6 Best Books and Resources to Learn PHP and MySql

Most of us know PHP – is a server side scripting language commonly used to write web applications. MySql – is an RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) used to store data handled by web applications. We have written a handful of amazing articles on how to make money online as a PHP Programmer. All these articles guide you through different opportunities available for a programmer or web developer to make money from internet using his skills. I am listing the most useful articles below:

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We have been working with PHP, MySql and many open source web apps like WordPress, Magento, OpenCart and frameworks like Yii, CakePHP, Zend etc for many long years. We know these languages and systems inside out. In this article, we are listing some of the best books and resources to learn PHP and MySql – which will help you to polish your programming skills and command over the language and database.

Programming – is a skill that you master with experience. We all begin with a “Hello World” program and we work our way up from building single web pages to full-fledged websites to complex web applications. We have taken utmost care while developing this resource article that we haven’t listed any book/website that will waste your precious time. We have also carefully structured this article for beginners, medium level programmers and advanced web app developers. Let’s have a look at the  six best books through which you can learn php and mysql.

For Beginners

W3Schools – We don’t need to mention this website (which is the best reference resource to begin learning any scripting language). Everyone knows about W3Schools and its usefulness. If you are a complete benginner, this website will really help you. It does have a lot of practical examples in PHP which are written in simple language so that it will be easier for the php beginners.

Book #1 PHP and MySql Web Development by Luke Welling and Laura Thomson


This is one of the best and highly recommended (by other readers and programmers) book on PHP and MySql.  This book is well structured and the contents are so well selected that this book is more than enough for your journey from a beginner to a mid level programmer. The contents of this book are divided into 5 main sections. The first 2 sections take you through the basics of PHP and MySql – like storing and retrieving data, usage of arrays, regular expressions, object oriented PHP, designing database, accessing MySql database using PHP, advanced MySql administration and programming. The final 3 sections – are what makes the book outstanding and unique compared to other similar books.

The authors have carefully included a dedicated section for E-Commerce and Security. In this section, they have included chapters to explain E-Commerce systems, security issues that arise while developing E-Commerce systems, implementing authentication techniques using PHP and MySql, implementing secure transactions using PHP and MySql etc. The fourth section takes you through many advanced PHP techniques like sessions control, interacting with file system and server, using network and protocol functions etc.  The final section (5th) takes you through building practical web based applications using PHP and MySql – like building a shopping cart, a mailing list manager, web-based E-mail service, web based discussion forum and many other interesting projects.

To conclude, this book by Luke Welling and Laura Thomson is a complete resource for any one serious about PHP and MySql. The simple and easy to understand writing style of authors with well selected content makes this book a unique and best resource to learn PHP and MySql.

Price: $32.34

Book #2 (Kindle Edition)- Learn PHP and MySql – Zero to Hero Programming Crash Course – by Paul Madoff


This is a good beginners book who wants to quickly skim through the language and understand the concepts. This book by Paul Madoff is not comprehensive as the first book (Book #1) we recommended. But this book is an easy to read and understand one, which can be handy for a new comer.


Book #3 Learning PHP, MySql and Javascript: with Jquery, CSS and HTML5 – by OReilly (Author – Robin Nixon)


This is an all-in-one packed book to learn web development. This book published by OReilly is one of the best-selling books on Amazon and has very positive user reviews. We find this book very useful as it covers the very important and essential scripting languages (in addition to PHP and MySql) – Javascript, CSS and HTML5 along with Jquery. A web developer’s learning curve comes to full circle when he masters a server-side scripting language (like PHP), an RDBMS (like MySql), a browser side scripting language (Javascript and Jquery), finally Markup and Styling (HTML and CSS). This book helps a beginner to grasp the essence of all these languages and how to effectively use them to build web applications.

We highly recommend Book #1 and Book #3 for any one serious about PHP and MySql. These 2 books can make a profound impact on your web development knowledge and skills. The ideas you grasp from these 2 books will help a lot in building your career as a web app or software programmer. Book #2 is for quick skimming – for those who are interested only in learning the concepts of PHP and MySql.

Price: $31.98

For Mid Level and Advanced Programmers

Book #4 PHP and MySql for Dynamic Website: Visual QuickPro Guide by Larry Ullman


This is a very interactively written book on PHP and MySql. The author himself is a software programmer and teacher, who has years of hands-on experience in developing dynamic web applications. The book is very comprehensive and covers every important aspect of developing web applications using PHP and MySql. Though this book goes easy with beginners as well, we would like to recommend this book to intermediate level programmers who already has a base of PHP and MySql. However, a beginner can also go ahead with this book and will find it easy for grasping. The author has a very vivid style of writing and he explains the basic concepts with utmost care and ease of understanding. We found this book very useful in polishing your knowledge in PHP, improving web development skills, understanding core concepts thoroughly and to know the world of dynamic web development deeper. We also found this book useful for job aspirants who have to face interview questions around core concepts of PHP and MySql.

Price: $31.28

Book #5 PHP Advanced and Object Oriented Programming by Larry Ullman


This book helps to take your PHP skills to next level through real world applications. The book teaches you how advanced techniques are used in developing real world applications and advanced database techniques. Larry Ullman – author of this book has given great focus on OOP (Object Oriented Programming) concepts of PHP, which is the programming method of software industry as a whole. OOP concepts are very essential to be mastered by any web development professional. We highly recommend this book to advance your PHP skills and we are sure this book will be an asset for your career.


Book #6 Advanced PHP Programming by George Schlossnagle


This is a handy and useful book for all professional PHP programmers. This book covers the best practices to be followed while developing web based applications using PHP. This book by Schlossnagle is purely for professionals as the author focuses a great deal on scaling PHP to develop enterprise level web applications. The book covers important chapters on how to optimize for performance, stability andy. We consider this as a great reference resource for every professional who works on PHP based Web Application Development.

Price: $43.58

Hope you guys find these php learning books helpful, as said these are the best books to learn php and mysql currently in the industry. Its totally worth the price!

About the author

Jojo Joson


  • From what I’ve had to endure with the book listed at #4 on this list, it seems it is not properly evaluated. There is much that is not properly explained and requires external sources for the correct information. Mister Ullman himself is also highly useless in that regard. Anyone considering the 4th book should make sure it’s the physical book he or she obtains, so if they run out of paper in the restroom the book will serve a purpose.

    • Larry Ullman has written many good books. I’ve personally read his book mentioned in the article and his Yii Book (about Yii Framework)and it was of high standards.

      No offense, but Ullman is a great programmer in my humble opinion

  • Hey great recommendations! Glad to know I’m on the right track (I’ve got 2 of the above books). Just wondering if O’Reilly’s Head First php and mySQL is a good choice? It was released in 2009, so I’ve got my doubts on it, but it seems like a really fun book to start with. Any thoughts?