Best PHP Books To Master Your Skills



Top 20 PHP Books To Master Your PHP Programming Skills

PHP is well known as a general-purpose scripting language or open source scripting language used for the development of websites, either static or dynamic. Being easy to learn and use, fast performance, online support, stability, security, and the open source advantages of the language have become fascinating languages for new and expert programmers. However, learning this language needs a good starting, continuation, and guidelines. So, we are here to provide a handful of PHP books to serve the purpose of learning PHP.

Best PHP Books To Master Your Skills

This article will help the programmers, either a starter or expert, to get some of the best PHP books available online. These books will be perfect references to learn PHP as most of the books cover all possible things you need to know. Some of these books are better for the newbies, and some are for the experts. Few of these books work fine for both. We believe the contents mentioned with the books and the short description will help you find a suitable book. 

1. PHP: A Beginner’s Guide

PHP: A Beginner’s Guide is one of the best PHP books to learn PHP. The book gives a general idea about PHP programming and gradually discusses the working procedure of PHP and error handling. In the intro part, basic PHP things like variables, flow, arrays, etc., are highlighted. The working ground with SQL is also an important discussion in this book. 

Table of Contents

  • Part I: Understanding PHP Basics
    • Introducing PHP
    • Using Variables and Operators
    • Controlling Program Flow
    • Working Arrays
    • Using Functions and Classes
  • Part II: Working with Data from Other Sources
    • Working with Files and Directories
    • Working with databases and SQL
    • Working with XML
    • Working with Cookies, Sessions, and Headers
  • Part III: Security and Troubleshooting
    • Handling Errors
    • Securing PHP
    • Extending PHP

2. Advanced PHP Programming

The book takes the readers to an advanced level by introducing them one step ahead of topics. It talks about the style of coding, error handling like experts, and implementation of PHP. The book also includes session handling and profiling. Finally, you will get the idea of expanding PHP like a professional programmer.    

Table of Contents

  • Implementation and Development Methodology
    • Coding Styles
    • Object-Oriented Programming Through Design Patterns
    • Error handling
    • Implementing with PHP: Templates and the Web
    • Implementing with PHP: Standalone Scripts
  • Caching
    • External Performance Tunings
    • Data Component Caching
    • Computational Reuse
  • Distributed Applications
    • Interacting with Databases
    • User Authentication and Session Security
    • Session Handling
    • Building a Distributed Environment
  • Performance
    • Application Benchmarks: Testing and Entire Application
    • Profiling
    • Synthetic Benchmarks: Evaluating Code Blocks and Functions
  • Extensibility
    • PHP and Zend Engine Internals
    • Extending PHP: Part I
    • Extending PHP: Part II
    • Writing SAPIs and Extending the Zend Engine 

3. Beginning PHP and MySQL

Like other PHP books, this book starts with an introduction to PHP, followed by how to configure the environment to learn and implement  PHP. The basic studies like functions, arrays, etc., are the next discussions after the introduction. The book has not left the handling process of different errors.  

Table of Contents

  • Introducing PHP
  • Configuring Your Environment
  • PHP Basics, Functions, and Arrays
  • Object-Oriented PHP
  • Advanced OOP Features
  • Error and Exception Handling
  • Strings and Regular Expressions
  • Working with the File Operating System 
  • PEAR
  • Data and Time
  • Working with HTML Forms
  • Authentication Your Users
  • Handling File Uploads
  • Networking
  • PHP and LDAP
  • Session Handlers
  • Templating with Smarty
  • Web Service
  • And 18 More Chapters

4. Beginning PHP

If you want to learn and practice your learning, then this book is perfect. Firstly you will get the orientation discussion about PHP and learn the scripting. Chronologically the basics about php will come to the discussion in its second phase. You will be a master in PHP in the third phase as there are huge scopes to practice your learning. In that, you can learn how to write, develop, and execute PHP language in the proper fashion.    

