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Why and How I Installed PHP4, MySQL, and Apache on Windows 98
Sep 27, 2000, 18 :29 UTC (16 Talkback[s]) (6778 reads) (Other stories by Edward Tanguay)

Originally appearing in The Web Developer's Journal.

By Edward Tanguay

Four months ago I was selected as Web developer for a large Web site project for six hospitals here in Berlin. It was going to be an exciting project in which I would work together with a marketing company to realize a network of Web sites. However, when we had the first meeting, the head of the computer department said, "Wait a minute. You program in ASP? We run Linux boxes here and can't justify the cost or security risk of an NT-Server." They were unwilling to budge and I didn't want to force Microsoft on them and then have to work with disgruntled system administrators, so I backed out gently and declined the contract.

Beyond ASP: JSP, ColdFusion or PHP

Since that day I've been looking for ways to extend my server-side programming skills beyond the powerful but environment-limited Active Server Pages. I concluded that I basically had three choices outside ASP for server-side scripting: JSP, ColdFusion and PHP. The first, JSP, is promising but still has a relatively small community and a lack of ISPs which support it. In addition, if you use the JSP server from Allaire it is quite expensive. The second choice, ColdFusion, also from Allaire, provides you with a powerful and robust server-side scripting environment centered around databases and e-commerce, but again, the problem is it simply costs too much. If you don't have access to the multi-thousand dollar Enterprise server, you're out of luck (the free ColdFusion Express server doesn't even support session variables - not very useful).

LAMP is red hot and free

PHP, on the other hand, is free. It is combined with three other technologies to form a powerful Web development solution abbreviated LAMP: Linux (operating system), Apache (Web server), MySQL (database) and PHP (scripting language). Even with MySQL's insistance that businesses pay a nominal fee for its use, Linux, Apache and PHP are absolutely free which make the LAMP solution the most cost-effecive solution for individuals, universities and businesses. Web devlopers wishing to acquire valuable scripting skills can do so for free. On top of that, LAMP is generally known to be more secure and robust than other solutions (less crashing, less rebooting, inherent UNIX security). On top of that, LAMP has one of the largest, most active, most dedicated communities on the Web. PHP and the LAMP solution was clearly the best choice for me and I was excited.

The Linux hurdle

However, if you are a Windows user, learning Linux is like being parachuted into Italy without knowing Italian. You will be hopelessly and thoroughly lost at the UNIX prompt. Although my repeated forays into the Linux world have enabled me to install Suse Linux 6.4, set up the X Window System and even use the vi editor, I still lack so much basic knowledge of Linux that even the simplest things such as unpacking files or installing software bring me to a paralyzing stop. So even if you are the type of Windows user who can buy a $50 computer book on almost any application and become an expert in it by the end of the week, Linux is not something you are going to learn in a week, or a month or even a year without an inordinate investment of time, effort, paradigm shifting and lots of long, frustrating nights. Hence LAMP is not an option for the casual Windows user wanting to learn PHP scripting.

Settling for WAMP

Luckily, PHP, MySQL and Apache can also run on Windows (hence WAMP). Note that this is not the most stabile platform to serve your pages to the world, but it is an adequate solution if you want to learn and begin developing with PHP/MySQL while remaining in your familiar Windows environment. You can install Apache, PHP and MySQL on your Windows 98 machine, then upload your applications via FTP to a more stabile LINUX or UNIX server. WAMP is a good compromise for Windows-based Web developers who want to expand their server-side scripting skills into PHP and MySQL.

WAMP installation cryptic but not impossible

It took me a full seven days until I had Apache, PHP and MySQL on my Windows 98 installed, configured and working. It was not easy. The Web is full of well-meaning but conflicting manuals which give you instructions such as to enter "/php4win/" when it should be "c:/php4win/" - that one took me two days to figure out. Another two days was spent downloading incorrect MySQL packets (the manuals tell you to "download MySQL" but when you get to the page you are faced with a choice of about 30 different download possibilities). Luckily there were some very helpful people on the Web Developer's List who kept helping me until I got it. Thanks again to all of you!

Free workshop on installing PHP4, MySQL, Apache on Windows 95/98

If you want to install PHP4, MySQL and Apache on Windows 95 or 98, take my free online workshop on how to do it. This 14-step workshop has explicit instructions and screen shots which will lead you past all the pitfalls. With this Workshop, you can have PHP4, MySQL and Apache installed, configured and working on your Windows 98 within the hour.

is a Web developer and language trainer based in Berlin. For more diaries and tips on development visit Edward's Web Developer Site.

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 Talkback(s) Name  Date
If you are a preofessional website builder Linux should not be too difficult and ...   Linux not too difficult   
  Sep 27, 2000, 19:09:33
Your comments on JSP tip you off as a novice and make me question your credibili ...   JSP   
  Sep 28, 2000, 03:42:50
Of course if your computing 'expertise' is based on an MCSE without any ...   Linux Is Not Hard At All   
  Sep 28, 2000, 13:41:26
Funny...Some Windows user is actually advocating to others to "embrace" some oth ...   Angst   
  Sep 29, 2000, 05:41:48
Hi, May I know what are the major benefit when I make up a database with only us ...   PHP & SQL   
  Sep 29, 2000, 07:46:06
You can shortcut the whole mess by using PHPTriad, which is a package that will ...   Easy Install   
  Sep 29, 2000, 14:04:39
I'm new in Linux.......i'm using combination of PHP,MySQL and Apache Web ...   Linux   
  Sep 30, 2000, 03:36:20
Thanks to the suggestions you gave to install WAMP. This is not working here, I& ...   thanks to your suggestions   
  Oct 2, 2000, 13:10:52
I found Windows NT Server, IIS, MySQL, and PHP to be a great combination. Apach ...   Win-Apache has bugs   
  Oct 2, 2000, 20:27:57
I was able to install Apache 1.3.12, MySQL, PHP 4.03pl1, ApacheJServ/1.1.2, Coco ...   Re: Win-Apache has bugs   
  Oct 18, 2000, 18:02:04
Hadn't checked back on this story for awhile. It is not my job to be nice to ...   Re: Angst   
  Nov 14, 2000, 03:34:16
> Your comments on JSP tip you off as a novice and make me question your credibi ...   Re: JSP   
  Jan 17, 2001, 19:30:52
How may I configure Windows registers to read .shtml/.stm files on my browser ru ...   SSI for Windows   
  Feb 27, 2001, 11:45:45
Do you mean configuring you apache server to handle/parse SSI?If that is what yo ...   Re: SSI for Windows   
  Mar 21, 2001, 13:04:33
I like Linux a lot, but I reject the claim that linux is easy. Installing the pa ...   Re: Linux not too difficult   
  Mar 28, 2001, 20:35:34
as far as i know, tomcat is free, so jsp is a worthwhile choice if the developer ...   use tomcat to serve jsp pages, it is FREE   
  May 1, 2001, 04:21:23
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