MoWeS – excellent portable WAMP web server stack

mowes_icon Most of the time web server software is something that is running in data center far far away. There are solutions like editing files on ftp server to bridge the gap.

Still for comfortable messing with web stuff (either for professional developer or blogger tweaking new theme) having local web server running is very convenient.

Modular Web Server (MoWeS) is the one server solution I got instantly fond of.

What it does

MoWeS follows usual formula of Apache, MySQL and PHP.


App itself is basically a launcher that handles server startup/shutdown, logs and settings. It is completely portable and can be easily moved without breaking configuration.

Flexible installation options

What sets MoWeS apart from similar server bundles is system of packages. Instead of providing single set of functions MoWeS offers to pick which components exactly do you need. On download archive with your selection would be formed.

This covers both server itself (for example it is easy to choose PHP 4, or 5, or both, or none) and what could be installed on it, including such popular titles as:

  • PHPMyAdmin;
  • WordPress;
  • MediaWiki;
  • Drupal;
  • Joomla.

There are over thirty packages you can choose right away and more for those who made donations to the project.

Packages themselves are technically 7-Zip archives with bit of config so you can easily make your own.


MoWeS is funded by donations. Unlike usual model in this case there is very defined system of benefits that provides (depending on amount donated) access to extra packages, support and commercial version of MoWeS with additional functionality.

There is also donation meter with few future milestones like development of new MoWeS version.


It is hard to judge from the sideline but project appears to be developed at spare time pace (consistent with donations model?). It is in solid and stable state but from those packages that I recognize quite a few are outdated.

My list of issues so far:

  • outdated packages;
  • poor packages update system (overwriting);
  • having to edit Apache config file to change listening port;
  • no Perl natively.


Out of the few server stacks I tried MoWeS come out on top as very customizable, easy to work with and best adapted for portable usage.

I am not very confident about future development but at moment it is excellent solution. And since it is open source under GPL it is likely to live on in any case… Or at least in case it gets more exposure and adoption). :)

Home http://www.chsoftware.net/en/useware/projectmowes/main.htm

Download http://www.chsoftware.net/en/useware/mowes/download.htm

PS before I get asked – I know about XAMPP, tried it and had more issues than I am willing to deal with. Don’t get me started. :)

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  • 40hz #

    I think a far better solution would be to take a look at the BitNami stacks over at www.bitnami.org Although not "portable" like MoWeS, Bitnami's offerings seem much more professional and better maintained. BitNami is multi-platform, with infrastructure stacks available for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and Solaris. Application stacks can be downloaded as separate modules, or as part of an all-in-one that includes WAMP/LAMP/MAMP/SAMP. There are only 26 applications currently available as modules - but all the usual favorites (such as Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, phpBB, Liferay and SugarCRM) are there. They have also recently added Ruby, JRuby, and Django. Anybody who has ever struggled getting a Ruby stack set up on a PC will appreciate their inclusion. Great resource! Check out BitNami when you get a chance.
  • Rarst #

    @40hz Thanks for suggestion, I will look into it. :) Still portable is important factor for me - I like my apps to be contained and easy to transfer.
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    Z-WAMP is far less intrusive than a window. It resides in the system tray and is always updated. See http://zwamp.sf.net