Apache, PHP, MySQL on Windows

  Taran 14:58 29 Sep 05

OK, I know this has been asked before but more and more people seem to be playng with dynamic content and PHP in particular, so it seems appropriate to go over some of the possible solutions again.

If you run an Apple Mac, or Linux, or Windows XP Professional on your computer then you have the option of a fully blown web server as a test environment as an add-on component of your operating system. Apple OS and Linux both have the Apache web server as part of the OS install, if required, while Windows XP Professional has the excellent Internet Information Services (IIS) which can be added through Add/Remove programs and accessed from Control Panel >> Administrative Tools >> Internet Information Services. Sadly, if you run Windows XP Home you have two real options - either you upgrade to XP Professional to allow you to install and run IIS or you install Apache, MySQL and PHP separately.

Now, IIS has full native support for ASP pages and Access databases but it can be made to support PHP and MySQL with a bit of jiggery pokery. Before you get your hopes up I am not going to go into the details of how to do that - you can find any amount of information online to help you along that road if you choose it.

In another thread some time ago (perhaps even several other threads) I have mentioned the excellent Web Server Suite from DevSide click here which you can download and install by closely following the instructions in the Read Me file. You have to edit your Environment Variables and do some other bits and bobs, but overall it isn't too much of a chore as long as you FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS.

Now, being a naturally lazy hack I am always on the lookout for an easy option, and this is what I've been playing with recently. It's called XAMPP and you can get it from the Apache Friends site click here

Depending on which version you choose there are no installation files, no changes to your registry, no editing of environment variables and it has [almost] everything a grown web developer needs for dynamic site testing.

Be warned it's a big download, but after extraction to your hard drive all it takes is a double click on two files to start both Apache and MySQL (in that order) or if you are already running either IIS or Apache on port 80 you need to edit three lines in three files to get this testing platform working.

You need to change line 120 of the document C:\xampp\apache\conf\httpd.conf to read:

Listen 85

Nest, change line 42 of C:\xampp\apache\conf\ssl.conf to read:

Listen 4430

Finally, you should rename the phpMyAdmin folder in C:\xampp to phpmyadmin and then edit line 39 of the file C:\xampp\phpmyadmin\config.inc.php so that he address after the http: reads:


Use Notepad to edit the files or download Crimson Editor click here or HTML Kit click here if you prefer a simple code editor that colours your code to make it easier to read and that also features line numbering in the left margin.

That's it.

Go to C:\xampp and double click on the Bat file called apache_start.bat then double click on the Bat file called mysql_start.bat

Open Internet Explorer and type in this address:



Note - I've put a hard return between the http and the rest of the address to stop it turning into a 'click here' link in this forum.

There are other files to edit of you want the FileZilla FTP and Mercury Mail to work but the above gives you a fully blown Apache, MySQL and PHP testing server with nothing to install and no changes to Windows.

Oh, if you try this, don't worry if you only get Apache 2 is starting... and MySQL is starting etc... messages when you launch the Bat files. They have started - you just don't get notification of it.

The bundle from DevSide is still well worth considering and there are others like the Firepages phpDev bundle click here

One final advantage of both Xampp and phpDev is that you can set them up to run from a USB flash drive so your testing server can be moved from machine to machine.

Apache may not offer instant ASP support (although it can be added) but for PHP and MySQL it is all you will ever need.

Hope this helps some of you budding web developers out there.


  PurplePenny 19:12 29 Sep 05

On Taran's advice (and with his help as I was on dialup at the time) I downloaded and installed the DevSide bundle and it was very easy to set up.

I like the idea of being able to run them from a USB flash drive. I might have to download the Xampp bundle and give that a try.

Has MySQL 5 just been released? Or soon to be? Do the various bundle producers usually wait awhile to see how new versions pan out? The beta for MySQL 5 got a very good response, I believe, and they consider the 5 release candidate to be very stable so might that speed up its inclusion in the bundled set ups?

  Taran 19:31 29 Sep 05

MySQL 5 is not included in the bundles I've mentioned above, although I've been very impressed with it in testing.

PHP5 is included in the Xampp bundle and what I really like is that they also give you PHP 4.4x with a switcher batch file called, originally enough, php-switch.bat

All you do to switch the version of PHP you are working with is stop Apache using apache_stop.bat then run the php-switch.bat and finally start Apache again using apache_start.bat

It allows you to develop on a common platform that most hosts provide as well as play with the latest cutting edge of PHP.


MySQL 5 is due soon - the current release candidate is excellent and has a huge number of seriously impressive advances over the 4x versions.

  powerless 20:04 29 Sep 05

Have you seen WAMP Taran?

click here

I installed it but never got around to do anything with it.

  Taran 20:59 29 Sep 05

Yes, I played with WAMP some time ago and ditched it when it instantly trashed my test system.

Things have improved tremendously with it though, and it seems to be a good bundle now - easy to install and cope with.

The one thing I like about Xampp is that there is nothing to install, unless of course you shoose the installable version instead of the compressed archive version.

If you can cope with editing three lines of code in three files in a simple text editor and double clicking a couple of batch files when you want to test your PHP and MySQL programs then it works well without invading your system and changing anything on it.

There are several such bundles out there and they are getting better by the day.

  Taran 18:51 03 Oct 05

just to keep things tidy.

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