lighttpd Web Server Software Details

lighttpd is a free Web Server Software distributed under the BSD license, used to power the high performance environments. lighttpd web software powers many known websites. We wrote about Apache HTTP Server, nginx HTTP Server before; this lighttpd is more light. It is faster, has a smaller memory footprint than other HTTP servers as well as intelligent at CPU load management. The original lighttpd version was written by Jan Kneschke to handle 10,000 parallel connections on one server, at a single point of time.


Basics of lighttpd Web Server Software


Wikipedia wrongly mentioned lighthttpd as “an open-source web server”. It is Free Software. There is difference between a Free Software and an Open Source Software. It is not about the price, Free Software must have to follow the rules set by Free Software Foundation and one can apply for making the software enlisted on Free Software Foundation’s repository. You can check, lighthttpd is listed here :



Open Source is different and comes with a different logo for being listed. All Free Softwares are Open Source but not all Open Source Softwares are Free Softwares – because the license is not compatible. Many languages, such as PHP, Perl, Ruby, Python are supported via FastCGI. The official website is located here :


lighttpd Web Server Software Details

The user interface of FastCGI, SCGI and CGI for external programs are used to write web applications in any language usually used on servers. PHP is popular, its performance has been particularly optimized.


lighttpd Web Server Software Details


In April 2007 , lighttpd was among the five most commonly used Web servers, in July 2008 it shown growing popularity, Netcraft ranked as the fourth most used web server with 2.9 million hosted sites, relegating nginx in fifth place. However, since December 2008 , nginx (3354329 sites) is used more than lighttpd (3,046,333 websites) and this trend is apparently continuing, since January 2009 there are 3,462,551 sites which are using nginx against 2989 416 lighttpd installations. In November 2010, Lighttpd had a 0.83% market share, behind 6.04% of Nginx , 22.70% of IIS from Microsoft and 59.36% of Apache HTTP Server.

The main disadvantage of lighttpd face rival Apache is not supporting files . htaccess : directives are evaluated only once, at server startup and require a restart to be taken. In easy words, lighttpd does not support .htaccess files like Apache httpd does. That is why where the word “light” in “lighttpd” comes into play. However, one can migrate these rules from Apache httpd’s mod_rewrite to lighttpd’s mod_rewrite. Installing on Debian is easy :



We can make PHP5 to work in Lighttpd through FastCGI. Ubuntu provides a FastCGI-enabled PHP5 package. Meebo, YouTube, all Wikimedia websites, almost all Tube sites, Torrent sites runs Lighttpd servers. The reason of using can be understood – because of huge user number at once. These are the features of lighttpd in brief :


  1. Load balancing
  2. FastCGI, SCGI and HTTP proxy support
  3. chroot support
  4. Conditional rewrites (mod_rewrite)
  5. TLS/SSL support via OpenSSL
  6. LDAP server Authentication
  7. Server Side Includes support
  8. HTTP compression using mod_compress and the newer mod_deflate


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