One of the best improvements of the PHP 5.4 was the built-in web server. Like in Ruby On Rails, now you do not need Apache or Nginx inside your development machine.

To start a web server is easy:

php -S localhost:8000

Remember you can choose the port you want. You can use localhost:8000 or localhost:8080 or what you want.

If you want to start the server for a Laravel 4 app your must set the public dir:

php -S localhost:8000 -t public/

Ok. This works well. But you can do better than this.

When you use -t public/ you are telling the PHP server to start it inside the public dir, more specifically the public/index.php file. Ok, but with Laravel 4 this can bring you some problems of routes. In 99% of the cases this will work well but if you have a route like http://example.org/some/file.html for example, this will not work.

The way Laravel 4 work with the web server is a little different. So, because of that, the Laravel 4 team created a custom server.php file. So you have to start the server with this file:

// inside the Laravel base dir (not public)
php -S localhost:8000 server.php

Laravel 4 does the rest for you. Now everything will work and you won't have problem with routes. Continue to develop your app!