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How to Configure NameVirtualHost in XAMPP’s Apache Server

How to Configure NameVirtualHost in XAMPP’s Apache Server

Updated for XAMPP version 1.6.5

Some time ago, I decided to start phasing out static xhtml in favor of pages using PHP includes. To test these new pages, I used’s wonderful XAMPP (which I really can’t recommend highly enough) to install Apache, MySQL, and PHP (among other things). Once I had my local server running, I put each dev site into its own folder in \htdocs\ and navigated to them by

This setup was functional but far from ideal, as the index pages for these local sites weren’t in what could be considered a root directory, which lead to some tip-toeing around when creating links.

Then I discovered the NameVirtualHost feature in Apache. NameVirtualHost allows the server admin to set up multiple domains/hostnames on a single Apache installation by using VirtualHost containers. In other words, you can run more than one web site on a single machine. This means that each dev site (or domain) can then consider itself to have a root directory. You will be able to access each local site as a subdomain of “localhost” by making a change to the HOSTS file. For example, I access the local dev version of this site at http://ardamis.localhost/.

This works great for all sorts of applications that rely on the site having a discernible root directory, such as WordPress.

Unfortunately, setting up NameVirtualHost can be kind of tricky. If you are having problems configuring your Apache installation to use the NameVirtualHost feature, you’re in good company. Here’s how I managed to get it working:
For XAMPP version 1.6.5

1. Create a folder in drive:\xampp\htdocs\ for each dev site (adjust for your directory structure). For example, if I’m creating a development site for on my d: drive, I’d create a folder at:
2. Edit your HOSTS file (in Windows XP, the HOSTS file is located in C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\) to add the following line, where sitename is the name of the folder you created in step 1. sitename.localhost

Add a new line for each dev site folder you create. Don’t change or delete the existing “ localhost” line.

Continuing with the example, I’ve added the line: ardamis.localhost
3. Open your drive:\xampp\apache\conf\extra\httpd-vhosts.conf file and add the following lines to the end of the file, using the appropriate letter in place of drive. Do this step only once. We’ll add code for each dev site’s folder in the next step. (Yes, keep the asterisk.)

NameVirtualHost *:80

DocumentRoot “drive:/xampp/htdocs”
ServerName localhost

My DocumentRoot line would be:
DocumentRoot “d:/xampp/htdocs”
4. Immediately after that, add the following lines, changing sitename to the name of the new dev site’s folder, again using the appropriate letter in place of drive. Repeat this step for every folder you’ve created.

DocumentRoot “drive:/xampp/htdocs/sitename”
ServerName sitename.localhost

My DocumentRoot line would be:
DocumentRoot “d:/xampp/htdocs/ardamis”
My ServerName line would be:
ServerName ardamis.localhost
5. Reboot your computer to be sure it’s using the new HOSTS file (you’ll have to at least restart Apache). You should now be able to access each dev domain by way of:


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