5 Best LAMP/WAMP Stacks for Personal Computers

LAMP stack diagramI've always advocated of installing an exact replica of your website or a blog on your local machine. Installing a web server on a personal computer can be cumbersome, especially if you're technically challenged or if you've to assemble different parts into a single server. Fortunately, there are several good bundled packages that come with all important software layers needed to install a simple web server on a typical home computer. Since these prepackaged bundles have everything configured beforehand, the entire installation process involves simple clicks. Let's see some of these popular LAMP and WAMP stack bundles that can turn your local Windows or Linux machine into a robust web server. You can use it for testing new designs, experimenting with a feature or for similar tasks. Almost all of these packages are free-to-use and are actively developed by the community.

XAMPP - It is one of the most popular web server packages used by millions of people around the world. It's available for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and Solaris. It's a free web server bundle that can be modified and can be freely distributed further without any restriction. This package also installs Perl module along with regular stack layers needed for a typical web server.

Whether you're installing it on Windows or Linux, the procedure is extremely user-friendly and simple. After installation, you never need to configure important settings for each module. The bundle itself sets the most optimum web server settings that are ideal for daily usage. Make sure you do not use it for your production server as it may not be secure enough to host your live website in an unprotected environment.

VertrigoServ - This is yet another popular WAMP stack available for Windows machines and is used by large number of users. I personally use it on my local PC for maintaining replicas of all of my blogs and for testing purposes. The installation process is smooth and simply requires few clicks through a guided wizard. Although the default server configuration is good enough for day-to-day usage, you can tweak settings of different modules through the nice graphical browser-based interface.

It also includes Zend optimizer that increases the performance of your web server significantly and doesn't let it put excessive load on your home PC. It's extremely flexible and can run dozens of local websites without any performance degradation. Its tray-based administration panel lets you access all the important tools and settings for quick and easy server maintenance.

WampServer - This robust WAMP stack is available both for 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows machines. It also comes in different flavors of PHP version to choose the best one that suits your requirements. The installation is extremely easy-to-follow and the entire setup is configured automatically. It also includes Apache, MySQL, and PHP addon bundles to extend the functionality of your basic web server.

These add-ons can be used to tweak your local server in such a way that it closely matches with your production web server. This way you can perform various important tests and can see how the server reacts to the changes. You can also update the layers within the stack directly from within the administration interface.

BitNami Infrastructure Stacks - These web server stacks are available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. They're open source and are freely available for the community. You can also use various application stacks on top of the base web server to easily deploy various kinds of solutions on your test server. For example, the WordPress application stack lets you install it on top of your web server even if you do not know how to install a typical WordPress blog.

Due to the availability of different base and application stacks, it is ideal for serious web developers and designers who need to experiment with different apps and server configurations. I've tested it on an Ubuntu machine and found it easy, reliable and quite flexible. Its cross-platform installer can be used on multiple operating systems without any glitch.

EasyPHP - This WAMP stack also includes a powerful debugging module that makes it ideal for installing a local testing and designing web server. It also offers various application modules that let you deploy popular content management systems on the base stack with ease. You can find tons of helpful documentation for this stack including an active support forum maintained by the community.

Apart from the regular MySQL layer, it also includes PostgreSQL and MongoDB that can be used in place of the default database management system. The installation process for this stack can be followed very easily even by a beginner and it doesn't involve any kind of complex settings. I've tested this stack on a Windows XP machine and it worked seamlessly with 8 WordPress installations opened simultaneously and fetched by 5 different systems on a local LAN.