The Guide to LAMP Stack

Written by
Mariel Lettier

Do you have any favorite tech stack or software bundle for your web development projects? Are there any oldies you would bring back to life? In this article, we'll focus on a tech stack for the ages: the LAMP stack. Below, we'll explain the LAMP stack, its different technologies, and why you should use it. We'll review frequently asked questions about this web development stack. And finally, we'll see some resources for developers who want to start working with this set of tools

What is the LAMP Stack?

This tech stack is made up entirely of open-source tools to build, deploy and manage web apps. The acronym “LAMP” was coined by Michael Kunze in 1998 and stood for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.

How does the LAMP Stack work?

The LAMP stack has an operating system (Linux) and a web server (Apache). Moreover, it has a database server (MySQL) and a programming language. This programming language is usually PHP but can also be Python or Perl. Before diving into how the stack works, we’ll look into each of these.


Linux is a free and open-source operating system (OS) developed in the early 1990s. This OS is the backbone of the LAMP stack. Linux is flexible and customizable, has frequent updates, and has a lightweight infrastructure.


Released in 1995, Apache is an open-source web server that handles web traffic. It processes requests and transmits information through the internet. For it, it relies on HTTP.


MySQL is the most popular free and open-source relational Database Management Software (DBMS) for storing app data. The database management service was released in 1995 and is currently in version 8. MySQL increases the database's scalability and security, and it's business-oriented.


This general-purpose scripting programming language is used in web development to create dynamic content. It first appeared in 1995 and originally stood for Personal Home Page. It now stands for Hypertext Preprocessor.


Perl is a feature-rich programming language that first appeared back in 1988. It's free, open-source, and specifically for web apps. Perl is free and open-source. Moreover, it's an embeddable, portable, and powerful language. You can learn more about Perl here!


Released in 1991, Python is a highly versatile programming language. It works for websites and both mobile and web apps.

How does The LAMP Stack Work Together?

The LAMP Stack process is pretty straightforward. Users request a web page from their browser, which the Apache web receives. If the request is for a PHP file, Apache passes it to PHP, which loads and executes the code. Also, PHP is in communication with MySQL. Finally, PHP uses the code and data to create the HTML the browser needs to display the relevant web page.

Why is The LAMP Stack Relevant?

1. It's Open-Source

The fact that all the components of the LAMP stack are open-source means that the source code is shared. Thus, developers can make changes and improvements to increase their performance. 

2. Customizability

As we’ll see below, you can easily change one or more components according to your needs. There is a version of LAMP for Windows (WAMP) and another for macOS (MAMP). 

3. Efficiency

As it's open-source and has been around for over two decades, you're bound to find many resources on the LAMP stack. As a result, you rarely have to start your project from scratch. You can build on what others have done before and reduce development time.

4. Security

LAMP's secure architecture and established encryption practices make it highly safe.

5. Community

The LAMP stack has been around for quite a while, and it's widely used. This usage has led to it having a sizable community. It's easy to find support for any issues.

What are LAMP Stack Variations?

As mentioned above, there are variations to the LAMP stack, such as WAMP, where the operating system is Windows instead of Linux. Below you’ll find this and other LAMP stack variations.

 LEMP: Linux, NGINX, MySQL, and PHP.
● LAPP: Linux, Apache, PostgreSQL, and PHP.
● LEAP: Linux, Eucalyptus, AppScale, and Python.
● LLMP: Linux, Lighttpd, MySQL, and PHP.
● WAMP: Windows, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.
● WIMP: Windows, Internet Information Services, MySQL, and PHP.
● MAMP: Mac OS x, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.

LAMP Stack vs. MEAN Stack

These two stacks use entirely different technologies. We know the LAMP stack has Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. In parallel, the MEAN stack uses MongoDB, Express, Angular, and NodeJS. MEAN is a JavaScript-based stack used to build dynamic websites and apps, which can deploy in any OS. 

Yet, LAMP is a JavaScript-based stack used to build dynamic websites and apps. While LAMP can only deploy in Linux, it can change into WAMP to work with Windows. You’ll need to look into your team’s skills and project requirements when choosing one. What makes the MEAN stack attractive is that all components work with JavaScript. As it’s a prevalent language, most team members are sure to know JS. Thus, it makes collaboration easier. Another difference is that MEAN usually works better for small-scale web apps. Meanwhile, LAMP is a well-established stack, and countless resources are available.. Also, it’s better for large-scale web apps.

LAMP Stack vs. MERN Stack

The MERN and LAMP stacks also use different technologies. In fact, MERN is more similar to MEAN as it uses MongoDB, Express, React, and NodeJS. Moreover, MERN is also JavaScript-based and has a front-end component (React).

As you can see, the differences between the MERN and LAMP stacks are similar to those between the MEAN and LAMP ones. Therefore, when it comes to which one to use, you should look at your team composition and the project characteristics you will tackle. You can learn more about the MERN stack here.


What do you think of the LAMP stack? Will you be using it or any of its variations for future projects? If you do, we hope to have given you enough background and resources to do so!

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