Using XAMPP on Windows
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 XAMPP
To view a PHP page that is stored on your PC in your web browser, your PC 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 a web server called Apache.
To create database-driven websites on your PC, 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 Windows users get a program called XAMPP.
- XAMPP is free.
- It installs and configures Apache and MySQL for you.
- And it provides an interface to help you use them.
The XAMPP interface is really helpful because neither Apache nor MySQL have a graphical user interface of their own.
How to Install XAMPP on Windows
To install XAMPP on your PC go to: https://apachefriends.org and click on the XAMPP for Windows link.
The download will start automatically.
Once the download has completed, go to your Downloads folder and double-click on the installer to start the installation.
Follow the instructions to install XAMPP.
To start XAMPP, type XAMPP into the search bar.
Then select the XAMPP Control Panel to start XAMPP.
The XAMPP Interface
- Here you can see the XAMPP interface. Click on any of these points to highlight the relevant part of image.
- The Start button for Apache is used to start the Apache web server (and then stop it when it is started).
- The Start button for MySQL will start the MySQL database (and then stop it when it is started).
- The port numbers for Apache and MySQL are shown when the servers have started.
Where to Save PHP Files
When using XAMPP the default location of the document root folder is C:\XAMPP\htdocs\.
Running the Sample Code
2. Move them to the document root folder (the default location is C:\XAMPP\htdocs\).
3. Enter the following URL into your browser's address bar: http://localhost/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: