How to get a complete set of web server, database, DB manager, PHP, up and running on Windows - all configured and ready to go, in just one install
It is quite quick and easy to get a web server and a database installed even on Windows. There are several software packages that has it all pre-configured and ready in just one install. You can have everything up-and-running in 10 minutes or less if you have just a little previous experience.
In order to get started quick and easy you can just download and install one of the software packages below. They come with all required software pre-installed (except the browser).
All three deliver a pre-configured set of applications that work together right from the installation. They all share this set:
For all three, extra packages may be installed on top, and there are all the configuration options that you would expect. The install procedure is the standard Windows installer: you only run it once and all these programs are installed and configured to work together from the start.
Recommended: Wampserver is the easiest one to work with on Windows, just install-and-go. (The web site may be less serious looking with the cartoon-ish illustrations but the software is extremely well packaged, professional, and easy to operate and configure (most things can be changed from a menu). It runs totally hassle free without any graphical annoyances. Plus, once you have downloaded you don't have to look at that site again.) Install is fast: It takes 2-3 minutes at most, then all is set up and ready. This is for Windows 10.
(The software is so non-intrusive that when I first compiled this list on a non-windows PC I looked at the web site and did not even recognize that this was the software I've been running on one of my Windows boxes for the last couple of years.)
The other two are more Linux-like in the sense that they are packaged in a way that they may seem more "technical". Eg when configuring something you may have to search your hard drive for some obscure file and then edit it in a text editor in stead of just configuring by using a menu. XAMPP focuses on the core LAMPP stack like Wampserver, while WAMPP comes with some extra stuff that you really do not need unless you specialize in PHP development (and even then you may not need it at all).
I've used all three above for literally years and even if I recommend one the others are fine as well. But then there are others:
... and there are probably more. I have no experience with those listed here. Also, the EasyPHP web site was 100% non-functional in my browser (probably due to using third-party scripts), so I'm not likely to try it.
I have no financial interest in promoting any of the software mentioned here. This is not an advertisement.