learn PHP for WordPress

10 Easy Steps to Learn PHP for WordPress Beginners


Hello and welcome to the easy step-by-step learn PHP for WordPress beginners! In this guide, we’ll teach you the basics of PHP and how to use it with WordPress.

This will help you customize your website and add cool features without any previous coding experience. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Setting up a Local Development Environment

First, we’ll create a safe place on your computer to work on your website without changing the live version. This is called a “local development environment.” To do this, follow these steps:

Install a Local Server Environment: We need to set up a web server (like Apache or Nginx), PHP, and a MySQL database on your computer. Don’t worry, some software packages make this easy:

  • For Windows, macOS, and Linux, use XAMPP: https://www.apachefriends.org/
  • For Windows, use WAMP: https://www.wampserver.com/
  • For macOS, use MAMP: https://www.mamp.info/

Step 2: Installing WordPress

Next, after setting up the local server, download and install WordPress. While installing, create a new database for WordPress.

Step 3: Understanding the WordPress File Structure

Take a moment to explore the WordPress files on your computer. Pay attention to these important ones:

  • wp-config.php: This has important settings for the database and configuration.
  • functions.php: It’s a file in your theme to add custom functions.
  • index.php: This file is like the main template for your WordPress website.
  • header.php: Here, you’ll find the header section.
  • footer.php: Here, you’ll find the footer section.

Step 4: Introduction to Learn PHP for WordPress

PHP is a special language used for building websites like WordPress. If you want to learn PHP for WordPress, it does important jobs behind the scenes to make websites work, making it a vital skill to gain.

learn PHP for WordPress
  1. Making Pages Dynamic:
    With PHP, WordPress can create pages that change and show different content. It’s like magic! PHP, when you learn PHP for WordPress, runs on the web server and makes sure the right things appear on your screen.
  2. Designing Website Looks:
    PHP, when you learn PHP for WordPress, helps decide how your WordPress website looks. It uses special templates to put things in the right places, like headers, footers, and sidebars. These templates also let WordPress show your posts and titles nicely.
  3. The Loop:
    The Loop is like a treasure hunt. It searches for posts and brings them to your screen. So, when you see your blog posts, thank the Loop! And with PHP, WordPress can create pages that change and show different content.
  4. Adding Special Features:
    PHP lets developers, when you learn PHP for WordPress, add new cool stuff to your website. They can make it do amazing things like showing personalized content or interacting with you through forms and comments.
  5. Handling Your Info:
    PHP, when you learn PHP for WordPress, is smart. It checks and saves the information you give on forms, comments, and registrations to keep everything safe and organized.
  6. Talking to the Database:
    PHP, when you learn PHP for WordPress, talks to the website’s memory (database) to get the right information and show it to you. Developers can use PHP functions like “wp_query” and “get_post_meta” to retrieve data from the database and use it to display dynamic content.
  7. Making Choices:
    PHP can decide what to show based on what you do. It’s like a smart assistant, knowing what you want and giving you exactly that. And with PHP, WordPress can create pages that change and show different content.

To sum it up, when you learn PHP for WordPress, PHP is the superhero behind WordPress. It makes the website dynamic and lets developers create amazing things. Whether you’re new to this or an expert, learning PHP for WordPress will help you make your WordPress site awesome!

Step 5: Showing Changing Content

When building websites, it’s important to have content that can change based on different things like what users do, information from databases, or outside sources.

In PHP Training for WordPress, we often use dynamic content to show things like posts, user details, search results, and more.

Here are some common ways to show dynamic content in PHP and WordPress:

1. PHP Variables:

In PHP, we can use variables to hold changing content, and then we can show these variables in our website’s code.


    $dynamic content = "Hello, dynamic content!";
    echo $dynamic content;

2. Looping through Arrays and Database Results:

Sometimes, we have a bunch of information stored in arrays or databases, like WordPress posts or user data. We use loops to go through this information and show it dynamically on the website.

