How to configure a virtualhost in XAMPP 3.3.2 for a Symfony 4 Project

After getting started with the development in Symfony 4 locally with XAMPP, i ended up with a couple of routing issues due to my default configuration of the virtual host for my project. The error that noticed me that the error wasn't in Symfony but in the configuration of my local dev environment for apache (my vhost), because the debug bar did'n load correctly and always got the message: "Symfony 4 : An error occurred while loading the web debug toolbar". I noticed as well that there wasn't an exception but a server message "Not Found on this server".

Then, after reading the official docs of symfony there were a lot of changes as well with the .htaccess file (that by default doesn't exist unless you install a special apache module for symfony).

The first option, is to create this .htaccess file installing a module with composer in your project and configurating the virtual host for this case. The second option is to disable totally the usage of the .htaccess in your virtual host and writing all the rules and directive on it. In this article we'll show you how to use both options in your xampp installation

A. With .htaccess

If you are willing to use an .htaccess file to rewrite directives etc. proceed to install the symfony/apache-pack package in your Symfony 4 project with the following command:

composer require symfony/apache-pack

After the installation, this will create an .htaccess file in your project/public directory with a content similar to:

# Use the front controller as index file. It serves as a fallback solution when
# every other rewrite/redirect fails (e.g. in an aliased environment without
# mod_rewrite). Additionally, this reduces the matching process for the
# start page (path "/") because otherwise Apache will apply the rewriting rules
# to each configured DirectoryIndex file (e.g. index.php, index.html,
DirectoryIndex index.php

# By default, Apache does not evaluate symbolic links if you did not enable this
# feature in your server configuration. Uncomment the following line if you
# install assets as symlinks or if you experience problems related to symlinks
# when compiling LESS/Sass/CoffeScript assets.
# Options FollowSymlinks

# Disabling MultiViews prevents unwanted negotiation, e.g. "/index" should not resolve
# to the front controller "/index.php" but be rewritten to "/index.php/index".
<IfModule mod_negotiation.c>
    Options -MultiViews

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
    RewriteEngine On

    # Determine the RewriteBase automatically and set it as environment variable.
    # If you are using Apache aliases to do mass virtual hosting or installed the
    # project in a subdirectory, the base path will be prepended to allow proper
    # resolution of the index.php file and to redirect to the correct URI. It will
    # work in environments without path prefix as well, providing a safe, one-size
    # fits all solution. But as you do not need it in this case, you can comment
    # the following 2 lines to eliminate the overhead.
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI}::$1 ^(/.+)/(.*)::\2$
    RewriteRule ^(.*) - [E=BASE:%1]

    # Sets the HTTP_AUTHORIZATION header removed by Apache
    RewriteCond %{HTTP:Authorization} .
    RewriteRule ^ - [E=HTTP_AUTHORIZATION:%{HTTP:Authorization}]

    # Redirect to URI without front controller to prevent duplicate content
    # (with and without `/index.php`). Only do this redirect on the initial
    # rewrite by Apache and not on subsequent cycles. Otherwise we would get an
    # endless redirect loop (request -> rewrite to front controller ->
    # redirect -> request -> ...).
    # So in case you get a "too many redirects" error or you always get redirected
    # to the start page because your Apache does not expose the REDIRECT_STATUS
    # environment variable, you have 2 choices:
    # - disable this feature by commenting the following 2 lines or
    # - use Apache >= 2.3.9 and replace all L flags by END flags and remove the
    #   following RewriteCond (best solution)
    RewriteCond %{ENV:REDIRECT_STATUS} ^$
    RewriteRule ^index\.php(?:/(.*)|$) %{ENV:BASE}/$1 [R=301,L]

    # If the requested filename exists, simply serve it.
    # We only want to let Apache serve files and not directories.
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f
    RewriteRule ^ - [L]

    # Rewrite all other queries to the front controller.
    RewriteRule ^ %{ENV:BASE}/index.php [L]

<IfModule !mod_rewrite.c>
    <IfModule mod_alias.c>
        # When mod_rewrite is not available, we instruct a temporary redirect of
        # the start page to the front controller explicitly so that the website
        # and the generated links can still be used.
        RedirectMatch 307 ^/$ /index.php/
        # RedirectTemp cannot be used instead

This .htaccess will rewrite rules only if the virtual host allows it, so as the last step we need to create the virtual host with the following structure. Proceed to edit the vhost file (xampp\apache\conf\extra\httpd-vhosts.conf) and register your vhost with the following structure:

    DocumentRoot "C:/xampp72/htdocs/php/sandbox/public"
    DirectoryIndex index.php

    <Directory "C:/xampp72/htdocs/php/sandbox/public">
        AllowOverride All
        Order Allow,Deny
        Allow from All

Save the changes to the virtual host file  and restart apache with the control panel and that's it !

B. Without .htaccess

As mentioned in the official documentation, if you choose to don't use an .htaccess file, you will increase slightly the performance of your web server. However, all apache related configuration must be done in the virtual host file and the default configuration will change:

    DocumentRoot "C:/xampp72/htdocs/php/sandbox/public"
    DirectoryIndex index.php

    <Directory "C:/xampp72/htdocs/php/sandbox/public">
        AllowOverride None
        Order Allow,Deny
        Allow from All

        FallbackResource /index.php

Using AllowOverride will make that not any .htaccess file can override apache directives and your project will immediately work after saving changes in the xampp\apache\conf\extra\httpd-vhosts.conf file and restarting your server.

Happy setup !

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