Using MAMP on a MAC
When learning PHP you will want to test PHP files on your computer; this is called running the PHP pages locally. To do this you need to install some software on your computer.
Testing files locally is much faster than trying to create and edit files on a remote server run by a hosting company. This page shows you how to install that software and the sample code for our book.
Why Use MAMP
To view PHP pages that are stored on your Mac in your web browser, your Mac needs to be running a piece of software called a web server that supports PHP.
The web server's job is to find the page you want, run the PHP code, then send an HTML page to your web browser. We recommend that you use a web server called Apache.
To create database-driven websites on your Mac, you also need database software such as MySQL or MariaDB installed on your computer.
Rather than installing and configuring this software yourself, we recommend that Mac users get a program called MAMP.
- MAMP is free.
- It installs and configures Apache and MySQL for you.
- And it provides an interface to help you use them.
The MAMP interface is really helpful because neither Apache nor MySQL have a graphical user interface of their own.
How to Install MAMP on a Mac
To install MAMP on your Mac go to: https://mamp.info and click on the Free download button.
Next, click on the Apple logo to start the download.
Once the download has completed, go to your Downloads folder and double-click on the package file to start the installation.
Follow the instructions to install MAMP.
In your Applications folder you should see:
- A folder called MAMP, which contains a free version of MAMP
- A trial version of MAMP Pro (which you have to pay for)
Open the MAMP folder and click on the MAMP icon to start MAMP.
MAMP needs to be running when you try to view any PHP page that is stored on your computer, so you might like to keep it in the Dock.
The MAMP Interface
- Here you can see the MAMP interface. Click on any of these points to highlight the relevant part of the image.
- The button in the top-right will start or stop both the web server and database software. You need to start the servers to view any PHP page.
- Name holds the host name for the web server. The default value is
- Document root shows the path to the document root folder. You learn more about that in the following section.
- Web server lets you select the type of web server MAMP will use. We set this to Apache.
- PHP version lets you select which version of PHP the web server will run.
Where to Save PHP Files
When using MAMP, the default location of the document root folder is Applications/MAMP/htdocs (although you can select another folder using the Preferences option in the top-left hand corner of the MAMP interface, and selecting the Server tab).
Running the Sample Code
2. Move the phpbook folder into your document root folder (the default location is Applications/MAMP/htdocs).
3. Enter the following URL into your browser's address bar: http://localhost:8888/phpbook/
Once you have loaded this page, you can click on the links to move between the example files.
NOTE: You cannot open a PHP file in your browser using the browser's File > Open menu option to open a file, or by dragging it onto a browser like you would with an HTML page.
Understanding Local URLs
The URL is made up of the following parts: