Desktop Webserver

There are many use cases for having an editable website running locally on a desktop or laptop computer. Some examples are:

  • Website development
  • Personal Information Management
  • Presentations


On Windows you can install XAMPP. XAMPP is a full web development software stack that runs on Windows, Linux, and macOS.

There are other options as well, including portable software.

Windows Desktop Demo (Experimental)

This is a pre-configured bundle that uses PHP's minimalist single-threaded built-in web server running on localhost. (4.2MB)
  1. Unzip the archive
  2. Double-click server\pmwikiserv.bat.

The edit password is demo.

OS X / macOS

Apache and PHP come packaged with macOS, formerly know as OS X. Instructions for enabling Apache and PHP are easy to find on the web.


Installing webserver software an PHP on a Linux desktop should be easy no matter what Linux distribution is installed.

Debian/Ubuntu/Linux Mint

Apache and PHP install easily on Debian/Ubuntu/Linux Mint. Linux Mint 18 (Ubuntu 16.04 LTS) only requires a single command-line command:

sudo apt-get install apache2 apache2-doc php7.2 libapache2-mod-php7.2

Browse http://localhost/ to confirm it's installed..

It could hardly be simpler. :-)

Optional: You can create a www/ symlink in your home directory. Here's a brute-force method of doing that:

sudo chown -R <yourusername>.<yourgroupname> /var/www/html
ln -s /var/www/html ~/www

From that point the Basic Setup steps work perfectly.

Optional: If your firewall is enabled, HTTP requests from other hosts will be denied. On Ubuntu and Linux Mint you can allow incoming HTTP requests with this command:

sudo ufw allow http

If your firewall isn't enabled, it probably should be. (Check with sudo ufw status to find out.) Enable your firewall and allow incoming HTTP requests with this:

sudo ufw enable
sudo ufw allow http
Page last modified on February 19, 2019, at 04:06 PM
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