Before you install Drupal, you need three basic components in place: the server, the web server, and the database. If you are hosting your site with a commercial hosting company, you can skip to the installing Drupal section, as everything you need is already installed.
Depending on the operating system on your computer, you may already have a few of the required components already installed (for example, OSX comes with Apache and PHP already installed). However, getting all of the components to work together may be more of a challenge than most people want to undertake. Fortunately, a group of very talented people at apachefriends.org created an "all-in-one" software package called XAMPP (XAMPP stands for Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Python) that is very simple for even the least technical person to install and configure. There is an XAMPP distribution for Windows, Macintosh (OSX) , Linux, and Solaris.
The components included in XAMPP that are critical for Drupal are:
• Apache: The web server software package that handles requests for content residing on your server and returning the results of that request back to the person who made it.
• MySQL: The relational database where Drupal stores all of its content.
• PHP & PEAR: The programming language used by the developers who create and maintain Drupal.
• phpMyAdmin: An invaluable tool for creating and managing databases, tables, and data stored in your MySQL database.
There are detailed instructions for installing XAMPP on each of the supported platforms on the apachefriends.org.
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