PHP for Beginners: Learn PHP from These Websites

Anmol Lohana

PHP for Beginners: Learn PHP from These Websites

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PHP is a widely used server-side programming language that powers much of the web we browse daily. For Hypertext Preprocessor, PHP is essential for aspiring web developers or anyone looking to build dynamic websites and web applications.

So why should newcomers learn PHP? For starters, PHP powers over 76.5% of all websites on the internet, making it one of the most ubiquitous languages on web servers today. Unlike JavaScript, which essentially runs on the client side, PHP code is executed on the server to generate HTML and other assets that create user experiences in your browser. 

As an open-source platform, PHP is also free to learn and provides unmatched versatility in building all kinds of websites – from blogs and e-commerce stores to social platforms and more complex web apps. PHP works smoothly with databases and boasts specialized frameworks for streamlined web development.

Learning PHP is a wise choice for those pursuing careers in web development or seeking in-demand programming skills applicable across various domains. Even basic proficiency in PHP can equip you to customize WordPress sites, validate form inputs, optimize server-side code, and much more. With thousands of job listings seeking PHP developers every year, it remains one of the most valuable web languages to add to your toolkit in 2024 and beyond.

Top Free and Paid Websites Offering PHP Courses for Beginners

Explore these top free and paid websites offering PHP courses for beginners.

PHP Manual

The official PHP Manual should be the go-to reference for any PHP learner. What makes the manual so suitable for beginners is how extensive, up-to-date, and well-organized the documentation is across PHP versions. 

Core language concepts like variables, data types, operators, and syntax are covered in precise detail, allowing you to refer back to seminal explanations as you code constantly. 

Everything from instructions on installing PHP and getting a development environment running to guides on individual functions is readily available. The manual outlines fundamental PHP principles in a beginner-friendly manner while providing detailed technical documentation that more advanced PHP developers rely on. 

Having the manual bookmarked for any new PHP programmer will streamline your learning. It offers official documentation that includes many examples and user comments.

Some other vital things the manual provides:

  • Searchable documentation for all PHP functions/classes
  • User-submitted comments & examples
  • Instructions for getting started
  • Change logs between versions
  • List of reserved words

W3Schools provides very accessible introductory materials for learning PHP essentials. W3Schools structures core language concepts in a straightforward, step-by-step manner ideal for coding newcomers. 

The PHP tutorial allows you to dive into basic syntax, data types, variables, loops, and forms without prior experience. What makes W3Schools exceptionally beginner-friendly is how they break concepts down into simple snippets of code and clear explanations. 

You can quickly grab topics through copy-paste examples and visual block code. Quizzes, coding challenges, and a customizable sandbox environment promote effective hands-on learning. While W3Schools may not offer the exhaustive documentation of the PHP Manual, the tutorial lays a strong foundation before graduating to other resources. Any aspiring PHP developer should go through the full W3Schools PHP tutorial first.

Some other vital things W3Schools provides:

  • Simple copy-paste code examples
  • Abundance of visuals, tables, and diagrams
  • Quizzes and coding exercises
  • Customizable practice environment

FreeCodeCamp offers one of the most popular, community-driven courses for learning web development on your own time. Their free curriculum involves project-based learning that helps hard coding skills by building web apps. Within their responsive web design and back-end development paths, FreeCodeCamp also provides introductory PHP lessons suitable for beginners. 

The hands-on nature and helpful context around how PHP fits in actual web development workflows make their PHP offerings suitable for new learners. Alongside lessons on PHP basics like variables, data types, conditionals, and functions, you also learn PHP use cases like consuming API data, connecting to databases, and integrating with front-end code. The forum-like interface lets you actively engage with other new developers as you support each other through the challenges.

Some other vital things FreeCodeCamp provides:

  • Active community forums
  • Project-focused curriculum
  • Lesson quizzes
  • Responsive web app practice

Codecademy is one of the most interactive places for coding newcomers to grab web languages hands-on. Their structured, interactive lessons make learning PHP engaging and effective through short video lessons and in-browser coding challenges. 

Codecademy’s introductory PHP track provides everything you need as a beginner, from development environment setup to real-world projects. Concepts are broken down into clear, digestible examples as you practice syntax and build CLI and web-connected scripts. 

Code Editor features like instant feedback, automated checking, and built-in hints help reinforce concepts. Additional lesson content expands on use cases and how PHP powers dynamic websites. Daily goals and achievement tracking also add motivation. The prolifically used platform makes quantifying progress straightforward for a first-time PHP learner.

Some other vital things Codecademy provides

  • Short video lesson explainers
  • Automated checking and grading
  • Trackable achievement profiles
  • Expandable knowledge through skill paths

TutorialsPoint offers extensive programming language materials and tutorials for self-guided learning. Their structured, comprehensive PHP tutorial provides everything a coding beginner would need to gain core competency. 

TutorialsPoint structures PHP concepts efficiently, starting from the basics of script tags, variables, data types, and conditional logic up to advanced topics like XML and security. Essential syntax and scripting elements come with simple examples for applying the concepts in practice. 

As well, quizzes allow learners to gauge their understanding through interactive tests. TutorialsPoint also adds the coding content with simplified visual diagrams and tables that help demonstrate aspects like decision-making or variable scope usage for newcomers. Beneficial are practice challenge problems with solutions provided to check your work.

Some other vital things TutorialsPoint offers:

  • Chapter quizzes with answers
  • Abundant visual flowcharts & syntax diagrams
  • End-of-chapter MCQ assessments
  • PHP interview prep section

Udemy stands out as one of the top e-learning platforms offering extensive PHP courses for self-motivated beginners. What makes Udemy so suitable for new PHP learners is the breadth of course options, from basic introductions to more advanced specializations taught by expert instructors. 

