MAMP vs XAMPP – Which One Is Better for Local WordPress Sites?

Are you looking for a comparison of MAMP vs XAMPP? While both of these tools offer similar functions, there are lots of other things to consider. Let’s find out!

Having a local server environment is a basic requirement for every WordPress developer. It helps to build, modify, and test websites without any traditional domain or hosting service. MAMP and XAMPP are two of the popular localhost software packages for this purpose.

Most of the web content management systems like WordPress and Joomla use PHP and MySQL on their backend operations. Localhost software bundles provide developers with these and everything else needed to host a website on their computers.

MAMP and XAMPP offer functionalities to create a local development environment on your computer, so choosing one might be difficult. Both are open-source and free software packages with web servers, database systems, and PHP interpreters. While XAMPP has been the favourite choice for developers, MAMP is also popular. But which one should you choose? Well, this post will help you decide.

What is MAMP?

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MAMP is a local server environment that stands for My Apache – MySQL – PHP.

This local development environment software primarily focuses on macOS or Apple’s Mac operating system. It also runs on Windows. However, MAMP also has a commercial version called MAMP Pro where you can create separate hosts for each of your web projects. It’s an advanced version for those who want more features than just a basic local server.

MAMP Pro costs $99.00 for Windows and Mac. The MAMP Pro Update costs $59.00. MAMP Pro Cloud for macOS and Windows costs $14.99.

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Here are some extra features of MAPM Pro:

  1. Unlimited hosts, meaning users can create as many hosts as they want and configure them separately.
  2. Multiple versions of PHP, meaning users can test their programs in virtual hosts with different versions of PHP via CGI mode. This lets users check how their program performs in different PHP versions.
  3. Supports the latest version of PHP and Apache.
  4. Imports WordPress sites or any other websites faster than MAMP.
  5. Lets you take snapshots of any state of your hosts.
  6. Provides MAMP Cloud, allowing users to copy and save hosts to Dropbox/OneDrive.
  7. Easy mobile testing with the MAMP Viewer APP on iOS and Android.
  8. Built-in text editor to make easy and simple changes to WordPress websites.
  9. Allows sharing projects with LAN access.

If you want to know how to run WordPress on localhost using MAMP, check out our video tutorial on YouTube.

So we’ve learned about MAMP, now let’s know about XAMPP.

What is XAMPP?

On the other side of the table, XAMPP stands for X-platform or cross-platform, Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Perl programming languages.

This means XAMPP broadly targets multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, CentOS, Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, Arch, and SUSE. Moreover, XAMPP is an entirely free, open-source local server development environment, which is why XAMPP always comes up at the top when discussing local host software.

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It’s a lightweight local server environment that offers a lot in a single package, including FileZilla, Mercury Mail, Tomcat, and Webalizer. This is the main reason of its vast popularity.

XAMPP offers easy installation and provides simpler operations with a control panel, making it easier for new, upcoming, and veteran developers to implement their WordPress websites and online applications.

Here are some features of XAMPP:

  • A cross-platform software, which means it’s available for most of the popular operating systems.
  • Free and fully open-source.
  • Easy installation and configuration.
  • Can be extended with a variety of modules.
  • Comes pre-configured with helpful development tools and programming languages.
  • Offers portability, which means you can easily take your project to another computer with a different operating system at ease.

If you want to learn how to run WordPress on localhost using XAMPP, check out our video tutorial on YouTube.

In the next section, let’s figure out the difference between MAMP and XAMPP.

MAMP vs XAMPP – Differences between the stacks

MAMP and XAMPP have the same purpose: To provide a localhost server so that developers can test web apps and sites. WordPress developers also use these applications to develop their WordPress sites before making them live on the internet.

However, there are still tons of significant differences between them, which we will learn here.

Here are the key differences between MAMP and XAMPP:

Name

MAMP is an acronym that stands My Apache – MySQL – PHP

XAMPP is also an acronym that stands X for cross-platform, A for Apache Server, M for MySQL, P for PHP, and the other P for Perl language.

Database

MAMP server uses MySQL database, the most popular database in the world of website management.

XAMPP server uses the MariaDB database for developing and testing websites and applications. Note: MariaDB is a fork of MySQL.

Installation

The installation process of the MAMP server is pretty easy, and anyone can do it with simple installation knowledge.

The installation process of the XAMPP server is also easy, and anyone can do it. However, newcomers might find it a bit challenging.

More Features

MAMP Pro comes with extra features including a built-in editor, mobile device testing tools, and cloud features.

There is no Pro version. The XAMPP package does not include the Nginx server.

Pricing

MAMP offers both free and paid versions of its software with limited and more useful features.

XAMPP is free to download and use and does not cost a single penny.

Server

MAMP server is relatively easy to navigate and use for local WordPress website developments.

New developers might find the XAMPP server difficult to use compared to MAMP.

Testing Language

MAMP offers only PHP for development and testing.

XAMPP offers developers not only PHP but also Perl (Object-oriented programming) for development and testing.

Update

MAMP’s update track is slower than XAMPP’s.

Compared to MAMP, XAMPP comes with faster updates and new features.

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MAMP vs XAMPP – Pros and cons

Let’s look at the pros and cons of MAMP and XAMPP before answering the question of which is better for a local WordPress website.

Pros of MAMP

  • Super fast to install on any computer.
  • Supports the quick installation of local WordPress websites.
  • Offers multiple versions of PHP for programmers to test their websites.
  • A perfect choice for macOS users.

Cons of MAMP

  • Limited customization options.
  • Not compatible with as many operating systems as XAMPP.
  • MAMP has features that are hidden by an expensive price gate.

Pros of XAMPP

  • Cross-platform and compatible with a lot of operating systems.
  • Can run and stop servers with a single click.
  • Provides more security with Socket Layer Protocol (SSL) and Transport Layer Protocol.
  • Able to manage all the mails from the web.
  • Offers easy transferability to another operating system.
  • Fully free to all of its users worldwide.

Cons of XAMPP

  • Can be more complex than other alternatives in the market.
  • Might crash from time to time

MAMP or XAMPP? Which one is better for local WordPress sites?

MAMP and XAMPP both let you install, run, customize, and test WordPress websites locally on your computer without getting a host server.

We need to consider some things before deciding on a winner between the two.

MAMP was primarily created for the macOS operating system and later released a Windows version.

Conversely, XAMPP is designed for every computer operating system available right now. And it satisfies their users with frequent updates.

If you have a computer with macOS installed, MAMP is the better option because it provides easy and smooth operations with many features on your computer. 

In other ways, if you have a Windows operating system, XAMPP is the ideal option for you. It provides flexibility with its cross-platform support. But don’t forget if you are new to WordPress development, and it will require some time to get used to.

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Conclusion

Finding the best local development environment that provides easy operations is necessary for WordPress website development.

MAMP and XAMPP have the same principles. One of the major differences between them is that MAMP was developed to provide the best experience to macOS users, and XAMPP is for every platform out there.

Both MAMP and XAMPP are excellent for hosting WordPress websites locally on your computer. MAMP is for those who are new to WordPress development, especially with macOS. XAMPP is for those who want more freedom and technicality.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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Staff Author

Staff Author

A team of WordPress enthusiasts led by Arafat Bin Sultan, a seasoned professional with over a decade of experience in tech blogging, content marketing, and video creation.

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