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Complete ExpressionEngine for Beginners Resource List

Complete ExpressionEngine for Beginners Resource List

I’ve put together a collection of tutorials, books, articles and videos for ExpressionEngine newbies and novices. Smashing Magazine had a similar collection but it is now pretty dated being from 2008. I tried to find as many free examples as I could but ultimately I went with the resources I felt were the best, paid or otherwise. So this list will have some paid stuff but you can learn ExpressionEngine for free if you so choose.

I am planning on keeping this list updated so if you have a resource that should be added to the list, and does not cover something I already have listed here, then please send me an email with the details.

Installing ExpressionEngine & Getting Started

Getting Started with ExpressionEngine- Here is Ellis Labs’ guide to Getting Started with ExpressionEngine. This is a nice introduction and you should at least take a look to familiarize yourself with the system before going further.

Expression Engine Tutorial (2.2.2) - a 12 minute walkthrough video going over the basics of the control panel and building a site.

Installing ExpressionEngine

Installing ExpressionEngine Users Guide - How to install ExpressionEngine from the User Guide.
Installing ExpressionEngine - Mijingo offers their first video in the series Installing ExpressionEngine, for free. So check it out and if you find the learning style to your liking, check out the other videos listed below.

Installing ExpressionEngine Locally

Installing ExpressionEngine Locally (PC) - Installing ExpressionEngine locally (windows) video tutorial.
Installing ExpressionEngine 2.0 - Installing ExpressionEngine with MAMP on a mac a video tutorial, from Eric Rier at Fat Free Interactive.
Installing ExpressionEngine Locally (Mac) - Installing ExpressionEngine with MAMP on a mac written tutorial.

Going From Test Server To Live

Moving from Development to Live Server - Written guide from the ExpressionEngine User Guide.

Everything ExpressionEngine in One Place

Here are some of the one-stop shops for learning ExpressionEngine. Since everyone learns differently I tried to find at least one example of written, video and class based learning aids.


This is where I personally learned the basics of creating websites with ExpressionEngine. Reading the step-by-step tutorials Michael Boyink has kindly put together. They are ridiculous detailed and thorough. It may take you a couple days to get through them all. They may be a little dated but the information should be relative to current builds of ExpressionEngine.

Building A Church Site - Step-by-Step instructions on building a church website with ExpressionEngine.
Building A Small Business Site - Step-by-Step instructions on building a small business website with ExpressionEngine.
Train-EE Classroom - Classroom training if you like to learn from a live person.
Building an ExpressionEngine 2 Site: Small Business - A more updated guide to building a business website with ExpressionEngine, and it is a full book.


Ryan Ireland has created a video series for $48 that covers building a complete ExpressionEngine Website. He also covers some other topics in other paid videos.

Learning ExpressionEngine Complete Series - The complete video series can be found here.
Expressionengine 2.0 A Quickstart Guide - This is the book I purchased when I was switching from EE 1.6 to 2.0. Easy to follow and went along nicely with some of the other resources I was using.
Building a Portfolio with ExpressionEngine - A tutorial on creating a simple portfolio site in Net Magazine.


Jae Barclay at Creat-EE offers a number of classes on ExpressionEngine from beginner to advanced.

ExpressionEngine for Beginners - A six class series for beginners.


The details of building websites with ExpressionEngine.

Templating With ExpressionEngine

Agile Records Theme

The default theme that comes with ExpressionEngine can be an excellent source to see template tags put to use. If you did not install the theme you can still view it in the Themes Folder of your ExpressionEngine installation. themes/site_themes/agile_records If you want a place to start, grab some of the source code from this theme and modify it for your own needs.
Agile Records ExpressionEngine Theme

ExpressionEngine User Guide

This is your EE manual. If you forgot the different ways of how to order entries or what can be disabled in a Channel Entry, all that information can be found in the User Guide.

How URLs Work In ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine can create static pages but that is not the default way of displaying content, like many CMSes. In ExpressionEngine the content that is displayed is determined by the URL, which can be confusing at first.

URLs in ExpressionEngine - A quick explanation of how URLs work from the User Guide.
ExpressionEngine URL Schematic - James Smith has put together a schematic to illustrate how different URLs are put together in ExpressionEngine and how what content in displayed based on the segment.

Static Content With the Pages Module

Train-EE Pages Module - A four part series telling you everything you’d ever want to know about the Pages Module, which is used for creating static pages.

Working With Images

Displaying & Resizing Images - a little tutorial from yours truly, starting with creating a File Upload directory and ending with adding images to Entries.


RSS Template - from the User Guide


The Search Module - from the User Guide

Social Media

Adding Social Media Links to ExpressionEngine Templates - Add social media sharing links to page and rss templates quickly and easily.

Useful Tips & Miscellaneous Stuff

ExpressionEngine Tips & Tricks -  A nice collection of tips and tricks, something to look at after you’ve played around with ExpressionEngine a little bit.

Saving Templates as Files

Saving Templates as Files - from the User Guide.

Removing index.php from urls

Removing Index.php from URLs - from the User Guide.

404 Pages

Guide to 404 Pages with ExpressionEngine - A nice and simple explanation on how to deal with 404 pages.

Client Handoff

Client Handoff Resources - Developing an ExpressionEngine website is one thing, handing it off to a client is another. Michael Boyink from Train-EE has put together a great resource here.

Performance Issues

Troubleshooting Site Performance Issues - Goes over some advanced topics but gives a nice overview of ways to improve site performance.


If you have any suggestions for additional resources I’ve missed go ahead and send me an email, I plan on keeping the list as up to date as possible. The more I look over this the more holes I see but maybe some people will see the opportunity to write something and fill them in. Also, stay tuned for the Intermediate to Advanced Resource Collection which I am compiling at the moment.

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Couchable is a web design blog created by Tyler Herman. Not really updated anymore because I'm busy doing freelance design work and busy launching my little WordPress theme shop Real Theme Co. You can read a little more about my at my personal site