There are two major open source PHP and MySql installer you can use to install a web server on a Windows PC, namely WampServer and XAMPP. Both are capable of installing an Apache server, PHP and MySql database in a simple one click installation manner. This will spare one the hassle to install Apache, PHP and MySql database separately on manual.
I have tested both on a Window Vista and highly recommend WampServer for more stability when running on Vista.
You can download the latest copy of WampServer at
You can download the latest copy of XAMPP at
Follow through the installation as guided and you'll find yourself with a web server running on your PC in no time. At point of writing this post, both are able to deploy the latest version of PHP (5.3.5) and MySql (5.5.8) database.
What can you do with this simple light weight web server running?
You can run and install a vast majority of open source CMS that required PHP and MySql database on your PC. Applications that I've tried out installing and run with no major problem include Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal and Simple Machine Forum (SMF).
However for those who got used to using Fantastico that is normally inside of your cPanel on a self host web hosting, will have to install all these open source CMS on your PC manually. It isn't really that hard as I've found out.
This served as a must have tool for anyone who inspire to build your own home based internet business.
How to start Wampserver manually
How to install wordpress with Wampserver
How to install Joomla with Wampserver, look for getting started and download the installation PDF.
How to install Drupal with Wampserver