XAMPP Review

key review info
  • Application: XAMPP 1.5.4
  • Reviewed on:
  • Written by: Mihai Marinof
application features
  • Apache 2.2.3
  • (4 more, see all...)

Nowadays, Linux administrators or web developers can choose from numerous HTTP servers, database servers and administrative tools to create web servers for commercial, non-profit, testing or other purposes. LAMP has become one of the most used combinations of free software for creating those web servers.

In spite of the multitude of HOWTOs, tutorials and guides, installing LAMP from source packages can sometimes be an unnecessary waste of time. Not to mention that installing the pieces of the LAMP puzzle is a quite complex and complicated process so things could go wrong at anytime.

XAMPP is a free, pre-compiled and pre-configured software package containing the Apache HTTP Server, MySQL database and tools to run PHP and Perl web applications. It was conceived to be fast, flexible and easy to install and run. Also, it contains a number of useful packages that make easy things like generating traffic reports, accelerating PHP content, administering MySQL database through a browser with phpMyAdmin, uploading and downloading files with ProFTPD FTP server and so on. Moreover, it will install on rather many Linux distributions, as well as on Windows and Solaris.

But nothing is perfect and XAMPP isn't an exception. It was designed mostly for developers and it's an extremely easy way for developers to set up their own local LAMP installation for the applications they are developing. To make it convenient for developers, with the default configuration, XAMPP has all the features turned on which makes it quite insecure to be used in a production environment. But, of course, with some minor modifications to the configuration files, it can be secured enough to be used in such environment.

As for installing XAMPP, one may find it hard to believe it's done in just three steps. But it's true. All you have to do is visit its official homepage and download the latest version available for your operating system. Next, the package needs to be uncompressed using the command:

# tar xzvf xampp-linux-LATEST.tar.gz -C /opt

Note: This command is available only for Linux environment, for other operating systems, read the suitable documentation.

And that's it! You now have a fully configured and working LAMP installation on your Linux PC. To start your new LAMP server, just issue the following command:

# /opt/lampp/lampp start

This command starts up the Apache HTTP server with PHP support, the MySQL database and ProFTPD FTP server. Stopping XAMPP is just as easy, issue the last command but replace 'start' with 'stop'.

XAMPP also provides the individual start and stop commands for each application. You could run only Apache or only Apache and MySQL or any other possible combination.

Another great feature that XAMPP has to offer is the ability to fast switch between PHP4 and PHP5. This helps developers to easily test their applications compatibility with the two versions.

In addition to the previously specified applications, a default XAMPP installation also includes several PHP applications with demonstration purposes and some more web-based tools. For instance, XAMPP has included OpenSSL for secure sockets layer support. It also has included graphics libraries such as GD, database packages such as SQLite and gdbm, XML and PHP packages and finally some packages to demonstrate XAMPP's versatility such as Webalizator, zlib, mod_perl and IMAP C-Client.

The Good

XAMPP is a great development tool. It's very easy to install and contains all the tools needed, as well as some demo applications, for helping new developers in their path to success.

The Bad

Being a development tool on one hand, it's a bad thing, on the other hand, considering the number of features turned on by default and its security level that is rather low.

The Truth

XAMPP is the perfect application for developers, even for small non-profit organizations or online communities. It can be installed and used very easily. By default, XAMPP has a very low security level; therefore, it can't be used in production environments.

Check out some screenshots below:

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user interface 3
features 5
ease of use 5
pricing / value 5

final rating 5
Editor's review

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