lighttpd (nicknamed "lighty")[2] is an open-source web server optimized for speed-critical environments while remaining standards-compliant, secure and flexible. It was originally written by Jan Kneschke as a proof-of-concept of the c10k problem – how to handle 10,000 connections in parallel on one server,[3] but has gained worldwide popularity.[4] Its name is a portmanteau of "light" and "httpd".

Original author(s)Jan Kneschke
Initial releaseMarch 2003 (2003-03)
Stable release1.4.54 (May 27, 2019 (2019-05-27)) [±][1]
Preview release2.0 (December 4, 2015 (2015-12-04)) [±]
Written inC
Available inEnglish
TypeWeb server
License3-clause BSD


The low memory footprint (compared to other web servers),[5] small CPU load and speed optimizations[6] make lighttpd suitable for servers that are suffering load problems, or for serving static media separately from dynamic content. lighttpd is free and open-source software and is distributed under the BSD license. It runs natively on Unix-like operating systems, as well as Microsoft Windows.[7]

Application support

lighttpd supports the FastCGI, SCGI and CGI interfaces to external programs, allowing web applications written in any programming language to be used with the server. As a particularly popular language, PHP performance has received special attention. Lighttpd's FastCGI can be configured to support PHP with opcode caches (like APC) properly and efficiently. Additionally, it has received attention from its popularity within the Python, Perl, Ruby and Lua communities. Lighttpd also supports WebDNA, the resilient in-memory database system designed to build database-driven websites. It is a popular web server for the Catalyst and Ruby on Rails web frameworks. Lighttpd does not support ISAPI.



  • Versions below 1.4.40 do not officially support sending large files from CGI, FastCGI, or proxies[12] unless X-Sendfile is used. This limitation has been removed in lighttpd 1.4.40.[13]
  • No HTTP/2 or HTTP/3 support


Lighttpd is used by a number of high-traffic websites, among them are Bloglines and xkcd.[14] It was used in the past by Meebo and YouTube.[15] The Wikimedia Foundation also runs Lighttpd servers.[16][17][18][19]

See also


  1. "1.4.54". 2019-05-27. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  2. "lighttpd fly light". Retrieved 2010-06-13. all of these describe lighttpd (pron. lighty).
  3. "lighttpd: Story". Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  4. "Powered By lighttpd". Lighttpd wiki. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  5. "Web Server Performance Comparison". Retrieved 15 March 2012..
  6. Gabriel Kerneis and Juliusz Chroboczek. Are events fast?. PPS technical report, University of Paris 7. 2009.
  7. "Downloads @ WLMP Project". Retrieved 2011-03-27. LightTPD webserver for Windows Systems.
  8. Gammo, Louay; Brecht, Tim; Shukla, Amol; Pariag, David (2004). "Comparing and Evaluating epoll, select, and poll Event Mechanisms". Linux Symposium. University of Waterloo. p. 215. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  9. Lighttpd - Bug #1101: SSI include virtual does not run cgi – lighty labs
  11. "lighttpd releases". Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  12. "Memory usage increases when proxy+ssl+large file". lighttpd bug tracker. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  13. "lighty should buffer responses (after it grows above certain size) on disk". lighttpd bug tracker. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  14. "Lighttpd Web Server Usage". WebTechster. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  15. "Fly Light With Lighttpd Web Server". ServerWatch. Archived from the original on 31 March 2014. Retrieved 2008-02-12.
  16. Brion Vibber (2008-08-26). "Apache mod_php in wikipedia". Wikimedia wikitech-l mailing list. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  17. Tim Starling (2008-08-27). "Apache mod_php in wikipedia". Wikimedia wikitech-l mailing list. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  18. Domas Mitzuas (2008-08-27). "Apache mod_php in wikipedia". Wikimedia wikitech-l mailing list. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  19. "Powered by Lighttpd". The official site. 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2008-12-22. lighttpd is used by many well-known sites. The typical scenario is using lighttpd as off-load server to push out static content and leave the complex work to another server.

Further reading

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