The fastest and simplest way of installing Laravel is via composer command. From the laravel docs (http://laravel.com/docs/quick), it shows that we can install it with this:
composer create-project laravel/laravel your-project-name --prefer-dist
composer help create-project command
The create-project command creates a new project from a given
package into a new directory. If executed without params and in a directory with a composer.json file it installs the packages for the current project.
You can use this command to bootstrap new projects or setup a clean
version-controlled installation for developers of your project.
You can also specify the version with the package name using = or : as separator.
To install unstable packages, either specify the version you want, or use the --stability=dev (where dev can be one of RC, beta, alpha or dev).
This command works:
composer create-project laravel/laravel=4.1.27 your-project-name --prefer-dist
This works with the * notation.