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LAMP VPS: A Beginner’s Guide

by Tim Attwood on June 17, 2011

LAMP VPS = Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP/Perl/PythonLinux VPS options have become some of the most preferred choices for those users and businesses that are looking for secure and stable hosting options. As the free successor to Unix code, Linux is able to offer a host of features, all for free and all open-source developed by programmers from around the world. One of the most important applications for Linux that has been released in recent years in the world of virtual server hosting is LAMP.

Looking at LAMP – What Does It Mean?

LAMP is an acronym for Linux, Apache, MySQL and most often PHP. The “P” can sometimes also mean Perl or Python. Together, these four components make up what is considered to be the standard Linux Web hosting setup. Any Linux VPS currently the market is likely a LAMP VPS, as these four parts work so well together they are almost always bundled as one unit.

The L in LAMP makes sense – a Linux Web Hosting server would hardly make sense without Linux as the backbone. Linux provides the underlying layer of software which allows the other three parts of LAMP to work and create a Web hosting experience. Because Linux is both stable and secure, as well as being easily tailored to a user’s needs, it makes an excellent starting platform.

A is for Apache, which is the Web server that is running in the LAMP setup. Any browser that a user opens will “speak” to the Apache Web server, which will then request the Web pages that is being sought. Currently, Apache is the most common type of Web server being used, both by Linux systems and by those running Windows or any other operating system.

MySQL – the M in LAMP – is a piece of database management software. It is used to data from a Web page that can then be quickly loaded when a user wants it. Because many Web pages are now “dynamic” in nature, meaning they are built every time they are called up and may contain new information, it is necessary to have a framework and a database from which to begin. Other options are available for Web databases, but MySQL has found a home in LAMP thanks to its open-source status and low cost.

The final letter in the LAMP acronym is P, which often stands for PHP. PHP is itself an acronym for Hypertext Preprocessing, a general-purpose scripting language that is suited for the Web and can be embedded into HTML. Whenever a Web page is requested by a user, Apache will send it through PHP to be “preprocessed” and the PHP code changed to HTML. This “P” can also mean Perl or Python, both of which are similar programming languages that are free to download.

Managing LAMP In Real Time

In order to manage a LAMP VPS server, companies will typically require an overlay or control panel of some kind. While the LAMP application package itself is easy to download and install, managing its host of functions can be difficult for a user that has little or no experience with Linux.

Options like the cPanel or Plesk VPS control panel exist, which are software pieces that can automate and streamline many LAMP functions as well as giving them visual identifiers. By replacing what would be tedious tasks with Web interfaces or API-based calls, this kind of software can help make LAMP accessible to a wide audience.

With Linux functionality, Apache’s broad appeal, MySQL’s ease of use and PHP’s simplicity, LAMP can be a powerful Web hosting tool.

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Randy5 June 18, 2011 at 8:04 AM

Linux would be terrific even if it wasn’t free. I love how dependable and stable it is; I can really rely on it.

Stoddard June 18, 2011 at 8:06 AM

It’s amazing to think that web sites can be rebuilt every time someone logs onto them, and even more amazing that MySQL makes it so easy to create such a site.

Rusher June 18, 2011 at 8:08 AM

How long does it take the average person to acquire enough familiarity with Linux to make LAMP manageable?

WrigleyF June 30, 2011 at 9:19 AM

It depends on the person and the level of mastery you want. Many people would say you can get started after just a few hours, and after a few months be pretty proficient, but you can keep learning new things for years on end.

Texas2Step October 27, 2011 at 5:52 AM

I like a system where there are always new things to learn. Life should be an endless process of discovery.

OhDonna February 7, 2012 at 8:02 AM

I didn’t realize that Apache was the most common web server. But it’s great that it works so well with both Linux and Windows.

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