There might be times when you need to debug web site code or even show off a test web site while on the go. When those times occur, it’s a good thing you have an Android tablet that can load up a full-blown web server and let you get to work.
One app you should take a look at, in particular, is Bit Web Server for Android. Bit Web is a full-blown web development environment that includes:
Bit Web runs without an Internet connection, so you don’t have to worry if you’ve got a signal. And since Bit Web is capable of running web sites (like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and PrestaShop) and PHP frameworks (like Code Igniter, YII, and CakePHP), you have commonly used tools at your fingertips.
Bit Web Server is not a free application, but it will only set you back $2.01 (USD) — and it’s very much worth that low price. To install this software, do the following:
- Open the Google Play Store
- Search for “bit web server” (no quotes)
- Tap on the product price
- Tap Accept
- Tap Buy
- Enter your Google Play Store password (if applicable)
Once the installation completes, you should see a launcher on your home screen and/or your app drawer.
If you have any intention of viewing the Bit Web Server site from an external machine, make sure wireless is turned on before you start the application. When you first fire up Bit Web Server, it will start the server and land you on the main app page (Figure A).
Bit Web Server running on Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab.
To visit the server, you would go to http://IP_ADDRESS:8080 (where IP_ADDRESS is the address listed on the Bit Web Server main page. From that main page, you can tap on either localhost (which will take you to the current main web page) or the built-in phpMyAdmin page. In order to log into the PhpMyAdmin page, use root as the username and a blank password. Once you’ve logged in, you can then change the password (Figure B) by clicking the Change password link.
I highly recommend changing the MySQL password right away.
By default, the document root of Bit Web Server is /mnt/sdcard/www. So, any files you want to work with need to be placed in there. Here’s how I quickly installed WordPress on my Android tablet with Bit Web Server:
- Start Bit Web Server
- Download the latest version of WordPress onto the tablet
- Move the downloaded zip file to /mnt/sdcard/www
- Unzip the file (you’ll need a third-party tool for the extraction process)
- Go to the Bit Web PhpMyAdmin site and create the database for the installation
- Point your browser to http://IP_ADDRESS:8080/wordpress
- Walk through the installation as normal
Once the installation is complete, you should be able to log on to your WordPress site that’s hosted on your Android tablet (Figure C).
A full-blown WordPress site on an Android tablet.
There are a few options that can be configured in Bit Web Server. To get to the options window, tap the middle button in the upper right corner of the main screen. From this new window (Figure D), you can change the document root of the server, the port, and the configuration files for Lightpd, PHP, and MySQL.
You can also run backup and restore your MySQL data from this window.
If you’re a mobile developer or have a need to show a client a developmental site (without having the site online), Bit Web Server enables you to make that happen. It’s easy to install, offers plenty of PHP extensions to run many different platforms, and is a cost effective solution for developing on the go. Have you used Bit Web Server? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.