New Users: Quick Install Guide

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New Users: Home | Quick Install | Problems | Security | Information Snippets

Just three steps to get Uniserver up and running

Uniform Server is a collection of self-contained files you extract to any folder of your choice. In operation it does not use the registry, so you can pop these files onto a USB memory stick and it becomes completely portable.

It appears to run from a separate drive because it uses the powerful subst command, which associates a path (where you copied the files to) with a drive letter. These files are run from that location but are accessed via the drive letter assigned. This all adds up to easy installation and operation. Follow this quick guide for installation.

Download

Download the software package UniServer3_5.exe (if you prefer UniServer3_5.zip) from SourceForge for latest release check the Uniform Server web site.

Note: The exe file (7MB ) is about half the size of the ZIP file (13.6MB). Extracted size is around 37.6MB, but file sizes may vary slightly from the figures I have shown.

Installation - Step 1

Installation is a bit of a misnomer; all that is required is to extract the files. First download the above exe file, double click on it; select a folder where you would like the extracted folders and files to be placed. That’s all.

Here is an example with a little more detail. Note at step two you can use the default folder. Once extracted you will see a folder named Uniform Server. This can be moved with all its sub-folders (to another folder or copied to your USB memory stick), and it can be renamed to whatever you like. I have extracted my files to drive G into a folder named A1_web_server (I tend to lose folders, so when they're viewed in explorer, A1 pushes it to the top of the folders list).

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  1. Double click on the file downloaded (UniServer3_5.exeItalic text)
  2. Select a drive and folder to extract to. For example (G:\A1_web_serverItalic text)
  3. Click on Extract and the extraction process starts (7Z is a fast utility. It is faster than the Windows utilities. Yet another reason why I prefer the .exe file.)
  4. When complete, the un-zip window closes

Navigate to your installation and check out the Uniform Server's folder structure There are two important folders:

  • Uniform Server This contains files that control your installation of UniServer. (Server_Start.bat and Stop.bat)
  • www This is where you place your Web Site folders and files such as (.htm, .html, .php, .js, .css etc).

For latest news check out release notes in the docs folder.

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Running Uniform Server - Step 2

Use Windows Explorer or My Computer to locate the folder Uniform Server (if you renamed it, use that new name). Here you will find four files Server_Start.bat, Disk Start.vbs, UniController.exe and Stop.bat. These start and stop the servers as follows:

Note: You only need to use Server_Start.bat and Stop.bat to control your servers. I have included the other methods for completeness.


Alarm Bells

Starting the servers for the first time all hell breaks loose regarding fire walls and security programs. When challenged by these programs allow all scripts to run and allow access on all ports. Depending on what software or protection you have, expect to be challenged several times. However when the servers are re-run, everything will be fine.

The following are a few examples of what to expect:

{Forum: 29/9/07 Thanks Tuomash. I have added these images to show other users what to expect}

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  • OS Windows XP Home
  • Windows firewall
  • When challenged always click on Unblock

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  • OS Windows XP Home
  • Windows firewall
  • When challenged always click on Unblock

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  • OS Windows XP Home
  • Norton firewall
  • When challenged always select: [Always allow connection from this program on all ports (Recommended)]

Your browser may display an error message, something like “server or page not found”. This is perfectly normal and occurs because the browser is active before the servers start running. Once you have trained your firewall or other security measures to allow Apache and MySQL access, the next time you start these servers the error message will not occur. However do not be surprised if you occasionally get this error message. It depends on what processes (programs) are running at the time and what delays occur.

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Starting Apache and MySQL Servers

  1. To start the Apache and MySQL servers, double click on Server_Start.bat

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Note 1: Depending on your PC’s speed you may see two command windows (black windows) displayed for a short time. These indicate your servers (Apache and MySQL) are starting. If the windows remain open, the chances are this is the first time you have run your servers. Please wait until you are challenged by your firewall.

When challenged make sure you allow connection on all ports, or otherwise the servers will be blocked by these security programs.

While all this is going on your browser, if not already running, will start and be redirected to UniServer’s control page (apanel). You may receive a message Unable to connect. This is because your browser has redirected to apanel before your Apache server has had time to start-up. It's not a problem; just refresh your browser and all will be fine.

Note 2: The drive letter defaults to drive W

Note 3: The server defaults to localhost (http://localhost/) Type this into your browser address bar and you will see the default index test page (Violet background with Uniform server log image centrally displayed).

To display your web site copy it into folder www and again enter http://localhost/ or just refresh the page (Note make sure your site has an index page for example index.html, index.htm or index.php). If your index page is named index.php either delete the default index.php page in folder www or allow overwrite when copying your site.


