KB Article for XAMPP

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KB Article for XAMPP

Post by thecoalman »

Here is draft copy of the updated article for installing XAMPP on Windows. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Original article for reference: https://www.phpbb.com/support/docs/en/3 ... eb-server/
Article Title:
Installing Developmental Server on Windows Using XAMPP

Article Description:
Installing developmental server on Widows so you can use phpBB on a local machine for testing purposes.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This article explains how to set up a developmental web server on your local computer complete with PHP, MariaDB, and phpMyAdmin using XAMPP software. While XAMPP is available for multiple operating systems and some of the instructions listed here will be applicable to those operating systems, this article is intended specifically for Windows based systems. It was written based on XAMPP version 7.4.7 for Windows, newer or older versions of XAMPP may have slightly different instructions.


Preinstall Notes
  • XAMPP supports current versions of Windows and some more recent ones, check the documentation on the version you are downloading for compatibility. Older versions of XAMPP can be downloaded from their archives if you need support for older versions of Windows.
  • XAMPP comes with MariaDB which is MySQL compatible. The XAMPP installation package and control panel list it as MySQL. For the purposes of this article the names MariaDB and MySQL are interchangeable.
  • If you have installed any previous web server or MySQL software, please uninstall or completely disable it before proceeding to ensure no conflicts arise.
  • When accessing a https URL served from XAMPP the default SSL certificate used by XAMPP will not be valid and the browser will issue a warning about an invalid certificate. Your browser should have an option to make an exception and you can safely do that in this case.

Download XAMPP

The newest versions of XAMPP can be downloaded from their main download page.

You must select a version of XAMPP with a PHP version supported by your version of phpBB. Numbering for the current versions of XAMPP are based on the PHP versions they utilize, e.g. XAMPP version 7.4.7 utilizes PHP version 7.4.7. If you need support for an older version of PHP because you have older version of phpBB, older versions of XAMPP are available from their archives.


XAMPP Installation

If you downloaded a zip file unzip it and move the "xampp" folder to the root of C drive. Do not place in Windows directories as it may cause permissions issues. Find the file xampp-control.exe in the xampp folder and run it to start XAMPP.

If you downloaded XAMPP's .EXE installer from their main download page double click the file to begin installation. Confirm that you wish to run the installer if any security warning boxes pop up.
  • The XAMMP installation dialog box will present you with options to install different components, the default is to install all components and you can safely install all of them. Minimally you should have Apache, MySQL, PHP and phpMyAdmin selected. CLICK NEXT>>
  • Next you need to indicate where you'd like to install XAMPP. The default is C:\xampp and recommended to avoid potential issues with Windows permissions. CLICK NEXT>>
  • Select your language. CLICK NEXT>>
  • The next dialog box is informational about Bitnami which can be used to install web applications like phpBB, Drupal and others in your XAMPP installation. phpBB recommends you do not use these installers for phpBB. Generally they may install out of date version of phpBB and sometimes may alter the installation. If you wish to immediately continue with the installation of XAMPP uncheck "Learn more about Bitnami for XAMPP". CLICK NEXT>>
  • You are now on the "Ready to install " dialog box, click next again to begin installing XAMPP.
XAMPP will begin extracting all the necessary files and begin installing. Depending on the speed of your computer this will usually take a few minutes.

At this point you may be presented with Windows Firewall alert. For security purposes click cancel to not allow it through the firewall. Note this may disable some phpBB features that require internet access like the version check in phpBB's administration control panel. The security of allowing XAMPP through your firewall is outside of the scope of this topic, consult their documentation.

You have now completed installation, click finish to open XAMPP's control panel.


Running XAMPP

In XAMPP's control panel click the Start buttons next to both "Apache" and "MySql." You do not need to start other services if they are listed. When starting MySQL you may get another prompt from Windows firewall, once again select cancel. "Running" should appear next to each of these services and the "Start" button should change to "Stop."

You can now check to see if it's working by visiting http://localhost/ with your web browser. You should be greeted with a "Welcome to XAMPP" web page.

Optionally you can configure Apache and MySQL to start automatically when XAMPP's control panel is started. Click the button labeled "Config" in the upper right, put a check next to Apache and MySQL under the section for auto start and save. The next time you start XAMPP they will start automatically.


MySQL User & Database Setup

Next we need to set up a new MySQL user and database for phpBB to use using phpMyAdmin. Next to the "MySql" option in XAMPP's control panel, click the "Admin" button. Your default browser will open phpMyAdmin, optionally you can open it in a web browser without XAMPP's control panel using http://localhost/phpmyadmin/.

phpMyAdmin is a very popular web application for administering MySQL. It's also available in your hosting control panel for a live web site on nearly any host. If you're going to be using existing phpBB database/files or have database credentials provided by your live web host you can simplify things by utilizing them here. For an existing phpBB forum they can be found in phpBB's config.php file. You would need to contact your host for live web site.

You may use any credentials here but if for example your live web host issues you different credentials then config.php will need to be edited before uploading it to live web host.

On the top menu in phpMyAdmin click the "User Accounts" tab and then click the link "Add a new User" a little down the page on the left.
  • Enter a "User name".
  • For "Host name" leave as default "Any host".
  • Enter a password.
  • If you wish to create a database with same name as the username you have entered check the box.
  • Next to Global privileges check "Check All".
  • At the very bottom click the Go button.
You should be presented with a confirmation screen that you successfully created a new user.

If you did not create a database in the previous step next we need to create one, click the Databases tab at the top of phpMyAdmin.
  • Under "Create new database" enter a name for the database.
  • In the drop down box select "utf8_bin".
  • Click "Create".


You should receive a confirmation that the database has been created and you are now ready to install phpBB.


XAMPP's htdocs Folder

Assuming you have installed XAMPP in C:\xampp, using Windows file explorer open the folder C:\xampp\htdocs. This folder is the equivalent of html_docs or similarly named folder on a live web server. When you open http://localhost/ in your browser this is the root directory used to serve files.

The files and folders in XAMPP's htdocs folder are just sample files and can be safely deleted at this point. If you do not want to delete them move them somewhere else.


Using an Existing phpBB Installation with XAMPP

If you are using an existing phpBB database and files copied from a live web site it is best practice to follow existing directory structure. If the live forum is installed in example.com/forum/, create a folder in htdocs named "forum" and then copy your existing phpBB files and folders to it. You will also need to import your existing phpBB data into MySQL. Once you have completed both operations you should be able to access your local forum at http://localhost/, http://localhost/forum/ or whatever directory you copied the files to.


Fresh Installation of phpBB with XAMPP

For a fresh install of phpBB, download the newest version of phpBB, unzip the download and you should have a folder called phpBB3 which has many files and folders in it. If you want to access your forum from http://localhost/ copy all of the contents of the folder phpBB3 to htdocs. If instead you wanted to access it from http://localhost/forum/, create a new folder in htdocs called forum and copy all the contents of phpBB3 to it.

Next open http://localhost/install/ with your browser or If you copied the files to sub folder point the browser there e.g. http://localhost/forum/install/.

When asked for the database information use the database name , username, and password we created in the steps above. Once phpBB is done installing delete the install folder in your phpBB directory. You should now be able to access the forum.

Note that if you are following an install guide here on phpBB.com, the instructions for setting file and folder permissions do not have to be done. However, if you upload these files to live server they permissions will need to be changed on live server.


php.ini Settings (optional)

One problem you may encounter with both XAMPP and a live server is limitations set in the php.ini for file sizes, script execution time etc. Importing a large database using phpMyAdmin for example can fail because of the file size or the length of time it takes. While these limitations are important for a live server, they can be set very high on local server. In XAMPP's control panel next to "Apache" click the "Config" button and select "PHP". This will open the php.ini file in your default text editor. Find the following values and edit them. Examples of higher values:

Code: Select all

upload_max_filesize = 999M
post_max_size = 999M
memory_limit = 1024M
max_execution_time = 999
Once you edit these values save the file. In XAMPP's control panel click stop next to "Apache" and then click start.


Command Prompt (optional)

The button marked "Shell" in XAMPP's control panel opens a command prompt, Unix like commands can be issued from this command prompt. This can be particularly useful for importing and exporting large databases. It can also be used to issue commands to phpBB's CLI.


