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. Inside this extracted folder is a folder called xampp.
  • Copy the extracted xampp folder to the Data drive D:\ and NOT your H:\ drive. This is for configuration, performance and security reasons.
  • Make sure your XAMPP folder is not inside any sub-folders.
  • 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.

DO THIS *ONLY* If Apache does not start (Port 80 in use) error as below:
SKIP THIS STEP if you DO NOT get this error.

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.

*End of Workaround for Port 80 error*

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, you can see the default XAMPP page when you type localhost in your web browser. You will usually replace this default page with your own site, so it is safe to delete everything in this folder.

Do I need FTP access?

FTP access allows you to remotely copy files to and from your server. XAMPP uses the FTP server called Filezilla. 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. Most CMSs will use a MySQL database system. In the XAMPP control app, you first need to start the database by clicking START beside the MySQL module. If that started with no errors, next you click on ADMIN. This will open a web interface to PHPMYADMIN, which is where you setup databases and database users.

The easy way to create a database is to first create a USER in PHPMYADMIN. When creating a user, you get the option to create a database with the same name as the user AND grant this user all privileges for this database.

What about the Hostname? – You very likely should never need to mess with this setting.