Starting Apache, MySQL Server and select drive letter

An alternative method of starting the servers (Apache and MySQL) is to use file Disk Start.vbs. This starts both Apache and MySQL servers. You can optionally change the drive letter.

  1. Double click on Disk_Start.vbs
  2. Select a new drive letter or use default (W)
  3. Start MySQL server YES NO option (This option is redundant both servers will start regardless of the option chosen )

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Again your browser will start if not already running and be redirected to apanel.


Stopping the servers

Stopping the servers can be done using the batch file:

  1. Double click on Stop.bat to stop the servers (alternatively stop the servers via apanel o rUniController).

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You can use this batch file at any time to stop the servers. You may be surprised at the lack of any tray icons, this is intentional and provides extra flexibility. However the above batch files have been combined into an executable named UniController, this gives you the ability of controling the servers from the task bar.


UniController Beta

This program allows you to start and stop both servers with the functionality of a standard program (you can minimise and maximise it, places an icon in the toolbar). If you accidentally close the program, just restart it to close the servers, or use stop.bat. Be warned that it is a beta version. Although fully functional, it is not pretty looking. Also I found on my PC it takes a good thirty seconds to start the servers.

  1. Double click on UniController.exe
  2. Select a new drive letter or use default (W)
  3. Click start to start both Apache and MySQL servers

Uc unicontroller.gif

Note 1: You can minimise the program, which places an icon in the tool bar. Click the Icon to maximise and use the stop button to stop both the Apache and MySQL servers.

Note 2: When run, it loses focus (seems to be set to a low order), so when the browser runs it is placed on top, hiding UniController. Not a major problem; click on UniController in the task bar to bring it to the front.

Note 3: The Drive Letter [A or C-Z] at start-up does not actually display free drives. It is merely an indication of potential candidates to use. Hence make sure the drive letter you chose is not in use.


Quick Check

Whichever method you choose to start the servers your browser will be redirected to UniServer's Admin Panel page allowing you to configure and display server information. I cover this later. To return to apanel at any time, type the following http://localhost/apanel/ into your browser address bar.

General note: When you change the Apache port, for example to 8080, starting the servers automatically redirects to apanel. To run apanel manually you must include the port number. For example type the following http://localhost:8080/apanel/ into your browser address bar.

Confirm pages are being served from folder www. Type http://localhost into your browser address bar, and a Uniserver logo displayed in the center of the screen confirms correct operation. After a short time it redirects back to apanel.

One final test: copy your own web site (folders and pages) to folder www. Your index page (index.html or index.htm) will be picked up first and override the default index.php. Refresh your browser or alternatively type http://localhost/index.html or http://localhost/index.htm into your browser address bar and confirm your pages are displayed.

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Clean and Test - Step 3

At this stage your servers are working, however it is worth performing a few extra quick checks. With apanel displayed (type http://localhost/apanel/ or http://localhost/a into your browser address bar) from the left menu un through the following: Quick tests

  1. Click on phpinfo() — location — menu on the left
    1. You will see a long list of information for PHP Version 5.2.3
    2. You can discover what is enabled and running from this information.
  1. Click on Apache info — again located — menu on the left
    1. More information to read.
    2. Again every thing you wanted to know about Apache (Version 2.0.59 )
  1. Click on phpMyAdmin — After a short time you will see a page with the following info at the top:
    1. phpMyAdmin 2.10.2
    2. Server version: 5.0.41-community-nt

That completes the tests; your servers are working along with PHP and phpMyAdmin.

Clean Server

Navigate to folder www and delete all files and sub-folders with the exception of .htaccess

OK this step is not crucial for installation it just gives you a nice clean server to work with.

Note: apanel provides a button (single click) to perform this task however the following are not removed:

  • .htaccess
  • favicon.ico
  • images (folder)
  • index.html

Summary

You now have a superb test environment where you can develop your website using real production servers.

Tip

Make a backup (copy the folder Uniform Server and all its content to another folder) now feel free to break the original. When beyond repair just delete it and use your backup alternatively use the exe file to install a new copy. It’s this flexibility and ease of use I like.

Security

If you are using your servers for design and development they are locked down to localhost access only and are secure. You can remain connected to the Internet while using them, however I would recommend you check out the section on security you will need to change the MySQL root password as a minimum. I apologise for the length of the page do not attempt to read it in one go. Its for reference and covers all server security in one place, each topic is complete hence some duplication.

NOTE: The security page is hard going I would recommend this cut down page to set the MySQL password and putting your servers online.

All your server settings including security are set using UniServer’s Admin Panel. Putting your servers on line is extremely easy Admin Panel guides you through this process. I have produced a comprehensive guide to #apanel check it out.

Note: #apanel {TO DO}

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