Free Programming Books

9 Excellent Free Books to Learn PHP

PHP has been at the helm of the web for many years. It is an extremely popular, interpreted scripting language that is ideally suited for web development in part because it has an approachable syntax and supports different operating systems. This language powers millions of web sites on the net and is extremely well supported by its user community.

PHP is also used as a general-purpose programming language. PHP code can be executed with a command-line interface (CLI) and to implement standalone graphical applications. CLI PHP programs often automate common tasks such as testing, deployment, and application administration. The language offers a very complete set of object-oriented programming features as well as support for functional programming. The latest TIOBE Index (August 2019 at time of writing) ranks PHP in 8th place, behind Java, C, C++, C#, Python, Visual Basic .NET, and JavaScript.

The language is released under a non-copyleft free software license / open source license. The latest stable version adds lots of new features.


1. PHP: The Right Way by Josh Lockhart, Phil Sturgeon

PHP The Right WayPHP: The Right Way is an easy-to-read, quick reference for PHP best practices, accepted coding standards, and links to authoritative tutorials around the Web. It aims to introduce new developers to some topics which they may not discover until it’s too late, and seeks to give seasoned developers some fresh ideas.

Topics covered include coding practices, dependency injection, databases, templating, errors and exceptions, security, testing, virtualization and more.

The book has been translated into German, Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, and many other languages.

The book is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) license. It is available to read online, and in PDF, EPUB and MOBI formats.

Read the book


2. PHP Reference: Beginner to Intermediate PHP5 by Mario Lurig

PHP ReferencePHP Reference Book: Beginner to Intermediate PHP5 is a collection of over 250 PHP functions with clear explanations in language anyone can understand, followed with as many examples as it takes to understand what the function does and how it works. One of the best books to keep around as a PHP reference.

This PHP reference includes numerous additional tips, the basics of PHP, MySQL query examples, regular expressions syntax, and two indexes to help you find information faster: a common language index and a function index.

Topics include:

  • Operators
  • Control Structures
  • Global Variables
  • Variable Functions
  • String Functions
  • Array Functions
  • Date/Time Functions
  • Mathematical Functions
  • MySQL Functions
  • Directory & File System Functions
  • Output Control (Output Buffer)
  • Sessions
  • Regular Expressions

This book is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 License.

Read the book


3. Practical PHP Testing by Giorgio Sironi

Practical PHP TestingThis practical testing book is aimed at PHP developers and features articles from the author’s Practical PHP testing series.

It also includes a chapter on TDD theory, code samples, and sets of exercises.

This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Read the book


Next page: Page 2 – PHP 5 Power Programming and more

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – PHP: The Right Way and more books
Page 2 – PHP 5 Power Programming and more
Page 3 – PHP Pandas and more


All books in this series:

Free Programming Books
JavaGeneral-purpose, concurrent, class-based, object-oriented, high-level language
CGeneral-purpose, procedural, portable, high-level language
PythonGeneral-purpose, structured, powerful language
C++General-purpose, portable, free-form, multi-paradigm language
C#Combines the power and flexibility of C++ with the simplicity of Visual Basic
JavaScriptInterpreted, prototype-based, scripting language
PHPPHP has been at the helm of the web for many years
HTMLHyperText Markup Language
SQLAccess and manipulate data held in a relational database management system
RubyGeneral purpose, scripting, structured, flexible, fully object-oriented language
AssemblyAs close to writing machine code without writing in pure hexadecimal
SwiftPowerful and intuitive general-purpose programming language
GroovyPowerful, optionally typed and dynamic language
GoCompiled, statically typed programming language
PascalImperative and procedural language designed in the late 1960s
PerlHigh-level, general-purpose, interpreted, scripting, dynamic language
RDe facto standard among statisticians and data analysts
COBOLCommon Business-Oriented Language
ScalaModern, object-functional, multi-paradigm, Java-based language
FortranThe first high-level language, using the first compiler
ScratchVisual programming language designed for 8-16 year-old children
LuaDesigned as an embeddable scripting language
LogoDialect of Lisp that features interactivity, modularity, extensibility
RustIdeal for systems, embedded, and other performance critical code
LispUnique features - excellent to study programming constructs
AdaALGOL-like programming language, extended from Pascal and other languages
HaskellStandardized, general-purpose, polymorphically, statically typed language
SchemeA general-purpose, functional language descended from Lisp and Algol
PrologA general purpose, declarative, logic programming language
ForthImperative stack-based programming language
ClojureDialect of the Lisp programming language
JuliaHigh-level, high-performance language for technical computing
AwkVersatile language designed for pattern scanning and processing language
CoffeeScriptTranscompiles into JavaScript inspired by Ruby, Python and Haskell
BASICBeginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code
ErlangGeneral-purpose, concurrent, declarative, functional language
VimLPowerful scripting language of the Vim editor
OCamlThe main implementation of the Caml language
ECMAScriptBest known as the language embedded in web browsers
BashShell and command language; popular both as a shell and a scripting language
LaTeXProfessional document preparation system and document markup language
TeXMarkup and programming language - create professional quality typeset text
ArduinoInexpensive, flexible, open source microcontroller platform
TypeScriptStrict syntactical superset of JavaScript adding optional static typing
ElixirRelatively new functional language running on the Erlang virtual machine
F#Uses functional, imperative, and object-oriented programming methods
TclDynamic language based on concepts of Lisp, C, and Unix shells
FactorDynamic stack-based programming language
EiffelObject-oriented language designed by Bertrand Meyer
AgdaDependently typed functional language based on intuitionistic Type Theory
IconWide variety of features for processing and presenting symbolic data
XMLRules for defining semantic tags describing structure ad meaning
ValaObject-oriented language, syntactically similar to C#
Standard MLGeneral-purpose functional language characterized as "Lisp with types"
DGeneral-purpose systems programming language with a C-like syntax
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