Our recommendation is to always use XAMPP! Fast and easy to install, either on Windows or Linux, it does all the hard work for you. The 1.8.1 version of the toolset includes:
- Apache 2.4.3
- MySQL 5.5.27
- PHP 5.4.7
- phpMyAdmin 220.127.116.11
The Control Panel includes service start and stop as well as options to configure and log errors.
To install, download XAMPP from: Apache Friends, use the installer and follow the very simple instructions.