After using MAMP for ages, I found out I could actually use Snow Leopard's built-in Apache server. Now that I've upgraded to Lion, I have no idea how to do this anymore.

Do you know how to turn my Mac OS X Lion into a web server, so that I can easily run the latest version of PHP and MySQL in it? Also, how do I set the "localhost" aliases? I remember it was a httpd.conf file — something that I don't seem to find anymore on Lion.

  • Just a little help for GUI editor lovers: For using TextMate as default editor from Terminal you can call it as mate. sudo mate /etc/apache2/httpd.conf It is a good idea to register it in ~/.bash_profile for that purpose before the 1st use: export EDITOR='mate -w' And create a symlink in your ~/bin folder: ln -s /Applications/TextMate.app/Contents/Resources/mate ~/bin/mate *The above info applies to Mac OS X users
    – ommunist
    Commented Nov 17, 2012 at 21:24

3 Answers 3


You first need to enable Apache in the Sharing prefpane. Check "Web sharing" and your web server is running.

Note that since Mountain Lion, Web Sharing was removed from the Sharing preference pane, but Apache is still included. Check this answer for controlling Apache in Mountain Lion.

Enable Web Sharing

To activate PHP you'll need to edit /etc/apache2/httpd.conf in Terminal.app. This requires root credentials. nano is a very accessible command-line editor if you are uncomfortable with vim.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

Find the line (you can press ctrl + W to start searching in nano):

#LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/libphp5.so

and uncomment it. Next find the line

#Include /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

and uncomment that as well to enable virtual hosts support.

Save the file and exit nano by pressing ctrl + X, then confirming the changes by pressing Y(es), then enter.

You can now edit your virtual hosts in the file /etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

sudo nano /etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

Important to note is that the first defined host will be the default host for unqualified host names. For resolving additional hostnames apart from localhost I recommend hardcoding them in /etc/hosts.

To install MySQL, download the installer from the MySQL website (64bit installer should be ok). Follow the instructions to install it.

Finally, to configure PHP for MySQL, copy the default php.ini:

sudo cp /etc/php.ini.default /etc/php.ini

Now you can edit /etc/php.ini (again root access required) and replace any reference to /var/mysql/mysql.sock with /tmp/mysql.sock (the default location of the MySQL socket after running the installer). There probably are about 3 references to that path.

Finally, restart Apache for the new configuration to take effect:

sudo apachectl restart

Alternatively you can restart Apache by toggling it off and on again in the Sharing prefpane.


  • 1
    i would advise you to never suggest any sort of terminal text editor, just use textedit.app in the command instead of nano, because terminal text editors are just barbaric.
    – Alexander
    Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 20:28
  • 12
    Nano is quite user-friendly, IMO, and it's really annoying to try to edit something with root privileges from the GUI.
    – NReilingh
    Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 21:22
  • 13
    @XAleXOwnZX: I'm sorry but that's just bad advice. If anything, you'll find it next to impossible to edit these files in TextEdit.app because a lack of privileges, as NReilingh also pointed out. Also, it is not unreasonable to expect some aquaintance with the console from any (aspiring) web developer.
    – Gerry
    Commented Mar 11, 2012 at 21:08
  • generally works if u sudo it
    – Alexander
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 13:47
  • 9
    @XAleXOwnZX: With all due respect, that is arguably the worst advice I have ever seen on a Stack Exchange property. I agree that a GUI text editor is probably a better approach for people who are not programmers or who don't have much unix experience, however, TextEdit is the wrong application to advise using simply because it defaults to a variable-width font and rich text. This can cause all sorts of problems (beyond the simple usability nightmare of writing code in variable-width) that will be extremely difficult or impossible for this person to debug.
    – lightyrs
    Commented May 13, 2012 at 0:35

Just for the record, an alternative to MAMP is WebStart that makes it easy to manage a professional Apache 2 web sever on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.


You can find a good tutorial here to enable also phpmyadmin and such without using mamp

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    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 5:25

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