XAMPP for pseudo-production environment

Problems with the Windows version of XAMPP, questions, comments, and anything related.

XAMPP for pseudo-production environment

Postby Tyree » 04. August 2011 14:27

I'm still a beginner when it comes to setting up my own web server, but I want to take a crack at setting up a full-fledged web server and actually host my own site on it. This would actually be publicly accessible, not a development environment.

I know the general consensus is that XAMPP is NOT recommended for this usage. I'm wondering if it can be secured in such as way to make it safe, or if there's another cheap/free alternative to XAMPP that is good for a production environment.

Again, this is only for my own site(s). I'm not compromising anyone else with this. I just want to try it and see if I can get it running well. (and thus save on hosting costs! :-) )

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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Re: XAMPP for pseudo-production environment

Postby Altrea » 04. August 2011 15:24

Tyree wrote:I'm wondering if it can be secured in such as way to make it safe

You can harden your XAMPP environment, to make it a lot safer then by default.
- change ALL default passwords
- leave or make the XAMPP configuration scripts (XAMPP Administration panel, phpmyadmin, etc) only accessible from localhost
- configure the server signature to production mode (to don't give too much information about your environments to the outer world)
- configure the php error reporting to OFF and only log php errors
- disable Apache modules you don't need (SSL, webDAV, ...)
- just start the components you really need (you don't need a FTP-Server? don't start it!)

take a look in JonB's signature. On his homepage he has some more information about hardening a XAMPP as far as i know.

Tyree wrote:or if there's another cheap/free alternative to XAMPP that is good for a production environment.

Take a look in my signature. Zend Server (CE) is free, ready for production environments, as easy to install as XAMPP is, has some real cool features in it (Zend Optimizer+ for example)
We don't provide any support via personal channels like PM, email, Skype, TeamViewer!

It's like porn for programmers 8)
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Re: XAMPP for pseudo-production environment

Postby Tyree » 04. August 2011 15:36

Ooooo...Zend Server CE sounds enticing!
So, it's basically still a (Windows or Linux) AMP setup just with tighter security out of the box? All the Apache and PHP settings are still available as they are with XAMPP?
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Re: XAMPP for pseudo-production environment

Postby Altrea » 04. August 2011 15:50

Tyree wrote:So, it's basically still a (Windows or Linux) AMP setup

yes. Windows, Linux, Mac OSX and IBM i.
Environment with PHP 5.2 OR PHP 5.3. You can choose.

Tyree wrote:just with tighter security out of the box?

yes

Tyree wrote:All the Apache and PHP settings are still available as they are with XAMPP?

That depends to the php moduled implemented. Zend Server CE fits the most common needs (like XAMPP does too). Some modules XAMPP has included are maybe not included in Zend Server CE. Some others may be included but are not activated by default like in XAMPP. Test it out and post how much you like it :D
We don't provide any support via personal channels like PM, email, Skype, TeamViewer!

It's like porn for programmers 8)
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Re: XAMPP for pseudo-production environment

Postby Tyree » 04. August 2011 15:57

Will do. Well, I'm stoked! I was getting a little freaked out looking at DIY LAMP installs. Linux already mystifies me...adding installations of Apache, MySQL, and PHP from source code on top of it. Yeesh!
I like the allure of the double-clicked exe file in my comfortable Windows environment! :-D

I'll probably try to outfit a PC this weekend sometime and see what happens.

Thanks!
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Re: XAMPP for pseudo-production environment

Postby Tyree » 04. August 2011 17:02

Looking through the installation guide for Zend Server CE, I see this:

Licenses
You are not required to enter a license to use Zend Server Community Edition. However, you must have a valid license to use the complete edition of Zend Server Community Edition.
How do I just take a look at the product?
If you enter Zend Server Community Edition without a license, you can run Zend Server Community Edition in the Community Edition Mode. In this mode, Zend Server 's Community Edition features ( PHP 5.x, Zend Data Cache, Zend Debugger, Zend Guard Loader, Zend Java Bridge and Zend Optimizer+) are available and the features that require a license are visible and disabled.


I see that MySQL is not listed as one of the features available withOUT a license. Is that the case? So, I need to purchase a license to run web apps that use PHP and MySQL? Wow! Licenses start at over $1000!
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Re: XAMPP for pseudo-production environment

Postby Altrea » 04. August 2011 17:37

Tyree wrote:I see that MySQL is not listed as one of the features available withOUT a license. Is that the case?

Thats one of the differences between Zend Server (CE) and XAMPP. With Zend Server CE The Apache and MySQL are much more separated. In your installation dialogue you will be ask if you want to install Apache (you can use Zend Server (CE) with an existent IIS Server too) and/or MySQL too.

You don't need a License for that.
We don't provide any support via personal channels like PM, email, Skype, TeamViewer!

