laragon

LARAGON, an easy and yet powerful Local Web Development Server

1. Introduction

For more then a decade I used XAMPP as a local development server. Although XAMPP is popular, it is not very fast nor easy to configure and not suited for using multiple PHP versions.

A few years ago I accidentally stumbled upon Laragon. It only took me 10 minutes to realize this was by far the best local development stack I’ve ever seen.

It has some features I have not found in other stacks :

  • blazing fast startup, low CPU and memory footprint
  • multiple PHP versions possible, easy switching between installed versions
  • works out of the box with not only MySQL/MariaDB but also PostgreSQL & MongoDB
  • all tools you need are build-in
  • all services and build-in tools are easy to upgrade to their latest versions
  • automatic virtual host configuration and hosts file change
  • Quick App creation

2. Installation

  • Download Laragon (Full) into your Downloads folder.
  • Start the installer laragon-full.exe.
  • Select your language.
  • Click OK.
  • Click Next.
  • Change the location of the installation to a folder in the root of a fast drive. Prefer NVMe drives or SSD drives for optimal performance. Avoid using your systems OS boot drive.
    By installing Laragon in a folder in the root of the drive you automatically keep the length of the PATH variable as short as possible.
  • Click Next.
  • If you want to run Laragon when Windows starts, check the appropriate option.
  • Laragon will automatically adapt your local hosts file every time you add or remove a project. Leave the Auto Virtual hosts option enabled.
  • If you don’t already have an enhanced text editor installed, check the last option to integrate (the in Laragon included) Notepad++ to your Explorers Right-Click Menu.
  • Click Next.
  • Click Install.
  • Click Finish.
  • Laragon is now installed and running.
  • The services are not started yet.

3. Configuration

  • Click on the Settings Icon in the upper right corner.
  • On the General tab, you can change general settings.
  • Note :
    By default, Laragon will open all your projects in  the default domain for local development on your computer called .test. Do not change this to anything else, especially not to .dev. The .dev domain is obsolete for local development.
  • On the Services & Ports tab, you can activate additional services or change Port settings.
  • Activate the SSL option to make your projects more secure.
  • On the Mail Catcher tab, you enable or disable the build in Mail Catcher.
  • On the Mail Sender tab, you configure Gmail as your Mail Sender.

4. Exploring the Main Menu

  • Right-click on the Laragon UI to access the Main Menu.
  • In the Laragon section, you’ll find some main Laragon functions and configurations.
  • In the www section, you’ll find your projects.
  • A fresh Laragon installation does not contain any projects yet.
  • In the Quick App section, you can use predifined scripts to quickly setup some new projects.
  • In the Tools section, Laragon provides a collection of tools to help you manage your projects.
  • In the PHP section, you can manage and configure the installed PHP version(s).
  • It’s possible and very easy to install multiple PHP versions and switch between them using the Laragon Main Menu.
  • In a future post, we’ll explain how to add new PHP versions and/or how to update the existing version.
  • In the Apache section, you can manage and configure the installed Apache version.
  • In a future post, we’ll explain how to update the existing Apache version.
  • In the MySQL section, you can manage and configure the installed database version.
  • In a future post, we’ll explain how to update the existing version.
  • In other posts, we’ll explain how to use database providers like MariaDB, MongoDB or PostgreSQL.
  • In the Node.js section, you can see the installed Node.js version.
  • In a future post, we’ll explain how to update the existing version.

5. Integrating the SSL Certificate

  • In case you enabled SSL during installation, you’ll have to add the Lagaron Certificate to your Windows Trust Store.
  • In the menu, select ApacheSSLAdd laragon.crt to Trust Store.

6. Starting the Services for the first time

  • Click the Start All button.
  • Your default Windows Defender Firewall (or any other firewall you may be using) will want to know if it can trust the Apache HTTP service and the database service.
  • Allow access in your private networks.
  • Deny access in all public networks.
  • Click the Allow Access button.
  • The services are now started.

7. Exploring the Button Menu

  • In the horizontal Button Menu, you can click the Stop button to end the running services.
  • You can click the Web button to open the Laragon web root in your favorite browser.
  • You can click the Database button to open the database manager.
  • By default Laragon will start the build-in portable HeidiSQL tool to manage your databases.
  • In a future post we’ll explain how to add a portable phpMyAdmin tool to manage your databases.
  • You can click the Terminal button to open a command prompt window in the Laragon Document Root folder.
  • Laragon uses the console emulator Cmder as a command prompt.
    In a future  post, we’ll explain how to update Cmder to its latest version.
  • When you left-click the Root button you open an explorer window in the Laragon Document Root (www) folder. This is where your projects are located.
  • When you right-click the Root button to open an explorer window in the Laragon Install Root folder. This is where Laragon itself is located.

8. Summary

Laragon is a very fast and powerful, yet easy to setup and configure local development server stack. Give it a chance. Play around with it for just a moment. I’m sure you’ll start using it too and just like me, you’ll nerver look back.

In future posts I’ll explain how easy it is to update Laragons services and even the build-in portable tools.

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