LAMP is a stack of software that forms the basis of most websites on the Internet. It consists of a Linux distribution, Apache web server, MySQL database management system, and PHP server side scripting language.
Let’s examine the various elements of the LAMP stack one by one:
- Linux distribution: A Linux distribution is the operating system that powers most web servers on the Internet. The operating system provides the foundation on which other software runs. Linux is popular because it is free and has a reputation for security and stability. Popular Linux server distributions include CentOS/RHEL, Debian, Ubuntu and SUSE.
- Apache web server: A web server is responsible for responding to requests for web pages and associated files like images and stylesheets. Apache powers about 60% of all websites on the Internet. Apache is popular because it is free, has a lot of features and is secure and stable.
- MySQL DBMS: MySQL is a free and open source relational database management system. MySQL databases are used by Internet applications to organize and store data. MySQL is popular because it is free, stable and has lots of features.
PHP Hypertext Preprocessor: PHP is a server side programming language that powers most websites on the web. A server side programming language allows for the creation of dynamic web pages that are generated based on user input. PHP is popular because it is free and open source, easy to use and makes efficient use of limited server resources.
Strictly speaking the P in LAMP can also refer to other server side programming languages like Perl and Python. But PHP deserves special mention because it is by far the most popular.
Equally important as the LAMP stack is the software that runs on top of it. There are lots of free and open source PHP and MySQL powered Content Management Systems (CMS) available that make web publishing easy. They are part of the reason why the LAMP stack is so popular.