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Setting up a Local (WAMP) Web Server

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Many developers choose to set up a development environment on their local machines. There any a few reasons why you would want to do this. Namely speed, security and control. Setting up a local web server isn't a big job and can be accomplished within just a few minutes.

The 4 major components to a web server are:
  1. the operating system
  2. the server
  3. a server side scripting language
  4. a database

In this article I am not going to talk about how to get each individual component up and running but rather I am going to focus on two Windows development environments, which are EasyPHP and WampServer.

Both are "WAMP" packages and offer the same components but have different interfaces.
For those of you not in the know, a WAMP server consists of Windows, Apache, MySQL and Perl/PHP/Python. In this case, PHP is the language of choice. Also note that PHPMyAdmin and SQLiteManager are included in each package to allow you to interact with your databases.

The website url's and direct download links for each package can be found below:

EasyPHP - Website | Download (Size: 15.6MB)
WampServer - Website | Download (Size: 16.2MB)

Once the application of your choice has been downloaded. Double-click it and follow the installation wizard to install it on your system. Once that is complete, you have a local web server running on your system.

The Basics

These tools don't have a steep learning curve but there is some knowledge needed. You will be able to run your server just like any other program. (Assume these tips apply to both package's unless otherwise stated.)

You must place your directories and files in the www directory, if you wish to access them through the browser.

The default www directory location for each package is as follows:
EasyPHP - C:\Program Files\EasyPHP 3.0\www
WampServer - C:\wamp\www

Viewing through a Browser

You will be able to access your server through a web browser by visiting the localhost address.
You can accomplish this by either going to http://localhost/ or
This will bring you into the "root" directory of your server, where you will be greated by some options.

In EasyPHP, you are shown a list of all the directories and files in the www directory. You must go to http://localhost/home/ to see additional links such as the PHPMyAdmin and SQLiteManager packages.
In WampServer, you will be able to see all the directories in the www directory and links to the database interfaces.

Connecting to a Database

When connecting your files to databases, the default settings are as follows. You can set up databases using the database interfaces mentioned earlier.

Database Host: localhost
Username: root
Password: (By default the password is not set.)
Database Name: (Enter the name of the database you just set up.)

It doesn't really matter which package you use as the two of them are very similar. Your choice of package is down to personal preference or a random guess if you like.

That's it! Your done. You now have a WAMP environment on your system and are ready to stop uploading files via FTP after every small change.

Security Concern

I would like to emphasize that this is for a LOCAL server only and shouldn't be connected to the internet without proper security considerations being taken into account. Otherwise your computer may be compromised, and it could be in a matter of hours. Internet servers are barraged by nearly continuous port scans from hackers looking for ones they can take over to serve phishing scams, spam and porn.

(Special thanks to alvo for his contribution to this article.)
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