Best Courses & Tutorials to Learn PHP as a beginner (2020)

If you’ve decided to learn PHP online, you will find countless websites offering the best PHP courses. Choosing the right resource can be a challenge. That’s why we have narrowed down the choices and compiled a list of some best paid/free tutorials to learn PHP as a beginner,  easily and quickly. We all know that PHP is a powerful open-source, server-side programming language. 80% of the top 10 million websites, including Facebook, Yahoo, and Flickr, use the PHP programming language.

PHP is definitely a common programming language that many beginners start out learning. That’s because its a great choice if you choose to go into freelancing as a independent web developer (see their typical salaries here). Just about all modern sites have php as the core CMS of their internal code within the server side.

So, if you’ve decided to learn PHP, you’re moving towards a bright career, as PHP professionals are high in demand. If you want to learn PHP, whether you are a novice, intermediate or pro, you can benefit from many PHP tutorial sites available online. Here is the list of the best PHP tutorial sites that will help you get started with the language or broaden your current skills.

To ease the pain of finding the best resources to learn php, we compiled a list for you below!

PHP Manual

The PHP manual is an official, comprehensive guide to the PHP programming language. It covers everything from basics to advanced security implementation in PHP. Its simple and easy to understand structure makes it conveniently accessible on a smartphone as well, making it handy on the go. Each tutorial deeply explains a concept of PHP using understandable syntaxes and examples.

But, since it presents all PHP tutorials in the purely textual form, you should have a basic understanding of PHP fundamentals. If you’re a newbie, some tutorials in the PHP Manual might be complicated to understand. Newbies can combine PHP Manual with video tutorials for better understanding.

The best part is that every page on the PHP Manual features an ‘add to note’ section. This section allows users to contribute their comments, examples or feedback on each lesson. PHP Manual incorporates the best examples and feedback within the main text of the manual to improve it.

You’ll learn:

  • Basics of PHP
  • Installation and configuration
  • Language reference
  • Security
  • Features of PHP
  • Function reference
  • Hacker’s guide
  • Appendices

Price: Free

PHP 101

If you are a complete beginner to PHP, this is a great place to start with. The site consists of a series of informative tutorials with a pinch of entertainment. All the tutorials are written by Vikram Vaswani, founder and CEO of Melonfire, a leading open source software consultancy in India.

The content on PHP 101 is clear and so easy to understand that even a novice can learn the PHP basics quickly. Tutorials are categorized into several parts from the basics to the core concepts of PHP. PHP 101 tutorials build on an already-published 5-part series, which has now been updated to embrace PHP 5. Thus, these tutorials are suitable for those who have worked with PHP 4 in the past. The only qualm is that PHP 101 tutorials lack enough screenshots so that learners can see how the code appears on the browser.

One important thing to note is that PHP 101 is great for beginners only. Once you’re past the beginner level, you need to move other websites with detailed tutorials on PHP.

You’ll learn:

  • PHP’s variables and operators
  • Control structures and arrays
  • Accessing external files using PHP scripts
  • OOP in PHP4 and PHP5
  • MySQL database
  • Sessions and cookies
  • SQLite
  • Web application implementation and so on

Team Treehouse

Team Treehouse is a leading online coding school that offers a nice selection of high-quality PHP courses. All the courses are crafted in purely video lectures delivered by the industry experts.

Treehouse groups their courses into learning tracks to provide you with more guidance. The PHP track includes many courses on PHP development for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners. You will find PHP courses nicely paired with HTML and CSS courses. Treehouse offers a couple of PHP courses on tools, like Git and console foundations.

Recommended courses:

  • Environment variables with PHP: In this 44-minute PHP course, you’ll learn about different environments involved in the typical workflow of a PHP-based application. You’ll also learn to use environment-specific variables to make the application adaptable while securing credentials.
  • File handling with PHP: Explore different ways to read and write files from a directory with PHP. Also, learn different ways to use built-in parsing functions for working with standard file formats to read and write XML, CSV and JSON data.
  • Browser persistent data with PHP: Take this course to learn the ways to persist data in a browser and how to make apps that are ‘user aware’. You will also learn how to check browser sessions, and write/read/delete cookies in this course.

Price: After a 7-day free trial, Treehouse starts at $25/month that gives you access to all courses and content.
Official Website


PluralSight is another massive library of online learning courses for PHP and other technologies. The website offers assessments, learning paths and courses authored by industry experts.

Whether you are a beginner or an individual looking to close the skills gap in specific PHP areas, PluralSight gets you covered. You will learn through video tutorials, written tutorials and by working on projects in each course.

Recommended courses:

  • PHP Get Started: This course gets beginners started with PHP in no time. It covers PHP installation and configuration, forms management, working with databases, lists, state management and much more.
  • Object-Oriented PHP: Essentials and Constructs: Take a tour of object-oriented constructs in the PHP language. This course details the construction of objects, classes, properties and methods in PHP and teaches different ways how to use them for defining software models.
  • RESTful Web Services with PHP and Laravel: Learn to use RESTful services and Laravel tools. This course teaches how to structure and implement a secure RESTful service and implement it using PHP and Laravel.

Price: Sign up for the 10 Days Free Trial and get an annual subscription and Save 15%.



Udemy is a world-popular platform offering high-quality courses on just about every topic, including PHP development. Choose from a library of over 4500 courses taught by the industry experts. Choose a PHP course on the basis of 5-star rating and feedback from previous students. Each PHP course features 300+ video lectures designed by the PHP experts. Apart from video lectures, each course is accompanied by some downloadable resources, articles and certificate of completion. Most of the courses are accessible on both mobile and TV.

