Modular Webserver System

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(MoWeS), formerly Webserver On Stick (WOS) was a portable WAMP system. It makes it possible to run a webserver based on Apache, MySQL and PHP from an USB Stick or any other writable media (harddrive, flash cards etc.) without installation under Windows. The company who made this went dead in 2002.

  • Instead, you could use [ XAMPP light]. However, the procedure is more complicated.

Mowes was useful in teaching in situations where you can't install a WAMP server in a classroom or don't want to loose time having students install their own on their laptops. It also is practical for people who wish to travel extra light, for handing over prototypes sites to clients, etc. Finally, no installation skills are required for the Mowes prepacked ones (e.g. Wordpress or Joomla).

Download and installation

Mixing" a Mowes combo

  • MoWeS Portable (download).
  • Make sure not to forget to include one (just one) version of Apache, PHP, MySQL and PHPMyAdmin.


We strongly recommend to install Mowes on a harddisk. You then can copy it to a memory stick. But do not decompress large archives on a memory stick, there may be write errors ....

Step 1: Unzip to harddrive directory. Create the directory first, then use a decent dezip program like 7zip (not the native Windows program).

Step 2: After dezipping, click on Mowes.exe now visible in this directory. Click OK each time the installer will ask you. This will install all the packages you downloaded. Make sure to unblock Firewalls if Windows asks you. In addition make sure that you do not already have a server running on your machine or an application that "plays web server". Typically, Skype does this. So shut it down !. Basically, do not ignore any error warnings of Mowes. Read and act !!

The directory structure now should look like this (I put mine under c:\soft

        18348 09-24 15:25 GPL.txt
          660 09-24 15:25 Licence.txt
            0 01-12 22:08 apache2
            0 01-12 22:07 mowes
       409600 09-24 15:25 mowes.exe
            0 01-12 22:08 mysql
            0 01-12 22:08 php5
            0 01-12 22:13 www

Step 3: Test the webserver. The URL is


Step 4: Configure the main settings for your MoWeS package using the Options option from the menu in the MoWeS Portable Status dialog to open the Options window. E.g. you could change the start page or unlock access from other machines. By default, you only can connect to the server from you local machine. Before you unlock, you should change all the passwords.

To stop the webserver, click on "End" or "Stopserver" followed by "End".

Configuring Mowes options

Using modules

Remember the default login and password:

Login name = admin
Password = password

Each portalware works differently. Usually, when you log in as admin, you will see a link to the administration interface. This link can be called admin, administration, dashboard, admin settings or anything else. Sometimes you may have to enter the password again.

In other other systems, try adding admin or administrator to the URL: e.g. for Joomla it is:

Adding new modules

Copy the archive that you downloaded from Mowes to the top-level directory, i.e. inside the directory with the MoWES files. (e.g. c:/soft/mowes as above)

When you restart MoWes, the system will detect the new addition and ask if it should install it.

Adding other portalware

You may use the MOWES installation to install other portals (like on a "real" WAMP/LAMP system. However, there may be a few caveats.

  • Some portals run badly on Windows (make sure to read OS requirements)
  • Some PHP features may be missing. Hit the PHP


We have used Mowes (formely WOS) in teaching. If you use the procedure below, everything will go smoothly. - 14:36, 20 February 2011 (CET)

We suggest to install Mowes on a local hard disk and then copy it to a USB memory stick. Mowes will automatically fix the file path.

There are two reasons for unzipping on a hard disk first:

  • Unzipping from a USB stick to a USB stick may create write errors depending on the quality of your memory stick, probably because reading/writing thousands of files is not what they were meant for.
  • Read/write performance is poor on a memory stick. If you do both you will wait for much longuer. Installing a basic apache-se, image magick, php 5, mysql, wordpress, joomla on a hard disk takes a few minutes or less, it may take an hour on a memory stick (or more). Copying 7000 files / 144 MB from the harddisk to a cheap 4MB Verbatim stick took about 8 minutes.


  • Help System" (includes an installation tutorial in PDF, but clicking on the menu to the left is enough ...).