MAMP for the Mac: download, installation and FAQ

If you are looking for a local server environment on the Apple Mac or Windows PC to try out web applications or CMS such as WordPress without a web server, MAMP is the ideal solution. MAMP can handle PHP, MySQL, Apache and Nginx and can be used, for example, to try out WordPress or Joomla on your own computer. You can read everything you need to know about the free app, the paid MAMP PRO, the DNS service NAMO and installation and use in this guide. At the end there is also a little FAQ.

TL; DR: You can go directly to the developer page here

MAMP is a local web server for macOS on the Apple Mac and Windows on the PC. With the MAMP app you can use PHP, MySQL, Apache and Nginx free of charge to program web applications or use CMS such as WordPress.

MAMP is a local web server for macOS on the Apple Mac and Windows on the PC. With the MAMP app you can use PHP, MySQL, Apache and Nginx free of charge to program web applications or use CMS such as WordPress.

MAMP is free

You can download the standard version of MAMP for free in order to set up a local server that is only located on your computer. Of course, nothing changes in your system (macOS or Windows) and existing installations of e.g. B. Apache are not affected. The installation of PHP, MySQL and Co. is also quite easy - without complicated handling of scripts or changing configuration files. If you are new to dealing with servers, web languages, scripts, WordPress, etc., here is a brief explanation of the individual MAMP components:

  • PHP: Leading script language for web development, e.g. B. for the construction of dynamic websites and web applications 
  • MySQL: Most widely used database management system, e.g. B. is used in combination with PHP to store web service data
  • Apache: The "Apache HTTP Server" from the Apache Software Foundation is the market leader in the HTTP server sector and is integrated into MAMP
  • Nginx: Another HTTP server software that can be used as a potent alternative to Apache
  • Caches: various cache software such as APC, eAccelerator, OPcache and XCache are included in MAMP 

Counselor: Learn PHP - The Best Books, Courses, and Websites

MAMP Cloud for free and PRO version

In addition to the locally installed web server and the components for trying out various web solutions, there is another useful element in MAMP: the cloud storage. For a one-time fee of € 13,99 or integrated into MAMP PRO, MAMP Cloud ensures that you can load your projects, your host files and databases into the Dropbox online storage. You need your own Dropbox account for this. The data from the cloud can then either be used again on site or on another computer with MAMP. If you want to use the local server environment on Mac or PC completely free of charge, you can of course do without MAMP Cloud - it is not a must for the main software to work.

MAMP PRO - professional web development on site

The MAMP PRO 5 version is currently available for the Apple Mac with macOS. MAMP PRO 4 is available for Microsoft Windows (as of July 28, 2020). For example, the latest version offers some improvements for WordPress. With the paid Pro version of MAMP you can, for example, upload your projects developed on the simulated server directly to a live server on the Internet. You can also import WordPress pages from a live server in order to make changes or experiment here and there without affecting the website on the web. 

With "Snapshots" it is also possible to save intermediate statuses of hosts. On the MAMP website this is referred to as a “little life insurance” because you can always return to the relevant save point. In the event of a major incident or a complete change that goes wrong, you can use this type of backup to save hours or days of work that might be necessary if you wanted to program the page back to its previous state. Furthermore, MAMP PRO offers a clear host list for the overview and processing of different projects, each of which can be equipped with its own PHP version.

MAMP PRO prices

But what does the fun actually cost? In addition to the free offer from MAMP, the Pro version comes with various prices. But don't worry, these only relate to the version number and whether you are buying the app from scratch or updating it from a previous version. Here is the current price overview (as of July 28, 2020):

  • MAMP PRO 5 for macOS: € 67,50
  • MAMP PRO 5 update for macOS: € 33,00
  • MAMP PRO 4 for Windows: € 67,50

MAMP download and installation on Mac

Do you load MAMP on the official website you will get a 420 MB .pkg file to install the web server software. If you open it, an installer will appear that will guide you through the MAMP installation. 

The MAMP Installer shows you what happens when an installation is already available. Then some folders will be renewed, but existing data will be transferred. I don't know whether the hosts and projects will still work 100%. According to the statements, yes.

This is followed by the license agreement, the selection of the installation location (if you use several hard drives, otherwise Macintosh HD is selected), the note that the program needs 1,53 GB of space when unpacked, and finally the installation of MAMP itself. You may have to enter your password to do this.

When I tried it out, I didn't see any errors or problems in the whole process. From my point of view, there is an installation recommendation under macOS 10.15 Catalina on the MacBookPro;)

It is interesting, however, that MAMP PRO is also installed in addition to MAMP. I think that the developers here want to make the switch to the more extensive, paid version of the software as easy as possible. 

NAMO as local DNS

In addition to MAMP and MAMP PRO, you also get a service called NAMO on the website linked above. With this program you can set up a local DNS server. DNS stands for "Domain Name System". In the case of the local web server, NAMO, as a DNS server, enables you to avoid the annoying typing of IP addresses by assigning names, i.e. a URL, to your hosts. For example, you can simply select “MeinErstesProjekt.com” instead of typing an eleven-digit combination. For more information on DNS servers on the Internet, refer to VPN services in this guide.

MAMP FAQ - questions and answers

In the following I have put together a few questions and answers about the web server simulation on the Mac. You can find a source for it at the bottom. If you have any further questions, I recommend contacting MAMP support. The developers are with their software too, for example on twitter represented.

  • Can the software for trying out web applications, CMS such as WordPress and Co. also be used on older macOS versions?
    Yes, it works with Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite and Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan as well as macOS 10.12 Sierra, macOS 10.13 High Sierra and macOS 10.14 Mojave.
  • Can you install MAMP (PRO) on an external hard drive?
    No, the software only runs on the system hard drive.
  • Where can I find the log files to trace the processes?
    All log files are saved under / Programs / MAMP / logs.
  • Where can I find the Apache modules included in MAMP?
    These can be found under / Programs / MAMP / Library / modules.
  • How do I find out which PHP modules are included or available?
    First the server must be started and then the target http: // localhost: 8888 / MAMP / opened in the web browser. The overview is then in the PHP info tab.
  • How do I install a more recent PHP version?
    Binarys of the PHP interpreter are available in the download area of ​​the MAMP website. After the download, the corresponding folder can be moved to / Programs / MAMP / bin / php. After restarting the app, the new version should be available in the PHP selection.
  • What does the error message “Database user already existed!” Mean?
    This just means that the MySQL user associated with the database to be loaded from the cloud already exists on the local system.
  • What does the error message “No database user could be found. Maybe no user has explicit permissions to access the database. "/" No database user could be found ... "?
    This means that the MySQL database that is to be stored in the cloud has not been connected to any user. In order to save a database, it must be assigned accordingly.
  • Is there a limit to the number of aliases a host can have?
    No, the number of aliases is unlimited.
  • Are Pro software updates free?
    Within a major version, yes. For example, the update from MAMP PRO 5.0 to 5.7 would be free of charge. If a new major version comes out (e.g. MAMP PRO 6.0), the update is chargeable - but cheaper than buying a completely new one.

Source and further information / instructions: Info page for the app

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