Shopping Cart series by Jon Lebensold, at a very reasonable price, a great way to advance your skills.  You can also purchase a great straightforward beginner series on building a simple wordpress theme from scratch also by Jon.

PHP Video Tutorials – This site by Leigh Mac is another great place for a beginner to learn how to code in PHP.  Leigh’s style is very different from Stefan’s because he is very informal and relaxed but he also walks you through each line of code and takes you step by step through the basics, so you don’t feel lost.

At the time of this writing, I think he’s working on a new series of free beginner videos, but the old series is complete and there for your viewing.  If you go through the entire series, it will get you to a good place to launch out and advance your skills.  You can also purchase several courses from Leigh’s website that walk you through the process of building several different applications using the skills learned in the basic series.

That’s it! 🙂  My intention is not to bombard you with tons of links that you’ll wow at, bookmark, and never look at, but with what I believe is a good number of places to start you off on learning PHP. It’s easy to find php tutorials on the web, just search google and you’ll come up with any number of resources, but they’ll do you no good if you never use them.  So start somewhere, with the basics and build your skills up to where you can intelligently pick and choose the best tutorials for your needs.

What are some of your favorite newbie PHP resources?

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  1. All of those are great php help sites. I remember when I first stared learning php, these sites helped me a great deal. One that I think is one of the best that you are missing, is tiztag.com. I remember using that the most…

  2. A lot of great pages! Thanks! I started to learn with a tutorial from the quakenet irc pages. They were based directly on using MySQL.

  3. Great info and sites, thanks.
    This is one of my favorite sites for PHP and more.

  4. Hi

    I was looking for some information on “learn php” today, when I came across your excellent web .

    It was super helpful! Thank you.

    Anyway, I realized that I recently published a page about how to learn php

    All the PHP tutorials are well-organized.
    Website includes also 100+ free php website templates, blog + SEO tips.
    Everything is for free. Anyone can come and start to learn PHP easily.

    It might make a nice addition under your page.

    Anyway, thanks again for all of the excellent resources. And have an awesome week!

    Talk Soon,
    Mark Weber

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