PHP development environment for Windows minimalists with Laragon
Setting up a PHP server on a Windows machine can be tedious sometimes.
Setting up a server with any of these tools will require you to open the application, start the PHP and Mysql servers. You would now need to put your project folders in the htdocs(or its equivalent) folder which is located where the application was installed. Next is to navigate to to the URL of your application which is mostly of the format
The method above doesn’t seem so bad after all but let me point out a few shortcomings
- You don’t have a pretty URL: You can get away with this by setting up a virtual host which is actually another tedious step.
- Both XAMPP and Wampserver come with Apache only, which means you don’t have the option of switching to another server such as NGINX.
Laragon (as defined on it’s website) provides Super fast, easy-to-use, productive and powerful development environment for all.
If you are familiar with the laravel ecosystem then there is the chance that you have heard of a product called valet. Laragon offers similar functionalities with valet but it runs on Windows while valet runs on OSX.
To get started, visit the largon website and click on the download button. This will take you to a page containing different versions for different stacks. Pick the first one.
After going through the installation, open the app and you see something similar to the image below.
Click on the
Root button to go to the
www folder where laragon is installed. This is where you put your application folders. After copying your app folder, click on the
Start All button to start your servers. You can then open your browser and navigate to the url
[app_folder_name].dev So for example if we copied a folder called
mywebsite to the
www folder then the application url would be
This is much better than the previously mentioned approach. Anytime you create a new application, you can just go to your browser with the same URL format and your app is ready without doing anything else.
Since laragon is a GUI application, customizing it is very straight forward. All you need to do is click the settings icon at the top right corner and a settings dialog pops up.
You can configure setting such as the host name. I have changed mine from
.app since i learned that
.dev is now a valid domain. You can also make changes like switching from apache to nginx, enabling SSL for your applications, running the application when Windows start and many others.
Using laragon on my Windows has been a wonderful experience. I use laravel valet on my Macbook and now I get to enjoy something similar on my Windows machine. It works well with most (I guess all) PHP frameworks and non framework applications too without any extra configuration. I have tried it with my Laravel, Codeigniter, Wordpress and Vanilla PHP applications and everything worked seamlessly.
If you are a PHP developer and you work on a Windows machine, I strongly recommend using this application. It is a great tool to have.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you think in the comments or you can hit me up on twitter.