I switched to a Mac recently, and was going through the process of getting it “just so”. After quite some time on a PC, I was learning the ropes on the Mac, found some things waaaaaay better and some pretty stupid. Overall, however, I was quite happy. I had used XAMPP on my old machine and had found it very easy to set up. I thought things would be the same on the Mac… I though wrong.
Why use a local host?
Many, myself included, use it because you can test and build quickly, without using FTP, and without waiting if your connection gets slow. Also, you can play and make changes without messing with the live site.
I consulted my good friend Google and read a whole bunch of articles on how to set up XAMPP, and almost every one of them had comments with users having issues at one point of the set up, or another. It mainly dealt with permissions, and had some interesting fixes that worked for some and not for others. I found I could get it all set up but then not upload themes and images! Sure I could drag them into the folders in buried in the local files, but that seemed more like an ointment instead of the heavy duty antibiotics required to FIX the issue. I’m not an idiot, but I’m also not a complete guru when it comes to “deep tech”. I found many of the steps necessary to MAYBE fix it were a little advanced for people who just wanted to set up something to build or test websites before they went live.
MAMP: Mac, Apache, MySQL, PHP
After several attempts resulting in complete and utter failure, I started exploring other options. MAMP to the rescue. SUPER easy set up, all permissions in place, It took next to no time at all. Sorry XAMPP, but for a Mac, MAMP kicked butt for an easy set up. As much as I can recommend XAMPP for PC users, I had way too many issues to ever touch it with a Mac again.
Overall, (machine depending) both are great options for a local web host. There are some great articles out there with detailed information and set up instructions for the respective programs. A couple of searched will get you where you need. Both programs are free, so thanks to the Dev teams on that!
Check out MAMP for Mac
Check out XAMPP for Windows