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What is Localhost? Definition, Functions, and Types

Last updated: Jun 21, 2024

What is Localhost?

If you are interested in the world of computer networking, it is normal for you to wonder what is localhost. 

Localhost is a local server that stores various data or information so that a program on website or application can run optimally. 

As to simly put, the term localhost refers to the "home" or "location" where the computer is located. Through localhost, you can access the website or application server running on the computer without the need for internet assistance.

However, it should be noted that to obtain assets from third parties that are not available in the application folder, such as CSS or JS assets using CDNs, an internet connection is still required.

After understanding the concept about “what is localhost”, you also need to know that it can also be beneficial in developing and testing a website or server locally without the need to upload it to a server or hosting.

What is Loopback IP 127.0.0.1?

The next thing to do after understanding what is localhost, then you should also get some information about loopback IP 127.0.0.1., as they are closely related.

The Loopback IP 127.0.0.1 is a special IP address used to refer to the local computer in a TCP/IP network.

When you use localhost, the browser or application will refer to this IP address to communicate with the server on the local computer.

The Loopback IP 127.0.0.1 is entirely implemented in the network software of the operating system and does not forward packets to the network interface controller.

This allows the computer to communicate with itself without involving any external network or other devices. 

Furthermore, the existence of Loopback IP 127.0.0.1 brings many benefits, including:

  1. Testing and development: When developing applications or websites, this IP address can help you test all features within them without the need to connect to a network or the internet.
  2. Database connection testing: When testing connections to a database, IP 127.0.0.1 will connect the application and website to the database running on the same computer.

Function of Localhost

After understanding “what is localhost” and its relationship with the loopback IP 127.0.0.1, now you need to grasp its functions in the scope of website, application, as well as network development and testing. 

Below are the complete explanations about its functions:

1. Testing Websites and Applications

Localhost can be used to test websites and applications locally before they are published to a server or the internet.

The testing process can be completed using various web server software commonly used, such as Apache XAMPP, Laragon, WAMP Server, or LiteSpeed.

By doing this, you can see the changes and ensure that all features on the website or application work well.

2. Checking Network and Website Speed

In addition to testing websites and applications, localhost also has the capability to check the network and measure website speed.

This action is essential for websites or applications, especially before they are published to the server, to detect any problems or bottlenecks that may occur.

By using the address "http://localhost", you can observe the performance of the website or application on the local computer.

3. Blocking Websites Containing Viruses

The presence of malicious websites can increase security risks. Therefore, you should promptly block such websites.

In this case, localhost can help you. You only need to add an entry to the hosts file in the operating system to direct unwanted domains to the loopback IP 127.0.0.1.

Types of Localhost

Knowing only “what is localhost” must not enough. You need to also grasp the different types of it hat can manage website and database servers locally on a user's computer.

Here are explanations of some of them:

1. XAMPP

What is XAMPP localhost? This type is software that provides Apache, MySQL, and PHP as a web server, database server, and programming language.

If you know what is localhost, then you must be aware that compared to other types, XAMPP is the most popular and widely used localhost.

This popularity stems from its user-friendly design and compatibility with various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Furthermore, XAMPP has several other advantages, such as:

  1. Easy transition process from a local server to an online server
  2. Quick installation on LAMP (Linux operating system), WAMP (macOS operating system), and XAMPP (for various operating systems).
  3. Easy installation of CMS (e.g., WordPress or Joomla) and Frameworks (e.g., Laravel, React, and many more).

2. AMPPS

Apart from XAMPP, do you know what AMPPS localhost is? This software is similar to XAMPP, but it includes some additional attractive features, such as support for MongoDB, Softaculous, and various other programming languages like Python and Ruby.

AMPPS is also known for its friendly user interface, making it easy to manage servers and applications on a local level.

3. WampServer

Finally, let’s understand “what is localhost” and of its type WampServer. As the name suggests, WampServer is a localhost specifically developed for the Windows operating system.

This localhost type allows you to use Apache, MySQL, PHP, and OpenSSL.This it can be noted that WampServer can help you test websites and applications based on the Windows operating system.

In summary, these different types of localhost (XAMPP, AMPPS, and WampServer) offer various features and functionalities catering to different needs and preferences. Each one has its advantages and is suitable for specific development and testing scenarios.

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