I don’t know about you, but sometimes all I need is a quick refresh to my memory on how to do something, and I don’t need complete, in-depth instructions. Those times, I don’t want to scroll through long instructions, I just need some precise information, and I need it quick. This is why I wrote this quick post to be used as a reference for myself, and I thought that other people might find it useful too.

Note: if you would prefer in-depth instructions on this, I will refer you to the articles linked at the end of this post. They really cover everything there is to know about the topic and I wouldn’t be able to add any other useful information.

If you want to do some local web development on a Mac, you have two options: you either use a full stack like MAMP, or you enable Apache and PHP and install MySQL only. On Mac OS X, Apache and PHP are already installed, and it’s only a matter of enabling them.

Enable Apache

Technically, Apache doesn’t even need to be enabled, it just needs to be started:

sudo apachectl start

Enable PHP

To enable PHP you need to edit the httpd.conf file (/etc/apache2/). Specifically, you need to uncomment the following line:

LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/libphp5.so

And then run:

sudo apachectl restart

Now, this is all you need to do to be up and running: if you visit http://localhost you will see the Apache default page.

[Optional] Bring back the Sites folder

If you stopped at the previous step, you would use the default system-wide Apache folder: /Library/WebServer/Documents/. If you prefer to have a user-level folder instead, there are a few extra steps to follow.

  1. Uncomment #LoadModule userdir_module libexec/apache2/mod_userdir.so from httpd.conf
  2. Uncomment #Include /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-userdir.conf from httpd.conf
  3. Uncomment #Include /private/etc/apache2/users/*.conf from http-userdir.conf (which you can find under /etc/apache2/extra/httpd-userdir.conf)
  4. Create a Sites folder inside your home folder
  5. Create a <your_username>.conf file inside /etc/apache2/users/
  6. Copy and paste the following code inside the conf file

<Directory "/Users/<your_username>/Sites/">
    Options FollowSymLinks Indexes MultiViews
    AllowOverride None
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all
    Require local

Restart Apache and you are good to go.

For more in-depth instructions on how to do this, have a look at the following two excellent articles: