The wealth of features compiled into XAMPP has earned it its reputation as a valuable PHP-based web development companion and local server management tool. We don’t intend to dispute this fact, but you might be looking for something different.
Here are the best XAMPP alternatives that you can try instead. Who knows? You can even pick a few new skills from these recommended tool sets.
WampServer, like XAMPP, allows you to create a local PHP web development server with Apache. With support for phpMyAdmin, you can manage Structured Query Language (SQL) databases in a graphical user interface (GUI) environment.
Although it is free, WampServer uses the Windows, Apache, MySQL and PHP (WAMP) stack. It is not cross-platform, as it only supports Windows. Even though WampServer offers less functionality than XAMPP, it does not consume as many resources as XAMPP. In addition, it is more user-friendly.
Therefore, WampServer is an ideal option if you are looking for a lightweight server management tool. However, it does not support Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). So you might want to stick with XAMPP if you need SSL support with more sophisticated development tools.
Although it is an acronym for Mac, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, MAMP works on Windows and Mac and supports Nginx. MAMP is also partially agnostic, allowing you to run development source code written with Python, PHP, Perl, and Ruby.
The Basic MAMP plan allows you to host one website locally at a time and offers limited functionality. But you get unlimited hosting spaces when you subscribe to MAMP Pro. Plus, you have access to cloud support, allowing you to store your project remotely and track your development workflow on any computer.
You might not need to upgrade to MAMP Pro, as everything you need to develop locally, including an SQL server panel and GUI, is fixed in the base plan. That said, this free option does not have built-in SSL for a secure connection. But you might not even find this characteristic essential for local development.
Need a light and comfortable local development server? Laragon is the essential alternative to XAMPP. Like MAMP, it supports Apache and Nginx. But in addition, it allows you to beautify the URLs of your application.
With support for a variety of programming languages, you can locally develop and host applications in an agnostic manner using Laragon.
One of the unique advantages of Laragon is its asynchronous service orchestration feature, which makes it blazing fast. Moreover, it supports version changes and various types of databases including MySQL and NoSQL like MongoDB.
When you launch the tool, it sets up an isolated virtual development environment on your PC. So version changes do not interfere with global stacks or database versions on your local machine.
When using EasyPHP, you don’t need to do the extra work of setting up your developer tools from scratch. It uses the WAMP stack to set up a local development environment for you.
In addition to hosting and making your application locally accessible, EasyPHP offers a beta web server option that turns your PC into a live hosting server. So this makes your website accessible on the net from anywhere.
EasyPHP offers an isolated development environment in which you can manage, install and update components independent of your global variables.
Currently, EasyPHP only supports MySQL. But according to component development updates, it may offer support for more sophisticated SQL databases such as PostgreSQL and NoSQL, such as MongoDB in the future. Additionally, it is currently not cross-platform and only supports Windows operating system.
Winginx powers local servers using Nginx, which is a bit faster than Apache. In addition to time and task tracking features, the tool supports local hosting of programs developed using PHP and Node.js.
It has a task system that allows you to manage multiple projects at once. And it offers a free online store where you can grab website templates if you get stuck. Winginx also allows you to track server logs and debug your application quickly. Additionally, it offers database management tools including phpMyAdmin, Mongo Console Client, and RockMongo among others.
Winginx also has a local mail delivery protocol. So this is a good move if you are looking to configure a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) for your application and test it on your local server.
Apache HTTP Server has been around for a while now. It’s worth a try if you’re looking for a Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP (LAMP) stack alternative to XAMPP.
Apache HTTP Server is cross-platform and more flexible and robust than most local development tools because it allows you to configure your server the way you want. Additionally, it serves your website through standard Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Thus, you can evaluate the communication behavior between the client and the server as if it were already online.
Unlike XAMPP, Apache HTTP Server is a bit more complex and may not be suitable for beginners. But it’s a great tool if you want to familiarize yourself with the basic Apache requirements when hosting live.
Devilbox, as the name suggests, is a containerized local and web development toolkit designed like a Docker system. It has versatile support for MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS and Node.js (MEAN) stacks and LAMP stacks.
With features like automated virtual hosts, end-to-end server-client encryption, and unlimited project hosting, Devilbox offers everything you need in one tool. So you don’t need to download or install any external resources. So while keeping you in sync with your workflow, it cuts your development time.
While it offers a valuable set of tools, setting up and using Devilbox can be complex. But if you are familiar with Docker or want to learn more, you might find it useful to manage offline web development with Devilbox.
You might want to give UwAmp a try if you want features that come with simplicity.
The tool has a smooth and user-friendly interface. So, accessing your scripts and launching them on the web through a local host takes just a few clicks. And compared to other local server management tools, UwAmp uses less resources.
It uses the WAMP stack to configure localhost on your computer. When using UwAmp, you can decide to run Apache in offline mode. Thus, only making it accessible locally.
But UwAmp also gives you the option to upgrade to the online version. This way, other users sharing your network can access your website.
Vagrant is a cross-platform virtual environment for managing all forms of web workflows, from the design phase to the actual development phase.
Each virtual environment in Vagrant is called a “box”, equivalent to a virtual machine. And while creating a virtual machine from scratch can be time consuming, Vagrant does it quickly using what it calls a “base image.”
Vagrant is a great choice if you want to isolate your development dependencies from the global reach. Therefore, any module that you install in a created virtual box will only work in that environment without interference.
Vagrant does not have a user interface. It only operates virtual boxes in a shell. So it may not be an ideal option if you are looking for a click tool. And while it might seem technical at first, setting up and using Vagrant is easy and only requires a few commands, which you’ll find in its documentation.
Choose an ideal development server
Although some features may overlap, each tool listed above is unique. And while we’ve listed them as alternatives to XAMPP, that doesn’t make XAMPP less of a great local server management tool.
Ultimately, your choice of development environment can also determine how your production and deployment go. It is therefore essential to deliberately choose the ideal tool for your needs.
XAMPP is an excellent development environment for PHP based applications. But this is not well suited for a production server. Here’s why.
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