MapServer for Windows (MS4W)

Author: Jeff McKenna, DM Solutions Group Inc.
Contact: Mailing List
Revision: 1.34
Last Updated:2006-10-12

Table of Contents


Welcome to MS4W, the quick and easy installer for setting up MapServer For Windows and its accompanying applications (e.g., Chameleon, MapLab,etc.). The purpose of this package is to allow novice to advanced MapServer users to quickly install a MapServer development environment on their Windows systems. The reasons for needing to do this are diverse but, in general, this package supports: developers who want to get to a stable state quickly, trainers who need an easily-installed configuration identical across multiple installs, and novices who need help just getting all the needed bits and pieces together.


The MS4W package is designed to perform a full installation of Apache, PHP, MapServer CGI, MapScript (CSharp, Java, PHP, Python), and to provide the capability to install additional applications easily and quickly. The simplest way to do this on Windows is to provide a predetermined directory structure and force everything into that mold.

The directory structure, while fixed within itself, is designed to be somewhat portable. While it needs to be installed at the root of a hard drive, it doesn't have to be the C: drive. Moving the package to the root of a different drive is simple - just copy it there. To move it to a subdirectory is more difficult - you'll need to search for /ms4w in all the files and replace it with your new path.

The design also accommodates simple upgrades to the core package and to applications, without affecting the local configuration or the configuration of other installed applications.


The following are included in the base package:

MapServer Version Information


MapServer Build Environment

Compiled using Howard Butler's MapServer buildkit

Library Versions Used to build this version of MapServer:

php-5.1.6 (MS4W 2.x)
php-4.4.4 (MS4W 1.x)


  • C# MapScript: compiled against .NET 1.1 runtime
  • Java MapScript: compiled against Java 1.5.07
  • PHP MapScript: built for PHP 5 (MS4W 2.x), or PHP 4 (MS4W 1.x)
  • Python MapScript: compiled against Python 2.4.2

Perl, TCL, and Ruby MapScript are not in this MS4W release

Directory Structure

  • ms4w/
    • the main directory, assumed to be at the root of a drive, normally C:
  • ms4w/Apache
    • the Apache installation
  • ms4w/Apache/bin
    • the Apache binaries
  • ms4w/Apache/cgi-bin
    • the location of mapserv.exe and its supporting libraries, and php.ini, php.exe.
  • ms4w/Apache/cgi-bin/ignored-libmap
    • location of the libmap dlls for Oracle and SDE (see the "GDAL/OGR Plugins" section of this document)
  • ms4w/Apache/cgi-bin/mapscript
    • location of CSharp, Java, and Python mapscript files
  • ms4w/Apache/conf
    • the Apache configuration files. These should not be modified. Place all application-specific and local httpd.conf files in /ms4w/httpd.d (see the README.txt in that directory)
  • ms4w/Apache/error
    • error files for Apache to use
  • ms4w/Apache/htdocs
    • the Apache Web root directory, you shouldn't install much in here except perhaps for testing.
  • ms4w/Apache/icons
    • icons used by Apache
  • ms4w/Apache/include
    • include directory for compiling against Apache
  • ms4w/Apache/lib
    • lib files for building against Apache
  • ms4w/Apache/logs
    • log files for Apache are stored here, this should be archived or cleaned every so often.
  • ms4w/Apache/manual
    • the Apache manual pages.
  • ms4w/Apache/modules
    • modules for Apache
  • ms4w/Apache/php
    • the PHP installation
  • ms4w/Apache/php/ext (MS4W 2.x)
    • location of phpmapscript dll
  • ms4w/Apache/php/extensions (MS4W 1.x)
    • location of phpmapscript dll
  • ms4w/Apache/proxy
    • apache proxy configurations, not used by MS4W
  • ms4w/apps
    • put all applications in subdirectories here.
  • ms4w/gdaldata
    • supporting files for GDAL data formats
  • ms4w/gdalplugins
    • place dlls here that are required for gdal plugins e.g. 'oci_OCI.dll'
  • ms4w/httpd.d
    • put all application-specific and local httpd.conf files here (see the README.txt in that directory)
  • ms4w/proj
    • an installation of PROJ.4
    • the epsg file used is /ms4w/proj/nad/epsg
  • ms4w/python
    • associated python files, including gdal bindings and a simple test script
  • ms4w/tmp
    • temporary files go here. This should be cleaned regularly
  • ms4w/tmp/ms_tmp
    • temporary files that need to be Web-accessible go here (i.e. image files created by mapserver). This is available as /ms_tmp/ via URL. Normally this means that your MAP files would have an IMAGEPATH of /ms4w/tmp/ms_tmp/ and a IMAGEURL of /ms_tmp/
  • ms4w/tools
    • contains useful tools such as the gdal/ogr utilities and mapserv utilities (note that before running these you must execute the /ms4w/setenv.bat script in your command window)

