XAMPP: Out of the box web server solution

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XAMPP is an open-source web server solution stack mostly known as one of those proficient tools that make website development accessible even for beginners. Why go through all the hassle of installing an Apache, MySQL and PHP components individually when you can let XAMPP do it for you? Moreover, XAMPP also contains the Perl programming language, phpMyAdmin database administration tool, FileZilla FTP server, Mercury mail server, and JSP server Tomcat which combined with its cross-platform architecture make it one of the most versatile and accessible AMP packages currently available.

XAMPP Control Panel Application

Installation & Requirements

Keep in mind that we will be analyzing the install process of XAMPP for Windows, to avoid any further confusion. XAMPP’s installer is relatively small and besides choosing the destination path and opting for a shortcut and services to be installed there’s not much else to do. It really can’t get much easier than it already is: the program is fully functional in a couple of minutes with no troublesome configurations required.

XAMPP’s hardware requirements are not even worth mentioning and as stated above it’s a cross-platform application with versions available for Windows (2000, 2003, XP, Vista, and 7), Mac OS X, Linux (proven to work on SuSE, RedHat, Mandrake and Debian) and Solaris operating systems.

Interface

XAMPP’s interface comes as a small Control Panel that is very easy to comprehend right from the beginning. The purposes in which XAMPP is used don’t require a stylish appearance and as a result it doesn’t have that, but they do require functionality and it certainly has a lot of that.

The Control Panel lists the Apache, MySQL, FileZilla and Mercury services along with their status and buttons for starting/stopping them. The Admin buttons provide extended configuration options for each service. For example the one for Apache will open up a page in your web browser that comprises a plethora of information and settings for you to fiddle with, including a full report for security issues, documentation, some PHP and Perl samples to check if XAMPP is functional, access to phpMyAdmin and other useful tools.

As you can see, XAMPP works perfectly even if you don’t wish to venture into deeper layers of customization and I say that because many people use it to power up popular content management systems, such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, designed for developing and running websites with minimal or no coding required. However, in contempt of XAMPP’s self-sufficiency it does offer all the settings you could ask for and then some more.

Pros

– Smooth installation with minimal configuration required.

– Clean and functional interface.

– Contains the complete package required for a functional web server.

– Free and open-source application, designed for multiple platforms.

Cons

– Not suitable to use on production servers, due to the lack of security features.

Alternatives

Because XAMPP is such a high-quality AMP package there are not many alternatives marked as notable competitors. EasyPHP is one of them, a free WAMP software bundle (which stands for Apache, MySQL and PHP for Windows) which is very easy to use and boasts with frequent updates and extendable functionality through independent modules designed as development tools, content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, forums and others.

UwAmp is another free Windows web server solution that can be described as a lighter version of XAMPP, mostly known for its smart interface and portability.

Conclusion

Choosing XAMPP over other AMP software packages is a smart decision:you will get a development web server up and running in no time and actually enjoy its simple administration process that will allow you to focus on building websites and save precious time.