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Installing and Configuring Apache 2 on a Windows XP Machine

Apache 2 represents quite a change from previous versions. If you have set up a previous version of Apache on a Windows XP PC, you will be interested in setting up the new version. Dan Wellman shows how to set up and configure Apache 2 on a Windows XP PC to give you a development environment that will allow you to test your PHP and other dynamic web technologies before taking them live.

  1. Installing and Configuring Apache 2 on a Windows XP Machine
  2. Getting Started
  3. Configuring
  4. Getting PHP Working
  5. Configuring MySql
By: Dan Wellman
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September 28, 2005

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Some time ago, I wrote an article on using Apache on a Windows XP PC in order to set up a development environment in which you could test your PHP and other dynamic web technologies before taking them to the public stage.  Since then, nothing much has changed in the world of web servers and hosting, Linux is still the most popular web OS and Apache is still the most popular (and many would say best) web server in use.   Apache itself however has just changed, or the code for it has anyway; Apache 2 has been completely re-written since the last major release, so I thought an updated article would be in order. 

Since its development in 1995, Apache has gone on to take a massive 69 percent share of the web server market.  The reasons for this are clear; it is fast, reliable, secure (when configured correctly), and open source.  It is continually developed and improved by dedicated professionals around the globe and forms part of the popular LAMP web setup: Linux, Apache, MySql, and PHP.

Apache’s main rival is Microsoft’s Internet Information Services (IIS), and has been since IIS 3 started gaining support back in late 1993.  IIS 6 is bundled with Windows XP Professional, but does not form part of the default install.  The proud owners of Windows XP Home edition may or may not already know that IIS is not included with any install of the OS, default or otherwise.  IIS simply will not run on home edition, therefore anyone that wants to install a web server for development or testing purposes has to look for an alternative to IIS, and Apache is the ideal (and possibly only) candidate.

Some of the updates that form the current release of Apache (2.0) since the last major version (1.3) include: multi-protocol and IPv6 support, multi-language customizable error pages, a new build system and a new API, a simplified configuration scheme and importantly, improved support and performance on non-UNIX systems. 

As I said above, IIS is the only real competitor to Apache at the moment, enjoying a market share of approximately 22 percent.  That doesn’t sound like much compared to Apache’s 69 percent, but it still means literally millions of sites hosted by IIS.  The extended support given to Windows systems is an attempt to prevent that share increasing and consists of a Windows-specific Multi-Processing Module (MPM) and the Apache Portable Runtime (APR).  The MPM is like a module that binds to specific ports on the host OS and accepts requests, but only one runs on the server at any one time to target a specific OS.  The APR is a project in its own right and deals with the creation of platform specific APIs that work in as close a way to each other as possible no matter which host OS the server is running on.

>>> More Apache Articles          >>> More By Dan Wellman

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