How to Install phpMyAdmin with WSL on Windows 11

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This post provides a comprehensive guide on how to install and configure phpMyAdmin on Windows 11 using the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). phpMyAdmin is an open-source PHP application for managing MySQL and MariaDB databases. By using WSL, the user can run phpMyAdmin directly from a Windows desktop or server, avoiding the need for third-party apps or virtual machines. The guide includes step-by-step instructions for enabling WSL, installing a Linux distribution, setting up Apache HTTP Server, MariaDB Database Server, and PHP, and finally installing phpMyAdmin.

This post shows students and new users how to install and configure phpMyAdmin with Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows 11.

phpMyAdmin is an open-source PHP application built to manage MySQL and MariaDB database servers via the intuitive web interface. All database tasks and queries can be handled by phpMyAdmin.

With phpMyAdmin, you can manage MySQL databases, user accounts, and privileges, execute SQL queries and statements, import and export database content, and more.

You can now install and run phpMyAdmin directly from a Windows desktop or server via Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) without installing third-party apps or using a virtual machine.

In 2017, Microsoft released WSL and WSL2, which lets developers run a GNU/Linux environment, including most command-line tools, utilities, and applications directly in Windows without setting up a virtual machine or dual-boot.

WSL2 is the new and improved version that comes with a performance boost and full system call compatibility, and it is built with a new architecture that delivers features that make WSL an amazing way to run a Linux environment in Windows.

To get started with running phpMyAdmin on Windows with WSL, follow the steps below:

Install Windows Subsystem for Linux in Windows 11

To enable WSL in Windows, you must open the Command Prompt as administrator. Click on Start, then begin typing Command Prompt.

Next, right-click the Command Prompt app and choose to Run as administrator.

When the console opens, run the commands below to install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL):

wsl --install

Wait for WSL to be installed.

After installing, you should get a success message similar to the lines below:

Installing: Virtual Machine Platform
Virtual Machine Platform has been installed.
Installing: Windows Subsystem for Linux
Windows Subsystem for Linux has been installed.
Downloading: WSL Kernel
Installing: WSL Kernel
WSL Kernel has been installed.
Downloading: GUI App Support
Installing: GUI App Support
GUI App Support has been installed.
Downloading: Ubuntu
The requested operation is successful. Changes will not be effective until the system is rebooted.

Restart your computer.

WSL should be installed and ready to use. When you want to update, simply run the commands below:

wsl --update

Install Specific Linux distro on Windows 11

Now that WSL is installed, you can install your own Linux distro. To list the available distributions to install, simply run the commands below:

wsl --list --online

You should then see all available distributions that can be installed on WSL.

Ubuntu          Ubuntu
Debian          Debian GNU/Linux
kali-linux      Kali Linux Rolling
openSUSE-42     openSUSE Leap 42
SLES-12         SUSE Linux Enterprise Server v12
Ubuntu-16.04    Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
Ubuntu-18.04    Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
Ubuntu-20.04    Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

To install a Linux distribution from the list above, simply run the commands below using the distribution name. For example, to install Ubuntu 20.04, run the commands below:

wsl --install -d ubuntu-20.04

You should then get a message that the distribution is installed.

Downloading: Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
Installing: Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
Ubuntu 20.04 LTS has been installed.
Launching Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

After installing, you should get a Ubuntu command console with setup details.

Installing, this may take a few minutes.
Please create a default UNIX user account. The username does not need to match your Windows username.
For more information visit:
Enter new UNIX username: Richard
New password:
Retype new password:
passwd: password updated successfully
Installation successful!
To run a command as administrator (user "root"), use "sudo <command>".
See "man sudo_root" for details.

Welcome to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (GNU/Linux 4.4.0-22000-Microsoft x86_64)

Some troubleshooting commands to run when you run into issues.

wsl --set-default-version 1
bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype auto start

Now that Ubuntu Linux is installed and ready, continue below to install the LAMP server to run WordPress. First, install Apache HTTP Server.

Install Apache HTTP Server

Apache is the most popular open-source web server powering most websites online.

To install Apache on Ubuntu, run the commands below:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install apache2

After installing Apache2, the commands below can be used to stop, start and restart Apache2 services.

sudo service apache2 stop
sudo service apache2 start
sudo service apache2 restart

To validate that Apache is installed and functioning, open your web browser and browse to the server’s hostname or IP address.

You should get a test page if every work.


Install MariaDB Database Server

MariaDB is a truly open-source database server you can run with your projects. It is fast, secure, and the default server for almost all Linux.

