Beginning WordPress 3

This is an old edition! You should get the second edition, WordPress for Web Developers, instead. It’s been updated and corrected.

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WordPress is one of the most popular open source blogging and content management systems. It’s free, and it lets you create a website to promote yourself or your business quickly and easily.

WordPress is a flexible, user-friendly system, and it can be extended with a variety of themes and plugins. Beginning WordPress 3 introduces these for the beginning developer who wants to start using WordPress.

Available from: Amazon · Barnes & Noble · Apress … and other bookstores

ebook formats: Kindle · Nook · PDF

What you’ll learn

  • How to get started with WordPress, create new content, and import existing content
  • How to change what appears on a home page, blog post, and more
  • How to handle media uploads, audio/video players, and podcasting
  • How to create themes, widgets, and plugins
  • How to publish, move, maintain, and secure your WordPress sites

Table of Contents »

Parts of the book started out as articles on this site, so I’ve linked the headings to the original posts. The versions in the book are generally more detailed.

While the book is intended for developers, Chapter 4, Working with Content, would be useful to anyone using a WordPress site. I’ve posted the entire chapter as a free sample. If you prefer, you can download it as a PDF.

You can grab all the source code in one handy .zip file at the Apress website.


At 400 pages, its length is pretty standard for a WordPress instructional book, but the sheer brea[d]th of what is covered within those pages is what is truly amazing. Leary says that she designed this book to “fill the gap” between beginner’s guides and developer’s guides and she succeeded at doing just that. … I highly recommend this book to any WordPress novices out there or really anyone who wants to dip their hands a little deeper into WordPress.


It may be the best book I’ve ever read about WordPress. … This is a great book for those who are experienced users of WordPress but not PHP wizards and who want to go deeper and understand more.

—Sallie Goetsch, WordPress Asylum

I didn’t like too much the title because I don’t think it does justice to the book. As several reviewers have pointed out on Amazon, this book isn’t a beginner book. It won’t just teach you in details how to use WordPress to post content on the Web. It does so much more than its title, Beginning WordPress 3, lets us assume. While I’ve been using WP for the past 6 years in different settings, I still managed to learn several very useful things by reading this book including how to import HTML content in a WP site, working on plugins and advanced themes, creating or changing user roles and fixing performance and security issues.

—Karine Joly,

What Next?

Where do you go from here? More advanced books and online resources.

Updates and Errata »

WordPress 3.0 was almost done, but still in development when the book had to be sent to the printer. There have been a few updates and corrections since then; they’ll be collected here.

Letter from the Author

Dear Reader,
For five years, I’ve used WordPress to build a hundred websites of all kinds: university departments, promotional sites for authors, podcasts, intranets for clubs and committees, small business storefronts, and of course personal blogs. WordPress has become my CMS of choice because it’s so easy for end users to learn how to manage their own sites.

When I began looking for WordPress books, I found plenty of guides for bloggers on using the software and a few advanced guides for developers. This book falls between those extremes. It’s a beginning developer guide that treats WordPress like the powerful content management system it has become. If you’re a web developer who already understands HTML, CSS, and maybe a little PHP, but you’ve never used WordPress before, this book is for you.

Inside, you’ll learn how to install, configure, and customize WordPress to make it the perfect CMS for your next project. I’ll walk you through the complete development of a WordPress site, starting with importing content from another CMS or creating your own. You’ll then learn how to create custom themes that give you complete control over your site’s appearance (and search engine optimization). You’ll see how to extend WordPress with widgets and plugins when your needs outstrip the built-in features. Finally, you’ll learn how to secure your WordPress installation and optimize its performance.

This book also covers two of the big new features in version 3.0: custom content types, which let you take your content beyond basic blog posts and pages, and the network (the integration of WordPress MU into the core software), which lets you build numerous connected WordPress sites from a single software installation.

The code samples include several complete plugins and two themes. Every example in this book was taken from a real-world project. I hope they help you learn to use and adapt WordPress in your own work.


If you are in Brazil, Beginning WordPress 3 is available in Portuguese as WordPress 3 – Básico. The Livro WordPress site has a discount code. Rodrigo R. Neto has reviewed this edition.