Table of Contents

  • Part I: Getting Up and Running with PHP
    • Introducing PHP
    • Your First PHP Script
  • Learning the Language
    • PHP Language Basics
    • Decisions and Loops
    • Strings, Arrays, Functions, and Objects
  • Using PHP in Practice
    • Handling HTML Forms with PHP
    • Preserving State With Query Strings, Cookies, and Sessions
    • Working with Files and Directories
    • Introducing Databases and SQL
    • Retrieving Data from MySQL with PHP
    • Manipulating MySQL Data with PHP
    • Making Your Job Easier with PEAR
    • PHP and the Outside World
    • Generating Images with PHP
    • String Matching with Regular Expression
    • Working with XML
    • Writing High-Quality Code

5. Learn PHP 7

The concept of PHP 7 with a nice and meaningful introduction declares the starting of this book. The book then focuses on interfaces, modular programming, etc. A user interface with security is an important discussion in the book. The dealings with the authentication, handling with exceptions and troubleshooting the interfaces once it malfunctions are also well covered in the book.   

Table of Contents

  • An Introduction to PHP 7
  • Interfaces, Platforms, Containers, and Three-Tier Programming
  • Modular Programming
  • Secured User Interface
  • Handling and logging Exceptions
  • Data Objects
  • Authentication
  • Multifunctional Interfaces

6. Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript

To learn PHP as a beginner with a dream to become a pro, you should choose this book. The book not only talks about PHP but also discusses MySQL and JavaScript. This combo book provides all the required information to introduce PHP. The good site of the book is that it has a good way to practice PHP. All the central portions, like functions, variables, arrays, etc., are well covered in the book. The book also combines other languages and relates those in a nice fashion.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction to Dynamic Web Content
  • Setting Up a Development Server and Introducing PHP
  • Expression and Control Flow in PHP
  • PHP Functions and Objects
  • PHP Arrays
  • Practical PHP and Introduction to MySQL
  • Mastering MySQL
  • Accessing MySQL Using PHP
  • Form Handling
  • Cookies, Sessions, and Authentication
  • Exploring JavaScript
  • JavaScript Functions, Objects, and Arrays
  • JavaScript and PHP validation and Error Handling
  • Using Ajax and Introduction to CSS
  • Advanced CSS with CSS3
  • Accessing CSS from JavaScript
  • Introduction to jquery and Introduction to HTML
  • The HTML5 Canvas
  • HTML5 Audio and Video
  • Other HTML5 Features 
  • Bring it All Together.

7. MySQL and PHP

The book is a bit different than other PHP books. The book discusses PHP along with MySQL and some other improved topics. You can learn the native drivers of MySQL and some usual problems you may often encounter in PHP and MySQL. 

Table of Contents

  • Introduction to MySQL PHP API
  • Overview of the MySQL PHP drivers
  • MySQL Improved Extension
  • MySQL Functions
  • Mysql_xdevapi
  • Original MySQL API
  • MySQL Native Driver
  • Common Problems with MySQL and PHP

8. MySQL PHP Database Applications

Do you know how to design databases with MySQL? How good are you at controlling PHP structures? You may have consulted many PHP books to learn PHP and MySQL, but this book will solve all your problems where you can learn the said topics easily. Besides, all basic ideas about PHP, functions, control structures, etc., are there in the book in a nice fashion. Finally, you will come to know about using the language in different simple and complicated applications.

Table of Contents

  • Part I: Working with MySQL
    • Database Design with MySQL
    • The Structured Query Language for Creating and Altering Tables
    • Getting What you Want with Select
  • Part. II: Working with PHP
    • Getting Started with PHP- Variables
    • Control Structures
    • PHP’s Built-in Functions
    • Writing Organized and Readable Code
  • Part III: Simple Applications
    • Guestbook 
    • Survey
  • Part IV: Not So Simple Applications
    • Catalog
    • Content Management System
    • Thread Discussion 
    • Problem Tracking System
    • Shopping Cart

9. PHP 5 For Dummies

PHP 5 for Dummies perfectly introduces PHP 5 to the people who do not understand or have less idea about it. Firstly you will come to know about PHP, setting up the environment, and the way to create a script. Gradually you will get to know how to use variables and procedures or work by using data. Some usual applications related to the language will come in discussion in the fourth part, and finally, a total of twenty tips are there for troubleshooting script and essential resources. 