To install MariaDB, run the commands below:

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing MariaDB, the commands below can be used to stop, start and restart MariaDB services.

sudo service mysql stop
sudo service mysql start
sudo service mysql restart

Next, run the commands below to secure the database server with a root password if you were not prompted to do so during the installation.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, answer the questions below by following the guide.

  • Enter current password for root (enter for none): Just press the Enter
  • Set root password? [Y/n]: Y
  • New password: Enter password
  • Re-enter new password: Repeat password
  • Remove anonymous users? [Y/n]: Y
  • Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n]: Y
  • Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n]:  Y
  • Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n]:  Y

To verify and validate that MariaDB is installed and working, log in to the database console using the commands below:

sudo mysql -u root -p

Type the root password when prompted.

Welcome to the MariaDB monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MariaDB connection id is 46
Server version: 10.3.29-MariaDB-0ubuntu0.20.04.1 Ubuntu 20.04
Copyright (c) 2000, 2018, Oracle, MariaDB Corporation Ab and others.
Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.
MariaDB [(none)]>

The server was successfully installed if you see a similar screen.

PHP and Related Modules

PHP is a general-purpose scripting language that enables the LAMP and LEMP stack and is required by phpMyAdmin.

To install PHP and recommended modules, run the commands below.

sudo apt install php libapache2-mod-php php-common php-mysql php-gmp php-curl php-intl php7.4-mbstring php-xmlrpc php-gd php-xml php-cli php-zip

That should get PHP installed with recommended PHP modules that you can run with many PHP-based applications.

To validate that PHP is installed, run the commands below:

php -v

You should see an output like the one below:

PHP 7.4.3 (cli) (built: Oct  6 2020 15:47:56) ( NTS )
Copyright (c) The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.4.0, Copyright (c) Zend Technologies
with Zend OPcache v7.4.3, Copyright (c), by Zend Technologies

You can also test with a test PHP script and display the installed version and related modules that are enabled or disabled.

To do that, run the commands below to create a PHP test file called phpinfo.php

sudo nano /var/www/html/phpinfo.php

Then type the content below and save the file.

<?php phpinfo( ); ?>

Save the file.

Open your browser and browse to your server hostname followed by phpinfo.php

Restart Apache, then type the address and browse the file.

You should see the PHP default test page.

Install phpMyAdmin

Now that you have installed Apache, MariaDB, and PHP, run the commands below to install phpMyAdmin.

sudo apt install phpmyadmin

During the installation, you’ll be prompted to select the webserver to run with phpMyAdmin.

When prompted to choose the web server, select apache2 and continue.

+------------------------+ Configuring phpmyadmin +-------------------------+
 | Please choose the web server that should be automatically configured to   |
 | run phpMyAdmin.                                                           |  
 | Web server to reconfigure automatically:                                  |
 |                                                                           |
 |    [*] apache2                                                            |
 |    [ ] lighttpd                                                           |                                                     |
 |                                 <Ok>                                                                            |

Select Yes when prompted again to allow web config-common to install a database and configure.

 +------------------------+ Configuring phpmyadmin +-------------------------+
 |                                                                           |
 | The phpmyadmin package must have a database installed and configured      |
 | before it can be used.  This can be optionally handled with               |
 | dbconfig-common.                                                          |
 |                                                                           |
 | If you are an advanced database administrator and know that you want to   |
 | perform this configuration manually, or if your database has already      |
 | been installed and configured, you should refuse this option.  Details    |
 | on what needs to be done should most likely be provided in                |
 | /usr/share/doc/phpmyadmin.                                                |
 |                                                                           |
 | Otherwise, you should probably choose this option.                        |
 |                                                                           |
 | Configure database for phpmyadmin with dbconfig-common?                   |
 |                                                                           |
 |                  <Yes>                  <No>                              |
 |                                                                           |

Enter a password and confirm for phpMyAdmin to register with the database, then select OK and complete the installation.

MySQL and MariaDB have a feature that provides root authentication via an auth_socket plugin.

This plugin authenticates users who connect from the local host via a socket file without prompting or using a password. You won’t be allowed if you attempt to log on to phpMyAdmin with the MariaDB root account.

If you wish to use the root account to log on to phpMyAdmin, use the steps below. You’ll need to change the default authentication mechanism from auth_socket to mysql_native_password to fix that.

Login back into the MariaDB console.

sudo mysql

Then run the commands below to change to turn off mysql_native_password module.

USE mysql;
UPDATE user SET plugin='' WHERE user ='root';

Save your changes and exit:


Restart Apache and browse to phpMyAdmin web portal using the URL:


That will bring up the login page, where you should be able to do so with the root account.

Begin managing your database server from the phpMyAdmin portal.


This post showed you how to install phpMyAdmin in Windows WSL. If you find any error above, please use the comment form below to report.

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