Is PHP Hard to Learn?

Instructor: Eric Campos

Eric has tutored in English, writing, history, and other subjects.

PHP is a programming language used for many applications and websites. In this article, we will address whether PHP is difficult to master and ways you can become proficient in it.

What is PHP and is it Difficult to Use?

PHP is a popular open-source scripting language used for web development. Many websites use PHP, including Facebook, because of its easy-to-use nature, including embedded coding for HTML. In general, PHP is regarded as an easy programming language to master for people just starting to learn to program. As with any programming language, PHP has rules of coding, abbreviations, and algorithms. Learning PHP will be easy or challenging depending on how you approach learning the language itself. Naturally, if you have a background in programming, you'll probably have a head-start in the process. However, many resources are available if you are completely new to programming.

Ways To Learn PHP

There is an abundance of online materials that can help you become fluent in PHP. For starters, you can check out free tutorials as wells as a PHP manual online to help you with learning this programming language. You can also find detailed courses about PHP offered through university programs. In addition to straightforward tutorials, a lot of useful insight on PHP can be found in online forums. The programming community tends to be very active so it's likely that if you have questions, there will be individuals online who can provide answers. If you choose to use an online forum for help, it would be a good practice to verify that the information you're getting is correct. Lastly, there are several print books that you can purchase to help you learn PHP and ways to apply it. There are also texts available that focus on specific applications of PHP such as web design and security. Here are few titles to get you started:

  • PHP for Absolute Beginners by Jason Lengstorf and Thomas Blom Hansen
  • PHP Solutions: Dynamic Web Design Made Easy by David Powers
  • PHP Cookbook: Solutions and Examples for PHP Programmers by Adam Trachtenberg and David Sklar
  • Essential PHP Security by Chris Shiflett

What Can I Do With PHP?

The next big question after whether PHP is hard to learn is, what can be done with PHP? The quick answer is practically anything. PHP is a fully functioning programming language that users can apply to create websites and maintain scripts. In addition to server-side scripting, PHP can perform other tasks such as command line scripting, developing desktop operations, creating templates and graphics, and a lot more. While PHP is relatively simple to grasp, it can actually be used in many complicated processes. Users also enjoy the flexibility of using any major operating system, as PHP is applicable to all of them. This also means that with PHP, you can choose to work with object-oriented programming or procedural programming, or even a combination of the two. Basically, PHP is a versatile computer language that gives you a wide range of programming capabilities.

Additional Resources

As you delve further into PHP, you may want to learn more about computer languages in general. Our resource, What is Programming Language? - Types & Examples will give you the fundamentals of how computer languages work along with their various functions. Since PHP can be used for both object-orientated programming and procedural programming, it's a good idea to learn about both of these programming styles. You can watch this video lesson on Object Oriented Programming vs. Procedural Programming to learn the differences between the two. You can also use this lesson on Object Oriented Programming to learn more about this type of programming and how it's used. These resources may also help provide some context as you begin delving into PHP itself!