PHP Development
PHP Development

Setting Up PHP Development Environment on Windows

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of setting up a PHP development environment on a Windows machine. PHP, a widely-used scripting language, is a critical component for web development. To get started, you’ll need to download the latest PHP source code or binary from the official website and configure it properly. We will also explore the installation of the XAMPP server, handling port issues, setting up a PHP development environment, and using VS Code for efficient PHP editing. By the end of this tutorial, you will have a fully functional PHP development environment ready to build amazing web applications.

1. Downloading and Installing PHP

The first step in setting up your PHP development environment is to download the latest PHP source code or binary from the official website. Follow these steps:

  • Go to the official PHP website (
  • Navigate to the Downloads section.
  • Choose the PHP version that suits your requirements (e.g., PHP 7.4, PHP 8.0).
  • Download the Windows version, either as a source code package or a binary installer.

Once you’ve downloaded PHP, place it in your preferred location. For instance, you can create a folder named “C:\PHP” and put the PHP files there. This step ensures that PHP is easily accessible for configuration and use.

2. Verifying PHP Installation

After placing PHP in your preferred directory, it’s essential to confirm that it’s installed correctly. You can do this by opening a command prompt and running the following command:

php -v

This command will display the installed PHP version and configuration information. If PHP is correctly installed, you’ll see the version details.

3. Installing XAMPP Server

While PHP can run independently, using a web server like XAMPP offers additional advantages for web development. XAMPP bundles PHP with Apache, MySQL, and other useful tools. Follow these steps to install XAMPP:

  • Visit the official XAMPP website.
  • Download the Windows version of XAMPP.
  • Run the installer and follow the installation instructions.

4. Handling Default Port Issues

In some cases, you may encounter port conflicts, especially if port 80 is already in use on your machine. This conflict can prevent Apache from starting in XAMPP. To resolve this issue, follow these steps:

  • Stop the Windows service named “World Wide Web Publishing Service.”
  • Start XAMPP.
  • Try to run Apache again.

By taking these steps, you can free up port 80 and allow XAMPP’s Apache server to run without conflicts.

5. Setting Up PHP Development Environment

Now that you have PHP and XAMPP installed and configured, it’s time to set up your PHP development environment. Follow these steps to ensure everything is ready:

5.1. Confirming PHP is Running

Open your web browser and enter “localhost” in the address bar. If PHP is running correctly, you should see a default PHP website or a XAMPP welcome page.

5.2. Using VS Code for PHP Editing

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is an excellent choice for PHP development due to its versatility and extensive extensions. Here’s how to set up VS Code for PHP editing:

  • Download and install VS Code from the official Microsoft website.
  • Launch VS Code.
  • Install PHP-related extensions like “PHP IntelliSense” and “PHP Debug” to enhance your development experience. You can find these extensions in the VS Code marketplace.

With VS Code and the relevant extensions installed, you’ll have a powerful code editor tailored for PHP development.

5.3. Testing PHP Files

To execute PHP files, place them in the “htdocs” folder within your XAMPP installation directory. Typically, this folder is located at “C:\xampp\htdocs” on your PC. Once your PHP file is in place, you can test it by navigating to it in your web browser using a URL like

Congratulations! You now have a fully functional PHP development environment on your Windows machine. You can begin creating, editing, and testing PHP scripts with confidence.

In this guide, we’ve covered the essential steps, from downloading PHP to configuring XAMPP and setting up an efficient development environment with VS Code. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced developer, this setup will empower you to build web applications with PHP seamlessly.

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