It's like porn for programmers 8)
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Re: XAMPP for pseudo-production environment

Postby Tyree » 05. August 2011 16:51

I disabled the Apache and MySQL services that installed with XAMPP and installed Zend Server CE. I copied all my sites and databases over to Zend and everything seems to be functioning well. I'll have to keep the live versions of my sites on my leased server until I get a better internet connection in my office. T1 contract runs out in December, then I'm gonna snag some supa-fast, business-class cable modem!

I guess I'm not really utilizing Zend very much yet...at least not directly. I'm just using the Apache, MySQL, PHP set up. Really no different from XAMPP from that point of view. Except that I guess it's more secure behind the scenes.

(Very interested in the debugging though. I never have been able to use a debugger for php like I have when coding VB in MS Visual Studio. Closest I got was Netbeans, but I never could get Xdebug working. I guess you have to have Zend Studio to use the debugging though, huh?)

Thanks for the help!
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Re: XAMPP for pseudo-production environment

Postby Altrea » 05. August 2011 17:51

Tyree wrote:(Very interested in the debugging though. I never have been able to use a debugger for php like I have when coding VB in MS Visual Studio. Closest I got was Netbeans, but I never could get Xdebug working. I guess you have to have Zend Studio to use the debugging though, huh?)

There are two common choices for debugging php.
1st is using Zend components like Zend Studio, which works really really beautifull with other Zend components
2nd is to get XDebug running and use an IDE like Netbeans or Eclipse PDT. To getting XDebug running with Zend is a little bit easier, because the Zend Stack isn't as portable as the XAMPP stack, so your IDE will get more hints about where the components are installed. But configuration for XDebug is on Zend Server (CE) completely missing, because they support their own products which is Zend Debugger.
We don't provide any support via personal channels like PM, email, Skype, TeamViewer!

It's like porn for programmers 8)
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Re: XAMPP for pseudo-production environment

Postby Tyree » 05. August 2011 18:50

Which setup for debugging/IDE do you use/suggest? I know I've gotten way off topic.
My current editor of choice is Dreamweaver simply because it has a designer view (my other, larger hat). But, it pretty much sucks as a php editor. Very weak in most all respects (debugging, code-hinting, code-completion, syntax highlighting) when compared to actual php IDEs.
I primarily program in javascript and php....So, Zend Studio sounds nice in that it seems catered to both languages. But no designer view whatsoever. I'm always floored by that. Why can't I find a good IDE with a design view? Seems like a no-brainer to me.
So, I would be content to do most of my design work in DW and then use a good ID for programming.

Thanks!
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Re: XAMPP for pseudo-production environment

Postby Altrea » 05. August 2011 19:21

Tyree wrote:Which setup for debugging/IDE do you use/suggest?

The one which makes you most efficient.
At work i use Eclipse PDT with Zend Server (CE).
For private programming I have used NetBeans a long time, now i have changed to phpStorm which seems to be very sexy and quite fast for an full featured PHP IDE.
But i can highly recommend Zend Studio which is much more than an improved version of Eclipse PDT. Especially the code completion in Zend Studio is genious. But Zend Studio is expensive.

Tyree wrote:My current editor of choice is Dreamweaver simply because it has a designer view (my other, larger hat). But, it pretty much sucks as a php editor.

I really don't like Dreamweaver. It is far away from being user friendly, especially the configuration to get an efficient development environment can be very frustrating.

Tyree wrote:But no designer view whatsoever. I'm always floored by that. Why can't I find a good IDE with a design view?

Simple answer: The view is depending to the Browser and many designers and developers test their sites on multiple different browsers.
I don't miss such a design view, because for that i have my Browsers which can be started with IDE's too by executing the script.

The only situation where a design view can be helpful is, if you don't know enough about HTML and CSS and want to use it as WYSIWYG-Editor. But that way you will not learn anything about good CSS styling, because all WYSIWYG-HTML Editors suck.
I prefer Firefox with sime extensions (FireBug, FirePHP, Web developer Toolbar, YSlow, Page Speed). With that combination i am most efficient.

I think you should try some of the combinations to find the best combination for yourself.
We don't provide any support via personal channels like PM, email, Skype, TeamViewer!

It's like porn for programmers 8)
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Re: XAMPP for pseudo-production environment

Postby Tyree » 05. August 2011 19:41

Great points about DW and the design view. Come to think of it, I rarely use the design view in MS Visual Studio since I just run the scripts in the browser to test them.

I'm trying a demo of Zend Studio on my workstation while Zend Studio (and debugger) is running on another machine. Darn if I can get it to start debugging (or running) anything. I've told it where the php server is. The debugger is set to accept my IP. I have the remote server set as the default debug server. I don't know what I'm missing. I usually just slap some breakpoints in and press run in MS Visual Studio and it just happens.
Obviously this is a new interface to me,but it appears to be doing nothing at all. No errors...no nothing.
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