I know of four different ways to do this. I’m going to cover them in the order of my personal preference (and ease).
Wamp is probably the easiest quickest way to get an apache server running PHP on your computer.
Just download the install here: Wamp Download run it, use the tool to make sure you don’t have anything running on port 80, and start the two services (apache, and mysql) by right clicking the icon in the task bar and clicking “Run All Services”
Download and Run Uniform
Uniform is different from WAMP and XAMP in that there is nothing to install, you just download it, and run it. This provides you with the ability to create a seperate “server” for each project you do, with it’s own mysql and apache binaries, configs, etc… I, personaly, perfer WAMP and writing all my apps to be location agnostic, so that they run anywhere and co-exist peacefully, but you may prefer this.
XAMPP is like WAMP. You download it, install it, and click go, but the only time I tried it (a few years ago) I ran into some difficulties. At the time they didn’t have a control panel like WAMP. This may in fact be the superior way to go, but I like my WAMP.
I did this once. It took me a few days (this was like 3 years ago, when my experience with PHP was ‘nill) If your a masochist this is the way to go. You’ll learn all the nitty gritties (or atleast be impeded by them). Hopefully you can beat my time.