MacOS Mojave: Setup Local Web Server MacOS (Homebrew + Apache + PHP + MariaDB)

This document provides help on getting your macOS development environment up and running with the latest versions of Homebrew, Apache, PHP, etc.

Homebrew Logo

Homebrew Installation

Homebrew is an excellent package manager for macOS, let’s install it.

$ /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Add the Homebrew taps we need.

$ brew tap homebrew/core

Homebrew can self-diagnose and check your system for potential problems. Let’s see if everything is working the the way it should.

$ brew doctor

If successful it should display “Your system is ready to brew.”

Apache Installation

macOS comes with Apache pre-installed. We don’t want Apple in control of our web server so let’s stop it and prevent it from starting on boot.

$ sudo apachectl stop
$ sudo launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist 2>/dev/null

Type the following command into your terminal:

$ mkdir ~/Sites

macOS automatically adds the compass icon to your folder.

Now, let’s brew and configure our new Apache version and change it to run on standard ports (80/443).

$ brew install httpd

Check the installation path.

$ which apachectl

Set Apache to start now and restart at login

$ sudo brew services start httpd

You can watch the Apache error log in a new Terminal tab/window during a restart to see if anything is invalid or causing a problem:

$ tail -f /usr/local/var/log/httpd/error_log

Remember useful commands.

$ sudo apachectl start
$ sudo apachectl stop
$ sudo apachectl -k restart
$ sudo apachectl configtest

PHP Installation

Install the latest PHP version.

$ brew install php

The php.ini file can be found in: /usr/local/etc/php/7.x/php.ini.

Apache PHP Setup

You have successfully installed PHP, but you need to tell Apache to use it. Edit the httpd.conf file.

vi /usr/local/etc/httpd/httpd.conf 

Find Listen 8080 and change it to port 80:

Listen 80

Uncomment these lines…

LoadModule socache_shmcb_module lib/httpd/modules/
LoadModule ssl_module lib/httpd/modules/
LoadModule vhost_alias_module lib/httpd/modules/
LoadModule userdir_module lib/httpd/modules/
LoadModule rewrite_module lib/httpd/modules/

Add the following entry at the end of the LoadModules section:

LoadModule php7_module /usr/local/opt/php/lib/httpd/modules/

Update user and group…

User username
Group staff

Servername is disabled by default, set it to localhost:

ServerName localhost

Modify httpd.conf even more…

Change DocumentRoot, it makes up the basic document tree which will be visible from the web.

DocumentRoot "/Users/username/Sites"
<Directory "/Users/username/Sites">
    AllowOverride All

Check that directive DirectoryIndex includes index.php.

DirectoryIndex index.php index.html

And we need to add the FilesMatch directive so that Apache will now process PHP files.

<FilesMatch \.php$>
    SetHandler application/x-httpd-php

Uncomment to enable User home directories, Virtual hosts and Secure (SSL/TLS) connections…

Include /usr/local/etc/httpd/extra/httpd-userdir.conf
Include /usr/local/etc/httpd/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf
Include /usr/local/etc/httpd/extra/httpd-ssl.conf

Restart apache

$ sudo apachectl -k restart

Run a configuration file syntax test to verify/validate the configuration. It reports Syntax Ok or detailed information about the particular syntax error. This is equivalent to apachectl -t.

$ sudo apachectl configtest

If it says “Syntax OK” open browser using You should see a message saying “It works!”

php -v should report something like…

PHP 7.3.0 (cli) (built: Dec  7 2018 11:01:10) ( NTS )
Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.3.0-dev, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies
    with Zend OPcache v7.3.0, Copyright (c) 1999-2018, by Zend Technologies

SSL/Virtual Hosts

Change default 8443 ports to 443 in the SSL configuration file.

$ vi /usr/local/etc/httpd/extra/httpd-ssl.conf

Replace all lines that say ‘8443’ with ‘443’.


<VirtualHost _default_:443>

Save the file plus generate a key and certificate.

$ cd /usr/local/etc/httpd
$ openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout server.key -out server.crt

Open up /usr/local/etc/httpd/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf and add your own SSL based virtual hosts.

$ vi /usr/local/etc/httpd/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

Create your virtual host entries…

<VirtualHost *:443>
    DocumentRoot "/Users/username/Sites/yourprojectname"
    SSLEngine on
    SSLCertificateFile "/usr/local/etc/httpd/server.crt"
    SSLCertificateKeyFile "/usr/local/etc/httpd/server.key"

In Terminal, restart Apache.

$ sudo apachectl restart

MariaDB Installation

Install MariaDB with Homebrew.

$ brew install mariadb

Have MariaDB start on boot.

$ brew services start mariadb

Finally, let’s improve the security of your installation and add a password.

$ mysql_secure_installation

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