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What Is LAMP Stack? What Is LAMP Used For?

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The LAMP stack is a popular software bundle using open source components to build and deliver web applications.

Developers know LAMP because it has been a basis for web development since the late 1990s. With open-source tools for an operating system (Linux), web server (Apache), database server (MySQL), and programming language (PHP), the LAMP stack is an efficient and flexible method that enables competition with commercial software developers. Today, estimates show up to 80% of the internet uses open-source programming and software. 

This article looks at what LAMP stack is, the stack architecture, how it works, and the benefits of using LAMP to develop web applications.

What Is LAMP Stack?

One of the oldest and most utilized software development methods, the LAMP stack allows web developers to build, deploy, and manage web applications. LAMP is an acronym that stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, and provides the components needed to host and manage web content. 

Read more: Web Servers vs. Application Servers

What Does LAMP Stand for?

The Operating System: Linux

Since the mid-1990s, Linux has been a dominant free and open-source operating system (OS). While commercial OSs like Windows and Mac are the most widely used, Linux also has extensive industry use and offers more configuration flexibility. 

The Web Server: Apache 

The open-source Apache web server manages the traffic a website or web application receives. Like other web servers, Apache processes online client requests and communicates with an internal database (MySQL) to deliver web assets to the user via HTTP. 

The Database Server: MySQL

The open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) MySQL, is the most popular free option for storing application data. Administrators can seamlessly query data with the SQL language while managing information for client use.

The Programming Language: PHP

The Hypertext Preprocessor, more commonly known as PHP, is a general-purpose scripting language used for creating dynamic web content. Because HTML is a static processor, inserting PHP scripting into pages enables dynamic web applications, tools, and processes. In addition to PHP, Perl and Python are also widely used for the LAMP stack.

Read more: Best Programming Languages to Learn in 2021 for Web Development

LAMP Architecture

On the back end, the LAMP architecture is rooted in the operating system, Linux. From there, the OS manages data communicating with the Apache web server and MySQL database server. These components use PHP scripting on the presentation layer to interact with client devices.

How Does LAMP Stack Work?

The LAMP stack provides users and client devices a route to access desired content, software, or miscellaneous web tools. Together, with Linux as the base operating system, the model in action takes the following steps:

  1. Clients navigate to a website and make a request on their web browser.
  2. If the client request is for a PHP file, Apache uses PHP to execute the request.
  3. With other data requests, the Apache fetches MySQL data.
  4. The Apache web server receives granted resources from PHP and MySQL.
  5. Apache processes the resource to present HTML content to the client.

Read more: Open Source Security: A Big Problem

Benefits of the LAMP Stack


The LAMP stack is a flexible solution for building web infrastructure. Developers can develop web content, insert dynamic application features, and manage the underlying database.


LAMP stack is an efficient, open-source solution. Without a considerable upfront investment, developers are free to download, develop, and deploy web content. An ecosystem built around LAMP saves developers time with existing code pools, peer forums, and tools.


Though LAMP was the starting point for a movement in web development, LAMP capabilities go beyond the acronym. Several popular reiterations of the popular stack include WAMP (Windows operating system), WIMP (Windows OS and IIS for web server), MAMP (MacOS).

LEMP: Improving Efficiency

A play on the LAMP stack that further improves efficiency is LEMP, replacing an Apache web server with an NGINX web server (Engine-X). NGINX offers low memory use and high concurrency and performance with uses as an HTTP cache, load balancer, and proxy server. NGINX-based websites include Netflix, WordPress, Instagram, and GitHub.

Read more: Best Platform as a Service (PaaS) Providers

History of LAMP

  • 1991: Unix-like operating system Linux launched by Linus Torvalds
  • 1995: Apache Software Foundation releases Apache HTTP Server for web hosting
  • 1995: MySQL launched by Swedish company MySQL AB; later acquired by Oracle
  • 1995: First appearance of PHP programming language for web development
  • 1998: Michael Kunze coins the term “LAMP stack” in Computertechnik

Learn more about the world of Linux distributions on LinuxToday.

This article was updated on September 7, 2021.

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