Table of Contents

  • Part I: Say Hello to the PHP Scripting Language
    • Getting to Know PHP
    • Setting Up the Environment
    • Creating Your First PHP Script
  • Part II: Variables and Data
    • Using Variables in PHP Scripts
    • Working with Data
    • Storing Data in Groups by Using Arrays
  • Part III: Basics PHP Programming
    • Controlling the Flow of the Script
    • Reusing PHP Code
    • Object-Oriented Programming Meets PHP
  • Part IV: Common PHP Applications
    • The Basic of Web Applications
    • Storing Data with PHP
    • PHP and Your Operating System
    • PHP Extensions
  • Part V: The Part of Tens
    • Ten Things to Look for When Troubleshooting a Script
    • Ten PHOP Resources you can’t Live Without

10. PHP 5 Power Programming

The book is mainly written on PHP 5. If someone is new to this language, he can understand all about this language and update it. The book has given huge importance to PEAR; therefore, many related topics are there. You will come to know how to write PHP extensions and get proper knowledge about PHP shell scripting. You can skillfully learn PHP from this book.

Table of Contents

  • What is New in PHP 5
  • PHP 5 Basic Language
  • PHP 5 OO Language
  • PHP 5 Advanced OOP and Design Patterns
  • How to Write a Web Application with PHP
  • Databases with PHP 5
  • Error Handling
  • XML with PHP 5
  • Mainstream Extensions
  • Using PEAR
  • Important PEAR Packages 
  • Building PEAR Components
  • Making the Move
  • Performance
  • An Introduction to Writing PHP Extensions
  • PHP Shell Scripting 

11. PHP 6 MySQL Programming for the Absolute Beginner

At the very outset of the book, you will get a tour of the environment of learning PHP. If you want to learn the use of variables and input, then this is one of the best PHP books. You will come to know how to work with different files and write programs, including objects. A touchup to MySQL is also in this book. The book will conclude the discussion with data normalization and building application named Three-Tiered Data Application.    

Table of Contents

  • Exploring the Environment
  • Using Variables and Input
  • Controlling Your Code with Conditions and Functions
  • Loops and Arrays
  • Better Arrays and Starting Handling
  • Working with Files
  • Writing Programs with Objects
  • XML and Content Management Systems
  • Using MySQL to Create Databases
  • Connecting to Databases writing PHP
  • Data Normalization
  • Building a Three-Tiered Data Application

12. PHP Advanced and Object-Oriented Programming

In the field of advanced PHP books, this book acts as a very concise and comprehensive book to learn PHP. The main focus of this book is to teach different advanced techniques of PHP. All advanced PHP topics like database concepts, web development, OOP, and many more topics are highlighted in the book. It holds a good number and standard quality examples of CMS with OOP.  

Table of Contents

  • Advanced PHP Techniques
  • Developing Web Applications
  • Advanced Database Concepts
  • Basic Object-Oriented Programming
  • Advanced OOP
  • More Advanced Programming
  • Design Patterns
  • Using Existing Classes
  • Example- CMS with OOP
  • Networking with PHP
  • PHP and the Server
  • PHP’s Command-Line Interface
  • XML and PHP
  • Debugging, Testing, and Performance

13. PHP and MySQL Web Development

This PHP book shows the use of both PHP and MySQL with different parameters. So far, all the PHP books introduced different aspects of PHP and MySQL, this time, PHP and MySQL Web Development show all the possible use of those aspects. You can know how to reuse code and the way of writing functions. You will get the idea and detailed studies of e-commerce, including different security aspects. Finally, different advanced techniques related to PHP and projects of PHP and MySQL are narrated in the last two parts.

Table of Contents

  • Using PHP
    • PHP Crash Course
    • Storing and Retrieving Data
    • Using Arrays
    • Staring Manipulating and Regular Expressions
    • Reusing Code and Writing Functions
    • Object-Oriented PHP 
  • Using MySQL
    • Designing Your Web Database
    • Creating Your Web Database
    • Accessing Your MySQL Database from the Web with PHP
    • Advanced MySQL
  • E-commerce and Security
    • Running an E-commerce Site
    • E-commerce Security Issues
    • Implementing Authentication with PHP and MySQL
    • Implementing Secure Transaction with PHP and MySQL
  • Advanced PHP Techniques
    • Interacting with the File System and the Server
    • Using Network and Protocol functions
    • Managing the Date and Time
    • Generating Images
  • Building Practical PHP and MySQL Projects
    • Using PHP and MySQL for Large Projects
    • Debugging
    • Building User Authentication and Personalization
    • Building a Shopping Cart
    • Building a Mailing List Manager

14. PHP Cookbook

PHP Cookbook is unlike other general level PHP books and another level of guidance to learn PHP. Different operational parts of PHP, like setting, reading, and deleting cookies, are well discussed in the book. You can come to know how to use session tracking. Side by side, you will come to know about different settings and configurations.    

Table of Contents

  • Setting Cookies
  • Reading Cookies Values
  • Deleting Cookies
  • Redirecting to a Different Location
  • Using Session Tracking
  • Storing Session in a Database
  • Detecting Different Browsers
  • Building a GET Query String
  • Using HTTP Basic Authentication
  • Using Cookies Authentication
  • Flushing Output to the Browser
  • Using a Custom Error Handler
  • Logging Errors
  • Eliminating “Headers Already Sent” Errors
  • Logging Debugging Information 
  • Reading Environment Variables
  • Setting Environment Variables
  • Reading Configuration Variables
  • Setting Configuration Variables
  • Profiling Code

15. PHP Hypertext Preprocessor

PHP Hypertext Processor teaches PHP in a very innovative way. In three parts, the book discusses general PHP, higher-level PHP, and then preferences. In the general part l, the book includes environment, variables, constants, etc. The advanced section discusses all the secondary and higher-level PHP studies like predefined variables. There is a study of PHP with AJAX, MySQL, and XML.   

Table of Contents

Part I: Learning PHP

  • Introduction
  • Environment Setup
  • Syntax Overview
  • Variable Types
  • Constants
  • Operators Types

16. PHP Programming

The concept of PHP and in-depth discussion is always a requirement from all the PHP books, and this book provides so. The book has covered everything, from the installation to different methods to integrate PHP. The basic contents of PHP are obviously there in the book. The book also contains loop chemistry with many others.   

Table of Contents

  • What is PHP?
  • Setup and Installation
  • Beginning with “Hello World”
  • Basics
  • Commenting and Style
  • Arrays and Control Structures
  • The if Structures
  • The Switch Structure
  • The while Loop
  • The do-while Loop
  • The for Loop
  • The forecast Loop
  • Functions, Files, Mailing, Cookies, Sessions, and Databases
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • PHP Data Objects 
  • Integration Methods (HTML Forms, etc.)

17. PHP Tutorials: Programming with PHP and MySQL

To learn PHP from the basic level, this book is an ideal one. The beginning tells a lot about the book where it has kept basic terms, meaning you will not get stuck up once you go through the book and encounter a new term. Inside the book, there are basic discussions about different topics of PHP. The book also discusses MySQL and jQuery.     

