There are thousands of books available for web designers and developers online. There has been no language, no point of discussion, or no trend that has not, at one time or another, been extensively explored and analyzed, and eventually published as an eBook. The great news is quite a lot of these books are available for free! And I have collected my favorites for you!
I’ve completely rewritten and updated this article for 2017, adding quite a few new eBooks and updated the rest to reflect the latest trends in technology and web design. Sadly, there are quite a few that have dropped off from 2016 and are no longer available.
CSS & HTML Essential Learning
Resilient Web Design By Jeremy Keith (HTML)
Rather than being a guide to solid web design, Resilient Web Design has been written to highlight some of the approaches and techniques to web design that have proven to be resilient over the years.
Adaptive Web Design By Aaron Gustafson (HTML)
Magic of CSS By Adam Schwartz (HTML)
Written by Adam Schwartz, the Magic of CSS is an ebook that will introduce you to some of the trickiest aspects of CSS. It includes chapters on the box model, layout, tables, color, typography, and transitions, and does include interactive examples.
A Guide to HTML5 & CSS3 By Ashley Menhennett
A Guide to HTML5 and CSS3 covers the basics of web development and it’s a great starting point whether your plan is to make websites, HTML5 mobile apps or games. Please note that you will need to signup to download this ebook.
HTML Canvas Deep Dive By Josh Marinacci (HTML)
HTML Canvas Deep Dive is a hands-on introduction to Canvas from Josh Marinacci. The book has been organized into 2 sections: First, there are the reading portions where it describes how an API works (with interactive examples), and then there are the hands-on lessons that will walk you through the process of building your own canvas apps.
HTML5 Canvas By Jeff Fulton
The second edition of HTML5 Canvas gets you going with HTML5 Canvas, teaching you how to draw, render text, manipulate images, and create animation—all in the course of building several interactive web games throughout the book. The free online version includes 53 interactive examples and exercises.
Pocket Guide to Writing SVG By Joni Trythall (HTML)
The Pocket Guide to Writing SVG offers a detailed introduction to building SVG online. It has been written for designers and developers that are looking to quickly add SVG to their workflow.
Typography Handbook is a concise, referential guide on best web typographic practices.
JS MythBusters is an optimization handbook from a high level point of view.
jQuery Fundamentals By Rebecca Murphey
jQuery Fundamentals has been designed to get you comfortable working through common problems you’ll come across when using jQuery. Each chapter covers a concept and gives you the chance to try example code related to the concept.
Developing Backbone.js Applications By Addy Osmani
PHP: The Right Way By Josh Lockhart
There’s a lot of outdated information on the Web that leads new PHP users astray, propagating bad practices and bad code. This must stop. PHP: The Right Way is an easy-to-read, quick reference for PHP best practices, accepted coding standards, and links to authoritative tutorials around the Web.
Locking Down WordPress By Rachel Baker, Brad Williams & John Ford
In Locking Down WordPress, WordPress pros Rachel Baker, Brad Williams, and John Ford take you through everything you need to know to make sure you have WordPress security is under control.
The WordPress Plugin Business Book
This free ebook will gradually help you learn what’s necessary to constantly acquire new plugin users, and what to do in order to convert those users into subscribed, paying customers.
WordPress Meet Responsive Design By Chris Coyier, Ian Stewart & Sara Cannon
In WordPress Meet Responsive Design, Chris Coyier, Ian Stewart and Sara Cannon give you the lowdown on their real world uses and strategies for designing WordPress responsively.
11 Things to Do with Every New WordPress Install (PDF)
This ebook covers strategies and tips to start packaging and offering WordPress maintenance services to your clients.
WordPress Security – A Pocket Guide (PDF)
In this introduction to WordPress security you will learn some straightforward tips, and best practices for keeping your site safe.
Pro Git 2nd Edition By Scott Chacon and Ben Straub (HTML, PDF, ePub & Mobi)
The Pro Git eBook, know in its second edition, covers basics of Git as well as advanced topics such as branching and running distributed Git.
Git From The Bottom Up by John Wiegley
As the name suggests, Git From the Bottom Up teaches you Git from basic to advanced levels. It is available as a PDF file, so you can easily download it and use it as per your convenience.
UX – User Experience Learning
Making an Enterprise UX Friendly By Justinmind
The Making an Enterprise UX Friendly free eBook give you the tools and templates for making a business case for UX, recruit a strong UX team and build a business-facing UX strategy.
The UX Reader By MailChimp (ePub, PDF & Mobi)
The UX Reader ebook is a collection of the most popular articles from MailChimp’s UX Newsletter and also includes some exclusive content.
The Guide to Usability Testing (PDF)
The Guide to Usability Testing includes 109 pages of practical explanations and tips for 20 usability testing methods, some useful advice from usability experts like Jakob Nielsen, Jeff Sauro, Dr. David Travis, and others, and also shares some best practices from companies like Apple, MailChimp, Yahoo, DirecTV, Buffer, and more.
Web UI Best Practices (PDF)
The free ebook Web UI Best Practices talks aboutsome og the techniques spanning visual design, interface design, and UX design.
The Guide to UX Design Process & Documentation (PDF)
The Guide to UX Design Process & Documentation ebook looks at real-life examples of design processes from companies such as Apple, Amazon, Twitter, and more. Expert advice is provided by Cennydd Bowles, Louis Rosenfeld, Ash Maurya, and others on the 7 stages of product design.