Example (WordPress loop to display posts)

<?php if (have_posts()): ?>
    <?php while (have_posts()): the_post(); ?>
        <h2><?php the_title(); ?></h2>
        <div class="post-content">
            <?php the_content(); ?>
    <?php endwhile; ?>
<?php else: ?>
    <p>No posts found.</p>
<?php endif; ?>

3. Conditional Statements:

We can use conditional statements to show different content based on specific conditions or what users do.


    $user_role = 'administrator';
    if ($user_role == 'administrator') {
        echo 'Welcome, Administrator!';
    } else {
        echo 'Welcome, Guest!';

4. Using Template Tags in WordPress:

WordPress has special functions called template tags that help us show dynamic content related to posts, categories, tags, and more.

Template tags are special functions in WordPress that help display dynamic content and fetch information from the database easily. They are designed to be used within your website’s theme files while learning PHP for WordPress.


<?php the_title(); ?> // Displays the post title.
<?php the_author(); ?> // Displays the post author's name.

5. User-Generated Content:

When users submit things like comments or forms, we can use PHP or WordPress functions to safely show their input on the website.

Example (WordPress comments):

    $comment_author = 'John Doe';
    $comment_content = 'This is a great article!';
        'comment_author' => $comment_author,
        'comment_content' => $comment_content,
        'comment_post_ID' => 123 // Replace with the post ID where the comment should appear

6. Form Processing:

When we get form submissions from users, we use PHP to extract the information from the forms and then display it dynamically.


    if ($_SERVER['REQUEST_METHOD'] == 'POST') {
        $username = $_POST['username'];
        $email = $_POST['email'];
        echo "Welcome, $username! Your email is $email.";

These are just a few examples of how we can show dynamic content in PHP and WordPress. By using variables, loops, conditional statements, and the right functions, we can create websites that change and respond to what users do. We need to be careful with user inputs to keep our websites secure and prevent things like Cross-Site Scripting or SQL injection.

Step 6: Working with Functions

In WordPress, functions are like special tools that help you make WordPress do more things. You can create your own special tools, called custom functions, to change and personalize how your website looks and works. To do this, you just need to put your custom functions in a special file called “functions.php” in the theme you are using.

// Custom function to display a greeting
function display_greeting() {
  echo 'Hello, welcome to our website!';

Step 7: WordPress Hooks

WordPress hooks are like magic buttons that allow you to change and customize how your website works without messing up the main code of WordPress. They let you add your own special functions to different parts of your website when specific events happen.

There are two types of hooks:

1. Actions: These are events that happen at certain moments while your website is running. When an action happens, any special functions you created for that action will be used.

Learn PHP for WordPress actions can do things like update records in your website’s database, send emails, or add special content to specific parts of your pages.

Example of adding a custom action in your theme’s functions.php file:

function my_custom_action_function() {
    // Your custom code here
add_action('my_custom_action_hook', 'my_custom_action_function');

To trigger the custom action elsewhere in your code, you would use:


2. Filters: Filters help you change or adjust data before it appears on your website. When a filter is applied, it allows you to modify the information before it’s shown. Filters are often used to change content, make things look a certain way, or manipulate data.

Example of adding a custom filter in your theme’s functions.php file:

function my_custom_filter_function($content) {
    // Modify the content here and return the modified content
    return $content;
add_filter('my_custom_filter_hook', 'my_custom_filter_function');

To apply the custom filter to a piece of data, you would use:

$modified_content = apply_filters('my_custom_filter_hook', $original_content);

WordPress already has many built-in hooks, which are like pre-made magic buttons, in its code, themes, and plugins. This makes WordPress very flexible and allows you to learn PHP for WordPress and customize it easily. You can even create your own custom hooks to connect different parts of your website.

learn PHP for WordPress

Hooks are important because they let you build and update your website in a smart way. You can change how things work without touching the main WordPress code. This is helpful because it keeps your website safe when you learn PHP for WordPress and WordPress gets updated, and it avoids conflicts with other website designs or extra features.

If you understand and use learn PHP for WordPress and WordPress hooks well, you’ll be able to make your website more powerful and create the website of your dreams!

Step 8: Working with Custom Post Types and Taxonomies

Working with custom post types and taxonomies in WordPress can help you organize and show various types of content on your website. Let’s learn how to do it:

1. Creating a Custom Post Type:

To make a new type of content, you need to add some code to your website’s functions. Or you can use a special plugin for it.

