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Web Server Basics - Apache, MySQL and PHP

Every web master needs a basic understanding of how the web works. Educate yourself about the fundamentals of Apache, PHP and MySQL and you will have a much easier time managing your site and a lot less frustration in maintaining it. The aim here is to introduce some of the common concepts of the three primary web applications supporting your web site.

There is a very technical (a.k.a. 'Geeky') side to having a web site - and while we may be warned to 'pay no attention to what's behind the curtain', as a Christian web master you do need to at least peak behind the curtain once in a while and know what's there.


A web server is a computer, just like the one you use to send and receive email, shop online, or watch YouTube, only it is specifically designed to present web pages to people. At the heart of your web server will be the underlying operating system (OS). There are 2 primary choices of OS - Linux (and its derivatives) and Windows. People develop preferences, mostly because of familiarity and comfortability - I've worked with both and they each have their little nuances and quirks, but they both are suited for the job


Your site will need something to handle requests for web pages and this is the job Apache web server has. Microsoft also makes a web server (IIS - Internet Information Server), but for the purposes of running a XOOPS-based site, Apache is the preferred solution.


Sites are becoming more reliant on databases and a XOOPS site requires a database. Currently, XOOPS supports MySQL databases and, luckily, MySQL is the primary database provided by the majority of web hosts.

PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor

The final component your site requires is a programming language. PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor is the one XOOPS uses and, again, is readily available from most web site hosting companies.

While all this may seem foreign to you, or it may seem rather simplistic, a basic understanding of these 4 things and how they work together will make your job as a web master much easier. And what better way to get to know them than to set up a web server of your own! If you haven't done it, it can be rather daunting, especially if you attempt to acquire and setup each individual component. It is not impossible to do, but there are easier alternatives for the uninitiated. Packages such as XAMPP and Universal Server are available for most operating systems and are quite easy to install. Just download, decompress and run the installation wizard on your computer. Once you get it installed, you will have a fully functional web server you can use for developing and testing your web site!

  2. Customizing Your Web Server
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