If you're using Mountain Lion and have the need to setup a vhost it can be a little tricky to get the ball rolling. I'm going to do my best to detail the process that I use to set everything up. Hopefully you can use these same steps to square aware your system.

Command Line Fu!

Ok we're going to pretty much do everything in Terminal so if that scares you now might be a good time to install MAMP instead ;)

Step 1: Enable httpd-vhosts.conf

OK first thing to do is navigate to your apache installation and open it up in your text editor of choice.

cd /etc/apache2
mate httpd.conf // you can use anything to open it up: vim, nano, etc.

You're looking for the line:

#Include /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

Remove the # to uncomment it.

It might be wrapped in a block that looks like this:


Comment out those lines using #. We want our httpd-vhosts file to always be loaded. It should look kind of like this:


... a bunch of stuff ...

Include /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

... a buncha other stuff ...


Step 2: Enable PHP

In the httpd.conf file search for this line:

#LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/libphp5.so

Remove the # so PHP will be enabled.

Step 3: Add a vhost

OK let's add our first vhost.

mate /etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

This is your list of virtual hosts. There should be some example vhosts in here. Let's create a new one:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName mysite.dev
    DocumentRoot "/Users/Rob/Developer/mysite"
    <Directory "/Users/Rob/Developer/mysite">
        DirectoryIndex index.php index.html
        AllowOverride all
        Options -MultiViews
        Order allow,deny
        Allow from all

There are a few other options you can use but I'm ignoring them for now. ServerName is what we'll be typing into our browser address bar. DocumentRoot and Directory point to the location of the project files on our hard drive. Note that DirectoryIndex will check for index.php first and then check for index.html. If you want to just use .html you can remove the bit about index.php

Step 4: Add the vhost to your hosts file

Next let's add our new host to our hosts file.

mate /etc/hosts

You should see a line that looks like this: localhost

Add this line underneath so it looks like this: localhost mysite.dev

Step 5: Restart Apache

OK let's reboot apache!

sudo apachectl restart

Step 6: Cross your fingers!

Head over to your browser and try it out. Make sure you use http:// at the beginning or it will just try to google your hostname.


With any luck you should see your site! If everything worked go back to terminal and paste in this line:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist

That will tell apache to start whenever the system starts. A word of warning: Whenever you change anything in httpd.conf, httpd-vhosts.conf or your hosts file you'll have to restart apache with sudo apachectl restart otherwise your changes won't show up in the browser.

Good Luck!