I'm wondering what are the advantages of using a MAMP stack instead of Web Sharing provided with Mac natively and MySQL downloaded and installed manually?

I can see how in some cases MAMP can have latest/other versions of apache/mysql/php, but are there any other advantages?

My MCB came with Snow Leopard 10.6.6 with Apache 2.2.15 and PHP 5.3.3 - so fairly recent (although not the latest) versions.
Since they both were installed I saw little reason getting something that has same functionality.

Installing MySQL was dead simple too so that couldn't be the reason.


3 Answers 3


I'd say unified GUI integration.


With MAMP, you've got a single window to manage Apache, PHP, and MySQL. Whereas with the built-in stack, you have to active PHP manually and have another interface for MySQL (with no easy way to turn it on or off)

MAMP settings

  • 1
    This. It's all about ease of configuration. I absolutely love MAMP.
    – Ben Wyatt
    Commented Mar 18, 2011 at 12:16
  • It's easy. That's all. I love MAMP PRO for its vhost settings and all. Commented Mar 18, 2011 at 19:31
  • I'm having serious permission issues with native installation. Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 14:21

The disadvantage is that you're installing stuff that you already have installed. This can cause problems when - for example - you want to use PHP using the command-line. This will trigger the built-in PHP version by default instead of the one bundled with MAMP. If these are different the results can be unexpected.

I would recommend using the default OSX versions of both Apache & PHP. After you got it all running the first time you really don't need a control panel or anything that much.

  • I wouldn't really consider installing a different version of PHP the same stuff to install. You may need to switch between versions of php to match another server you are going to be pushing to production. Somethings may break on another version of PHP so this is not a disadvantage and is not the same stuff technically. The point about using PHP on the command line is just the users misunderstanding on what is initially installed on their computer. This may confuse a beginner but not someone who knows whats going on.
    – JoeMoe1984
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 20:29
  • @JoeMoe1984 We're 5.5 years further now and I completely agree with you. A lot has changed since then.
    – julesj
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 22:45

Actually, the #1 advantage to using MAMP is tremendous: Each time you upgrade your system, your environment won't break!

There were a couple of Snow Leopard updates (or maybe it was Leopard to Snow Leopard, I can't remember) that broke Mysql. One was by moving the mysql.socket file. There was another update the broke PHP. In both cases I had to hunt around the Internet for hours to find obscure sites with info on how to fix them.

With MAMP you don't have this problem, you can install all your OS updates, or even wipe the hard drive and install from scratch (provided you make a backup of your MAMP application of course) and still have all your environment just like before. This is the main reason I use MAMP. I've been bitten by these problems too many times.


When compiling new stuff, you have to make sure you tell it to use the MAMP files and not the built-in ones. This can sometimes be a problem for some Rails bits (Phusion Passenger gem comes to mind that complains about not finding the apache sources). But depending on how much tinkering you are doing, MAMP is a godsend.

With regards to having stuff duplicated on your drive, the solution is very simple, just delete the builtin installations that bother you, I got rid of /usr/local/Mysql to avoid conflicts. Though I wouldn't recommend deleting apache and PHP.

  • I haven't been a mac user for very long, but the Mavericks update broke MAMP installations.
    – PeterT
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 8:45

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