Install PHP, Apache, And MySQL In Mac Without MAMP

Using MAMP is probably the easiest way to have PHP, Apache, and MySQL up and running in OS X. You simply put the application in the Application folder, launch the app, and hit the Start Server button and off you go.

But, OS X has actually been shipped with PHP, and Apache built in so why not use them to develop and run websites locally instead of using third party apps like MAMP or the likes? That way, we will occupy less space for apps, and we will also learn a few things in the process of getting them to work.

In this post, we will show you how to configure PHP, Apache, and MySQL in OS X without MAMP.

Step 1: Enable Sublime Text Command Line

First, since I’m using Sublime Text, I would like to enable the Sublime Text command line so I will be able to open files and folders through Terminal, and edit them within Sublime Text. Here’s how to do this.

1. Create a symlink of Sublime Text subl binary in the ~/bin folder with this command:

ln -s "/Applications/Sublime" ~/bin/subl

2. Then run subl --help command.

It will return the Usage and the list of Arguments that can be used with subl, as you can see from the screenshot below. In addition, this also ensures that subl is registered and working.

Step 2: Configure PHP

As mentioned, PHP has already been installed in OS X. You can check the PHP version that is installed in Terminal with the following command command:

php -v

Enable PHP

The PHP module, however, is disabled by default. We have to enable it in order to use and execute PHP scripts in Apache server:

1. Type the following command to open httpd.conf in Sublime Text.

sudo subl /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

2. Uncomment the following line by removing the hash sign #.

LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/

See the following screenshot for more detail:

Enable PHP.ini

PHP configurations such as Increasing Memory Limit, File Upload Allowance, and Set the Maximum Upload File Size are done through php.ini file, which also is disabled by default. Let’s enable it.

Go to Terminal and run the following command line. This command copies the php.ini.default and rename it to php.ini.

sudo cp /private/etc/php.ini.default /private/etc/php.ini

Step 3: Configure Apache

OS X is also shipped with Apache. You can type the following command in Terminal to start Apache server.

sudo apachectl start

To stop Apache type:

sudo apachectl stop

Access localhost in the Browser to verify that the Apache server is working. If it does, it should show “It Works!”.

Change DocumentRoot

The default Apache DocumentRoot, where we should put our website documents, is located at /Library/WebServer/Documents. But all my existing web projects reside in /Users/username/Sites. Let’s change the DocumentRoot to that folder:

1. Run the following command lines consecutively to create user-level configuration file. Change the username with your OS X shortname account.

cd /etc/apache2/users/
touch username.conf

2. Open this file in Sublime Text

sudo subl username.conf

3. Then, add the following lines in.

DocumentRoot "/Users/username/Sites"
<Directory "/Users/username/Sites">
    Options All
    AllowOverride All
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all

Change Apache Port Number

Apache, by default, run on port 80. But, since I was using MAMP that uses port 8888, I’m making Apache point to this port number instead. That way, I will not need to change the site urls for all my exisiting websites.

1. Open httpd.conf and comment-out the following line by adding a hash sign, so it won’t listen to two ports at the same time.

#Listen 80

2. Then open username.conf and add:

Listen 8888
ServerName localhost:8888

3. After all the above configurations, save httpd.conf and username.conf, and type the command below to restart Apache:

sudo apachectl restart

4. Lastly, access localhost:8888 in the browser. It will show all the directories that are stored within ~/Sites folder, as shown below.

Run Apache at Startup

You might not want to launch Terminal and type sudo apachectl start repeatedly to start Apache server so let’s make it run automatically at startup. To do this, run the following command:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist

Wrap Up

In this tutorial, we have configured PHP and Apache. Technically, we can run a PHP website already. You can test it out by creating a PHP file named phpinfo.php in ~/Sites and put this code phpinfo() in. Launch the file in the browser: localhost/phpinfo.php. It will show information of the current PHP configuration.

In the next part of this series, we will show you how to install MySQL and make it all work together. So, stay tuned.


Thoriq is a writer for with a passion for web design and development. He is the author of Responsive Web Design by Examples, where he covered his best approaches in developing responsive websites quickly with a framework.


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