There are many ways to learn WordPress. The WordPress.org website has a lot of documentation on the software, there are countless video tutorials on YouTube, and there are tutorials available in many places. And of course, there are books. In fact, there are LOTS of books. But what are the best books? Which are the ones to read for your level? Read on…
WordPress books come in many different forms, from small indy books to major series like the For Dummies series. But there’s one thing that you need to make sure whenever you buy a WordPress book: it must be up to date and cover the current version of WordPress, as well as the latest plugins.
WordPress is updated pretty often, and there can be significant changes between versions. That goes double for WordPress plugins, which, in total, are updated nearly every day. And if you don’t keep up to date, you may end up with something that doesn’t work — or worse, a hacked site.
If you’re not looking for a book, check out the resources that we have on WordPress:
- Hacked? The Best (and Worst) WordPress Malware Removal Services and Plugins 2020
- WordPress Development Basics: Create a New Theme from Scratch in 7 Steps
- WordPress Development Basics: Use functions.php to Add a Custom Menu to Your Theme
- Create a Basic Web Page with HTML & CSS: A Step-by-Step Tutorial for Beginners
- The Best Cheap WordPress Themes: Professional Looks for Under $20 – Updated 2020
- Create Better Websites: 10 Must-Have Tools for Web Designers (and Developers)
Here are the books we recommend for WordPress for 2020:
The Best WordPress Books for Beginners 2020
Our Pick: WordPress for Beginners: A Visual Step-by-Step Guide to Creating your Own WordPress Site in Record Time, Starting from Zero
WordPress for Beginners is just that: a book targeted at people who don’t know WordPress at all, who want to install, configure, and run a WordPress site.
This book takes you through the latest version of WordPress (as opposed to many books that still reference older major versions), and it has been updated recently. It starts with the decision process to decide whether you want to host your own WordPress site (and all the associated costs). It then continues to installation of the WordPress software, installation of a theme, and writing content.
After the basics, the book gets into widgets, plugins and SEO, as well as all of the configuration options for WordPress.
One thing to note about this book is that it is about setting up and running a WordPress site. If you’re interested in using a hosted WordPress solution, such as WordPress.com you will want the next book.More Info/Buy
Runner Up: Teach Yourself Visually WordPress
Teach Yourself Visually WordPress is part of a series of visual books on technical topics, and we found it to be an excellent beginner resource on WordPress.
The book is all visual, with big infographics and screen shots to walk you through everything. This book covers using both hosted WordPress (on WordPress.com) and the open source version.
Some of the things that this book will teach you to do include: buying a domain name and setting it up for WordPress, choosing a theme, creating content with multimedia, using the administrative settings, and more. The book will also teach you how to maintain a WordPress installation, including very basic security, backup, and updates.
The only problem we had with this book was that it is a bit older than the previous book, which means you’ll probably need some supplemental materials in order to get up to speed with the latest WordPress software and plugins/themes.More Info/Buy
The Best Intermediate WordPress Books 2020
Our Pick: WordPress All-in-One for Dummies
As part of the famous Dummies series, WordPress All-in-One for Dummies is a great introduction to WordPress, with explanations of both the open source software and the WordPress.com hosted solution. But it’s also a great resource for intermediate level WordPress users.
This book is made up of several mini-books, on different topics regarding WordPress. There are sections on understanding WordPress options, installing and configuring WordPress on your own server, and of course, using WordPress to create content.
The only problem with this book is that it’s over a year old, and given how quickly the WordPress community moves, that means that it’s not completely up to date. If you do buy this book, you should consider getting some supplementary material as well, which focuses on the the latest changes to WordPress and the plugins you are using.More Info/Buy
The Best Advanced WordPress Books 2020
Our Pick: Professional WordPress: Design and Development
At some point, after you know everything there is to know about using WordPress, you’ll want to learn how to develop plugins and themes for it. You may even want to modify the internal workings of WordPress to help the open source development effort.
If that’s where you are, Professional WordPress: Design and Development is the book for you. This book jumps right into a code overview of WordPress. After explaining the file structure, and commonly edited files, like wp-config.php, it explains how to set up your own WordPress development environment.
From there, it takes you through a tour of the WordPress internals, shows you how to use the WordPress APIs, and more. There are entire sections on theme and plugin development, as well as a security section.
The book also comes with supplementary materials online, and provides a forum and other resources to keep up to date, which is important because the book is a few years old.More Info/Buy
Runner Up: WordPress: Pushing the Limits
This book is more comprehensive than Professional WordPress, as it includes a lot of information on how to structure your development project and how to interact with customers. Although this is important information, to us, it distracts from the main goal of learning the technical aspects of WordPress — which is why we chose this book as a runner up.
Nevertheless, this is by all means an excellent book, with plenty of information on how to develop themes, plugins, and other software for WordPress. It also explains how to set up a dev environment, testing tools, and mobile development.
As we noted earlier, this book also focuses on the business of WordPress development, from working with clients, to understanding and communicating requirements, to hosting options.
This book is definitely your best bet if you plan to do consulting or contracting work with WordPress.More Info/Buy
Got a book you love? Tell us about it in the comments below.