"Is an easy to install Apache distribution"
The XAMPP software utility is an incredibly comprehensive means of distribution for Apache servers created by the already well known company, Apache Friends. Whilst this utility and its improvement has been the highpoint of this software developer, you will be happy to know that they have provided fully working versions for a plethora of operating systems, from Windows and Linux, to Mac OS X and Solaris. However, in order to eliminate confusion, this review will refer strictly to the XAMPP version created for Windows. XAMPP contains Pearl, PHP and MySQL in order to facilitate web server testing at a local level, regardless of the coding method chosen. But let us examine this freeware utility and see how it scores against other alternatives.
As mentioned, the XAMPP utility that we are referring to requires a Windows operating system to function properly. This includes Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows XP, as well as Windows Vista and 7. The XAMPP install kit is relatively compact, as it takes up only 63 MB of your hard drive. On the other hand, the decompressed program will take up to 461 MB. In addition, the installation of XAMPP is simplistic, considering users are only required to download and extract the kit.
It should not come as a surprise that the XAMPP utility comes bundled with an instant messenger and a search bar, since it is, after all, freeware. However, installing the bar and IM is by no means mandatory. Furthermore, choosing not to install them will not affect the functionality of XAMPP in any way. After you have downloaded the install kit, you will be prompted to choose the language and destination of the utility. Next you need to choose one or all of the Apache, MySQL and Firezilla services. It is recommended to install them all in order to take full advantage of XAMPP’s versatility.
The first time you run XAMPP, you will need to white-list it in your firewall and antivirus software and specify the access networks. As the developers recommend, it is unadvisable to give public networks access to XAMPP, because it was not developed with high security features in mind. XAMPP is simply a software utility created for testing web servers at a local level. The interface comprises of a relatively small window that grants access to the MySQL, Filezilla and Apache services via the Windows Explorer and preset browser. While Mercury is not activated by default, you can always click on the “Start” button in order to employ it. The upper part of the XAMPP window contains the action buttons, while the lower part allows you to view the current status and monitor the results of your actions.
The obvious advantage XAMPP brings to the web page testing scene is the ability to work with all the popular encoding methods with a single utility. In addition, you will be able to do so without having to spend any money on it, since XAMPP registers as freeware. Moreover, for a skilled developer, the application is quite easy to use and the designers have also provided a link to the source code via the help button. In addition, more information regarding the inner workings of the application can also be found on the Apache Friends website, which you can also access from the Help menu.
Although setting it up and running it is not a hard job, XAMPP was never a tool for beginners, since understanding and operating it does require a bit of knowhow on how web servers work. In addition, the lack of security features renders it inadequate for tasks other than testing at local level.
As alternatives to XAMPP, worth listing are EasyPHP and UwAmp. However, XAMPP is by far the most versatile and effective tool, as the user ratings and testimonials have proven.
If you are looking for a versatile Apache distribution utility for Windows, then XAMPP is one of the best choices for the job. Whilst it may not be so beginner-friendly at first, the learning curve is not that steep if you put your mind to it. Moreover, the XAMPP freeware tool is recommended by the wide range of solutions.
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