PHP - how to test

  Handy Spinner 13:31 09 Jun 2004

Hi there. I'm now trying to learn PHP, and I want to know how I can test the pages on my computer. I have Personal Web Server, but how can I use this to process my .php files? At the moment, my Hello World file from a tutorial only shows a blank page.

title>PHP Start /title>
echo "Hello World";
/body> /html>

How can I solve the problem? Do I need to download Apache or something?

  Taran 13:38 09 Jun 2004

You can install and run PHP under Personal Web Server click here for an article that desribes the process. Personal Web Server can be a bit flaky though.

Apache is superb but not for the timid.

There are a few bundles available now for newcomers to Apache, PHP and MySQL and I often point people to them since the install and configure a working web server in no time for you to play with. manual instalation is all well and good but unless you understand what you are doing it can all get a bit confusing.

You can download a fully configured Apache, PHP and MySQL web server click here or click here and with a tiny bit of tweaking you will be up and running in minutes.

  PurplePenny 16:21 09 Jun 2004

If you have PWS are you using Win98?

Taran - I know that one of your students was running the Devside bundle on a Win98 machine - was it the current bundle as the Devside site says that it is only for NT/2000/XP?

If it turns out that the latest Devside can't be used on Win98 I recall that Firepages still have older bundle downloads still available.

Go for it Handy Spinner! You won't be sorry :-)


  Handy Spinner 16:39 09 Jun 2004

is indeed my current operating system. I've tried downloading the php binary self-installing from, but no joy yet. Still the same response to my PHP pages.

I noticed, like PP, that the Devside is for Win 2000/NT/XP.

Further clarifications and help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  Taran 16:45 09 Jun 2004

You're right and I should have pointed that out.

The Devside bundle can be run on Windows 98 (one of my students proved that) but as you say, it is not designed or intended to run on that platform and so PHPDev from the Firepages link would be the most appropriate choice.

The advantages to PHPDev and similar bundles is that you install one program which puts a pre-configured Apache web server with PHP and MySQL built into it.

Another thing I should have pointed out is that you may have to remove Personal Web Server or at least alter its default port. Personal Web Server, like most other web servers, listens on Port 80 and you can only have one server listening on one port at any time. Unless you want to alter its default port and unless you want to run ASP then you could safely remove Personal Web Server in favour of one of the Apache bundles. Or you could juts use that first link I gave you which will explain how to set up PHP under Personal Web Server.

Another alternative bundle is Appserv click here which one of my students recently tried and liked. I've not used it myself so I can't really comment one way or another.

  Handy Spinner 17:45 09 Jun 2004

I downloaded the zip package from, and it works with PWS after following that article cited by Taran...Thanks! I hope that this is all I need to start PHPing away! If you think of anything else I should do/would find useful, please tell me!

Thanks again!

  Taran 18:18 09 Jun 2004

Well, PHP on its own is limiting you straight away. You can do a lot with PHP but you can do a lot more if you get MySQL as well. MySQL is a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) and it works beautifully with PHP, allowing you to write information into a database and, more importantly, pull it out again and display it on a web page. This is where you get data driven sites - they display page content queried from a database to fill the page.

So I'd suggest you think of getting MySQl and to help you manage it you could do worse than get phpMyAdmin, which gives you a web browser interface to manage your MySQL database(s).

MySQL can be downloaded click here and you can get phpMyAdmin from click here

Don't get so caught up in phpMyAdmin that you forget to use the command line interface for MySQL. I've seen people get so impressed with phpMyAdmin that they don't bother to learn how to use the command line to control MySQL and that can lead to administration problems later on.

Good luck with your PHP.

  PurplePenny 21:34 09 Jun 2004

To edit your PHP files try PHPEdit (free for personal use) .

click here

The only draw back to it is that the occasional word or phrase is still in the original French. A new version has just come out - maybe it will all have been translated in that.


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