One of the fastest and best way to get a PHP server environment up and going is to use XAMPP. What is XAMPP you say?

Put together by the folks at Apache Friends, XAMPP is an installer package containing the Apache Web Server, MySQL, PHP and Perl. XAMPP takes away the hassle and headache of installing and configuring each of the parts individually. But best of all – It FREE!

XAMPP is currently available in 4 distribution packages, but the one this post will cover is XAMPP for Windows.

XAMPP for Windows is available in standard full edition, or a ‘lite’ version. Since we only need the bare necessities to get a PHP environment going, we’re just going to focus on installing the XAMPP Lite version for Windows onto a portable storage device. Frankly, the full edition includes a bunch of stuff you probably won’t need yet, whilst you’re picking up PHP.

By putting XAMPP onto a portable storage device, like a thumbdrive, or a portable HDD, will make the whole environment portable. You can take it anyway with you and plug it into any Windows PC/Notebook and you can carry on where you left off. It’s great for those of you who have more than one PC/Notebook, which you use regularly.

You can of course, choose to install a XAMPP with the installer version. You can find out how to do it by following the ‘Installation with Installer‘ guide at the XAMPP website.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

1. Go grab a copy of XAMPP Lite from Apache Friends.

XAMPP Download Page

  • You’ll need to choose the option for ZIP.

XAMPP Zip option

  • The EXE version is an executable installer which will install XAMPP Lite on your PC/Notebook. XAMPP will not be portable if you use the EXE version to install.

2. Installing your XAMPP Lite

  • While XAMPP is downloading, go and prepare your portable storage. In my case, my portable HDD is identified as F: drive. I intend to put my XAMPP Lite into the F: root folder.

XAMPP Download Complete

  • Once downloaded, open the ZIP archive into a folder of your choice on your portable storage device. In my case, I would just extract to the F:.

XAMPP extract path

  • Once extracted, there should be an ‘xampplite’ folder where you have specified as your destination folder path.
  • In my case, it would have unpacked into the F: and created a ‘xampplite’ folder (F:xampplite)

3. Setup the XAMPP Lite.

  • Run the setup_xampp.bat file.

Run XAMPP setup file

  • This will configure all the necessary setting and filepaths automatically. Press any key to continue after that.

XAMPP run config done

4. Starting XAMPP Lite

  • Run the ‘xampp_start.exe’ file.

XAMPP Start file

  • This screen will appear, to show you that Apache and MySQL are running.

XAMPP Start screen

  • Open your browser, and type ‘http://localhost/’ into the address bar.

XAMPP Browser screen

  • After choosing your language of choice, you’ll end up on this page.

XAMPP Home Page

  • Well done, you’ve successfully got your XAMPP Lite going…

5. Stopping and Restarting XAMPP Lite

  • To stop XAMPP Lite, double-click the ‘xampp_stop.exe’ file to stop the server running.

XAMPP Stop file

  • Sometimes, you might need to stop and start XAMPP, use the ‘xampp_restart.exe’ if you need to restart your server. Normally, this is required after configuration changes.

Well, that’s it. Hopefully you managed to successfully get your XAMPP environment going. I’ll post more articles later on how to use the XAMPP environment.