Windows Host File (optional)

phpBB is "smart" enough that the links it generates will use http://localhost/ but this is not ideal. You can direct requests for your domain to XAMPP by editing Windows host file. Open C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts. Add these lines at end of file:

Code: Select all

127.0.0.1 yourdomain.com
127.0.0.1 www.yourdomain.com
Save the file, you may be prompted by Windows for administrative privileges to save the file. Once saved you should be able to access the local install in XAMPP when you use your browser to open the URL yourdomain.com. However, cache and DNS issues may be a problem. Minimally close the browser, reopen it and clear the browser cache. Further steps may be required, search the web for other options. Some browsers have extensions specifically for this.

To revert back to live domain once again open C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts and add a pound sign at the start of the lines:

Code: Select all

#127.0.0.1 yourdomain.com
#127.0.0.1 www.yourdomain.com
Save the file, once again you may need to clear your browser cache and take other steps.

Multiple XAMPP Installations (optional)

If for example you want multiple versions of PHP available there are different ways you can do this. The easiest way is to have multiple copies of XAMPP. When you install or copy different different versions of XAMPP instead of the default folder name use one based on its version, if it's XAMPP version 7.4.7 name the folder xampp747. Find the executable file xampp-control.exe and create shortcut to it to start XAMPP. Be sure to name the shortcut appropriately.

Note that while you can have multiple copies of XAMPP on a system you cannot run them simultaneously.


Further Support

If you have questions concerning XAMPP related issues consult their documentation or you can try XAMPP's forum. If you are having trouble with using or installing phpBB you may use our Support Forum to help resolve those issues.
Last edited by Mick on Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:51 am, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: Install phpBB on pc

Post by david63 »

thecoalman wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:42 am
Here is draft copy of the updated article.
Out of interest is there any particular reason why XAMPP is being used as opposed to WAMPP? I would agree that XAMPP in its day was probably the better option but with the frequent updates, particularly of PHP, WAMPP is far superior as you can change versions with a couple of clicks.
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Re: Install phpBB on pc

Post by thecoalman »

david63 wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:05 am
Out of interest is there any particular reason why XAMPP is being used as opposed to WAMPP?
It's an existing article and I use XAMPP. I've not used WAMPP, you always create your own KB article for WAMPP.
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Re: Install phpBB on pc

Post by EA117 »

thecoalman wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:42 am
phpBB is "smart" enough that links it's generates will use http://localhost/ but this is not ideal. Open C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts. Add these line at end of file:
Instead of this article saying "you MUST replicate all aspects in order to run an instance of your phpBB site locally", should the article perhaps instead default to "the other direction."

Which is to acknowledge you won't be running the local site with SSL even if your production site uses it. That your cookie settings are by default going to be stepping on the cookies for your production site until you change the cookie prefix (and possibly cookie secure). That some of your .htaccess rules might need to be disabled if they redirect to the production board. And anything else we think of that they'll need to "correct" in order to achieve "I'm running this local site in addition to the production site."

And then acknowledge that you "can" setup the local server to replicate all aspects of the production site, but that's what's more complicated and out of scope for the document?


Yes, if I wanted the locally-installed XAMPP site to be "pretending to be my production board in every way", making it also think it's still on my production DNS name is definitely possible. And potentially even required, if I'm going to try and bring my SSL certificate over to the local machine and try to configure the local Apache to use that same certificate, etc. But achieving that is a whole additional scope of documentation.

Isn't the more practical reality that many phpBB users are going to be running this local server "in addition to continuing to access the production board", from the same computer even. The recommendation "redirect any attempts to access your DNS name to the local server" -- as though this is a "required" aspect -- seems like it sets them up for complications for continuing to access and administer their production board.

Indeed there are cases where "the board I'm setting up only needs to exist on this local machine", but that seems like the rare exception compared to most cases where "install a local copy of your board to try it" gets recommend. To me it just seemed like "embracing the reality" that "you are setting up two separate servers and phpBB boards which you will be accessing concurrently" might ultimately be the better understanding to impart. Rather than treating it like "this local installation will now be the only board you access, and must be that way."

