With the abundance of communication between the browser and a server in these days of AJAX and JSON data interchange, there has never been a better time to get your own development web server set up so that you can test all those dynamic scripts you’re writing. This article will show you how to do it using some of the most popular software.
We should install Apache first, so run the installer for it to begin the installation. Make sure you turn off any instant messaging applications like Skype, as some of these are known to cause issues when Apache is run for the first time. You might also need to set your firewall to training mode. Click through the first few screens of the installation wizard until you get to the Server Information screen:
Complete the input fields as shown in the above image, and then complete the installation, selecting the defaults on each subsequent screen. Once the installation completes, you should see the feather icon with the play symbol on it in your notification area:
This means that the server has started successfully and is running. You can verify that the server is working by opening a browser and typing http://localhost into the address bar. You should see a page saying "It works!" Now, the directory that files are served from is buried quite deep within your file system (C:/Program Files (x86)/Apache Software Foundation/Apache2.2/htdocs on an x64 system) so you'll probably want to change it to something a little easier to access. To do this we'll need to make a few minor configuration changes and will therefore need to edit the configuration file manually, but don't worry, it's just a simple text file! To open it, go to:
All Programs -> Apache HTTP Server 2.2 -> Configure Apache Server -> Edit the httpd.conf Configuration File
Scroll down to the Main Server Configuration section and find the DocumentRoot directive. Change it to something like C:/apache site and make sure you create a folder in this location. Below the DocumentRoot directive there are two Directory blocks. The second one, which is helpfully labeled in the file, will need to be changed to C:/apache site as well.
This is all we need to do at this point, but depending on how your Vista is set up, you may need to give your user account permission to save the changes to the httpd.conf file. Once you have saved the file, you should restart the server. This can be done by left-clicking the feather icon and choosing Apache2.2 Restart. You'll probably want to test that the change of the content-serving directory worked; drop a test HTML file into the C:apache site folder. Something like the following should suffice:
<title>Apache is the Best!</title>
<h1>Apache is the bomb!</h1>
Save this as apachetest.html and then open a browser and type http://localhost/apachetest.html in the address bar. You should then see the test page: