25 Sep 2009
I’ve mentioned MAMP before. It’s a self-contained package for Mac OS X containing Apache, MySQL, PHP and associated goodies, and is far better than fiddling with the built-in web server (only to have some of your changes wiped out by OS updates). And it’s free.
MAMP PRO isn’t free, but I highly recommend buying it, even if you’re someone who only does some light web development with static files. It lets you easily set up multiple sites with their own local domains and configure things in one place. For example, here’s a screenshot of my setup (with hush-hush client sites removed):
All of the domains listed down the left can be accessed via web browsers on the same machine, and the right hand side shows some of the settings for the development version of this site. Ticking ‘Local name resolution’ makes it set up a local DNS entry with the specified ‘Server Name’, port 80 is the HTTP default, and I’ve chosen to put everything within the main Sites folder each OS X user account has.
I don’t recommend using MAMP as a public-facing server unless you know what you’re doing, it’s best to keep it safely firewalled off, but it doesn’t require much technical knowledge to get up and running.