How to Install MS4W

A. Upgrading from an older version of MS4W:

If you already have MS4W installed please do the following:

  • open a DOS command window and execute the file '/ms4w/apache-uninstall.bat' at the commandline. This file will stop and uninstall your Apache service. You should see the following message flash in the command window:
The "Apache MS4W Web Server" service is stopping.
The "Apache MS4W Web Server" service has stopped.

Removing the "Apache MS4W Web Server" service
The "Apache MS4W Web Server" service has been removed
  • your old apache service has now been removed
  • make sure no files or other services point the your ms4w folder. If your browser is currently open and you are a viewing an ms4w page you will not be able to rename the ms4w folder. Therefore you must close all ms4w documents, all ms4w browser windows...make sure no running files point to the ms4w folder.
  • rename the old ms4w folder to something like 'ms4w-old'
  • extract the file to the root of a drive on your machine
  • if successful, you should have a new directory named 'ms4w' at the root of the drive you chose (e.g. C:/ms4w or D:/ms4w ).
  • follow the rest of the install instructions in /ms4w/README_INSTALL.txt to start apache...

B. If you are extracting MS4W for the first time:

Please read through the following instructions before starting your installation.

  1. To install the MS4W .zip file, use a compression program (e.g. WinZip) to extract the package at the root of a drive, e.g., drive C:. If successful, you should have a new directory named 'ms4w' at the root of the drive you chose (e.g. C:/ms4w).

  2. Start your MS4W Apache Web Server by running /ms4w/apache-install.bat (at the command line or by double-clicking it). This file installs Apache as a Windows service (called "Apache Web Server") so that it starts whenever your machine is restarted. When executed, a DOS window should pop up with the following message:

    The Apache MS4W Web Server service is starting.
    The Apache MS4W Web Server service was started successfully.

    This means that Apache is running and installed as a service.

    NOTE for Win95,98,ME users:

    You will not be able to install Apache as a service, so instead you will have to manually start Apache each time, by clicking on /ms4w/Apache/bin/httpd.exe. An empty DOS window will open, which means Apache is running. To stop Apache you will have to close this empty DOS window.

  3. To test that Apache is running properly, open your Web browser and find your local host Web service by entering one of the following URLs:


    You should now see the main MS4W page in your Web browser. This gives you general information about your install along with configuration information. If this is your first time using MS4W it is very important that you review the listed "Features" installed within MS4W, and test them by selecting each link found on this page.

  4. Technically, at this point, MS4W is installed! However, as you may have noticed from the MS4W main index.html page, there are no applications running. What this means is that there are no Web applications like MapLab or Chameleon found within MS4W's Web-accessible directory, /ms4w/apps/. The MS4W-configured Web applications can be found on as separate zip files.

  5. To install these Web application into /ms4w/apps/ all that is required is to unzip the Web application compressed file at the same root directory as MS4W (e.g., C:).