You might see some other value there; this is just what definitely comes to mind for me when seeing that recommendation from the document.


For the "Using an Existing phpBB Installation with XAMPP" section:

May be a helpful prompt to acknowledge that you should either create the same database name and database user credentials as the production site (so that bringing the production site files over as-is works as described), or that you will need to change your config.php of the existing site files to match whatever alternate credentials you create will be necessary.


Other things that come to mind that I keep having to overcome on XAMPP, which you may or may not consider or might be useful points without getting too deep:
  • Change the PHP.INI configuration to allow phpMyAdmin to be able to restore the database size I have from the production site. This is "one of the first challenges they're going to hit" when restoring an existing site, so might be very helpful to have a hint for solving it.
  • Acknowledging that you can install multiple XAMPP installations concurrently, in separate folders. e.g. C:\Files\xampp.5.6.40\ and C:\Files\xampp.7.2.26\, etc., for those who need both to run different versions of their site, and/or to run through a phpBB 3.0.x upgrade scenario, etc. You just can't run them concurrently since they both want the same ports, and must shutdown one in order to start the other.
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Re: Install phpBB on pc

Post by thecoalman »

Firstly EA it's general article and I don't want to complicate it too much but also provide as much info as possible.
EA117 wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:31 pm
Which is to acknowledge you won't be running the local site with SSL even if your production site uses it.
As far as I know you just need to make an exception in the browser to allow invalid certificate. That's covered in the article, I never have any trouble with my live server settings working on XAMPP over https.
That your cookie settings are by default going to be stepping on the cookies for your production site until you change the cookie prefix (and possibly cookie secure).
I always end up logged out when switching between local and live site.

Isn't the more practical reality that many phpBB users are going to be running this local server "in addition to continuing to access the production board", from the same computer even. The recommendation "redirect any attempts to access your DNS name to the local server" -- as though this is a "required" aspect -- seems like it sets them up for complications for continuing to access and administer their production board.
"not ideal" does not translate to "required", I'll add some wording to make that more clear.

"this local installation will now be the only board you access, and must be that way."
There is directions to revert to live server. It wasn't included in my post but the title and description of the article is:
Title:
Installing Developmental Server on Windows Using XAMPP

Description:
Installing developmental server on Widows so you can use phpBB on a local machine for testing purposes.
;)

For the "Using an Existing phpBB Installation with XAMPP" section:

May be a helpful prompt to acknowledge that you should either create the same database name and database user credentials as the production site (so that bringing the production site files over as-is works as described), or that you will need to change your config.php of the existing site files to match whatever alternate credentials you create will be necessary.
That's covered in the previous section.

  • Change the PHP.INI configuration to allow phpMyAdmin to be able to restore the database size I have from the production site. This is "one of the first challenges they're going to hit" when restoring an existing site, so might be very helpful to have a hint for solving it.
  • Acknowledging that you can install multiple XAMPP installations concurrently, in separate folders. e.g. C:\Files\xampp.5.6.40\ and C:\Files\xampp.7.2.26\, etc., for those who need both to run different versions of their site, and/or to run through a phpBB 3.0.x upgrade scenario, etc. You just can't run them concurrently since they both want the same ports, and must shutdown one in order to start the other.
I was considering both and still am but my advice for importing/exporting database would be to use command prompt. :)
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Re: KB Article for XAMPP

Post by AmigoJack »

thecoalman wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:42 am
XAMPP Installation

After downloading XAMPP run the installer by opening the file you downloaded
That's a shortcut not all might expect. A text more appropriate would be:
After downloading the XAMPP installer run it (speak: double click). There are also versions without an installer (i.e. ZIPs that you only need to extract).
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Re: KB Article for XAMPP

Post by thecoalman »

AmigoJack wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:40 pm
There are also versions without an installer (i.e. ZIPs that you only need to extract).

What is install instructions for this?
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Re: KB Article for XAMPP

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thecoalman wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:23 pm
AmigoJack wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:40 pm
There are also versions without an installer (i.e. ZIPs that you only need to extract).