A 30-day money-back guarantee gives you a piece of mind when paying for a course.

Recommended courses:

  • The Complete PHP MySQL Professional: This course takes you from the basics to advanced PHP MYSQL concepts step by step. After every section, you will work on a project to see the real-world application of the concepts you’ve learned so far. You will learn to use PHP Sessions in a more sophisticated way, sending email using PHP and so on. Full coding exercises will help you brush up your newly acquired skills.
  • PHP with Laravel for beginners: Learn to use Laravel for developing advanced applications such as a real CMS. You need the understanding of basic OOP PHP for pursuing this course. In this course, you will learn about sessions, Github, creating a BULK functionality and so on.
  • PHP for Beginners: How to Build an E-Commerce Store: This course teaches you everything about developing an E-commerce store using PHP. You will also learn to upload your application online once it is ready. You must possess the knowledge of HTML, arrays, variables, loops, MySQL, POST and Get Request to enroll in this course.

Price: Some PHP courses are free, while some courses are available for a set price and with discounts of up to 95%.
Official Website


Coursera is an extensive online library of courses on various technologies, including PHP. All the courses are designed and delivered by real university professors. Courses are available in English, Spanish, and French and can be subtitled in English, Spanish and Chinese. Every course is made up of interactive video lectures, assignments reviewed by peers and discussion forums.

All the courses on Coursera are free of charge, but you can pay if you want a “Coursera Verified Certificate) to prove course completion. Paying for a certificate grants access to the content not available in the free versions.

Recommended courses:

  • PHP – Basics: Introduction to PHP: Gain an introductory understanding of HTML, and basic syntax and data structures of the PHP. This course, specially designed for beginners, covers PHP variables, arrays, error handling, iteration, and so on. You will gain skills to install and use an integrated PHP/MySQL environment like MAMP or XAMPP.
  • Building Database Applications in PHP: If you want to learn how to build a database-backed web application using PHP, this course is for you. You will learn various object-oriented patterns available in PHP. This course also teaches how to connect to a MySQL using the PDO library and issue SQL commands in the PHP language.

Price: Introductory courses are free, while advanced PHP come with a set price of about $29 to $99.
Official Website

Killer PHP

Learning PHP has two phases – procedural and object-oriented programming. As a beginner, you start with the procedural phase that entirely involves scripting. Next, you level up and learn OOP PHP. And, Killer PHP is a treasure of hands-on video tutorials on OOP PHP and MySQL. All the tutorials and blogs are created by Stefan Mischook who has been teaching PHP for more than ten years.

Aside from video tutorials, you’ll take hundreds of quizzes to validate your progress and skill level. You will find lots of interesting PHP articles on their dedicated blog.

You’ll learn:

  • PHP Fundamentals
  • MySQL
  • All about OOP PHP

PHP Tutorial by Tizag

PHP Tutorial by Tizag focuses on PHP beginners and teaches the programming language from the ground up. But, this is not a great resource for those who are looking for a drive-through PHP tutorial. Each lesson consists of textual information on a particular PHP concept, accompanied by easy scripting examples.

This PHP learning resource mainly focuses on the definition of PHP as well as commands and methods of using them. You get customizable and downloadable PHP scripts for your practice. It best serves as a PHP reference material and can be used in combination with the PHP Manual. A quick access button allows easy content sharing and bookmarking.

You’ll learn:

  • Introduction to PHP
  • Files
  • Strings
  • PHP advanced
PHP Guide

Hacking With PHP

Formerly known as Practical PHP Programming, this guide is organized like a book. The entire guide is broken down into different chapters and subtopics pertaining to PHP. Each lesson ends with an exercise that you can take to evaluate your progress.

Hacking with PHP serves as an ideal platform for PHP learners who prefer a practical approach. You can access this mobile-friendly site on any device irrespective of the screen size of your device.

You’ll learn:

  • PHP Basics
  • Databases
  • Cookies and sessions
  • Practical PHP and so on
  • Writing PHP and extensions
  • Multimedia

PHP Buddy

As the name suggests, PHP Buddy offers a friendly learning environment. It contains lots of online quick start PHP tutorials, scripts, high-quality PHP articles and lessons on the PHP programming language.

PHP Buddy doesn’t appear too attractive and interactive. But, if you prefer textbook-style tutorials, PHP Buddy is a great place to go for beginners. Though the tutorials are purely textual and have limited code snippets and videos, PHP Buddy is still a worthy resource when combined with other PHP learning websites.

You’ll learn:

  • PHP quick start
  • Installation
  • PHP Articles
  • Scripts
PHP Companion

PHP 5 Power Programming

PHP 5 Power Programming is originally an ebook full of easy-to-understand PHP tutorials. The book is written by programmers and entrepreneurs, Andi Gutmans, Derick Rethans, Stig Saether Bakken.

PHP 5 Power Programming is a powerful learning resource for PHP intermediate and advanced programmers. Using this book as your learning resources requires prior knowledge of the PHP coding language.

You’ll learn:

  • PHP 5 basics
  • PHP 5 OO language
  • Advanced OOP and Design Patterns
  • Web Application with PHP
  • Databases with PHP 5
  • Error handling
  • XML
  • Mainstream extensions
  • Using PEAR and so on.

Download it here.

Final Words

Hopefully, these resources will help you transform your career as a PHP programmer. We recommend combining several resources for great results. Choose what suits your preferences as well as your budget, if you opt for paid ones. However, most of the resources listed here are free and packed with expert PHP learning material. Last but not the least; keep an eye on the PHP trends to stay ahead of this ever-evolving technology.

If you benefit from these resources, let us know in the comments.

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