Installing XAMPP on Windows

LAMP is an aconym for a bundle of open source infrastructure components that are often used together to build dynamic web sites. The “L” stands for the Linux operating system, the “A” stands for the Apache Web Server, the “M” stands for the MySQL RDBMS, and the “P” stands for one or more of the popular scripting languages: PHP, Perl, and Python. Several variations of the stack are also available with different operating systems, such as Windows (WAMP), Mac OS (MAMP), and Solaris (SAMP). Less often, the web server is swapped out for Microsoft IIS or the database is replaced with PostgreSQL. A large number of open source applications are engineered to run on the LAMP stack such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla!

This article provides step-by-step instructions for downloading and installing one of the popular “cross-platform” versions of the stack, XAMPP, on the Windows platform. This configuration is often used for development, testing, and training since it can be run on a standalone desktop or laptop computer, even without an internet connection.

Note: You can click on any of the screenshots in this article to see a full-size image.

Download and Install the XAMPP Software

In your favorite web browser, navigate to http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html. The XAMPP project web page will be displayed as shown below. Click the XAMPP for Windows link.

XAMPP Project Download page

The XAMPP Project web page allows you to choose from several supported operating systems

The XAMPP for Windows download page appears as shown below. Click the XAMPP link in the Jump-off point, Download section of the page.

XAMPP for Windows Download Page

The XAMPP for Windows Download page provides a list of XAMPP components and versions

This will jump down to the XAMPP for Windows 1.8.1 section of the page as shown below. Here you can choose to download a Windows Installer version or a zip file containing the software to install manually. I just clicked the Installer link for this article. Note that the version may be different when you download.

XAMPP for Windows 1.8.1

The XAMPP for Windows 1.8.1 page provides an Installer download and two zip formats. Note the advertisement for BitNami add-ons for WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla!

When prompted, save the XAMPP installer package to some convenient location on your hard drive (the Desktop or Downloads directory is fine). When the download is complete double-click the XAMPP installer executable and select Run from the Security Warning dialog box that appears as shown below.

XAMPP Installer Security Warning Dialog Box

XAMPP Installer Security Warning dialog box

On the Installer Language dialog, choose your language and click OK. The rest of this post assumes that the chosen language is English.

XAMPP Installer Language

XAMPP Installer Language dialog box

When the Welcome to XAMPP 1.8.1 Setup Wizard appears, click Next.

XAMPP Installer Setup Wizard

XAMPP Installer Setup Wizard

In the Choose Components dialog you can customize the components that you want to install. I left them all checked and clicked Next.

XAMPP Choose Components Dialog

XAMPP Choose Components dialog allows you to customize the installation

In the Choose Install Location dialog enter (or Browse for) the drive and path in which you want to install XAMPP and click Install. I chose to install in the g:\xampp directory. It’s best to not include spaces in your path selection.

XAMPP Choose Install Location

XAMPP Choose Install Location dialog box

The Installing dialog will open to display the status of the installation process.

XAMPP installation Progress

XAMPP Installation Progress gives you feedback during the installation

Click Finish on the Completing the XAMPP  1.8.1 Setup Wizard as shown below.

Completing the XAMPP Setup Wizard

Completing the XAMPP Setup Wizard

Finally, the XAMPP 1.8.1 win32 dialog allows you to start the XAMPP Control Panel if you want.

Test Your XAMPP Installation

If you elected to launch the XAMPP Control Panel in the last step of the Installer, you will see it displayed. Otherwise, you can start it by double-clicking the icon on your desktop.

XAMPP Control Panel

The excellent XAMPP Control Panel allows you to start, stop, configure, and monitor the XAMPP components

Click the Start button beside the Apache module as shown above. The Apache indicator should turn green. If there are any errors, you will see them in the status area at the bottom of the Control Panel. The only time I’ve seen any errors when starting Apache is when there is a port conflict with another program that is using port 80. If that happens, the easiest solution is to shut down the conflicting program (it will be listed in the status area of the Control Panel). Alternatively, you can configure Apache to use a non-standard port (something other than port 80).

Click the Start button beside the MySQL module as shown above. The MySQL indicator should also turn green.  If there are any errors, you will see them in the status area at the bottom of the Control Panel. The control panel should now appear as shown below.

XAMPP Control Panel Showing Apache and MySQL Running

XAMPP Control Panel showing Apache and MySQL running

At this point you should be able to access the web server. In your web browser type the URL http://localhost. If everything is working correctly you should see the XAMPP Splash page below. Click your language of choice. For this post, I’m assuming you chose English.

XAMPP Splash Page

The XAMPP Splash page allows you to choose a language

The XAMPP Welcome page should now be displayed. Click the Status link in the menu area on the left side of the page to get the status of the various XAMPP modules.

XAMPP Welcome Page

The XAMPP Welcome page provides easy access to component configuration and monitoring tools

The XAMPP Status page shows the status of the modules. The icons for MySQL database, PHP, HTTPS, CGI, and SSI should be green. Next, click the phpinfo() link in the left menu to see useful configuration information for all of the modules.

XAMPP Status Page

The XAMPP Status page displays the status of various components

The PHP Information Page shown below displays configuration and environment information for PHP, Apache, and MySQL. Finally, click the phpMyAdmin link in the left menu to display information about MySQL.

XAMPP phpInfo Page

The XAMPP phpInfo() page provides a slew of information about PHP, Apache, and MySQL

The phpMyAdmin application, shown below, provides a web-based interface for managing your MySQL databases.

XAMPP phpMyAdmin Page

The XAMPP phpMyAdmin application allows you to manage your MySQL databases

Well, that’s it for XAMPP installation. You now have an environment that can be used to develop dynamic web applications using PHP and MySQL. You can also layer on the many open source projects designed to run on the AMP stack. In future posts, I’ll describe the installation of XAMPP on Linux, Mac OS X, and Solaris systems. I’ll also take a look at a few of the other AMP stacks that are currently available.

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