    Two things should happen when uncompressing this file. First, the Web application directory should appear within /ms4w/apps/. Second, a new httpd_*.conf file should be added to /ms4w/httpd.d/httpd_*.conf. (The /httpd.d/ directory contains Apache configuration files that define which files on your computer/server are Web-accessible. For each Web application that you install, a new configuration file will be found.)

  6. The definitions of these Web-accessible directories are called Web Aliases. In order to activate a Web Alias you must restart Apache. To test your latest installed application, go to the MS4W main index.html page (i.e., http://localhost/). In the applications section you should now find a link to the application you just installed. Select the link to the recently installed application to see if it is configured correctly. Another option is find the Web Alias for your application and call it from your Web browser directly. For example, if you have installed the latest MS4W version of MapLab, the chances are the Web Alias is "maplab". To go to the MapLab index page, simply enter http://localhost/maplab/.

    Note: Applications with configuration files (e.g., MapLab and Chameleon) generally do not require any editing of their files in order to work. Just unzip to the appropriate driver root and restart Apache.

    WARNING: It is very possible that you may wish (but not encouraged!) to run multiple versions of the same product. For example, Maplab 2.0 (mapserver_36) vs. MapLab 2.1 (mapserver_4.0). When installing these ms4w MapLab application packages, you will notice when unzipping MapLab that the httpd_maplab.conf file found under ./ms4w/httpd.d/ will be overwritten by the MapLab you are currently installing. The reason for this is that the MapLab Alias stays the same from version to new version of MapLab. So, if you overwrite the httpd_maplab.conf when unzipping and then restart Apache, you will get the latest version of Maplab that you just installed. To run both MapLab simply follow the instructions in Step 7.

  7. You also can create new Web Alias(es). To configure your own personal Web Alias(es), follow the instructions in /ms4w/httpd.d/README_HTTPD.txt

C. GDAL/OGR Plugins

Oracle 10g

For OGR support of Oracle, MS4W >= 1.5.0 includes ogr_OCI.dll in /ms4w/gdalplugins/ignored/, which is built for Oracle 10g.

Steps to Enable Oracle 10g Support in MS4W

  1. Make sure you have Oracle 10g client software installed on your machine (the same machine that you are running MS4W on).
  2. Replace the existing libmap.dll in /ms4w/Apache/cgi-bin/ with the one in the /ms4w/Apache/cgi-bin/ignored-libmap/oracle10g/ folder.
  3. Move the ogr_OCI.dll plugin file up one level from /ms4w/gdalplugins/ignored/ into /ms4w/gdalplugins/
  4. Restart Apache to be safe.
  5. For mapfile configuration see

SDE 9.1

For OGR support of ESRI's ArcSDE, MS4W >= 1.5.0 includes ogr_SDE.dll in /ms4w/gdalplugins/ignored/, which is built for ArcSDE 9.1.

Steps to Enable SDE 9.1 Support in MS4W

  1. Make sure the ArcSDE SDK dlls for 9.1 are available on your machine (the same machine that you are running MS4W on)..
  2. Replace the existing libmap.dll in /ms4w/Apache/cgi-bin/ with the one in the /ms4w/Apache/cgi-bin/ignored-libmap/sde9.1/ folder.
  3. Move the ogr_SDE.dll plugin file up one level from /ms4w/gdalplugins/ignored/ into /ms4w/gdalplugins/
  4. Restart Apache to be safe.
  5. For mapfile configuration see

D. MapScript configuration

MS4W >= 1.5.0 includes pre-built support files for csharp, java, and python mapscript. In order to make use of these, however, they must be installed and configured in the appropriate locations on your system.


  1. Files are located in /ms4w/Apache/cgi-bin/mapscript/csharp
  2. See for installation notes.


  1. Files are located in /ms4w/Apache/cgi-bin/mapscript/java
  2. See for installation notes.


Obtaining Python

Obviously, in order to run Python mapscript, you need to have a python installed. The Python mapscript support files included in this distribution are built for Python 2.4.x; they will not work with earlier or later Python versions. Windows Python binaries can be obtained free of charge from ActiveState or the Python site.

