WEMP Web Development Environment for Windows

3 Minute(s) to read

The following blog post is going to in-depth into how best to setup your web development environment if you are using the following stack.

The acronym expanded:

Windows, Enginx, MySQL, PHP.

  • Scripting
    • PHP 7 (FastCGI Server)
  • Database
    • MySQL (or MariaDB)
  • Web Server
    • NGINX

Alternatives

If you're not interested in spending time manually downloading and configuring the required components for setting up your own local development environment for the aforementioned stack, then there are the following alternatives.

Both are perfectly fine and make use of Apache over WAMP, which is suitable for most. However, I prefer to run my web server through NGINX for performance and configuration reasons.


Guide

Through each section I will guide you through what you must do in order to configure each component adequately.

The layout of your development environment should be as follows.

// Extracted ZIP archives and downloads for WEMP go here.
/bin/
// ZIP archives and downloads for WEMP go here.
/packages/
// The contents of your website go here.
/sites/
// Supporting scripts go here.
/scripts/

Downloads

You're going to need to download all of the mentioned above.

Tools

The following is completely optional but I recommend it for an easier development experience.

Visual Studio Code

An integrated development environment that is useful for breakpoint debugging with Windows.

Download Visual Studio Code

MySQL Workbench

This tool works with both MariaDB and MySQL server, and offers a convenient way of viewing the contents of your server instance.

Download MySQL Workbench for Windows

HeidiSQL

This visual database management tool is guaranteed to work with HeidiSQL. You may encounter some issues when using MySQL Workbench with MariaDB servers, so you're likely better off using this instead if you are intending on using MariaDB over its closed-source counterpart MySQL.

Download HeidiSQL


Configuration

The following sections outline how best to configure each component of your local development setup (WEMP).

NGINX

Configuration for NGINX will rely on using "FastCGI" functionality so that web requests received by NGINX, can be handed to a language or script interpreter, processed, and then have the output returned to the user.

MySQL or MariaDB

Windows respects table names that make use of a combination of upper and lower case characters. However, on Linux systems lower case table names are enforced by default. This can cause complications if you are intending on backing up a database that is created on your development machine (on Windows), and then importing it into your live environment that is running on Linux.

You can find out more information about this configuration option from the MySQL documents. For portability reasons, it's best that you ensure that table names match the same case in both environments.

Recommended Windows configuration:

lower_case_table_names=1

PHP 7 (FastCGI)

The following specifies that is required to get PHP up and running in a development environment on Windows.

Extensions

 

Breakpoint Debugging

For breakpoint debugging, you will require XDebug which is available from here.

Add the following properties to your php.ini file to enable it.

[XDebug]
xdebug.remote_enable=1
xdebug.remote_host=127.0.0.1
xdebug.remote_port=9001
xdebug.remote_handler=dbgp
xdebug.remote_autostart=1


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