How to Set up the PHP Dev Environment on Windows

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Creating a robust PHP development environment is crucial for efficient web development. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced developer, having a well-configured environment enhances your productivity. This article will guide you through the steps to set up a PHP development environment, covering essential tools and configurations.

Step 1: Install XAMPP on Windows

XAMPP is a popular cross-platform web development solution that simplifies the process of setting up a local server environment. This article will guide you through the steps to install XAMPP on a Windows operating system.

Download XAMPP

Visit the official XAMPP website and navigate to the download section. Choose the version of XAMPP that suits your requirements, and click on the download link.

Run the Installer

Once the download is complete, locate the downloaded file (usually an executable file with a .exe extension) and double-click on it to run the installer. If prompted by the User Account Control (UAC), click “Yes” to allow the installer to make changes to your system.

Choose Components

During the installation process, you will be prompted to select components. Ensure that “Apache” and “MySQL” are selected, as these are essential components for PHP development. You can also choose to install additional components like PHPMyAdmin.

Select Installation Folder

Choose the destination folder where you want to install XAMPP. The default location is often in the C:\ drive, but you can select a different directory based on your preferences.

Start the Installation

Click the “Next” button to begin the installation process. XAMPP will copy the necessary files to your chosen directory. This may take a few minutes, depending on your system’s performance.

Configure Services

Once the installation is complete, the XAMPP control panel will appear. Check the boxes next to “Apache” and “MySQL” to configure them as services. This ensures that they start automatically whenever you boot your computer.

Start Apache and MySQL

Click the “Start” buttons next to “Apache” and “MySQL” in the XAMPP control panel to initiate the services. If both services start successfully, you’ll see a green indicator next to each.

Test the Installation

Open your web browser and type “http://localhost” in the address bar. If everything is set up correctly, you should see the XAMPP dashboard, indicating that your local server environment is up and running.

Step 2: Database Management

For database-related tasks, install a database management system (DBMS) such as MySQL or PostgreSQL. Use a graphical user interface like phpMyAdmin or Adminer for easy database administration. Ensure your local server is configured to work seamlessly with your chosen DBMS.

If you successfully installed XAMPP, then you can use the phpMyAdmin, which you access via:


Step 3: Choose a Text Editor or IDE

Selecting the right text editor or integrated development environment (IDE) significantly impacts your coding experience. Popular choices include Visual Studio Code, PhpStorm, and Sublime Text. Customize your chosen editor with PHP extensions and plugins to enhance syntax highlighting autocompletion, and debugging capabilities.

Create a Project folder in XAMPP

Place your web project inside the htdocs directory. In the common case, if you installed XAMPP directly inside the C: drive of your PC, the path to this folder would be:


Now place your project folder inside the htdocs folder. You can name your folder anything you want. In this example, we are calling our project folder PHP

Within your project folder, which in our case is called PHP, we can place our PHP files and you can access them using your preferred code editor:

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