XAMPP is the free application that enables you to develop applications using Web server technologies such as Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Perl. It is not at all easy install an Apache server (with PHP, Perl and MySQL) on your computer, especially if you are running Microsoft Windows. This software takes care of this problem and creates an Apache environment on your machine, where you can develop and test your apps. Installing this program is as simple as downloading and extracting the contents of the archive.
The application is fast, easy to use and quite flexible. Everything is preconfigured so you don’t have to lose time configuring the various complex parts of an Apache distribution. You get everything from an Apache Web server to a MySQL database (the administration is done from phpMyAdmin). The software has everything needed to generate traffic reports, upload and download files via FTP (ProFTPD), and even accelerate PHP execution. The included tools are easy to use and access and we have not encountered any errors during our testing.
Developers will find this feature particularly useful, as it allows them to test for compatibility issues in the two versions of PHP with ease. The package comes with a few PHP applications and Web tools, like OpenSSL and the GD graphic libraries. You also get IMAP C-Client, SQLite, XML (very important), mod_pearl, and Webalizer (a free Web server log analysis utility). You are not forced to run all the applications every time you need to use XAMPP, which is perfect to avoid unnecessary resource consumption.
You can start only Apache, Apache with MySQL, Apache with PHP, and so on. One downside of this free Apache distribution is that its security is relatively low if not properly configured. The software comes with most of its features turned on by default, which makes it unsuitable for use in a production environment due to security issues. You can, however, play with the configuration files to make the product relatively safe.
All in all, this software is by far the easiest way to install LAMP (short for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) on any machine. Instead of going through the painstaking process of installing all the various packages manually to create a LAMP environment, you can just extract the contents of the XAMPP archive and start developing and testing immediately. It looks better than its two competitors WAMP and MAMP but all three programs work the same internally.