See the respective sites for Python installation information.

Installing the Python Mapscript Support Files

Quick and dirty (for use with ms4w only)
  1. Unpack /ms4w/Apache/mapscript/python/mapscript* in a safe location

  2. In the directory structure that results from the above step, navigate to \Python-2.4.2\Lib\site-packages

  3. You should find three files there:
    • _mapscript.pyd
    • mapscript.pyc
  4. Copy the three files into the /ms4w/Apache/cgi-bin directory.

  5. Place any python cgi scripts that you want to run under ms4w in the /ms4w/Apache/cgi-bin directory, and add a "shebang" line at the top of each script. See the section on Configuring Apache to run Python scripts below for shebang-line details.

More robust (for system-wide access)
  1. Unpack /ms4w/Apache/mapscript/python/mapscript* in a safe location

  2. In the directory structure that results from the above step, navigate to \Python-2.4.2\Lib\site-packages

  3. You should find three files there:
    • _mapscript.pyd
    • mapscript.pyc
  4. Copy the three files into the site-packages directory of your Python 2.4.x installation (eg., C:\Python24\Lib\site-packages)

  5. Add <drive_letter>:\ms4w\Apache\cgi-bin to your system's PYTHONPATH environment variable.

Configuring Apache to Run Python Scripts

You have a couple of options here:

via shebang lines

This may be the preferred approach if you have multiple Python installations on your machine.

Add a "shebang line" to the top of each python cgi script in /ms4w/apache/cgi-bin. This line must be the first line in the script, and it must begin with #! followed by the path to your systems python executable. For example:

#!c:/python24/python.exe -u

The -u option shown above causes the script to use unbuffered output, which is generally what you need in web-serving contexts.

via Apache directives

This approach obviates the need to edit every python script in your cgi-bin directory; however, it may be problematic if you have multiple Python installations.

Add the following line to the end of ms4w/Apache/conf/httpd.conf:

ScriptInterpreterSource Registry

You may also want to add these:


The first of the above lines causes your python scripts to use unbuffered output (which you probably want), while the second passes the value of your system's PYTHONPATH environment variable through to Apache's environment (if set).

Testing the Configuration

Follow these steps to test your Python MapScript installation:

  1. Move the file /ms4w/python/ into the /ms4w/Apache/cgi-bin/ folder.

  2. Open the file in a text editor.

  3. Edit the first line of that script to point to your proper Python path.

  4. In your web browser goto

  5. The script tests that the Python CGI is working, and that the mapscript module can be successfully imported.

    If successful you will see an HTML page listing several environment settings on your machine, as well a list of the Python MapScript module attributes at the bottom of the page.

Python Troubleshooting:

  • If you get an Internal Server Error check the Apache logs for info.
  • Make sure your script points to a valid Python installation path.
  • Make sure you are using a recent Python version (containing the cgitb module).

D. Troubleshooting

Warning: dl(): Unable to load dynamic library '/ms4w/Apache/php/extensions/php_mapscript_48.dll'

  1. Verify that the dll in question exists in the specified location (/ms4w/Apache/php/extensions/). If this dll is not in that location, you might have to modify the application to point to a different version of the dll (e.g. you might have php_mapscript_48.dll in the extensions directory, and your application might be configured for php_mapscript_46.dll which is not in the extensions directory).

  2. This php_mapscript dll requires several other dlls, and the problem may be that one is missing on your system. In order to hopefully get more information on what dll is missing, go to a command prompt, and do the following:

    cd ms4w\Apache\cgi-bin
    php C:/ms4w/Apache/htdocs/phpinfo_mapscript_**.php

    (replace ** with the mapscript version)

    A windows error window should open with a message like:

    The dynamic link library ***** could not be found in
    the specified path...

