A local server plays a pivotal role for most developers. It allows development and testing on a local machine without the concerns of losing Internet connection, accidentally creating temporary security holes, or constantly uploading files via FTP. Depending on the option you choose, setup will be more or less difficult, but it is a necessary foundation for your development environment.
There are several approaches you can take for setting up a local server. You could:
- Manually install Apache, MySQL, PHP, etc and configure them yourself.
- Install such an environment automatically using an AMP stack, such as XAMPP, WAMP, or MAMP.
- Install Acquia Dev Desktop (formerly DAMP), which combines an AMP stack with a Drupal distribution. (Note that this gives you a somewhat modified version of Drupal. Note also that some users have reported unresolved installation problems [Drupal forum, Acquia forum].)
- Install an advanced server product, such as Zend Server. (See recommendation below, but note that the free Community Edition recommended there is no longer available.)
- Use a virtual machine to set up your server in its own environment, even with a different operating system. See VDD, Vlad, Drupal VM, Quickstart (see warning below), DrupalPro, Drupal-up, or Aegir-up for examples of fully loaded development VMs that can be run on any operating system.
Various methods of implementing such solutions are detailed in subpages so read on...