Development Server Alternatives

Besides running a local copy of Apache on Nginx or your dev box, or using vagrant, the only other alternatives for a long time were XAMPP, MAMP, etc. While there are certainly good arguments for using them, for folks like Web Designers and such, there are a lot of technical hoops to jump through that just aren’t needed for these types of use cases. And, there are times as well where we coders might want to throw up some flavor of CGI scripted code, and not have to mess with any of the above.

Along come two excellent solutions, one completely Open Source, the other Open Source enough for the above use cases. In fact, the completely open source solution is a fork of the other, prior to its changing its license to GPL.

What I’m talking about is:

Basic Rundown

The Mongoose docs will cover all the nuances, but basically, you can download the .dmg, open it, drag the app where ever you want to run it from, and double-click it. When the app opens up, it places a menu icon in your top menu bar of your desktop that you can interface with.

The Civetweb docs will again cover the details, but as a quick-start, download the .dmg, open it, drag the app to where you want it, double-click it, and it will place a menu icon in the top menu bar of your desktop.

In both cases, basic usage is simple: After starting the app, open the menu and select

Edit Configuration

This will open the servers config file in your default .txt application for editing. Somewhere in the short list of items is:


All you have to do is point that to the absolute address of the folder from which you want the contents served. Stop, then re-start Mongoose | Civetweb, and it will begin serving index.html (or index.php) from that folder on:


… so make sure that port isn’t blocked from something else.

However, if for some reason you want it to serve from a different port, not a problem. That option, along with a host of others, is available in the previously mentioned config file. These servers will also run Lua Server Pages, and even perl.

So folks, if you don’t already know about them, they are well worth checking out for those little/quickie jobs where going through the dance of a heavier stack isn’t needed.


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