Setup a PHP/MySQL Environment on Windows The Easy Way

PHP is probably the single most popular scripting language on the Internet. Thousands of high profile websites including the likes of Facebook, Yahoo and WordPress.com are built using PHP. When used with MySQL, the PHP/MySQL combo is also an extremely popular stack for designing database enabled websites.

One of the best things about the PHP/MySQL stack is that they almost seem to have been made for each other, ie. if the configuration is correct. A lot of people, though, end up moving on to other things when they can’t configure the stack correctly.

We’ve written about setting up a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) environment earlier on an Ubuntu machine. We’ve also talked about using OS X to install and test WordPress by setting up a MAMP (Mac OS X, Apache, MySQL, PHP) server.

So, have we been ignoring Windows over here?

No, and today we’ll tell you how you can setup a WAMP server (Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP) on your Windows based machine without too much fuss.

Download and execute the integrated installer which installs the WAMP server just as you’d install any regular Windows application.

WAMP Install

The only question that the installer asks is the address of the SMTP server that you want to use and the default email address for outgoing emails. This information is used by PHP if you use the built-in email functions. If you’re not going to make use of this, you can just ignore the SMTP settings and chose the default ones and continue.

WAMP SMTP Configuration

You can now run the WAMP server from the helpful shortcut that the installer places on the Desktop.

The only thing that you’ll see when WAMP is running is a small icon in the taskbar. Click the icon and a menu pops up.

WAMP Menu

When you start WAMP for the first time, the server is in offline mode and you can select the Put Online option from this menu to get the server “Online”.

You now have a fully functional PHP/MySQL stack on your machine. Fire up your web browser and type in http://localhost in the address bar and you’ll be presented with the default homepage that’s served using the Apache web server.

WAMP also comes with phpMyAdmin already configured to manage your MySQL instance. Just point the web browser to http://localhost/phpmyadmin/ and phpMyAdmin will take away all your database management nightmares.

If you’re a PHP developer, you can just put all your scripts in the c:\wamp\www folder and then you can use the browser to access them.