If you wish to develop Internet applications but don’t have your own development server, you will have to upload every modification you make to a server somewhere else on the Web before you can test it.
Even on a fast broadband connection, this can still represent a significant slowdown in development time. On a local computer, however, testing can be as easy as saving an update (usually just a matter of clicking once on an icon) and then hitting the Refresh button in your browser.
Another advantage of a development server is that you don’t have to worry about embarrassing errors or security problems while you’re writing and testing, whereas you need to be aware of what people may see or do with your application when it’s on a public website. It’s best to iron everything out while you’re still on a home or small office system, presumably protected by firewalls and other safeguards.
It’s easy to set up your own development server, and once the setup is complete, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one. Just follow the steps in the following sections, using the appropriate instructions for a PC, Mac, or Linux system.