Test Web Server (XAMPP)

In this project, you will be setting up a test web server for working with a web site. This is only a “test server” because it would not be reliable enough for a real, working website, being that it runs on a Windows desktop OS and not real server hardware and Operating System.

Here is a good blog post on explaining and setting up XAMPP.

First Steps (read all steps before proceeding):

  • Download XAMPP Portable. You MUST use the portable version here at SHS because our security settings will not let you run the installed version properly.
  • Download link for XAMPP Portable. Make sure you get the PORTABLE ZIP version.
  • Extract the downloaded ZIP file.
  • Copy the extracted folder to the Data drive D:\ and NOT your H:\ drive. This is for performance and security reasons.
  • Run the xampp-control.exe executable file inside the XAMPP folder.
  • Start the Apache web server.
  • Test that the server is running by typing http:\\localhost in your web browser.

If Apache does not start (Port 80 in use):

Set Apache to listen on a different port. This can be done by clicking on the “Config” button on the same line as the “Apache” module, select the “httpd.conf” file in the dropdown, then change the “Listen 80” line to “Listen 8080”. Save the file and close it.

Now it avoids Port 80 and uses Port 8080 instead without issue. The only additional thing you need to do is make sure to put localhost:8080 in the browser so the browser knows to look on Port 8080. Otherwise it defaults to Port 80 and won’t find your local site. You may also want to change the main XAMPP CONFIG -> service and port settings -> change it to 8080.

Where do my files go?

Next, you need to learn where XAMPP keeps your HTML files. This is in a folder called HTDOCS. There is already some stuff in here.

Do I need FTP access?

FTP access allows you to remotely copy files to and from your server. If your website is running on the machine you are working on, then you don’t need to setup FTP.

Setup your Database.

If you are going to be running a CMS, then you need to setup a Database. The database is key to any CMS, since this is where everything is stored that makes your site, well, yours! All your posts, pages, and customizations are stored in the database. In the XAMPP control app, you first need to start the database, then you click on Configure. This will open a web interface to PHPMYADMIN, which is where you setup databases and database users.