Edd Mann Developer

Complete MAMP Setup with PHP 5.5

I have been a loyal MAMP Pro user for many years, I fell in love with how easy it was to setup custom hosts, without the need to tweak the hosts file myself. However, ever since I documented my experiences with DNSMasq I have been intrested in how this article documented setting up a web-stack with Apache similar to Ruby user’s Pow. The ability to setup a new development site with only the creation of a new folder (i.e. a folder called test could be accessible from test.dev) appealed to me greatly. Below is a step by step guide on how I setup my MAMP environment, full credit goes to the discussed approach, without it a small part of my heart would never have been filled.

Apache and PHP

The first piece of the puzzle is to setup Apache, luckily for us Mac OSX (Lion or greater) already comes pre-installed with an adequate Apache installation, all we have to do is enable it. To go about achieving this we must first go to System Preferences, then Sharing and finally check Web Sharing.

How easy was that? The second piece is PHP, and again an installation is already provided with OSX Mavericks (5.4 to be exact), all that is required is to load the PHP5 module into your Apache setup. This can be achieved by uncommenting ‘LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/libphp5’ in your ‘/etc/apache2/httpd.conf’ file.

Fancy some PHP 5.5?

If you feel ultra-cool and want to use the latest and greatest from PHP - such as traits and yield, you can install PHP 5.5 using Homebrew following the below intructions:

$ brew tap homebrew/dupes
$ brew tap josegonzalez/homebrew-php
$ brew options php55 # list available configuration options
$ brew install php55

To enable PHP 5.5 for use with Apache you need to replace the uncommented PHP module (from the last step) with ‘LoadModule php5_module /usr/local/Cellar/php55/5.5.6/libexec/apache2/libphp5.so’.


To install MySQL I have decided to skip all the hard work of compiling my own build and again let Homebrew do all the hard work. Run the following commands to successfully setup your own personal MySQL installation. Remember to follow the instructions Homebrew provides you, I personally also recommend you run the optional secure installation script once complete (even if it is just a development setup).

$ brew install mysql
$ # The folder version may vary
$ /usr/local/Cellar/mysql/5.5.20/bin/mysql_secure_installation

We must then make Apache aware that MySQL now has setup shop on your system. To do this, run the following commands.

$ sudo mkdir /var/mysql
$ sudo ln -s /tmp/mysql.sock /var/mysql/mysql.sock

Now we are ready to add DNSMasq into the mix.

DNSMasq and the magical part

Now that we have successfully setup are MAMP stack its time to add the magic sauce which makes this setup o’ so much better. I have already documented what DNSMasq is and how to set it up on a Linux distribution (Ubuntu) in a previous article so I will just skip the introductions and install it. To install DNSMasq on Mac OSX I have decided to follow a similar process to MySQL and let Homebrew do all the hard work.

$ brew install dnsmasq

Once successfully downloaded/installed follow the onscreen instructions and copy the configuration file to ‘/usr/local/etc/dnsmasq.conf’. Before continuing on to the second stage of installation however, we need to tell DNSMasq (using the copied configuration file) that we want any address with a TLD of ‘.dev’ to loopback to our own machine.


We then need to add our loopback address ( as the first DNS record to our primary network adaptor. We do this by going to System Preferences, then Network, once there we click Advanced and then DNS. Finally we can then add as the first DNS record.

The last step is to setup the last development Apache Virtual Host you will hopefully ever have to look at. Add the following Virtual Host information into your custom Apache configuration file, located at ‘/etc/apache2/users/[your-username].conf’.

NameVirtualHost *:80

<Directory "/Users/[your-username]/Sites/">
  Options Indexes MultiViews FollowSymLinks Includes
  AllowOverride All
  Order allow,deny
  Allow from all

<VirtualHost *:80>
  UseCanonicalName off
  VirtualDocumentRoot /Users/[your-username]/Sites/%1

All that is needed now is to simply restart Apache by using the following command.

$ sudo apachectl restart

You can now add a new folder to your ‘~/Sites’ directory and without any other excess work visit the folder’s name with the ‘.dev’ TLD prepended in your browser of choice. I have added a simple function to my dotfiles which cuts out even this laborious task.

function newsite() {
  mkdir -p ~/Sites/$1
  echo "Hello, world..." > ~/Sites/$1/index.html
  echo "<?php phpinfo();" > ~/Sites/$1/info.php

Now that I have this setup I can not imagine a world without it. All the tedious work required in setting up a new project has now vanished!