Most PHP developers find it easiest to work with a running web server on their local machine. This allows you to test your work as you go, without having to upload it to a hosting environment. Therefore, it's suggested that at this point you install Apache, PHP, and (if you are using it), MySQL. This step is required if you plan to use the php debugger. Together these tools are often referred to as AMP (or AMPP if you include Perl as well as PHP).
Installing AMP Using the XAMPP DistributionEdit
XAMPP is a software bundle which includes everything you need to install Apache/MySQL/PHP/Perl in one go. It's available for Windows, Linux and Solaris. Particularly on a Windows machine, this is definitely the fastest way to get up and running with these tools, as someone else has done the integration and configuration work for you. Under Linux, it may be a quick solution to set up, will not be as easy to automatically maintain (or integrate with other packages) as if you installed these tools separately with your distribution's package management system (such as: apt, YaST, emerge, or up2date). This is covered in the next section.
To install XAMPP, visit their website at http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html. Select your operating system (Windows, Linux or Solaris), and then follow the simple installation instructions found on that page.
Note: Since Apache needs to be able to run your php files against php, your workspace, which contains all of your php files, must be in the Apache web root (htdocs folder). By default, this is C:\apachefriends\xampp\htdocs , but may vary depending on where you install XAMPP to. The setting can also be configured in httpd.conf