Here’s an example of creating a custom post type named “Books”:

function create_custom_post_type() {
    $labels = array(
        'name'               => _x('Books', 'post type general name', 'textdomain'),
        'singular_name'      => _x('Book', 'post type singular name', 'textdomain'),
        'menu_name'          => _x('Books', 'admin menu', 'textdomain'),
        'name_admin_bar'     => _x('Book', 'add new on admin bar', 'textdomain'),
        'add_new'            => _x('Add New', 'book', 'textdomain'),
        'add_new_item'       => __('Add New Book', 'textdomain'),
        'new_item'           => __('New Book', 'textdomain'),
        'edit_item'          => __('Edit Book', 'textdomain'),
        'view_item'          => __('View Book', 'textdomain'),
        'all_items'          => __('All Books', 'textdomain'),
        'search_items'       => __('Search Books', 'textdomain'),
        'not_found'          => __('No books found.', 'textdomain'),
        'not_found_in_trash' => __('No books found in Trash.', 'textdomain'),

    $args = array(
        'labels'        => $labels,
        'public'        => true,
        'has_archive'   => true,
        'menu_icon'     => 'dashicons-book',
        'supports'      => array('title', 'editor', 'thumbnail', 'excerpt'),

    register_post_type('book', $args);
add_action('init', 'create_custom_post_type');

2. Creating a Custom Taxonomy:

Once you have your new type of content, you can make custom categories to sort it even more.

For example, let’s create a custom taxonomy named “Genre” for the “Books” post type:

function create_custom_taxonomy() {
    $labels = array(
        'name'                       => _x('Genres', 'taxonomy general name', 'textdomain'),
        'singular_name'              => _x('Genre', 'taxonomy singular name', 'textdomain'),
        'search_items'               => __('Search Genres', 'textdomain'),
        'popular_items'              => __('Popular Genres', 'textdomain'),
        'all_items'                  => __('All Genres', 'textdomain'),
        'edit_item'                  => __('Edit Genre', 'textdomain'),
        'update_item'                => __('Update Genre', 'textdomain'),
        'add_new_item'               => __('Add New Genre', 'textdomain'),
        'new_item_name'              => __('New Genre Name', 'textdomain'),
        'separate_items_with_commas' => __('Separate genres with commas', 'textdomain'),
        'add_or_remove_items'        => __('Add or remove genres', 'textdomain'),
        'choose_from_most_used'      => __('Choose from the most used genres', 'textdomain'),
        'not_found'                  => __('No genres found.', 'textdomain'),
        'menu_name'                  => __('Genres', 'textdomain'),

    $args = array(
        'hierarchical'      => true,
        'labels'            => $labels,
        'show_ui'           => true,
        'show_admin_column' => true,
        'query_var'         => true,
        'rewrite'           => array('slug' => 'genre'),

    register_taxonomy('genre', array('book'), $args);
add_action('init', 'create_custom_taxonomy');

3. Assigning Taxonomies to Posts:

When you add or edit a piece of content, you can pick its category from the options you made.

4. Displaying Custom Post Types and Taxonomies:

To learn PHP for WordPress and show your special types of content and their categories, you can make custom templates. Your theme may also provide some ready-to-use templates for this purpose.

For example, to learn PHP for WordPress and show all books of a certain category like “fiction,” the URL will look like this: example.com/genre/fiction.

Remember, before you learn PHP for WordPress and make any big changes, it is a good idea to backup your website and test the changes on a test version. This way, you can avoid any problems on your live website.

Step 9: Using Template Tags in WordPress

Template tags are special functions in WordPress that help display dynamic content and fetch information from the database easily. They are designed to be used within your website’s theme files.

Template tags are like shortcuts that allow you to access and show different types of content in WordPress. You can use them for posts, pages, comments, categories, tags, and more. Some are already built into WordPress, while others can be added through themes or plugins.

Here are some common template tags and how they are used:

1. The Loop:

The Loop is a key template tag used to display posts on your website. It goes through each post in the database and shows them one by one.


