PHP is a powerful web programming language used throughout the web.  This series of articles is intended to introduce readers to the basics of PHP.  In this article, we discuss how to setup your Windows PC to host a PHP website for the purposes of learning and testing.

Getting Started

There are a variety of ways to get started with PHP.  Perhaps you’ve already setup a hosting account that is PHP enabled.  If that’s the case, check out our article "PHP Basics for Beginners - Hello World".  It's a great way to start learning PHP.

If you’d like to start testing PHP before committing to hosting, then there are a several ways to get started.  This article covers the basics of getting up and running on a Windows PC.  If you need to setup a test environment on a Mac, please see our Mac Test Environment article.

Windows Test Environment

Several software packages are available for Microsoft Windows.  A good choice is W.A.M.P. (Windows Apache MySQL PHP).  We will get to each of these concepts in later tutorials, but the important thing is to understand this has everything you need to turn your Windows PC into a full blown PHP capable web server.  You can obtain the download a http://www.wampserver.com/  They often supply several downloads, get the one with the latest PHP release number.

W.A.M.P’s installation couldn’t be simpler.  Just double click the installer and let the install finish.  Now if you open a web browser and enter the address http://localhost/, you will be accessing the sample site running off of your PC.

If you browser to the C: drive and go to the folder C:wampwww this is where the files of the website are stored.  If you are familiar with HTML, create a simple HTML page and drop it in this folder with the name index.html.  If you are new to web programming, please see our article “PHP Basics for Beginners - Hello World”.  Writing a ‘Hello World’ app is the first step in learning a new programming language, and is an excellent starting point.