As a developer, when you decide to develop a web application, you must first select the web server for hosting an application. It sets the base for the application, providing some built-in resources like databases, caching tools and other tools for website optimization
Today, there are many open source PHP servers available in the market having almost same functionalities. Many of them use Apache as the base server for hosting PHP MySQL applications, while some have opted the newly emerged Nginx for the job.
Nginx is a fast-growing new alternative for the Apache servers, having optimized built-in mechanism for hosting PHP applications. That is why platforms including LEMP, Winginx and others use Nginx instead of Apache.
In this article, we have listed down some of the most popular open source PHP web servers which are equally capable of carrying out all of the your intended operations, but differ on the basis of built-in resources and OS partiality.
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XAMPP is one of the most commonly used open source PHP servers for hosting applications locally. It allows web developers to easily test applications, as it comes with pre-installed web tools like MySQL, PHP, PERL, FileZilla and others. It is also the very first of such platform, that is why a lot of developers recommend XAMPP.
XAMPP is very easy to install and doesn’t require any additional technical knowledge to configure the web applications. Moreover, the platform has an easy-to-understand interface, from where you can easily switch on and off the required web services including Apache, MySQL, FileZilla etc. Besides Linux, the platform is also available for Windows and MAC systems.
WAMP is another open source PHP server for hosting web apps locally and perhaps the best alternative to XAMPP. For those web developers who are looking for a platform having solid Apache server, WAMP is the first choice for them. It has a very easy-to-use platform interface, offering easy access to Apache configurations, PHP configurations, WWW directory etc.
The swift start / stop option enables the users to quickly start and stop web services, without affecting the manual operations. The inclusion of PhpMyAdmin in the platform allows to easily manage MySQL databases connected with Apache server. This helps developers to easily install third-party software platforms like Magento, WordPress, Joomla etc.
Developed particularly for Linux operating systems, LAMP is a premier choice for the developers who want to experience powerful stack resources combined in a single platform. The term LAMP is an acronym of: Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP.
The platform is specifically developed to assist the development of PHP applications on Linux operating system having Apache web server. Due to its Linux foundation, this PHP web server offers solid security. You can install it on any hardware. For the newbie developers, the installation of LAMP is a bit complex, and requires some technical knowledge.
But, Cloudways is here to make this task easy for the developers. As the platform not only supports LAMP on its servers, but offers it on one-click installation. You can easily integrate LAMP stack on your server associated with leading Cloud service providers (DigitalOcean, Vultr, Amazon Web Services etc.) through the platform. Moreover with the ease of platform, you can flawlessly manage various stack resources like Apache, Memcache, Redis and others on the go.
Cloudways also provides various LAMP stack addons on one-click installation, making easy for the developers to configure addons like security patches and others within just few clicks
LEMP stack is a popular alternative for the LAMP users, and has almost same functionalities as of its counterpart. It’s only difference lies in its use of different web host server i.e Nginx instead of Apache. The platform works best with dynamic web pages and applications built with Linux operating systems.
In contrast to the LAMP stack that uses MySQL for handling database operations, LEMP stack uses MariaDB. It also works fine as a relational database – just like MySQL, but offers some other added functionalities. This is why, LEMP is is one of the more advanced PHP web servers in comparison to LAMP, as its stack offers some optimized web technologies.
MAMP – as the name suggests – is a particular PHP local server developed for MAC operating systems. Its acronym stands for MAC, Apache, MySQL and PHP. It gives MAC users a great local platform to test and host their applications on. Unlike XAMPP or WAMP, MAMP doesn’t provide much assistance in creating virtual hosts, but offers multiple web service options to work with. Like the platform not only supports Apache server, but also gives the convenience to use Nginx as well.
The platform also offers a beta version called MAMP PRO, which allows you to create separate hosts for each of your projects. The beta version is native and easy- to-use platform for the MAC users.
AMPPS is a bit unique yet advanced PHP local server, developed as a combination of WAMP, LAMP and MAMP stacks. The platform offers diverse web services giving users the ease to work with their desired ones. It includes web services like Apache, PHP, PERL, MySQL, MongoDB, RockMongo and others to cater needs of diverse applications.
The platform supports both MAC and Windows operating systems. For the FTP Server, it gives Pure-FTPd for the MAC systems and FileZilla for the Windows operating systems. The most significant part of the AMPPS PHP web server is that it makes you focus more on the web apps rather than bothering about their maintenance.
WPN-XM is another PHP local server that offers of various services to developers. It only supports Windows operating system and provides an easy-to-use interface for managing server administration. The abbreviation WPN-XM stands for Windows, PHP, Nginx, XDebug and MariaDB. The base stack server consists of PHP, Nginx and MariaDB, however you can install other software packages including Composer, PostgreSQL, Node.JS, MongoDB, etc. using Manual installation.
The platform also offers a unique stack called “Software Components Registry”, which is basically an online database with various software components. The interface of WPN-XM is quite simple, and provides one-click option to start/stop desired services.
EasyPHP is a great web server tool to host your projects in a quick way, without any additional configurations. EasyPHP turns your Windows computer into a web server where you can host all your web projects locally to see how they will turn up actually on the internet. The platform is fully configurable, allowing you to easily manage web services on your fingertips.
It comes pre-configured with Apache, PHP, MySQL and PhpMyAdmin, and gives users the ease to quickly enable/disable these services with a single click. Though it doesn’t provide much secured layer as compared to professional hosting, but still it is a great tool to host your applications locally.
In this article, we have mentioned about some of the most commonly used hosting platforms for local app deployment recommended by top PHP developers. As a newbie, you are bound to start developing the application locally, and to test that app, you need a local PHP server to analyze the pits and falls of it.
The platforms mentioned in this article are perfect for testing applications locally, as they provide all the necessary web tools required for hosting your apps. Whether you are using a MAC system or developing application on Windows, these platforms will help you out in carrying out your projects efficiently. If you want to contribute more on this topic, feel free to write down your comments below. I will get back to you.
Shahroze is a PHP Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed PHP Hosting Platform. He’s always in search of new frameworks and methods to implement them. Besides his coding life, he loves movies and playing soccer with friends. You can email him at email@example.com
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