The Guide to Mockups (PDF)
The Guide to Mockups by UXPin includes 72 pages of visual examples, explorations of fidelity, and best practices. You’ll also learn the differences between mockups, prototypes, and wireframes so you get a more practical understanding of where each fits into the design process.
UX Design for Start-Ups By Marcin Treder
Written by Marcin Treder, UX Design for Start-Ups is a must read for any startup or grown-up company that wishes to keep its startup spirit and conquer the world with stunning UX Design.
The Little Book Of Modern Frontend Tooling (HTML)
The Little Book Of Modern Frontend Tooling is a free, work-in-progress, open-source book that takes you through the application development lifecycle and introduces you to the world of tooling for modern web applications.
The Guide to Wireframing (PDF)
With over 100 pages, The Guide to Wireframing covers what makes a great wireframing workshop. It’s wireframing from the big idea to details: digital and analog tools, web and mobile design patterns sources, all concluded with design principles for people who build products.
Web & Mobile App Design eBook
The Modern Web Design Process
The modern web design process is a free ebook to help you learn how a well-defined process translates to high-performing websites.
Study Web Development
Study Web Development is a free eBook on how to become a web developer and successful freelancer.
Mobile Game Design by Chroma Coders (PDF)
The free and indepth Mobile Game Design (or, How to Start Your Own Mobile Game Company) ebook talks about the main mechanics for mobile game development, as well as "hidden game mechanics" you can use to stand out in the marketplace.
Building Web Apps with Go By Jeremy Saenz (HTML, ePub, MOBI & PDF)
Building Web Apps with Go is an ebook from Jeremy Saenz that will teach you how to quickly build we applications with the Go programming language.
Email Marketing Field Guide By MailChimp (ePub, PDF & Mobi)
The Email Marketing Field Guide, from the guys over at MailChimp, covers the basics of HTML email and shares some tips and best practices you’ll need to keep in mind as you develop your own email marketing plan.
Pixel Perfect Precision Handbook v.3 (PDF & iBook)
Last year the popular ebook Pixel Perfect Precision Handbook was updated and released with over new 40 pages, as well as some updates to existing content.
Book of Speed By Stoyan Stefanov
The Book of Speed by Stoyan Stefanov is a free (public domain), online, open-source, not yet finished, book about web performance.
50 Logo Design Tips By Ian Paget
The 50 Logo Design Tips free eBook has been compiled by Ian Paget and offers insightful tips from some of the most experienced, influential & creative logo designers out there.
Designing for the Web By Mark Boulton
A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web aims to teach you the techniques for designing your website using the principles of graphic design. You’ll learn solid graphic design theory that you can simply apply to your designs, making the difference from a good design to a great one.
Pay Me… Or Else! By Lior Frenkel (HTML)
Pay Me… Or Else! is a short eBook for anyone that has trouble getting paid by clients. It covers tactics and tips that will help you recover your hard earned money and how to avoid similar situations in the future.
Older, Yet Always Relevant Free ebooks
Introduction to Good Usability by Peter Pixel.
This usabilty guide sheds some light on some common interface elements and mistakes people often make with them. This is by no means a complete guide or solid set of rules, but it is definitely a good start.
Faster, and More Secure Webfonts By Bram Pitoyo.
Font embedding for the web is a great step in making the web look better and become more functional, but what about security and load times? this ebook takes the top layer off font embedding and shows you how things work, and ultimately how to improve performance and make it more secure.
Taking Your Talent to the Web By Jeffrey Zeldman.
This book was originally written in 2001 for print designers whose clients wanted websites. While browser references and modem speeds may reek of 2001, much of the advice about transitioning to the web still holds true.
The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web.
In order to allay some of the myths surrounding typography on the web, this book has been structured to step through Bringhurst’s working principles, explaining how to accomplish each using techniques available in HTML and CSS.
Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design.
With the Web, people with disabilities can do more things themselves, without having to rely on others. This book helps you improve your websites to remove accessibility barriers and avoid adding new barriers.
Getting Real: The Book By 37signals.
Getting Real is a smaller, faster, better way to build websites. Getting Real delivers better results because it forces you to deal with the actual problems you’re trying to solve instead of your ideas about those problems.
Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines.
The Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines (Guidelines) have been developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in partnership with the U.S. General Services Administration to help web creators to base their decisions on the most current and best available evidence.
Search User Interfaces.
This book outlines the human side of the information seeking process, and focuses on the aspects of this process that can best be supported by the user interface. It describes the methods behind user interface design generally, and search interface design in particular.
Web Style Guide – 3rd Edition.
This book explains established design principles and covers all aspects of web design—from planning to production to maintenance. The guide also shows how these principles apply in web design projects whose primary concerns are information design, interface design, and efficient search and navigation.
Type Classification eBook By Jacob Cass.
This book has been written to help you learn the 10 broad classifications of type. These are the basic foundations of what you need to learn to learn typography and it is essential for any designer to know how to classify type.
How To Be Creative By Hugh MacLeod.
Written by HughMacLeod, an advertising executive and popular blogger with a flair for the creative. He offers his 26 tried-and-true tips for being truly creative with each point being illustrated by a cartoon drawn by the author himself.
Who’s There? By Seth Godin.
Who’s There is not an ebook about how to write better or how to follow the traditional conventions about formatting and building a blog. Instead, he talks about how building a blog asset can have a spectacular impact on you, your career, your organization and your ideas.