I'm always looking for ways to make Windows more flexible and user friendly; sometimes those methods are on the desktop, and sometimes they extend well beyond standard usage. But just how user friendly can you make Windows? How about a WAMP server that is free, light, flexible, and can be quickly moved from machine to machine? The Uniform Server fits that description. In addition, the Uniform Server features:
- Comprehensive security
- Frequent updates
- Plenty of configurations
Let's get the Uniform Server up and running and serving content on a Windows 7 machine.
There really is no installation for the Uniform Server. You download the .zip file and unpack it into a directory or external drive. Then, you open Explorer and navigate to the UniServer folder, where you'll find a number of sub-folders and three files called Help, Start_as_program, Start_as_service. If you start as a program, the web server will stop when you close the application. If you start as a service, the server(s) will run in the background.
Double-click the Start_as_program file to start the server. (Once you know it's working properly, you can start it as a service later.) You will be prompted to change the MySQL password. You can opt to not do this for testing purposes. If you publish a site to be accessed from outside your test network, you should definitely change that password.Get beyond the MySQL password prompts, and you will be at the Uniform main window (Figure A). Figure A
From this window, you can get to nearly every configuration you need and more.You should see that, at least, Apache has started. If there are issues, they could be with the default ports. If you think the default ports are in use on the machine, you can change them by clicking Server Configuration. This will bring up a new window, where you should click General. In the General drop-down, select Change Ports. Apache And MySQL. In the new window, you can edit the server's ports (Figure B). Figure B
After you change the port number, click the Change button and then close this window.You should be able to reach your Apache server. Open a web browser and point it to the IP address of the host. If it's working properly, you should see the Uniform Server splash page (Figure C). Figure C
Congrats! With minimal work, your Uniform Server is up and running.
You can go into either the Apache or MySQL configurations and edit them according to your needs. To add pages to your server, in the UniServer folder you will find a sub folder named www — this folder is your document root, and all pages will be placed within that folder.As for MySQL, there are some pretty nifty tricks included. First and foremost, there is a MySQL console, where you can man MySQL through the command console (Figure D). Figure D
Ready to work with the database "test."
Although you don't have the power of, say, phpMyAdmin, there is a GUI tool with Uniform Server to create databases (in case you aren't terribly familiar with the console). To create a database, do the following:
- From the Uniform Server configuration window, click MySQL.
- From the MySQL dropdown, click Create Delete Database.
- Enter a database name in the test field (Figure E).
- Click Create Database.
- Close the Create Delete database window.
The Create Delete MySQL Database window.
From the Configuration window, you can also configure: PHP, MSMPT, CRON, DtDNS, DB Backup, PERL.
An outstanding little server
With the Uniform Server, you could easily take a simple Windows desktop PC, turn it into an internal web server, and create a useful portal for whatever you need. Give the Uniform Server a try, and then let us know what you think of it.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.