Installing Apache, PHP, and MySQL on Mac OS X Yosemite

Main Thread 4 min read

macOS Update: While these instructions still work, there are new posts for recent versions of macOS, the latest being Install Apache, PHP, and MySQL on macOS Mojave.

PHP Update: Mac OS X Yosemite comes pre-installed with PHP version 5.5 which has reached its end of life. After you complete this post, you should upgrade PHP on Mac OS X.

I recently upgraded to Mac OS X Yosemite. It seems Mac OS X Yosemite makes my original post on installing Apache, PHP, and MySQL on Mac OS X obsolete. Specifically, Yosemite includes Apache 2.4. This post is a complete update for installing Apache, PHP, and MySQL on Mac OS X Yosemite.

A reminder that Mac OS X runs atop UNIX. So most UNIX software installs easily on Mac OS X. Furthermore, Apache and PHP come packaged with Mac OS X. To create a local web server, all you need to do is enable them and install MySQL.

I am aware of the web server software available for Mac OS X, notably MAMP. These get you started quickly. But they forego the learning experience and, as most developers report, can become difficult to manage.

Getting Started

First, open the Terminal app and switch to the root user to avoid permission issues while running these commands.

sudo su -

Enable Apache on Mac OS X

apachectl start

Verify It works! by accessing http://localhost

Enable PHP for Apache

First, make a backup of the default Apache configuration. This is good practice and serves as a comparison against future versions of Mac OS X.

cd /etc/apache2/
cp httpd.conf httpd.conf.bak

Now edit the Apache configuration. Feel free to use TextEdit if you are not familiar with vi.

vi httpd.conf

Uncomment the following line (remove #):

1LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/

Restart Apache:

apachectl restart

You can verify PHP is enabled by creating a phpinfo() page in your DocumentRoot.

The default DocumentRoot for Mac OS X Yosemite is /Library/WebServer/Documents. You can verify this from your Apache configuration.

grep DocumentRoot httpd.conf

Now create the phpinfo() page in your DocumentRoot:

echo '<?php phpinfo();' > /Library/WebServer/Documents/phpinfo.php

Verify PHP by accessing http://localhost/phpinfo.php

Install MySQL on Mac OS X

Note: If you are upgrading MySQL you should skip this section and instead read this.

  1. Download the MySQL DMG for Mac OS X
  2. Install MySQL

The README suggests creating aliases for mysql and mysqladmin. However there are other commands that are helpful such as mysqldump. Instead, I updated my path to include /usr/local/mysql/bin.

export PATH=/usr/local/mysql/bin:$PATH

Note: You will need to open a new Terminal window or run the command above for your path to update.

I also run mysql_secure_installation. While this isn't necessary, it's good practice.

Connect PHP and MySQL

You need to ensure PHP and MySQL can communicate with one another. There are several options to do so. I do the following:

cd /var
mkdir mysql
cd mysql
ln -s /tmp/mysql.sock mysql.sock

Additional Configuration (optional)

The default configuration for Apache 2.4 on Mac OS X seemed pretty lean. For example, common modules like mod_rewrite were disabled. You may consider enabling this now to avoid forgetting they are disabled in the future.

I edited my Apache Configuration:

vi /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

I uncommented the following lines (remove #):

1LoadModule deflate_module libexec/apache2/
2LoadModule expires_module libexec/apache2/
3LoadModule rewrite_module libexec/apache2/

Note: Previous version of Mac OS X ran Apache 2.2. If you upgraded OS X and previously configured Apache, you may want to read more about upgrading to to Apache 2.4 from Apache 2.2.

If you develop multiple projects and would like each to have a unique url, you can configure Apache VirtualHosts for Mac OS X.

If you would like to install PHPMyAdmin, return to my original post on installing Apache, PHP, and MySQL on Mac OS X.

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