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Windows Usage

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Windows installation, and typical usage on Windows platform

Installing and configuring Mongoose on Windows


Note: Please put your comments in the proper Wiki. Problems must be posted at [ Bugs], comments involving Linux, etc., should go in the proper Wiki.

Important instructions for installing version 2.9 as a Windows Service


Installing and uninstalling mongoose may destroy important files, even if they have nothing directly to do with mongoose. Follow these instructions carefully to avoid data loss.

Assume that "root" is your server root directory, containing files such as CGI interpreters, their configuration files, any files to be served by mongoose in the root directory "/", documentation, log files, etc. Your actual file layout may be different from this, but let's just assume this layout for simplicity. The important point here is that we don't want to lose any of these files.

When installing a new version of mongoose, it is a good idea to uninstall the previous version, especially if it was running as a Windows Service. When doing this, be sure to save any important files, such as the mongoose configuration file.

To install mongoose:

  1. Create an empty root\mongoose folder. NEVER keep any useful files in folder "mongoose" other than as instructed here.
  2. Copy mongoose-2.9.install.exe into "mongoose".
  3. Run mongoose-2.9.install.exe to install mongoose into that folder. Be very careful not to install mongoose into "root", only "mongoose".
  4. After installation, copy your real mongoose.conf from "root" into "mongoose", overwriting the sample mongoose.conf file that was part of the installation.
  5. Restart service "mongoose-2.9". You can do that with system program 'services.msc' or just a 'restart.cmd' file containing these lines:

    @echo off
    Net stop "Mongoose 2.9"
    Net start "Mongoose 2.9"
  6. If your mongoose.conf file is correct, mongoose is now running and ready to serve Web requests. Caution: mongoose does not detect most errors in mongoose.conf (it may exit silently), so some experimentation may be necessary.

To uninstall mongoose:

  1. Copy mongoose.conf and anything else important back to "root" folder.
  2. Run root\mongoose\uninstall.exe.
  3. Note: the entire mongoose subfolder will be deleted!

Installing and configuring Mongoose on Windows in general

To install Mongoose on Windows, download and run the Mongoose [ installer]. By default, the installer tries to setup Mongoose as [ Windows service] to start automatically when Windows starts. Administrator privileges are required for that. Alternatively, this can be disabled by unchecking appropriate checkbox on the installer's first page. In this case, Mongoose can be started as Windows console application.

To install Mongoose as a service: After running the Mongoose download for the first time, there will be an icon created on the systray. Right click this icon an select "Install service".

After Mongoose is installed, you can start your browser and type in the address . This is the address of your own machine. You must see the content of disk C:.

An installer creates shortcuts in the Start menu, most important ones are "Edit config", "Start service" and "Stop service". These are needed when you want to change the default configuration. "Edit config" starts up an editor, where you can tweak any option. Most important options are:

  • root - where your HTML files live. By default, it is set to "C:\", change it to the directory you want.
  • cgi_interp - this must be a full path to the CGI interpreter program. If you use Perl for your CGI files, or PHP, or anything else - please put the full path to perl.exe, or php-cgi.exe, or whatever you are using as CGI interpreter. PHP NOTE! For PHP 5.x and older, the correct CGI interpreter is php-cgi.exe, not php.exe.

In the configuration file, all blank lines and lines that begin with '#' symbol, are ignored. The rest of the lines must start with valid option name, followed by any number of whitespace characters, followed by an option value. If the configuration option is not set, the default value is used. All valid option names, with their default values, are described in MongooseManual, in the OPTIONS section.

Any time you change the configuration by changing option values, saving and closing the config file, Mongoose must be restarted to re-read the changes. This can be done by stopping the service, and starting it again, via the Start menu shortcuts.

If you have Windows firewall running, it may block web connections to your machine. This means that while you can access your web pages from the machine that runs Mongoose, you may not access them from other computers. To allow web connections to the machine, go to the control panel, windows firewall, add exception, add port, TCP port 80 and TCP port 443.

