101+ essential resources for WordPress plugin and theme developers

Resources to help developers and designers at all levels of experience

This set of resources is aimed at plugin and theme developers of all levels of experience. It’s intended to help you find useful stuff, whatever stage you’re at – from absolute beginner to hardcore expert.

One of the challenges in compiling this list was how to structure it. I’ve tried to list the sections in a meaningful way, starting with the very basic stuff and progressing to more advanced elements, but it wasn’t always possible to provide everything in a sequential way. If you’ve got any suggestions, additions, feedback, please let me know in the comments below.

Learning the basics

If you are completely new to WordPress, you might like to consider some of these resources for learning the basic technologies behind how websites are built. If you’re already comfortable with the basics, you can skip ahead to the next section which deals with learning resources for WordPress.

HTML training resources

Learn the basics of HTML online.


CSS training resources

Learn the basics of CSS

PHP training resources

PHP is the building block of WordPress. Whether you are developing a plugin or a theme, you will need to know PHP. The following is a short list of online courses and resources for learning PHP:

Code School PHP

Tutorials on how to write a WordPress plugin

If you’ve never built a plugin before, there are many tutorials out there for end-to-end plugin development, starting from scratch and going through the entire process step by step, finishing up with a completed working plugin. Here are a selected few:

How to begin writing your first WordPress plugin

This excellent introduction to creating your own plugin is by Pippin Williamson.

Tuts+ Coffee Break

Tuts+ offer a coffee-time series, where you can learn new aspects of WordPress in small, manageable steps. The ‘Your First Plugin’ tutorial is a simple introduction to building plugins.

Scotch tutorial

Scotch offer a tutorial on how to build a plugin based on using the WordPress plugin boilerplate.

Scotch plugin tutorial

Treehouse course

Treehouse have thousands of hours of content on all aspects of web design and development, including a five-hour course on how to build a WordPress plugin.

WPMU tutorial

This is Daniel Pataki’s contribution on how to build a plugin.

Essential WordPress.org reading

These resources are drawn from WordPress.org itself.

Writing a plugin

Not exactly a tutorial, but crucial information on the principles of writing a WordPress plugin

Submission and promotion

What to do once you’ve completed your plugin (but worth reading before you start)

WordPress coding standards

The Make WordPress Core handbook on coding standards

Settings API

Again, not a tutorial, but essential information on using the Settings API

Courses on how to develop a WordPress plugin

This section covers online training on how to develop a WordPress plugin.

Plugin Development 101

Pippin Williamson’s course on creating a series of small plugins.

Plugin Development 101

Plugins for Beginners

Brian Hogg’s video course for plugin developers just starting out on their journey.

Making Pro Plugins

The advanced version of Brian Hogg’s course, covering how to make commercial plugins.

WordPress Plugin Development

A Lynda.com course hosted by Jeff Starr on developing your own plugin.

WordPress developer training

More generalized developer training, looking at different aspects of WordPress development. If you’re looking to learn more about specific aspects of plugin and theme development, rather than the process from start to finish, check out the resources below.

WPMU Dev Academy

WPMU Dev Academy

WordPress online training courses, offering courses for beginner level through to advanced.


Sitepoint offers a number of online courses aimed at WordPress developers.

Javascript for WordPress

Zac Gordon’s four-part series on learning Javascript for WordPress:

  1. Javascript
  2. WordPress API
  3. Javascript frameworks
  4. Real world projects

Gutenberg Courses

Another course from Zac Gordon: at the time of writing, this is a very new course on the fundamentals of developing for Gutenberg.

Technical writers and developers

Here you’ll find a list of the developers and technical writers behind many of the tutorials and articles listed in this post. Note that some of the content here is free, some is paid.

Design Courses

Design Academy

Currently just a free email course for beginners, with a more advanced course promised.

Design Academy

Resources for WordPress theme developers

Tuts+ theme development articles

A collection of articles and tutorials on all aspects of WordPress theme development

10 Practical Tips to Building Quality WordPress themes

Rich Tabor’s guide, based on his experience as a reviewer for Envato

Tips for building themes


Themeshaper is the team responsible for Automattic themes.

Testing and reviewing

A set of resources to help you test your WordPress product

Automated testing

Overview of automated testing from the Make WordPress Core blog

Unit tests for WordPress plugins tutorial

A comprehensive series of tutorials on unit testing for your WordPress plugin, written by Pippin Williamson.

Introduction to unit testing

Carl Alexander’s introduction to the subject.

Theme unit test data

The definitive unit test data – you’ll need this if you are submitting a theme to the WordPress theme directory.

WP Tests

A variation / enhancement of the standard WordPress theme unit test data.

WordPress Theme Review

This is the process you need to go through to submit your theme to the WP directory.

Theme Review

Paid service run by Justin Tadlock and Sakin Shrestha, reviewers at WordPress.org, who will review your theme’s code.


Newsletters are an essential way of clogging up your inbox keeping up to date with the industry. Here are a couple of quality WordPress newsletters for developers.


Weekly newsletter for WordPress professionals with a curated list of articles and tools

MasterWP newsletter


Weekly newsletter with articles and news

The WhiP

Thrice weekly newsletter from WPMU Dev


Places where you can share information and interact with other developers.

Promotion and publicizing

Here are a couple of useful resources for finding sites and blogs that write about WordPress

The Plugin Economy

The Plugin Economy features articles and interviews with developers plus an extremely useful list of WordPress sites for promoting themes and plugins.

Outreach List WP

This site provides details on websites that offer opportunities for promoting your premium WordPress products.


We all need some inspiration from time to time

Lyr WP

Lyr WP is a curated list of WordPress themes and plugins

Tools and generators

Generate WP

Generate WP has dozens of generators to help you build WordPress code quickly

WP Settings API

This neat tool will produce the code you need to create your settings using the Settings API

WP Hasty

WP Hasty offers around 10 different code generators


Frameworks and libraries

A couple of commonly used WordPress frameworks and libraries.


Open source starter theme from Automattic

TGM Plugin Activation

Currently, the definitive way to recommend or require plugins for your theme or plugin.

Insights and metrics

Once your theme or plugin is live, you’re going to need to monitor it to see how it’s being used.


Wisdom helps you gather data about how your plugin or theme is being used.

User Feedback Videos

This is a really helpful, and affordable service, by Matt Medeiros to give you video feedback on your site or a particular aspect of your site.


Easy Digital Downloads

If you’re building plugins or themes, then you’ll probably want to sell them too. Easy Digital Downloads is the way to sell digital goods online.

Software Licensing

An extension to EDD, Software Licensing allows you to generate and validate license keys for your products

Theme Check plugin

Essential for anyone looking to submit their theme to the WP theme directory.

Query Monitor

Query Monitor is invaluable for debugging your code

EDD Themes

If you are selling digital products, you’ll need a theme integrated with EDD to sell them from your site

  • Showcase (the theme that this site runs on)


Matt Report

The Matt Report podcast deals with running a WordPress business rather than issues around development or design. As such, it’s highly recommended: as developers, it’s easy to forget that we might be running a business too.

Matt Report podcast

WP Watercooler

WP Watercooler is several podcasts in one – check out the site for full details


Mastermind is a podcast about running your WordPress business

Office Hours

Office Hours also deals with the business side of WordPress

The WP Crowd

Whereas most of the podcasts in this list are audio only, these are actually recorded video calls between developers

Apply Filters

This podcast has actually stopped now – but there’s still 80 episodes to catch up on


Another podcast series for WordPress business owners


Here are some useful people to follow on Twitter. Some of the accounts here belong to individuals or users featured elsewhere in this article, but not all.

And finally

I hope this list has been useful. I found a lot of stuff while researching it that I didn’t know about – it just goes to show how many resources are out there for WordPress developers and designers. If you think I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments.

Remember: if you’re building WordPress plugins or themes, you should check out Wisdom to get real data about who is using your products and how.

3 thoughts on “101+ essential resources for WordPress plugin and theme developers

Very nice list! Even if I am following, reading and listening to many authors and developers I still did not know about the user feedback service, promotion services and the hasty generator.

I am honored for being included as a technical writer! Thank you very much!:)


Wow great list! It’s an honour to be included! Thanks for the mention, means a great deal!! Keep up the good work!!!


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