USBWebserver: A Fast WAMP and XAMPP Alternative

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USBWebserver

If you are looking for a Windows AMP package (Apache, MySql, PHP) that is lightweight and fast, USBWebserver is a really good alternative to the more popular XAMPP and WAMPServer distributions.

In the past, I have used both distributions to run my web applications on my Windows desktop with USB flash drives. But I wanted to see if there was a distribution that was smaller on disk and in memory.

Currently, USBWebserver’s version is 8.6. It comes in 32-bit form with the following components:

  • PHP 5.4.17
  • Apache 2.4.6
  • PHPMyAdmin 4.0.4.2
  • MySql 5.6.13

Before you begin, go out and buy a USB flash drive capable of holding what you think is going to be sufficient to hold all your information. Take into account that you will likely be storing many different types of hypermedia including:

  • MySql database files
  • Video
  • Images
  • Documents like PDF, Word, Excel, etc.
  • MP3 music files

Go out and buy at least a 32GB stick. You can get them cheap at Amazon for under $12. I highly recommend the Sandisk Cruzer 32GB Flash Drive which is the #1 best seller at Amazon. I have over two dozen of these sitting on my desk and have used them for many years without problems.

Simply create a folder on your Windows hard drive, and then download it into that folder.

Copy (don’t move!) the compressed file into the root of your USB flash drive and then extract. To make sure everything you did was correct, your directory structure on the USB drive should look something like this:

/
  usbwebserver
  /apache2
  /lang
  /MySQL
  /php
  /phpmyadmin
  /root
  /settings

Make It Run Better!

Nobody likes a slow web server. Lets make it run better. We can make a few changes. Open the file, /settings/php.ini with your text editor, find and change the following.

Instead of sending raw data “as-is” over to the browser, we can compress it. By default the zlib compression value is set to Off. All modern browsers today use compression to unwind the payload.

zlib.output_compression = On

We need to allow for a longer script execution time. If you install web applications, they may time out and that would not be a good thing. This comes in handy when you are installing packages on the server. You can tune it down a notch after you are done.

max_execution_time = 300

We may want to upload files. The 2 megabyte file upload limit is too small especially if we have large documents, music files, and video. Adjust as necessary in 8M increments.

upload_max_filesize = 16M

Restart Apache with the UsbWebserver application by stopping, then starting. And while you are at it, do the same for MySql server as well to get some practice.

Run You Web Server!

To launch your local webserver, run the UsbWebserver application.

It takes up approximately 100MB of flash drive space, and roughly 150MB of memory – perfect for installing on a USB Flash drive. This way you can take the flash drive with you, plug it into a Windows desktop system, and run your web applications from anywhere.

This is very useful for running your private WordPress blogs or DokuWiki’s that are not meant for public Internet viewing.

Run all these web apps on one USB flash drive

If you are a student, programmer, or researcher, using this combination of technologies can be very beneficial for storing information that you need to recall at a later date.

Go ahead and try it. I think you will find it very useful.

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