Introduction to the LAMP Stack

Learn about the LAMP stack and the application we’ll build throughout this course.

The LAMP stack in a nutshell

To better understand the LAMP stack, let’s discuss the words that make up this term.

First of all, we must define what a stack is. A stack is a collection of software or application programs that work together to make up a fully functional environment.

The next word is LAMP. LAMP is an acronym for Linux, Apache, MySQL (MariaDB), and PHP (Python). These form the following four layers that are needed to build a website:

  • The operating system layer
  • The web server layer
  • The database layer
  • The scripting layer

Let’s study these layers in more detail.

Note: LAMP originates from the GNU/Linux world, but today we have a LAMP equivalent in almost every system.

Operating system

The operating system (OS) is the backbone of a LAMP stack. It is the foundational layer on top of which the other layers run.

Historically, the GNU/Linux OS was used in this layer because it was free, open source, and offered greater flexibility and more customization possibilities. Today, we have a gnu/Linux equivalent in almost every OS and its name changes according to the OS in question. For instance, we call it WAMP in Windows OS and MAMP in Mac OS.

Web server

The web server handles users’ requests and provides them with appropriate responses. It uses the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) for these responses.

The most commonly used HTTP server is Apache, but we may also find other servers like Nginx and MicrosoftIIS in use.


The role of the database layer is to store data that can be queried by the users. We can use a variety of database management systems (DBMS), such as MySQL, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL, as well as NoSQL databases like MongoDB.


The programming language is used to generate dynamic pages on users’ requests.

The most commonly used scripting language is PHP, but we can also use Perl or Python.

Note: We can build our LAMP stack from scratch by installing each piece of software that is needed separately, or by using a bundled solution. Some examples of bundled solutions are Wamp Server, Laragon (Windows), Mamp (Mac, Windows), and XAMPP (cross-platform).

Throughout this course, we’ll use the integrated Educative LAMP stack. Let’s write the traditional “Hello, World!” in this stack.

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