Advanced usage

  • Installing Mongoose is not necessary for make it work. mongoose.exe is self-sufficient executable file. Installation procedure does not copy any DLLs or write into registry; it merely unpacks files into a directory and registers a Windows service. If you wish to share some files really quickly, just copy mongoose.exe into the directory you wish to share, and double-click it. This will run Mongoose in console mode, on port 8080. Point your browser to http://your_machine:8080 to see shared files.
  • Setting cgi_interp option is not the only way of running CGI scripts. You can leave this option unset. In this case, the first line of your CGI script must be #!c:\full\path\to\cgi_interpreter. This allows to run CGI scripts with different CGI interpreters, for example, Perl, PHP, at the same time.
  • It is possible to restrict access to the web server to certain machines only. To do that, set acl option this way: acl -,+machine1,+machine2, where machine1, machine2 are IP addresses of the machines allowed to connect.
  • It is possible to protect certain folders with password. To do that, you have to create passwords file in that folder. Start command prompt, run following commands:
c:\mongoose-2.1\mongoose.exe -A c:\folder\to\protect\.htpasswd user1 password1
c:\mongoose-2.1\mongoose.exe -A c:\folder\to\protect\.htpasswd user2 password2
  • Sometimes it is needed to protect all folders with same passwords file, so for any request authentication will be required. This is done by creating a single passwords file, and setting auth_gpass option. Run "Edit config", set "auth_gpass C:\global_passwords.txt", save and exit. Stop and start Mongoose service. Start command prompt, run following commands:
c:\mongoose-2.1\mongoose.exe -A C:\global_passwords.txt user1 password1
c:\mongoose-2.1\mongoose.exe -A C:\global_passwords.txt user2 password2

How To Set Up PHP

One of the great things about the Mongoose server is that it is easy to set up the server-side language PHP for use either locally (at IP address, which is usually named localhost in the local DNS file HOSTS), as a LAN subnet Intranet server, or as a WAN (external Internet) Webserver. (Note: Mongoose is probably not suitable for use as a high-volume Webserver such as Apache or IIS. One reason is that it runs PHP as a CGI interpreter, which means that it reloads the PHP executable to serve each PHP page. Of course, this overhead is no problem for local server-based applications.)

You can write an entire multimedia and/or database application in PHP, then run it on any computer under Linux or Windows, or run it from removable media such as CDs, DVDs, and USB Flash Drives.

Here are some basic instructions on how to set up PHP under Mongoose on current versions of Windows (some modifications would be needed for Linux):

  • Choose a folder to be your server root and home to Mongoose and PHP.

  • Either install Mongoose as a Service (recommended) or run mongoose.exe.

  • Download any recent version of the PHP binaries for Windows from You need the basic PHP executable files php5.dll and php-cgi.exe; copy them to your root folder. If you want to use a database, copy its PHP extension file, such as php_sqlite3.dll (which I recommend for its small size and high speed), to your root folder as well.

  • Create the text file php.ini from the default php.ini distributed with the PHP Windows binaries. Consider making the following changes:

short_open_tag = On (to use "<? ?>" instead of "<?php ?>")
max_execution_time = 15
max_input_time = 10
memory_limit = 16M
display_errors = On (turn Off after debugging)
display_startup_errors = On (turn Off after debugging)
log_errors = Off
html_errors = Off
magic_quotes_gpc = Off
extension_dir = "C:\root" (change to your root path)
;extension=php_sqlite3.dll (put extension DLLs in your root)
date.timezone=US/Eastern (Change to your time zone)

You can find a list of time zone names in the following PHP program: (

  • Create the text file mongoose.conf containing your desired server settings. For PHP, be sure to include:

    (Warning--2.8 syntax)

    cgi_interp      php-cgi.exe
    cgi_ext         php
  • For testing and debugging, create the text file info.php containing:


    (Note that the function call "phpinfo()" generates all the needed HTML for the information page it generates, so nothing else should go in "info.php".)

  • Don't forget to create a default file such as index.html or index.php, an error handling file such as error.php, and a home icon file favicon.ico for your server.

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