Php – How to run a file on localhost


How do I actually run a file on localhost?
I know it is working, but how do I run a file on it, and how do I verify that the file is in fact running on localhost?

Server newbie here, additional questions (I have xampp running Apache 2.2):
From your responses it sounds like I have to type in the path in the browser in order to open the file on the localhost. So, if I want to have the file in a subdirectory, I would have to type the full path including the directory?

Is there a way to have the browser point to the localhost while I am working on my html, instead of having to type in the path all the time?

I am working in Dreamweaver CS3, and want to use include commands (either SSI or PHP), but not have to keep putting my files up on HostGator in order to see if they are working.

What is the best way to do this (please be specific, I know nothing). If there is a detailed tutorial anywhere, really appreciate a link.

Thank you

Best Solution

Ok, thanks for the more specific info, ppl may remove their downvotes now...

What you are proposing is a very common thing to do! You want to run your web application locally without uploading it to your host yet. That's totally fine and that's what your Apache is there for. Your Apache is a web server meaning its main purpose is to serve HTML, PHP, ASP, etc. files. Some like PHP; it first sends to the interpreter and then sends the rendered file to the browser. All in all: it's just serving pages to your browser (the client).

Your web server has a root directory which is wwwroot (IIS) or htdocs (apache, xampp) or something else like public_html, www or html, etc. It depends on your OS and web server.

Now if you type http://localhost into your browser, your browser will be directed to this webroot and the server will serve any index.html, index.php, etc. it can find there (in a customizable order).

If you have a project called "mytutorial" you can enter http://localhost/mytutorial and the server will show you the index-file of your tutorial, etc. If you look at the absolute path of this tutorial folder then it's just a subfolder of your webroot, which is itself located somewhere on your harddrive, but that doesn't matter for your localhost.

So the relative path is


while the absolute path may be




If you're working with Dreamweaver you can simplify the testing process by setting up your local server as a testing server in your project settings. Try it! It's easy. Once it's done, you can just press the browser icon with any of your files and it will open on localhost.