How to set up a WAMP stack

In this tutorial we will show you how to set up a working web environment, along with zoglair, on your personal computer (PC), from scratch! We will assume no prior knowledge about any web technologies, whatsoever. We will, however, assume that you:

  • are running Windows
  • have no web server currently installed
  • know what a web browser is (hint: it is the program you are using to read this page!)

What is a web environment, anyway?

A web environment is a computer having all necessary programs required to run web applications, such as zoglair. Some of these programs may differ depending on the application, but generally speaking, a web environment needs at least the following:

  1. a web server
  2. a database server
  3. a server-side scripting language

A web server is a program that accepts requests from your web browser (such as Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer) and responds with appropriate content, depending on the request. The most popular web server is Apache.

A database server is a program that manages data, organized information for about anything. The most popular database server is MySQL. By the way, SQL is the language we use to talk to database servers.

Finally, a server-side scripting language is a programming language that allows web developers to develop web applications. The most popular one is PHP.

It is called server-side because it runs on a server, as opposed to client-side if it runs on a client. You know, every time you press enter on your browser's address bar, or click on a link in a web page, you are requesting something from a web server. At that time, you are seen as a client. The web server runs some code and when it finishes it serves to you - the client - its response. It may be needed (and it usually does) that a response requires further processing by your browser, using another scripting language called JavaScript. Since this processing is happening on your computer (the client), it is called client-side!

If you join their initials (Apache, MySQL and PHP) and prefix them with the initial of the Operating System (Linux, Windows or Mac), you've got some very popular acronyms that are used all over the web: LAMP, WAMP and MAMP!

So, what we are talking about here is how to setup a WAMP package or stack as it is often called...

Which WAMP package is right for me?

The short answer is: “Any of them and none in particular!”. This is only because we are talking about a personal web environment. This is way different than setting up a public web server. To put in other words: do not use this tutorial for setting up a public web server! If you are curious about why, all we can say is:

  1. We do not recommend Windows for a public server, and
  2. There are much more involved in setting up a public web server, than simply installing a LAMP stack.

If you take a look at a related Wikipedia's article, you will see a vast list of WAMP choices. Judging from forum discussions, the most popular one seems to be XAMPP. However, in this tutorial we will talk about ZAMP, our own free WAMP stack!

How to install ZAMP

To install the ZAMP stack on your PC, follow these steps:

  1. Grab a ZAMP copy from our Download Section.
  2. Right-click on it, select Extract All....
  3. Click the Browse button and select any drive attached to your computer. It can be internal or external. You can also use a flash-drive (USB stick), if you like.
  4. Click the button Make New Folder. Name the folder ZAMP (important!).
  5. Click OK and then Extract.
  6. Wait a few seconds, until Windows display the extracted contents. In there, you should see a file named start.vbs (or just start). Double-click on it. Windows will ask you for permission to run the servers and unblock the firewall.
  7. If everything goes right, you should see a welcome screen on your browser, with a big ZAMP logo.

Congratulations... You've got yourself ZAMPed!

ZAMP will be running until you execute stop.bat or reboot your PC. You may run it again, any time, by executing start.vbs.

You can now proceed to installing zoglair:

  1. Grab a zoglair copy from our Download Section.
  2. Right-click on it, select Extract All....
  3. Click the Browse button and select the www directory inside your ZAMP folder.
  4. Click OK and then Extract.
  5. Wait a few seconds, until Windows display the extracted contents. In there, you should see a file named index.php.
  6. Go to your browser, type http://localhost/ and press Enter. If everything goes right, you should see zoglair's domain setup screen. If you see the previous ZAMP welcome screen, press Ctrl+F5 to refresh it.

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