Building a web server

How to install and configure XAMPP on Windows 10

This guide will walk you through the steps to install XAMPP on Windows 10, how to configure the control panel, fix Apache if refuses to start, and how to increase the upload size using phpMyAdmin.

XAMPP Setup on Windows 10

XAMPP is a free open source software that provides an easy way for web designers and developers to install the necessary components to run PHP based software like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and others on Windows 10, macOS, and Linux.

If you’re a web developer, or someone trying to get into blogging, XAMPP will save time and frustration having to manually install and configure Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Perl on your computer to create a testing environment.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to install XAMPP on Windows 10 as well as the instructions to configure the solution, and fix common problems after the setup.

How to install XAMPP on Windows 10

Use these steps to download and install XAMPP on Windows 10:

  1. Open the Apache Friends website.

  2. Click the XAMPP for Windows button to save the file on your desktop.

    Quick note: If you have special version requirements for PHP, then download the version you’re required to install. If you don’t have a version requirement, then download the oldest version, as it may help you to avoid issues trying to install a PHP based software. In addition, these instructions have been tested to work for XAMPP version 7.3.11 and earlier versions, but you can also use them to install later versions.
  3. Double-click the downloaded file to launch the installer.

  4. Click the OK button.

    XAMPP warning on Wndows

  5. Click the Next button.

    XAMPP setup on Windows 10

  6. XAMPP offers a variety of components that you can install, such as MySQL, phpMyAdmin, PHP, Apache, and more. For the most part, you will be using most of these components, as such it’s recommended to leave the default options.

  7. Click the Next button.

    XAMPP install components

  8. Use the default installed location, or choose another folder to install the software in the “Select a folder” field.

  9. Click the Next button.

    XAMPP installation location

  10. Clear the Learn more about Bitnami for XAMPP option.

  11. Click the Next button.

    XAMPP installation wizard on Windows 10

  12. Click the Allow access button to allow the app through the firewall (if applicable).

    XAMPP allow access through Windows Firewall

  13. Click the Finish button.

    Complete XAMPP installation on Windows 10

  14. Choose your language (English or German).

  15. Click the Save button.

    XAMPP Control Panel on Windows 10

Once you complete the steps, the XAMPP Control Panel will launch, and you can begin the web server environment configuration.

How to configure XAMPP on Windows 10

The XAMPP Control Panel includes three main sections. In the Modules section, you’ll find all the web services available. You can start each service by clicking the Start button.

When you start some of the services, including Apache and MySQL, on the right side, you’ll also see the process ID (PID) number and TCP/IP port (Port) numbers that each service is using. For example, by default Apache uses TCP/IP port 80 and 443, while MySQL uses TCP/IP port 3306.

You can also click the Admin button to get access to the administration dashboard for each service and verify that everything is working correctly.

XAMPP Control Panel

On the right side there’s a list of buttons to configure various aspects of the control panel, including the Config button to configure which modules will automatically start when you launch XAMPP.

XAMPP Config

Clicking the Netstart button will give you a list of services currently accessing the network, including TCP/IP address and port, and process ID information.

XAMPP Netstat

In addition, from the control panel, there are also quick access buttons to open the shell command-line utility, XAMPP installation folder, services, and close the app.

Lastly, you get the logs section, where you can get a glance of what happens every time you start a module or change a setting. This is also the first place to look at when something isn’t working.

Apache won't start on Windows 10 error

The default settings should work for most people using XAMPP to create a testing environment to run a website. However, depending on your setup configuration, you may need to change the TCP/IP port number for the Apache server, the database upload size, or set the password for phpMyAdmin.

To change these settings, you’ll need to use the Config button for the corresponding service. For instance, you’ll need to open the httpd.conf file to change the settings on the Apache server, and the my.ini file to change the MySQL settings.

How to fix Apache not starting on XAMPP

The XAMPP installation is very straightforward, but Windows 10 sometimes may not allow the Apache server to run. Usually, it’s because the World Wide Publishing Service is running on port 80 on your computer, which also happens to be the default TCP/IP port that Apaches uses on XAMPP, and two applications can’t use the same networking port.

If you run into this issue, there are a couple of ways to get around it. You can uninstall the publishing service, or you can change the default port on Apache.

Uninstall World Wide Web Services

If you don’t have any app depending on the World Wide Web Services feature, you can uninstall it using these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Control Panel, and click the top result to open the experience.

  3. Click on Programs.

  4. Click the Programs and Features option.

  5. Click the Turn Windows features on or off link.

    Turn Windows features on or off

  6. Expand Internet Information Services and clear the World Wide Web Services option.

  7. Click the OK button.

    Microsoft IIS - World Wide Web Services

  8. Restart your computer.

  9. Start the XAMPP Control Panel.

  10. Click the Start button on Apache.

After you complete the steps, Apache should be able to run in port 80 on your device.

Change the default Apache TCP/IP port

Alternatively, you can configure Apache to run on a different TCP/IP port using these steps:

  1. Open XAMPP Control Panel.

  2. Click the Admin button on Apache.

  3. Click the httpd.conf option.

  4. Scroll down and find the line: Listen 80.

  5. Change the 80 for another TCP/IP port number. For example, you can try port 81. (After the change the line should read: Listen 81.)

    httpd.conf change TCP/IP port number

  6. Save and close the httpd.conf file.

  7. Click the Start button on Apache.

Once you complete the steps, the Apache server should run without issues on the new TCP/IP port that you specified.

The only caveat with this configuration is that you’ll need to append TCP/IP port number on the address every time you want to connect to your website. For example, to access the Apache server on the web browser, you will need to type: “localhost:81/dashboard” instead of “localhost/dashboard.”

Manually stop World Wide Web Publishing Service

Another way to fix the port problem issue is to stop the service and change its settings to only start the service manually using these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Services, and click the top result to open the experience.

  3. Double-click the World Wide Web Publishing Service service.

    World Wide Web Publishing Service

  4. Click the Stop button.

  5. Change the startup type to Manual.

  6. Click the Apply button.

  7. Click the OK button.

    Stop and set Manual settings for World Wide Web Publishing Service

  8. Open the XAMPP Control Panel.

  9. Click the Start button to run the Apache server.

The best way to get Apache working again is by uninstalling the World Wide Web Publishing Service, but when that’s not possible you can alternatively change the TCP/IP port number or stop the service as necessary.

How to increase phpMyAdmin upload size on XAMPP

Another common problem with XAMPP is the default database upload limit. For example, many times developers will make a copy of a website for troubleshooting purposes or work on site without disrupting the live website. However, people using WordPress or another content management software will quickly find out that they can’t upload a database because it exceeds the maximum upload size permitted, which by default is 2048 KiB.

Use these steps to increase the database upload limit on phpMyAdmin using these steps:

  1. Open XAMPP Control Panel.

  2. Click the Explorer button.

  3. Open the php folder.

  4. Open the php.ini file with any text editor.

  5. Change the value for upload_max_filesize and post_max_size to the size you want. For example: post_max_size=20M and upload_max_filesize=20M to import database files of up to 20MB.

  6. Click the Stop button for MySQL and Apache.

  7. Click the Start button to restart Apache and MySQL.

Once you complete the steps, you should now be able to import large database files on phpMyAdmin.

How to change phpMyAdmin password on XAMPP

By default, phpMyAdmin (MySQL) uses “root” as username without password, which means that if you’re installing a WordPress site, when asked you only need to enter root as the username and leave the password field empty.

Use these steps to change the phpMyAdmin password on XAMPP:

  1. Open XAMPP Control Panel.

  2. Click the Admin button for MySQL.

  3. Click on the User accounts tab.

  4. Click the Edit privileges link for the username root, but the one with hostname localhost.

  5. Click the Change password button.

    Set root password on phpMyAdmin

  6. Specify the new password.

  7. Click the Go button.

    phpMyAdmin root password

After you complete the steps, if you try to login to phpMyAdmin, you will get an access denied message: “Cannot connect: invalid settings.”

phpMyAdmin access denied after setting root password

Fixing phpMyAdmin access denied message

Use these steps to change the configuration settings in the config.inc.php file to fix the sign in problem:

  1. Open XAMPP Control Panel.

  2. Click the Explorer button.

  3. In the XAMPP folder, open the phpMyAdmin folder.

  4. Open the config.inc.php file with any text editor.

  5. Under “Authentication type and info,” and update the following lines:

    • On $cfg['Servers'][$i]['auth_type'] = 'config'; replace config for cookie.

    • On $cfg['Servers'][$i]['AllowNoPassword'] = true; replace true for false.

      Config.inc.php Authentication type and info

  6. Save and close the file.

Once you complete the steps, you should be able to login to phpMyAdmin dashboard.

Now XAMPP is configured and ready to use with any supported PHP-based software.

Update November 22, 2019: This guide was originally published in March 2016, and it was revised in November 2019 to make sure the information still works with the latest version of XAMPP.