What is install instructions for this?
Like every portable app:
No installation is required for portable package, therefore you may put the downloaded executable anywhere in disk. From there you may run directly. You may also run it from external flash drive.
Ref.: https://xampp.site/xampp-portable/
david63 wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:05 am
Out of interest is there any particular reason why XAMPP is being used as opposed to WAMPP? I would agree that XAMPP in its day was probably the better option but with the frequent updates, particularly of PHP, WAMPP is far superior as you can change versions with a couple of clicks.
WAMP64 it is the best: https://phpbbstudio.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=172 - indeed.
http://wampserver.aviatechno.net/

There is an article in the phpBB's Blog btw, not really up-to-date though:
https://blog.phpbb.com/2017/02/28/how-t ... n-windows/
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Re: KB Article for XAMPP

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie »

just a little off topic here; does anyone know how to completely stop phpbb from trying to phone home when running in wamp or xampp or usbwebserver etc.

I have come to the conclusion that phpbb trying to phone home for different reasons is what make every one of the lamp stacks so slow on local host. in my way of thinking when you are running this on your home computer it should be very very fast compared to having to travel across the interwebs.


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Re: KB Article for XAMPP

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Please define "trying to phone home".
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Re: KB Article for XAMPP

Post by RMcGirr83 »

3Di wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:00 am
Please define "trying to phone home".
Trying to query the phpBB website for information whether that be for extensions or what I'm not sure.
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Re: KB Article for XAMPP

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Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:15 am
just a little off topic here; does anyone know how to completely stop phpbb from trying to phone home when running in wamp or xampp or usbwebserver etc.
Off the top of my head you can serve multiple domains from XAMPP. Assuming you don't need to use the computer to access phpbb.com set it in hosts file to local machine. Return a 404 from XAMPP. I'm just thinking out loud here, no idea if t would work.
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Re: KB Article for XAMPP

Post by 3Di »

RMcGirr83 wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:52 am
3Di wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:00 am
Please define "trying to phone home".
Trying to query the phpBB website for information whether that be for extensions or what I'm not sure.
Everything that is executed both locally and live can be tracked by the browsers' development tools (network tab IE.). So if there is no evidence of these mysterious calls, let's forget it. Moreover the browser calls/connections are clearly visible also and simply in the bottom bar during the hand-shakes, what are we talking about? A local server is simply an emulator and as such it needs more or less long times that depend on the processor(s)/RAM and many other factors. Have you ever tried running an Amiga emulator on a Netbook and instead on an AMD64 tower with a worthy graphics card? Maybe it's a long shot comparison, but it's to make the concept. Here we emulate on Win§ow$ a server system with Apache, MySql etc... With my system I have a relatively short response time, very acceptable, certainly not as fast as on my live server but they give me another power and another OS that better suits a real server. We talk about hardware and software system, architecture, compatibility. Also the speed of a USBserver depends on the USB protocols it uses (PC vs USB key) and can not be in any case compared (shortly if your PC it is obsolete and slow to begin with, just change it).

EDIT: this is the response time of a phpBB 3.3.1 fresh install on my WAMP64 installation (With Windows7 64 Ultimate).
2020-06-24 05_53_02-3.3.x - Index page.png
2020-06-24 05_53_02-3.3.x - Index page.png (5.15 KiB) Viewed 439 times
Which is quite the same as per the live server. :)
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Re: KB Article for XAMPP

Post by thecoalman »

3Di wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:31 am
Everything that is executed both locally and live can be tracked by the browsers' development tools (network tab IE.).
I don't see any network activity in the browser for the version check. Presumably its the script making the request server side?
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Re: KB Article for XAMPP

Post by 3Di »

thecoalman wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:23 am
3Di wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:31 am
Everything that is executed both locally and live can be tracked by the browsers' development tools (network tab IE.).
I don't see any network activity in the browser for the version check. Presumably its the script making the request server side?
I do?
2020-06-24 06_54_44-Strumenti di sviluppo - Manage extensions - http___localhost_qi_boards_33x_adm_i.png


Btw here we are speaking about the slowlyness of a local stack which BTW seems it doesn't happens to me. :)
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