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Posted on February 11th, 2011 by Victoria Pal in Tech

LighttpdRecently we witnessed a website becoming inaccessible for about 10 minutes. It doesn’t sound that bad, if it were a regular site. The problem comes from the fact that this site had only one purpose – to record the votes for a TV contest with a limited voting timeframe of 10 minutes.

This could have been avoided easily with no extra expenses for server hardware or premium hosting service. They only had to use Lighttpd, a lightweight open-source web server. After all, they only had to serve these 2 pages, one holding the voting options and one more to let you know that your vote was submitted.

Lighttpd is very efficient when it comes down to dealing with a lot of queries. It outperforms Apache on almost every test. Actually, it is so good that YouTube and Wikipedia use it.

Wikipedia is entirely served by Lighttpd and YouTube use it to server static content. Also it is the server of choice for every known torrent tracker out there.

Lighthttpd vs. ApacheLighttpd is able to beat Apache because it of its architecture. Unlike Apache, Lighttpd is an asynchronous server. This architecture allows tens of thousands of queries to consume only a small part of your server’s memory. In the same scenario Apache might consume most of what your hardware has to offer. This is the main reason the TV contest voting went down. It was able to receive only a certain amount of queries, dropping all the others.

One more thing I personally enjoyed when installing this web server is that it had built-in support for eTags, which was also enabled by default.

If you like to run a reliable server and are limited by your current hardware, Lighttpd might level the playing field for you.

If you want to be alerted when your server is down, sign up for our 30 days free trial!

Victoria Pal

Doesn't like queuing (particularly at Wimbledon). Likes travelling, tennis and reading. Loves working as a Project Manager at WebSitePulse.

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