Recently needed to implement a local development environment that used Apache, PHP and MySQL on Windows.
Years ago I played with WAMP server, which worked well. But the payload was large (1GB installer), system resource utilization high, and it required a number of outdated Microsoft Visual C++ versions to be installed in order to operate correctly. It was also very slow to use but it did work.
Local by Flywheel was slightly better but also very, very slow on a Windows computer. At least in my experience.
By far the best experience has been XAMPP. Granted, you have to run the installer as an administrator as well as its primary executables. But beyond that, it had a smaller installer and opening up a local WordPress installation is at least 4x faster than with Local by Flywheel. In short, for my personal needs the clear winner is XAMPP. Your experience may be different.
Within this article I have instructions and a video covering how I installed XAMPP on my Windows PC for quickly spinning up a WordPress installation for use in WordPress Plugin development.
Begin by downloading the XAMPP installer. Before attempting to install XAMPP, make sure you right click on the installer and select “Run as administrator” otherwise you may encounter errors during installation. Below is a short video I created showing you the steps I used to install XAMPP on my Windows PC.
Reminder: Before starting XAMPP, you’ll want to set xampp_start.exe, xampp_stop.exe, xampp_control.exe (within the C:\xampp directory) to open as an administrator. Otherwise you many run into various errors when using XAMPP. A small price to pay, in my opinion, for the better performance over the other available local development programs out there.
I welcome your thoughts, questions or suggestions on my article on how to install XAMPP on Windows for local WordPress development.
Let me know if you found any errors within my article or if I may further assist you by answering any additional questions you may have.