: a blue elephant plush with PHP lettering on the side sitting atop a Macbook Pro with PHP code on the screen

Learn PHP: The Best Online Courses

It seems like there’s a new scripting language to build websites every year. This makes it hard to pin down tried and true industry standards. But PHP, or hypertext preprocessor, has stood the test of time. Learning PHP will land you a job across industries. Keep reading to discover what makes PHP so popular and how you can learn this backbone of the Internet. 

What Is PHP?

PHP is an open-source scripting language that’s most often used for web development, although it has other applications as well.


Unlike many other top programming languages, PHP has been around since the beginning of the Internet. The PHP development team first released the language in 1994. It’s still in use today on sites like WordPress, Facebook, Slack, and more. 

You’ll usually see the PHP language used with JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and a few others. Because of its flexibility, the language adapts well to different tasks and comes in handy for programmers regularly. 

PHP has a short learning curve compared to other languages. It creates dynamic or static sites, collects form data, and employs cookies, all while returning data to client-side browsers as readable HTML. 

There are more great benefits of PHP due to its long history. For one thing, it has a large community with lots of free PHP resources. The language is also supported by almost every web hosting server. 

What Jobs Use PHP Skills?

The language comes in handy for web developers, but other uses have also sprung up due to its versatility.

  • Web developer. Naturally, the most common place you’ll find PHP programmers is in web development. The language’s ease of use and wide adoption makes it an industry standard for aspiring web designers

  • UI/UX designer. User interface and user experience designers both employ PHP to ensure a smooth experience on websites and applications. PHP makes their jobs much easier.

  • Full-stack developer. Full-stack developers design the server and client sides of websites. They not only determine how sites use databases and servers, but also how the front end presents information. PHP is a great, time-tested way to ensure websites work, on both the front end and the backend.

  • WordPress Developer and/or Theme Builder. WordPress relies heavily on PHP. And some companies use it to build themes on WordPress. After learning PHP and design, you can also design themes for clients.

Steps to Learn PHP

a pre-teen boy using a touchpad to navigate his PHP code on a monitor
Website developers at any stage of their career should learn PHP. 

PHP has a massive amount of information available regarding its use. Because of this, it’s no problem finding resources to learn. Below is a guide to start learning PHP today. 

1. Take a Course

Though PHP is easy to grasp for people with coding experience, it’s best to start learning with the right online courses. If you’re going to build beautiful and dynamic websites, you’ll need to study PHP in-depth as well as how it works with other programming languages.


We’ll list some great PHP courses to get you started below. Due to the prevalence of the language, your PHP skills might even land you a job without a four-year degree. 

2. Research

Several websites offer additional information for reference while learning PHP. For example, there’s the official manual from the PHP Group. Their site also offers newsletters and mailing lists to keep you up-to-date with PHP changes. 

Forums like Stack Overflow provide valuable information for budding PHP masters. You’ll also find an endless series of video lectures on YouTube that show real-world applications using this coding language. 

3. Get Experience

Most relevant jobs will want some experience with PHP. So after you’ve grasped the basics, start building up your portfolio.


You could start by learning WordPress and starting to build themes or full websites. After a while, you’ll have generated plenty of examples to impress prospective employers. 

The Best Courses to Learn PHP

There are tons of online courses that lay out the basics. Here are just a few PHP courses that you may find useful. 

PHP for Beginners: Become a PHP Master

This course takes PHP beginners through the process of building content management systems (CMS) like WordPress. You’ll need a basic knowledge of HTML. After you see how a CMS works from start to finish, you should have no problem building beautiful themes that run smoothly. 

Learn PHP

This Codecademy course will teach you the PHP basics. Their courses have been taken by employees at some of the biggest companies, including Google, Facebook, and NASA. This tutorial will give you a baseline knowledge of the language, then show you how to use its built-in functions to build professional, functional code.

Professional Certificate in Front-End Web Developer

This is a great course to help you grasp other front-end languages you’ll often use with PHP. From World Wide Web Consortium, these lessons will teach you how to develop websites in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more. Once you combine these skills with your PHP knowledge, you’ll be building beautiful, dynamic, and stable websites in no time. 

The Complete 2020 PHP Full-Stack Web Developer Bootcamp

This course is a one-stop shop to learn PHP and more. You’ll also learn about CSS, HTML, JavaScript, MySQL, and object-oriented programming (OOP) in this bootcamp. After completing the course, you’ll be ready to build WordPress themes and full sites from top to bottom. 

Web Applications for Everybody Specialization

This course is for people that have a basic knowledge of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS but are interested in learning how to build web applications. It’s a great way to bring together everything you’ve learned about web design. And with this course’s emphasis on project-based coursework, you’ll also build up a great portfolio.

Why Learn PHP?

This scripting language is one of the oldest and most used for a reason.


It has a learning curve that can be easily conquered with the help of a thriving community and online courses. It works extremely well with other technologies that developers use. And several web hosting companies support it by default, which lowers the time and effort required to build stable sites. 

PHP skills can land you a career as long as you know the other languages that PHP interacts with. There are hundreds of openings across job boards for PHP programmers. 

The benefits of learning PHP are clear for anyone looking to build websites. Keep an open mind, keep learning, and your coding journey just might lead to a fruitful new position.

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