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What is a LAMP Stack?

Posted on by Phil Kyle | Updated:
Reading Time: 4 minutes

A LAMP stack is an open-source stack that combines four services that the developers use to create powerful websites and applications. The base layer is the operating system called Linux, the layer for the web server is Apache, the database layer uses MySQL, and PHP is used as the programming language. When used properly, these four layers enable hosting, creating, and maintaining websites and web applications.

What is a LAMP Stack Used For and How Does it Work?

What a LAMP Stack is Used For

The LAMP stack processes the backend of web-based applications, which is everything that runs hidden from the client's eyes. Those processes include, but are not limited to:

  • Data processing
  • Database queries
  • Internal API calls and their communication to outside applications

With all of these components working together, the LAMP stack serves to manage both the dynamic and static content of your websites and applications.

For example, whenever there is a form on a website, you fill out the information and click on the submit button, which then triggers the API call and sends the necessary data. The LAMP stack manages these interactions.

How Does a LAMP Stack Work

Whenever you open a website through a browser, the LAMP stack is triggered, and the information it processes goes through the following flow. The web application makes a request from the web browser. The LAMP stack then initiates the Apache web server and MySQL, which use PHP for their communication. 

Receiving Requests

The Apache web server first receives the request from the web browser, depending on the request (static or dynamic content) it serves it accordingly. If the request is for static content, Apache serves it immediately. However, if it is dynamic content, the PHP component then gets involved and loads the correct PHP file to process that request.

Processing Requests

Once the correct PHP file is found, the written functions within it are then used to interpret the request and provide the necessary output. Some PHP functions also utilize the database, so a connection to MySQL is necessary. 

Returning the Values

After the PHP function is done, the output is then relayed back to the web server in HTML format. Also, note that sometimes a new entry in the database is made. The Apache web server then serves the dynamic content to the browser.

Benefits of Using a LAMP Stack

Here are some advantages of using a LAMP stack.


Due to a LAMP stack being open source, no license is required to set it up. Since you can download all of these services for free, it lowers the cost of maintaining and building web applications.


A LAMP stack has worldwide popularity, and its open-source nature leads to a higher community reach on public forums and on the web in general.


Developers all around the world are working on the open source code and improving it with new functionalities and security updates.


This is an already developed mainframe that can be implemented in record time so developers can focus on creating the site without worrying about the stability of the platform.


Although the layers are already specified, more experienced developers can choose different software components for each layer. For example, using Perl or Python instead of PHP.

What is the LAMP Stack Architecture


Linux is the operating system and the first layer of the architecture. It binds every other layer together. Linux is also an open-source operating system; it can be configured to meet the requirements of other software layers.


Apache is used for the web server and is the second layer of the LAMP stack model. Apache uses an HTTP connection to exchange information between the browser and the web server. Apache also calls upon PHP to serve dynamic content to the web server.


MySQL is the third layer in our LAMP stack. MySQL is used for storing and managing information. For example, client data and product data are all stored in the relational, open-source MySQL software. When information is requested, the database is queried and served.


Sitting on top of them all is the fourth and final layer. PHP stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, and it's a scripting language that allows you to dynamically serve content. Dynamic content is content whose values are not constant. They change depending on the circumstances of the function they are trying to accomplish. PHP is also linked to MySQL and the web server, which then is used in tandem to serve content to your browser.

LAMP stack with a scripting layer, web server layer, database layer, and an OS layer
A visual representation of the LAMP stack

Optimize the Performance of a LAMP Stack

Understanding the four software layers of a LAMP stack aids the troubleshooting process. It allows you to see how each layer relies on one another, such as when a disk drive gets full, which is a Linux layer issue. This will also affect all other layers in the model. This is because those other layers rest on top of the affected layer. Likewise, when the MySQL database goes offline, you can expect to see PHP-related problems due to their relationship. When you know which layer is exhibiting problems, you will know which configuration files to examine for solutions.

Some Alternatives

The four traditional layers of a LAMP stack consist of free and open-source products. Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP are the cornerstone of a free, non-proprietary LAMP stack. There are several variants of the four-stack model as well. These variants use alternative software, replacing one or more of the traditional components. Some examples of these alternatives are:

  • WAMP: Windows, Apache, MySQL, and PHP
  • WISA: Windows, IIS, SQL, and
  • MAMP: macOS, Apache, MySQL, and PHP

You can explore these alternative software stacks in greater depth using online resources.

How Can We Help?

The LAMP stack is an industry standard and is included in all of our Core-Managed and Fully Managed Linux-based servers. Our support teams work hand-in-hand with the LAMP stack on a daily basis. You can rest assured we are at your disposal 24 hours, 7 days a week, should you have questions or concerns. To learn more, you can browse our latest product offerings.

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About the Author: Phil Kyle

Phil is a huge computer enthusiast. In addition, he enjoys watching good movies and playing chess.

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