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I'm new to working with MS Server 2008 & IIS 7. I need to install PHP on this server and am not sure whether I should go the manual route as detailed on the official PHP site, or use Microsoft's Web Platform. I'm initially going to be installing a CMS like Drupal or perhaps MODx, but may need to implement other PHP-based web application on this same machine. Is there a difference in these two installation methods that could cause me problems down the road? Has anyone had bad experiences with Web Platform?

PS-I'm pretty sure this server instance will end up being my production/live site so I want to set it up right from the beginning. I work at a school which is meager with it IT resources and have been told they won't set me up with another "virtualized" server installation for testing/development.

Much thanks,

Jason

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The Web Platform Installer simplifies your setup process, but many of the installers come prepackaged and do not offer a lot of flexibility during the install process. If you would like maximum control over your install, the manual route is probably your best bet. There is a Windows installer that speeds up the process (http://windows.php.net/download/). During the install you will want to use the 'IIS FastCGI' setup.

As far as a dev/test environment, if you have a Windows 7 machine, you can install and run the full IIS 7.5 version that is run with Windows Server 2008 R2 on your local desktop. You should be able to run the PHP install on your local machine that will run the same way as on a server. Another option would be something like VMWare Workstation (you have to pay for this one) or Virtual Box (http://www.virtualbox.org/) to setup a VM on your local machine for testing. This might be a good option as it would give you a chance to test both the manual install as well as the Web Platform Installer install methods.

Hope that helps.

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