<?php if (have_posts()): ?>
    <?php while (have_posts()): the_post(); ?>
        <h2><?php the_title(); ?></h2>
        <div class="post-content">
            <?php the_content(); ?>
    <?php endwhile; ?>
<?php else: ?>
    <p>No posts found.</p>
<?php endif; ?>

2. Post Information:

These template tags let you show details about the current post that’s being displayed in the Loop.


<?php the_title(); ?>        // Displays the post title.
<?php the_permalink(); ?>    // Displays the URL of the post.
<?php the_author(); ?>       // Displays the post author's name.
<?php the_time('F j, Y'); ?> // Displays the post publish date in a specified format.

3. Comments Template Tags:

These template tags help you display information about the comments on your website.


<?php comments_popup_link('No comments', '1 comment', '% comments', 'comments-link', 'Comments are off'); ?>

4. Category and Tag Information:

Template tags to display information about post categories and tags.


<?php the_category(', '); ?>   // Displays the categories the post belongs to, separated by commas.
<?php the_tags(); ?>           // Displays the post tags.

5. Custom Fields:

WordPress allows you to add custom fields to your posts, which are like extra pieces of information. Template tags help you get and display this custom information.


<?php echo get_post_meta(get_the_ID(), 'custom_field_name', true); ?>

These are just a few examples of the many template tags available in WordPress. You can find more in the official WordPress documentation or by checking the functions.php file of your theme and relevant plugin files to learn PHP for WordPress.

Using template tags to learn PHP for WordPress is beneficial because they make it easy to show dynamic content and customize how your WordPress website looks. This way, you can create a better experience for your users and have more flexibility in presenting your content to learn PHP for WordPress.

Step 10: Keeping Your Website Safe and Secure

When you’re building a website with PHP for WordPress, it’s essential to make sure it’s safe and secure. We’ll explain two important concepts that will help you achieve this: Sanitization and Security.

1. Sanitization:

Sanitization is like cleaning up user input to keep your website safe. It means getting rid of any harmful or unnecessary things that people might enter. This helps prevent bad guys from trying to attack your website with malicious code. It’s like putting on armor to protect your website from bad stuff.

Example of using sanitize_text_field()in WordPress:

$user_input = $_POST['user_input'];
$sanitized_input = sanitize_text_field($user_input);

2. Validation:

Validation is like checking if the things people enter are good and make sense. It ensures that the information provided is correct and fits what you expect. This helps prevent mistakes and keeps your website working smoothly.

Example of validation in PHP using “filter_var()”:

$email = $_POST['email'];
if (filter_var($email, FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL)) {
    // The email is valid
} else {
    // The email is invalid

3. Security Measures:

To make your website even safer, there are a few more things you can do:

   a. Check Input on the Server: Always check the information people give you, even if you checked it on the user’s computer first.

   b. Show Content Safely: When displaying things people wrote on your website, use special functions to make sure it doesn’t accidentally show harmful stuff.

   c. Handle Passwords with Care: Keep passwords safe and secure by encrypting them so nobody can easily figure them out.

   d. Avoid SQL Attacks: Use special techniques when working with databases to prevent bad people from messing with your data.

   e. Keep Everything Updated: Make sure everything you use on your website, like the server software and plugins, is up to date. That way, you get the latest protections.

   f. Use HTTPS: Use a special way to send information between the website and users so nobody can spy on it during PHP Training for WordPress.

   g. Limit User Powers: Only give people the permissions they really need to use your website during PHP Training for WordPress.

   h. Keep Secrets Safe: Make sure sensitive information, like passwords or important settings, is hidden away from prying eyes.

By following these steps, you’ll make your website much safer for yourself and your visitors during PHP Training for WordPress. Now you have a good foundation for working with PHP and WordPress. As you become more experienced, you can learn about advanced topics like making custom plugins and using special tools to improve your WordPress website even more while learning PHP for WordPress. Happy coding!

If you find additional information, please refer to this article on the 10 Easy Steps to Learn PHP for WordPress Beginners. wpmudev

If you seek further more information about the 10 Easy Steps to Learn PHP for WordPress Beginners or have any inquiries regarding our blog, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email at info@thinkwriteway.com

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