Table of Contents

  • Basic Programming Terms
  • Introduction to PHP, Variables in PHP, and Forms and PHP
  • Arrays and Loops
  • Basic PHP Structures
  • Functions, Posting Forms, and An Email Form
  • JavaScript Submit
  • SQL and MySQL
  • The Staff Table and Database Access
  • Using PHP and MySQL
  • Further PHP and MySQL
  • OpenCart Installation
  • Error Handling and Debugging
  • Sessions and Cookies
  • Modifying Records and File Handling
  • Regular Expressions and Data Validation
  • PHP Security and PHP Code Scripting
  • Introduction to jQuery
  • Htaccess and php.ini files

18. PHP 6 and MySQL Bible

This is an all-in-one book to learn PHP and MySQL, thus got the title of the bible. In the first part, general ideas about PHP and MySQL, scripting, syntax, variables, number handling are discussed. The second part of the book brings MySQL talks and related all things you need to know about MySQL like installing, language, relation with PHP, etc. The book has an elaborate discussion of both PHP and MySQL gotchas. 

Table of Contents

  • Part I: Introducing PHP
    • Why PHP and MySQL
    • Server-Side Scripting Overview
    • Getting Started with PHP
    • Learning PHP Syntax and Variables
    • Learning PHP Control Structures and Functions
    • Passing Information with PHP and Learning PHP String handling
    • Learning Arrays, Learning PHP Number Handling, and PHP Gotchas
  • Part II: MySQL Database Integration
    • Introduction Database and MySQL
    • Installing MySQL
    • Learning Structured Query Language 
    • Leaning Database Administration and Design
    • Integrating PHP and MySQL
    • Performing Database Queries, Integrating Web Forms and Databases
    • Improving Database Efficiency
    • MySQL Gotchas
  • Part III: More PHP
    • Introducing Object-Oriented PHP
    • Advanced Arrays Functions
    • Examining Regular Expressions and Working with the File System
    • Working with Cookies and Sessions
    • Learning PHP Types

19. Professional PHP Programming

At the very outset of the book, the book clears how and where to download, install, and configure PHP. In the second part, the book teaches different important elements related to language like variables, operators, arrays, etc. Then you get the lesson to apply PHP on the practical ground with detailed teaching of all the fields. Unlike other PHP books, this book gives some samples of Applications and discusses advanced topics like version migration.

Table of Contents

  • Variables and Data Types
  • Operators, Expressions, and Statements 
  • Functions, Arrays, Objects, and OOP
  • String Manipulation and Regular Expressions
  • Non-relational Databases
  • SQL DBMS Engines
  • Using LDAP
  • Serving XML documents’Grap[hics contents Creation
  • Graphic Content Creation
  • PHP Connectivity
  • Sending Emails, Cookies and Error Handling and Debugging
  • Security Issues and Magic with Quotes
  • Templates
  • A Shopping Cart Application
  • An OO Site
  • Version Migration
  • When Should I avoid Regular Expression Function?

20. Programming PHP

This O’Reilly collection of PHP books is a deliberate book where all the teachings are nicely set. The introduction contains the basic idea and the evolution of PHP. This book has put due importance on the history of PHP. Data types, lexical structure, variables, and other essential language components are discussed in the Language part. The string part teaches quoting strings constraints, encoding and escaping, comparing strings, etc., in a broadway. The rest of the book is each with web services, debugging, etc., which are essential teaching of PHP.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction to PHP
  • Language Basics
  • Functions, Strings, Arrays, and Objects
  • Web Techniques, Databases, and Graphics
  • PDF
  • XML
  • Security
  • Application Techniques
  • PHP on Disparate Platforms
  • Web Services
  • Debugging PHP
  • Dates and Times


All the PHP books mentioned so far are full of information and innovative in their way of teaching, answering all questions to work in the PHP framework. We hope you could find the appropriate book for you, and the book is just with you, as we have provided. If any bright idea or suggestion lies in you, please let us know and improve our work. The utility of the readers of this article will make our effort a successful one. 

Finally, I believe you liked the article, and you are highly positive to appreciate our effort by sharing with others. Allow others to get the easy way to find all these great books at once by your sharing. I wish you excellent programming with PHP.