    Locate this missing dll and copy it either to /ms4w/Apache/cgi-bin/ or your system32 folder.

  3. If you are still unsure what dll is causing this unable to load dynamic library error, a useful utility to find what associated dlls are missing on your system is Dependency Walker. Download the utility, execute the exe, and open your php_mapscript dll.

The dynamic link library MSVCP71.dll could not be found in the specified path...

This is a microsoft runtime library that is apparently not on all Windows systems by default. Download the dll (possibly from here) and copy it to your System32 directory.

Clicking on apache-install.bat flashes a DOS window and does not install the service

To see the exact error message, open a Command window, and execute the 'apache-install.bat' file from a DOS prompt.

cd ms4w


Only one usage of each socket address (protocol/network address/port) is normally permitted. : make_sock: could not bind to address no listening sockets available, shutting down

Apache with MS4W is configured to use port 80. Your system might be already using this port (IIS could cause this for example). If you want to change the port that Apache uses modify the following file:


line 120: Listen 80

TCPView is an example of shareware that lets you see how the ports on your machine are being used.

The procedure entry point xxxx could not be located in the dynamic link library xxx.dll

Make sure that MapServer (or the utility that you are trying to use) is actually using the 'xxx.dll' file that is part of the MS4W package. You could be experiencing 'dll hell' ( where MS4W is actually finding an older dll on your system. Try renaming the other dll(s) of the same name, keeping the one in MS4W as is, and retrying your application/command.

Other Problems...

  1. Search the mailing list archives to see if someone has encountered/solved your same issue.
  1. If your issue has not been brought up on the mailing list and dealt with, submit a question to the MS4W mailing list. Include the steps to reproduce your problem, and state your exact error message. Also specify which version of MS4W you are using.

Password Protection Configuration for Applications

The following section explains how to add password authentication to your MS4W application. However there are many other possible settings in Apache for this, so please consult the Apache HTTP Server documentation.

Here are the minimal step for password protection:

  1. Modify your application's httpd_xxx.conf file, so that "AllowOverride None" is replaced with "AllowOverride AuthConfig", such as:

    Alias /gmap/ "/ms4w/apps/gmap/htdocs/"
    <Directory "/ms4w/apps/gmap/htdocs/">
      AllowOverride AuthConfig
      Options Indexes FollowSymLinks Multiviews
  2. Create a password file.

    • open a DOS command window, and go to Apache's bin directory

    • enter the following (replace "jeff" with the username you want to create, press ENTER and you will be prompted for a password to create):

      C:/ms4w/Apache/bin> htpasswd -c htpasswd.txt jeff
  3. Create the htaccess file.

    • create a file in your application directory (/ms4w/apps/gmap/htdocs/ in this example) named '.htaccess'

    • the file should contain (you can modify it however you wish though):

      AuthType Basic
      AuthUserFile C:/ms4w/Apache/bin/htpasswd.txt
      AuthName "Password Required"
      require valid-user
  4. Restart Apache

    • run /ms4w/apache-restart.bat
  5. Access your application in a web browser.


MS4W Applications

The following applications come with a pre-configured install package for MS4W. Go to to find the desired package, and extract the packages to the root of the drive that MS4W is installed on (e.g. C:).

  1. Chameleon
  2. GMap Sample PHP/MapScript Application
  3. ka-Map
  4. MapLab
  5. MapServer Itasca Demo Application
  6. OGC Workshop
  7. FIST - Flexible Internet Spatial Template
  8. p.mapper

About this Document

Copyright/Licensing Information

Copyright (c) 2003-2006, Jeff McKenna, DM Solutions Group Inc.

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.


Portions of this computer program are copyright (c) 1995-2005 LizardTech, Inc. All rights reserved. MrSID is protected by U.S. Patent No. 5,710,835. Foreign Patents Pending.


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