Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Setting up Linux Apache, MySQL, and PHP (LAMP) Environment

Today I will walk you through setting up your own local test environment on Ubuntu but the steps outlined should be applicable or easily transferred over to other Linux distributions. We will build it in layers and we will start with apache2 and work our way up from there with each layer essentially building on the previous. I will try to keep it as simple as possible, here goes...

In order to install apache we will use "apt-get". Simply open up a terminal and type the following

COMMAND: sudo apt-get install apache2 

This downloads and installs apache2 with all the needed requirements without all the fuss. We can confirm it is working by simply pointing our browser at: http://localhost or

You should see the basic Apache starter page stating its working. You can find this file in "/var/www/" directory. You can now place files in this folder to be displayed by your Apache web server. If you need to start|stop|restart the Apache server simple issue this command:

COMMAND: sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 start|stop|restart

Now we have our server up, BUT if you place a PHP file (<? phpinfo(); ?>) in the "/var/www/" directory you will quickly see it doesn't work as intended (it probably tries to make you download the file). We need to now add another layer to our server to speak PHP, by installing PHP. We can do this with another "apt-get" set of commands, here are the steps to install the latest version of PHP5 and the necessary apache modules to accompany:

COMMAND: sudo apt-get install php5 libapache2-mod-php5

Now you if you go and try your PHP page you will still find its not working properly. We need to restart the Apache server for our changes to be properly incoporated. We use the command provided above to restart Apache...

COMMAND: sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

and now when we point our browser to: http://localhost/file.php we are greeted with the proper greeting we were expecting.

If you want to find the files for apache web output just navigate to “/var/www/”

NOTE: If for some reason you dont have a PHP file handy simply make a file with .php extensionn and place this inside "<? echo "<font color='red'><b>Hey Fucker it works!</b></font>"; ?>" so that it shows nice message when viewed in the browser :p

Now eventually you will need or want a database to connect to so I will also include setting up of MySQL database today as well. We will one more time take advantage of the simplicity built into "apt-get" and use the following command to download MySQL Server and all the basics to go with it.

COMMAND: sudo apt-get install mysql-server

You should be prompted about half way through to enter a password for your new MySQL "root" user. Make something secure and take note of it for use later on. Once entered it will continue running through the installation, go have smoke, grab beer, whatever kills a few minutes for you.

Once it finishes we check to confirm it was properly installed by using the mysql client (installed by default in most cases and done by the above apt-get if not already). We connect to the localhost database by using the built-in master account, user name "root", paired up with the password we created during the installation.

If for some reason you were not prompted for a password for the root user during installation then we can use this command to set one as we don't want MySQL root user with no password (out of pure habit prevention):

COMMAND: mysql -u root
COMMAND-mysql> SET PASSWORD FOR 'root'@'localhost' = PASSWORD('yourpassword');

The final syntax looks like this to connect to the database going forward (once connected you can create users|databases|tables|etc):

COMMAND: sudo mysql -u root -p'<password>'

NOTE: there is no space between the “-p” and the quote enclosed password, will cause problems if you add space as it will treat as database name instead

If you want to be able to connect to the MySQL isntance from other machines on your network then you will need to make a slight alteration to the MySQL configuration file. Simply use your favorite text editor to edit the "/etc/mysql/my.conf" file to alter the "bind-address". It is set to by default and you need to change it to your network IP address if you want it to listen so that other machines can then connect (i.e change to or whatever your IP is you want to listen on), save and exit.

You now need to restart MySQL Service. This is similar to Apache but since MySQL runs as a Service we use the Service command, like so:

COMMAND: sudo service mysql start|stop|resart

You should now have a fully functional setup to start your testing with. You can now build PHP applications and pages with full database support. You can now install hacking test frameworks like DVWA and have fun as you like. when you get comfy try installing entire CMS installs for full out testing and bug hunting. This wraps things up for our introduction to building a basic test environment for web testing. I hope you have enjoyed this write up as the first of many more to come.

Until next time, Enjoy!

Enable cURL support for PHP
In many cases you will want or need to use curl to make certain connections and in PHP the libcurl library allows us to get all the same functionality via PHP. Assuming you want to install this or enable this after your setup follow these quick steps:

COMMAND: sudo apt-get install curl libcurl3 libcurl3-dev php5-curl

Now we have curl enabled and installed in all of its flavors (standalone and PHP) with all the necessary underlying support it needs (thanks apt-get). In order for our system to update and accept the changes we need to restart the apache server one more time, like so:

COMMAND: sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Now you have cURL working, go have fun with your new playground and the new ability to run and host all of your favorite PHP web hacking scripts :)

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