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Installing Apache Web Servr & Php To Winxp Machine


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Hi everyone,


I'm going to try installing Apache Web Server to my Windows XP machine soon with the ultimate goal of installing PHP so I can have the ability to run and test PHP scripts on my own computer. Before I do so, I'd like to know what security issues this poses for me.


Pardon me for being naive, but does installing Apache to my machine make it a web server that is accessible to the general public, like our accounts at TCH? I have two computers, one runs Win2K and the other WinXP. They are connected via a router, and as far as I know, the router is the only thing we use as a firewall. Our DSL connection through SBC-Yahoo has some kind of security features, but I am not sure what those are, exactly.


Can anyone please tell me if there is anything I need to do to make sure that my machines are just as invisible to the outside world after installing Apache and PHP as they are now in pre-Apache and pre-PHP configurations?



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Kasey, installing Apache will turn your computer into a web server, yes. Actually, the server is the software, not the machine. We're just used to calling the machine-software pair a web server, but the "real" server is the software, not the machine :)


As for your security concerns, this is my opinion:


if your computer was connected directly to the internet, then yes, your computer would be open to anyone who would know it's IP address. In such a case, I'd strongly recommend installing a good firewall (ZoneAlarm, for example) to protect your computer from strangers. And I'd suggest this even if you weren't going to install Apache B)

But being behind a router, you can probably trust the router to filter unwanted incoming connections. Unless your router suffers from a major security flaw, no one will even be able to tell you're running a web server on your machine - or any other machine in the network. The only thing you have to be sure is that you keep your router constantly up to date with firmware upgrades and make sure the security settings are correct.

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Once you install Apache you will be able to access it via http://localhost/


if you wish to be able to access your machine from the outside world - ie the internet - try setting up an account at http://www.dyndns.org/ or http://www.noip.com


A nice quick way to install Apache and PHP (and heckuva lot of other things), check out Apache2Triad http://apache2triad.sourceforge.net/ All the settings are configured and so all you need to do is just point the installed at a directory and boom you've got a full fledged server.


Like Raul said you'll need to configure things like firewalls and routers etc. to allow apache to work properly.

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Thank you to Raul and Arvind for all the information! Also, I don't think he's been reading this particular topic in the forums, but I want to make sure to give a big thanks to TCH-Bruce for providing me with the information about how to install Apache on a Windows XP computer.


I guess my next step is to see what type of software firewall we have installed, if any, and go from there. My biggest concern is for hackers to see our computers on the internet and break into them, which is why I had been so reticent to set up a web server on my own computer before. But it's becoming too big of a pain in the you-know-what to use my TCH account to test my PHP scripts (usually, I make small gradual changes to scripts when testing, so I'm uploading my updated files constantly). I therefore choose to learn as much as I can before making the plunge into the world of Apache web servers!



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