Want to get a LAMP development environment fired up without the hassles of configuring everything from scratch? XAMPP makes it a breeze.

If you have ever had to set up a Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP or Perl installed and running at the same time you know what hassle it can be. If you are new Linux it can be a rather daunting experience just trying to set everything up, nevermind learning scripting languages like PHP, Perl and a database like MySQL or SQL Lite.

XAMPP is a single packaged download from Apache Friends which provides all of the pieces of software needed, plus more you probably don’t need, to make Apache installations with server-side scripting and a few database options ready to go in a testing or development environment.

In this article we will focus on getting XAMPP running on Linux, it will also work on Windows and a version for Sun’s Solaris is also available. For our example we will use a Debian-based Linux distribution, but just about any flavour of Linux will work.

To start, you will need to download the XAMPP package for Linux from the SourceForge Web site. The current version we downloaded was 1.4.9a.

The file is 34MB and according to the Apache Friends Web site includes the following software:

  • Apache 2
  • MySQL 4
  • PHP 5, 4 & PEAR
  • SQLite 2.8.9 + multibyte (mbstring) support
  • Perl 5
  • ProFTPD
  • phpMyAdmin
  • OpenSSL
  • Freetype
  • libjpeg, libpng
  • gdbm
  • zlib
  • expat
  • Sablotron
  • libxml
  • Ming
  • Webalizer
  • pdf class
  • ncurses
  • mod_perl
  • FreeTDS
  • gettext
  • IMAP C-Client 2002b
  • OpenLDAP (client)
  • mcrypt
  • mhash
  • Turck MMCache
  • cURL
  • libxslt
  • phpSQLiteAdmin
  • MD5 checsum: 4e853c535ced4e707cbfa6e59c0fc4e2

Security note

XAMPP is recommended to be only used in a development environment and not in production as the system has very loose security settings. The system can be tweaked to be more secure and we recommend following the steps here.

Once the package is downloaded you will need to extract it to a file. You can do this in two ways depending on which version of Linux you are using. You can use a file manager and extract the package into the /opt file.

To extract the files manually you can a console and type in the following:

tar xvfz xampp-linux-1.4.9a.tar.gz -C /opt

Make sure you are logged in as the system administrator. To do this manually type in su. It will then ask for your administration password. Type in the system’s administration password.

Once this file has been extacted you will need open the file “lampp” in the /opt/lammp directory. If you open this using the file manager it will prompt a command shell with all the user options as shown in figure 1 below.

Firgure 1: The commands for XAMMP

If you need to do this manually, open a console and type the following command:

/opt/lampp/lampp start

The screen should show the same shell as shown in figure 1.

After everything has started the next step is to test the Apache Server is running. The easiest way to do this is to open up a browser of your choice and type in the following:


XAMPP has a splash screen that will look something like in figure 2 with sample scripts ready for testing and use. Your LAMP environment is now ready to test your own Web applications.

Figure 2: The XAMMP welcome screen