For example, comprehensive courses like “PHP for Absolute Beginners” provide 11.5 hours of material covering foundational syntax up to real-world apps. Interactive coding exercises, assignments, fast feedback, and community discussion features also promote effective learning. 

While course quality varies across many PHP instructors, Udemy offers reviews and ratings to find the most beginner-friendly option for your learning style – a boot camp style or a more relaxed pace. Discounted subscription plans lend affordability.

Some other vital things Udemy provides budding PHP developers:

  • Top-rated instructors and courses
  • Interactive quizzes and coding exercises
  • Downloadable practice files & resources
  • Discussion forums for Q&A

Coursera offers several PHP and web development courses through top universities, ideal for motivated beginners. Coursera is a suitable starting point because of its breadth of introductory-level material taught by skilled instructors with core competencies. 

For example, the University of Michigan’s PHP Courses provides a robust foundation through hands-on assignments and building dynamic web apps with industry best practices. 

Self-paced options allow flexibility as you code alongside peers. While Coursera lacks intensive coding practice of specialized code learning platforms, the curriculum accuracy and culminating projects give reliance and structure for beginners. Affordable monthly plans increase accessibility.

Some other vital things Coursera offers new PHP learners:

  • Accredited instructors
  • Graded milestone projects
  • Shareable course completion e-certificates
  • Option to earn university credit

Treehouse stands out for its engaging instructional videos guiding beginners systematically through web development. Their extensive PHP library provides beginner-friendly courses covering everything from essential PHP, SQL, and jQuery integration to MVC frameworks like Laravel. 

What makes Treehouse videos uniquely effective is teachers explaining concepts while simultaneously showing code patterns typed in the editor. Through visual learning and just-in-time explanations as code executes, core ideas stick for newcomers and non-programmers alike. Quizzes and code challenges further interactivity. 

For structured learning, Treehouse tracks progress in their specialized tech degree tracks – like Web Development or PHP Web Developer tracks granting achievements. While a free trial is available, subscription plans provide the best value for extensive self-paced content.

Other reasons Treehouse works for new PHP learners:

  • Step-by-step video tutorials
  • Interactive quizzes
  • Progress tracking
  • Additional teacher support
PHP Buddy

PHP Buddy offers a unique approach for introducing PHP fundamentals centered around building your blog platform. Their 12-part core tutorial holds your hand as a complete beginner stepping through web server setup, PHP syntax basics, integrating a database, and implementing login functionality while iteratively adding blog features. 

The project-drive curriculum stands out by working through use case examples like displaying dynamic content, handling file uploads, and taking user inputs that demonstrate what PHP can accomplish. 

Challenges and troubleshooting tips help guide the process while you actively problem-solve. Upon completing all modules, you come away with your custom CMS to modify and expand as desired. Though lacking advanced topics, the hands-on nature has strong foundational skills applicable across PHP.

Other vital aspects of PHP Buddy for beginners:

  • Comment sections for seeking help
  • Supplemental video lessons
  • Downloadable code attachments
  • Explanations using analogies
PHP The Right Way

PHP The Right Way offers an open-source reference guide for best practices in modern PHP programming. What makes it uniquely suitable for beginners is the focus on current standards and conventions to learn skills right from the start. 

As a non-linear resource, the site allows new programmers to bounce to relevant guides covering topics spanning simple syntax quickly, compiling instructions, configuration, dependency management, security principles, and code structure. 

Brief and accessible explanations around paradigms like MVC, dependency injection, and error handling introduce concepts beginners will encounter. Rather than an end-to-end tutorial, PHP The Right Way provides vital anchors for crucial terminology and techniques to learn in additional materials. The contributing community also keeps content updated across PHP language versions.

Some other helpful aspects for beginners:

  • Quick references for PHP, and MySQL usage
  • Links to preferred frameworks
  • Design pattern introductions
  • Non-opinion-based recommendations
Tips for Learning PHP Effectively as a Beginner

Follow these tips to learn PHP effectively as a beginner.

  • Set Clear Goals: Outline what you want to achieve through learning PHP – e.g., build a personal blog, develop a simple web app, or gain skills for web development roles. This focuses your efforts.
  • Start Simple: Begin with core language fundamentals before tackling complex capabilities. Ensure you master basics like variables, data types, arrays, loops, and functions first.
  • Practice Through Projects: Reinforce your learning by building simple projects utilizing your acquired PHP skills. Bring concepts to life by creating an image gallery, to-do list, or other web apps.
  • Learn Scanner Tools: Leverage tools like Xdebug, PHPCS, and PHPStan to spot errors, enforce coding standards, and optimize performance from the start.
  • Reflect on New Concepts: After digesting a new topic, explain it out loud to check your understanding. Elaborating helps strengthen retention.
  • Learn Server Integration: Understand how PHP interacts with web servers, databases, and front-end code to power full-stack development.
  • Ask Questions: If struggling with a concept, leverage online communities to get unstuck. Veteran developers gladly help guide newbies.
  • Stay Consistent: Aim to code something in PHP daily, even if small, to build lasting knowledge rather than intense bursts.

To wrap up, this blog covered numerous quality online resources to start your PHP learning, including interactive courses from Codecademy, projects-based challenges on FreeCodeCamp, simplified tutorials via W3Schools, and more. These platforms provide essential language fundamentals from variables and data types through web-connected scripts.

Once you have learned PHP basics through hands-on practice, you can expect introductory materials to provide enough skills to build real-functioning web pages and simple apps. With core syntax and server-side scripting competency, you may begin customizing WordPress themes, incorporating databases, processing web forms, executing APIs, and more. Feel free to contact me if you need any kind of help.

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