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What is LAMP stack?

LAMP stack refers to a bundle of free and open source components that work together to help developers build, deploy, and manage dynamic web applications.


Michael Kunze originally coined the term LAMP in 1998 to refer to a bundle of free and open source components that work together to help developers build, deploy, and manage dynamic web applications. It’s referred to as a stack because the collective components or layers work together to make up a fully functional environment.

Since each component or layer of the stack is free and open source, it is widely available and accessible to everyone. Each of the first letters of the components' names make up the LAMP acronym:

  • Linux - operating system
  • Apache - web server
  • MySQL - database server
  • PHP, Perl, and Python - programming languages


Let’s take a look at how each of the layers work together to provide a full solution to deliver web applications. The diagram below illustrates how all the different components work together to create the stack.

LAMP Stack Architecture featuring Web Server, MySQL Database Server, Linux Operating System and Programming Languages

Operating system

Linux is the operating system (OS) and foundation of the LAMP stack. Launched in 1991, Linux is a free and open source OS that enjoys extensive popularity worldwide. It’s flexible and customizable, as it is open source, giving organizations the ability to modify the source code to fit their needs. The other three pieces of the LAMP stack sit atop the Linux OS.

Web server

Apache HTTP Server is a web server software that delivers web content though the internet. Launched in 1995, Apache has grown to be one of the most popular web servers in the world. As the second layer in the LAMP stack, Apache processes client requests over the internet. Using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) it accepts incoming HTTP requests and then serves the relevant web content. Since Apache is open source, this strong ecosystem has built many modules that extend the functionality of Apache. These modules can include authentication, encryption, diagnostics, logging, and more. 


MySQL is an open source relational database for storing application data. Launched in 1996, MySQL is now the second most popular database in the world, according to DB-Engines. The LAMP stack uses MySQL to store, manage, and query information in the database. Information can include user accounts, user details, product names, customer records, sales, applications, and more. Using Structured Query Language (SQL), users can easily access and manipulate information stored in the database.

Programming language

Originally, the “P” in LAMP was used to refer to PHP, a programming language launched in 1995 that helps you create dynamic web pages. Over time, the “P” has been expanded to include non-PHP languages like Python and Perl that have also become more popular for web development.

Websites today require dynamic capabilities to display real-time or updated information. Since HTML cannot perform dynamic processes, you can embed PHP, Perl, or Python code into the parts of the website that require this capability. HTML can be used for the layout of the website, while PHP, Perl, or Python is used for obtaining real-time information, such as checking the latest inventory on an e-commerce website.

How it works

You will find a simplified workflow below for a user searching for “baseball scores” on a dynamic website running the LAMP stack. Each of the layers is running on Linux as the foundational element of the stack. 

Workflow of a query when searching for Information on a dynamic website

Benefits of using LAMP Stack

The common reasons why developers choose a LAMP stack to build web applications include:


One of the main drivers of LAMP usage is that it’s free and open source. That means that developers can get started without having to pay licensing fees for proprietary software. This dramatically lowers the cost of piloting, building, deploying, and managing web applications.


Since the components of the LAMP stack have been around for almost 30 years, LAMP provides a tried-and-tested web development solution. Developers can take advantage of existing best practices, code, and tools to save time and effort.


Since LAMP is open source, you have the flexibility to choose the right components to fit your needs and business requirements. The LAMP ecosystem provides powerful building blocks, such as code samples, modules, and extensions that can be customized and mixed and matched for your needs.


Due to the popularity of LAMP, you benefit from a large, global community of experienced professionals that provide help and support during each phase of your project. This strong, active community allows for greater sharing of best practices, tools, resources and faster, more consistent release cycles.

Feeling inspired? Let’s solve your challenges together.

Google Cloud offers a fully managed offering of MySQL - Cloud SQL for MySQL
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Deploy the LAMP stack components on Google Cloud through our Marketplace
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Google Cloud provides all of the layers of the LAMP stack to build your next web application. You can either deploy a complete LAMP stack using the Google Cloud Marketplace or use individual components, such as our fully managed database service, Cloud SQL for MySQL to get started.