XAMPP and a local installation of the web server & phpBB is a great learning tool. It's also indispensable when you're trying to test out a major upgrade of your board, and want to test against a copy of your board using XAMPP on your local machine in order to work out the kinks, before attempting to do it to your actual live board. More on that later.
One issue with the page you're seeing when you visit https://localhost/phpbb
is the fact that you downloaded the PHP 7.3 version of XAMPP. That is indeed the latest version, but its not a version of PHP that the phpBB software supports yet. In order to run the current phpBB 3.2.7 release in a XAMPP installation, you'll need to download and use the PHP 7.2.20 version of XAMPP
instead of the latest PHP 7.3.7 version.
Note Bitnami has a full XAMPP-plus-phpBB package
that you can download and install both XAMPP and phpBB in one shot. Bitnami is the same provider of the Google Cloud application package for phpBB
that was referenced in Mark Hamill's post. You will get to a successful phpBB installation using either the Bitnami or non-Bitnami approach; Bitnami has simply "already done more of the steps for you", which you'll have to do manually if downloading XAMPP and installing phpBB separately.
If you download and install the PHP 7.2.x version of XAMPP, you'll copy all the phpBB files to the htdocs folder again, and then start with the phpBB new installation instructions
. You weren't really expecting to see anything at https://localhost/phpbb
yet, because phpBB is not installed yet, didn't have a database yet, etc. But you were expecting to see the installer at https://localhost/phpbb/install
, once you reached step 5 of the installation instructions.
Note that when you reach the "database settings" page
of the phpBB installer, this page is prompting you for the database user, database password and database name of a database you created for phpBB to use
, prior to starting the phpBB installer. This is not prompting you for something the phpBB installer is going to "create for you" like on most of the other installation pages.
If you use the Bitnami package for installing XAMPP and phpBB, all that is already done, and you don't use the phpBB installation instructions at all. The database and other details were already taken care of. When you go to http://localhost/phpbb/
you'll find phpBB already installed and available, and you're able to login with the founder account you specified during Bitnami installation.
Yes, by default this local XAMPP-based installation is only going to be accessible to you and not the public. Technically you can
configure your DNS name and your ISP's router/gateway to actually make that local XAMPP installation accessible to the public. But that's unlikely to be the smartest way to do it, unless you really are committed to "running the server from your home."
What's subjectively "not smart" about it is that you'll typically want to get a static IP address from your ISP. (Or resign yourself having your board offline periodically whenever your ISP assigns you a new IP address & you haven't updated your DNS name to point to the new address yet.) And/or the site will be offline whenever your computer or power is off. And how buttoned-down the security is on your XAMPP web server is now "your problem" rather than a hosting provider that is doing it for you & a thousand other customers. Not to mention that if your web server does get compromised, it's your local computer that becomes exposed, and all the important personal data that might entail.
So no, unless you have some really specific requirement to run your board from home -- and/or the purpose of the board really is fine with perhaps not being available 100% of the time -- a local XAMPP installation is probably not how you want to run an actual public site. But still a great way to start, and something you'll likely continue using in order to test things on the local XAMPP site, instead of breaking or affecting your actual public live site.