Do you want to create a Localhost web server on Windows 10 but without installing IIS? Then here are some best software to create a local web server environment to test out various web applications such as WordPress.
What is the Localhost server?
LocalHost is a hostname in the computer networking world used to access the various services running on the host using a loopback network interface, the
lo is a short form of this loopback device. It doesn’t require or always bypass the local network interface to connect the service or to reply when we ping it. This network interface and its working will be the same for all operating systems whether you’re on Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, or macOS. We can always ping the loopback interface to access various services running locally on the system.
Furthermore, if we talk about the IPv4 address for the localhost then it is
127.0.0.1 and for IPv6 address
:: 1, this is also universal and refers to your own computer or server.
Now, if we have an active webserver on our PC or Laptop, then if we use
localhost or 127.0.0.1 as the web address in the browser without specifying any particular port number then this URL will call the local running web server and shows whatever the content is there in the webroot directory. If the HTTP Error 500 appears when calling localhost, 127.0.0.1 or when using IPv6 :: 1, this indicates a fundamental misconfiguration of the webserver. This local web server also refers to the Localhost server, as its service can be accessed using the loopback interface.
However, here we are not to talk about the what is Localhost server instead, the software we can use to create one on Windows 10. 8 or 7 for testing out various web services, applications, websites project, or CMS such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, etc.
Top Software for PHP Localhost web server on Windows 10/8/7
1. Xampp- open source
Xampp is one of the best free software to create a localhost web server with PHP, Apache, and MySQL services. It is an open-source program and cross-platform, which means we cannot only use it on Windows but also on macOS and Linux platforms. If you want to use the Xampp on older Windows platforms such as XP and Windows Server 2003 then download XAMPP 1.8.2-6 because the latest version is not compatible.
To create a localhost web server and deal with the latest web apps efficiently, the Xampp stack packed with the latest versions of Apache, MariaDB, PHP, phpMyAdmin, OpenSSL, XAMPP Control Panel, Webalizer, Mercury Mail Transport System, FileZilla FTP Server, Tomcat (with mod_proxy_ajp as a connector) and Strawberry Perl Portable.
It is purely designed to test to use as a test system, thus, allow quick start of various inbuilt servers with just one click. Also, the user can download varied pre-build modules such as Wordrpess, PrestaShop, Magento, Drupal, and many more to quickly deploy your favorites CMS, Forum, Wiki, Ecommerce to start testing.
However, not XAMPP only, also the other mentioned Localhost web server creator platforms are pure test systems and aim to be quickly ready for usage. Accordingly, not intended to serve as a commercial web server on the Internet, because they do not offer sufficient protection against possible hacker attacks there.
Visit the website to download Xampp.
2. Ampps- Localhost server with Softaculous
Well, in most of the free software available to create a local web server environment, the user has to install even common web applications manually which could be a cumbersome task, especially for beginners and a little bit time-consuming for advanced users. Thus, in such scenarios, Ampps is the best option not to only create a localhost server on Windows 10/8/7 but also to install various open-source CMS, E-commerce store, Wiki, web-based DB management tools, Ad Management, ERP system, Poll Management, and more. Thanks to Softaculous integration which allows users to run various pre-configured scripts to install open-source web-based software in just one click, just like we do in hosting services.
Furthermore, it also gives a quick access tray icon to start and stop Apache and MySQL services. The Nginx is also there, in case someone doesn’t want to use Apache as the webserver.
It is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. Thus, a good alternative to Xampp.
3. WampServer localhost webserver
The next popular free Windows 10/8/7 tool, dedicated to setting up the localhost web server, is Wamp Server. Most of us dealing with websites and other web testing on Windows would already know about it. It also offers the LAMP environment in a single package to install and control their services from a quick control panel buttons.
This Windows web development environment is not available for macOS and Linux. Apart from Apache2, PHP, and a MySQL database, it offers phpMyAdmin to manage database instances easily. Furthermore, if you are looking for Wamp portable server then try out UwAmp.
If you are already using any of the above-given software then I don’t think you would need this one, however, to make sure all the good software should be in this best localhost server for Windows list, MAMP is here. Basically, it is a lightweight software that is available for both macOS and Windows, however, if you are professional then there is also a pro version for Windows with some extra features and a nice front-end.
For the webserver, it has both Apache and Nginx, to Database management MySQL or MariaDB whereas, in terms of web development languages PHP, Perl and Python come along with MAMP.
Furthermore, with a one-time payment the user can add the MAMP cloud functionality to backup a host and database, this helps the user to easily move data in the safest possible way.
Download Free MAMP for Windows
5. UwAMP portable WAMP server
This is really a nice alternative for the above-mentioned top localhost servers for web development if you are looking for portability. Yes, those want to move their web project and web server along in a USB drive, then consider trying out UwAMP. The interface is very easy to handle and to the subject, that means you will have only those options that are necessary such as buttons to start and stop Apache + MySQL service and to access PHP, Apache, MySQL configuration along with phpMyAdmin.
We already have done a tutorial on it where we have shown how to use UwAMP and the process of WordPress installation on it.
6. DesktopServer from ServerPress
If your only aim to set up a localhost web server on Windows PC or laptop is to test WordPress based website, then the DesktopServer program is the best-optimized option. It is developed to run on Windows with an optimized Local Apache, MySQL, and PHP stack to run only Wordpres CMS. It also supports SSL and comes with easy custom configurations to deploy WordPress based website in few seconds.
However, apart from Windows OS, the DesktopServer Localhost web environment software is also available for macOS. Those want to create and manage unlimited WordPress websites along with other premium features they can go for the paid options such as Easy Live site Deployment, Panic Coda and DreamWeaver Live support, Internet Sharing for collaboration, and more.
The best part is even we are installing the WordPress on the localhost server, still, it lets users create and access the demo or testing WordPress instance on the .dev.cc domain. This is a reserved domain and only exists on the local pc where DesktopServer is running to access creates WordPress instance using a fully qualified domain instead of 127.0.0.1 or localhost in the web address bar.
7. easyphp- Devserver & Webserver
EasyPHP developers offer two programs – one is DevSever and other Webserver both can be used to create a localhost web server environment on Windows but slightly for different purposes.
DevServer is mostly meant to target developers or users those want to set up a local server to mimic the production server like capabilities on PC or Laptop for testing a various web application and performing web development. Furthermore, it is also portable thus the developers can carry it in the USB Drive to easily work on different projects.
WebServer from Easyphp is meant to provide a hosting service kind of server on a personal pc or laptop for users who not only want to have some website on Windows Localhost web server using LAMP but also have a plan to share the same over the internet and let other to access the same. This lets your personal PC act as a web hosting service to make your website/application/demo accessible via the internet. The server is fully configurable, modular, and easy to update and extend.
Verdict on Best Windows localhost web Server tools
There are some more tools available to build the local web environment but the functionalities they provide are already there in the above tools thus that’s why I want the list short and to the point. Moreover, if any of you don’t want to use LAMP, then Windows 10/8/7 inbuilt IIS -Internet Information Services are always there to activate and use. If you want to know how then see: How to install IIS web server on Windows 10 Step by Step
- Install & Run Xampp on Ubuntu 19.04 using Terminal
- How to install XAMPP on Windows 10
- Install Apache web server on CentOS 8 or Stream
- How to Install Ansible on Windows 10