I know extensive knowledge of HTML but thats just about it when it comes to webpages, so I want to move on to something much better. I have a text book about PHP but i dont understand what its on about. Anyway, to get started, where and how can I get all the software required to make a PHP website.


You don't actually need any.

If your web server can handle PHP, all you need is a text editor and as long as you can upload files it will work.

I use this editor:


If you want to run PHP files locally then you need to install PHP and server software. Several variations possible but they take a little bit of setting up no matter how easy the installation guide tells you it is ;)



Thanks. What do you mean by webserver? well i know what you mean but cant i just use my normal pc to create the PHP?

Another question to add, what does it mean by binary or source code installation.

Yes, but unless you have a server with PHP running on it you won't be able to see the pages.

Your webspace must have PHP capability (and most free ones don't). In that case you have to install server software on your PC and put PHP on that.

But unless you have a webspace to upload to that can handle PHP no one else is going to be able to see your pages.

Another question to add, what does it mean by binary or source code installation.

You don't need the sourcecode.

Aaah k yeah ive got Apache but i dont understand how to install and set it up

So to create a PHP webpage, you need PHP installed and Apache for the webserver?

Yes, if you want to run them locally on your machine. You also need mySQL if you plan to use that.

And it isn't as easy as it sounds, and you may find some things don't work (sending form mail, for example).

To start with, it might be best to stick with your webspace (if it handles PHP) because that way you can stay focused on PHP and not all the messing about associated with setting up Apache on your system (i.e. trying to figure out if something isn't working because of your PHP code or the set up on your system).

Ok. When I run the installation for PHP, it asks me to enter the "address of your SMTP server" and " 'from' address for the mail function". What does all that mean?

This is exactly the point I was making.

If I were you I'd forget it for now and stick with your web server. Or get some web space which allows PHP.


But to install PHP on my machine I need to enter those details. So do I just do anything for now?

When I set it up, all I did was put my normal pop server names in.

But as I have said, I could never get the set up to work properly. Single pages were served fine, but as soon as I tried to call another PHP page the system reported an error - one which didn't occur on a web-based server. I wasn't alone in experiencing the problem, but by then it didn't matter. And there were other quirks as well.

But that was 3 or 4 years ago.

Being online these days with high-speed connections means there's not much point in going through all the hassle unless you are doing it professionally (IMO). I always upload my scripts directly and test them there - after all, that's where they need to work.

There are a few options for PHP on your local machine. You can use the PHP Command line interface, included in PHP 5's distribution. (But not necessarily PHP 4... Don't quote me on this, I don't use PHP 4.)

The other option is to use a all-in-one package such as EasyPHP or something similar. There was some discussion about this less than a month ago... You may want to search for the thread.