MoWeS Portable: How To Use As Portable Web Server

Ever since I used MoWeS Portable as my portable web server, I’ve never looked for any other application for my web testing purposes. I’ve tried several other portable web servers like XAMPP and other similar applications. These other web servers work too but, sometimes, they act up such that if you’re not a PHP expert, you’ll need to scamper and look for another replacement, like I did many times. My search for what I consider (for my purposes) the best portable web server ended when I found MoWeS Portable. I installed it on my USB so that I could bring my work anywhere and open them from any machine. This is particularly useful for site developers who would want to show their work to their clients anywhere, anytime.

Installing MoWeS Portable Webserver

  1. Download the mowes package with at least the following other packages:
    • PHP5
    • MySQL
    • Apache
  2. Extract the zipped file.
  3. Move the mowes_portable folder to the D:/ directory or on a USB
  4. Click on the mowes application to install.
    • click on mowes.exe
      MoWeS exe
    • choose english and click ok
      MoWeS english
    • accept and ok
      MoWeS portable accept
  5. Click on the ‘Install’ button when prompted.
    • install
      MoWeS portable webserver install
    • if bitdefender, zonealarm, or some other app asks if you
      want to allow mowes portable, mysql, apache to connect to
      the internet, allow it.
      MoWeS Allow
  6. When the mowes window changes to this
    MoWeS install Status
    you can now open your browser and type

Subsequent Use of MoWeS Portable Webserver:

  1. Double click the mowes executable. That’s the mowes.exe under the mowes_portable folder.
  2. When you’re prompted to install applications, click cancel.
    MoWeS portable webserver install
  3. When the mowes window changes to this
    MoWeS install Status
    your portable web server is now ready to use. If you create, say a folder called ‘test’ under the ‘www’ folder in the main MoWeS Portable directory, and created a file called index.html or index.php in it, then you could now run that file by opening your favorite browser and typing ‘localhost/test’. Alternatively, you can install a wordpress test site in your MoWeS Portable web server.

Setting Up A WordPress Site To Run Under MoWeS Portable Webserver

After having installed the MoWes Portable web server on your your USB or hard disk, you’re ready to work with wordpress installations on your localhost server.

  1. Download the latest wordpress platform zip file into the www folder of your mowes_portable directory.
  2. Unpack/unzip it and rename the newly created folder into your planned test wp installation, say ‘mywptestlab’.
  3. On your browser, type the url address: localhost/phpmyadmin/
  4. On the ‘Create new database’ textbox, type ‘mywptestlab’ and click the ‘Create’ button.

    MoWeS phpmyadmin
  5. Your db has just been created.
    MoWeS db created
  6. Click on the mywptestlab folder and open the wp-config-sample.php file into wordpad (right click, open with wordpad)
  7. Find the section where the following lines are located:

    /** The name of the database for WordPress */
    define('DB_NAME', 'database_name_here');
    /** MySQL database username */
    define('DB_USER', 'username_here');
    /** MySQL database password */
    define('DB_PASSWORD', 'password_here');
    /** MySQL hostname */
    define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');


  8. Change ‘database_name_here’ to ‘mywptestlab’
  9. Change ‘username_here’ to ‘root’
  10. Change ‘password_here’ to ”. Meaning, no password.
  11. Save as wp-config.php
  12. type localhost/mywptestlab/wp-admin/install.php on the browser’s url address box.
  13. The welcome page will present itself with a few textboxes you need to fill.
    • Site Title: My WP Test Lab
    • Username: admin (leave as it is)
    • password: mywptestlab
    • email address:
  14. Press ‘Install WordPress’ button
  15. Success page displays, Click ‘Login’ button
  16. Input login data
  17. You’re now in your WP Dashboard
    Now you can try themes, plugins and other edits before you apply it on your online blogs or sites.

Note: I iterate that I only use MoWeS Portable for testing purposes e.g. testing out a wordpress theme, or testing how my tweakings would look on a plugin or an existing wp theme.


    1. First time to hear about DENWER. Thanks György. Thing about denwer though is that most of its documentation are in Russian. If it can run from a USB, I’ll probably give it a try.

  1. I’ve never thought of installing a portable Web Installer James but I can see where it has it’s uses. Now that you’ve written a really good step by step process on how to install MoWes I know where to go when and if I decide to go that route. Well done James.
    Sire´s latest blog post ..Back From LA With A Tip For Bloggers

          1. Hi Nabeel, I only use Dreamweaver to do edits on the html or php of a page. When I want to see the changes, I use Firefox and/or IE by typing on the url box http: / / localhost / name-of-project . What or on which part particularly is your problem?

    1. Well, I’ve tried XAMPP before. I think MoWeS is just more friendly to users who are not yet that good in PHP, like me. 🙂

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