UPDATED
Apr 4, 2024

lighttpd vs NGINX

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lighttpd

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NGINX

112.3K
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Apache HTTP Server vs lighttpd vs nginx: What are the differences?

Differences between Apache HTTP Server, lighttpd, and Nginx

Apache HTTP Server, lighttpd, and Nginx are web servers that are widely used for hosting websites. While all three web servers have similar purposes, there are key differences between them. In this article, we will highlight the main differences between Apache HTTP Server, lighttpd, and Nginx.

  1. Performance and Resource Usage: Nginx is known for its superior performance and efficient resource usage. It is designed to handle a large number of concurrent connections with minimal memory footprint. On the other hand, Apache HTTP Server is known for its flexibility and feature-richness, but it consumes more memory and resources compared to Nginx. Lighttpd is lightweight and designed for high-performance scenarios, making it ideal for serving static content.

  2. Architecture and Event-Driven Design: Apache HTTP Server follows a traditional process-driven architecture where each request is handled by a separate process or thread. This architecture is robust but not as efficient as the event-driven design followed by Nginx and lighttpd. Nginx and lighttpd use an event-driven model with asynchronous I/O, which allows them to handle a large number of concurrent connections efficiently.

  3. Module and Extension System: Apache HTTP Server has a vast ecosystem of modules and extensions, providing a wide range of functionality and flexibility. It supports a diverse range of programming languages and offers extensive customization options. Lighttpd also has a modular architecture but does not have as many modules as Apache HTTP Server. Nginx follows a lightweight and minimalistic approach, offering a smaller selection of built-in modules but excelling in efficiency.

  4. Configuration and Ease of Use: Apache HTTP Server has a complex and verbose configuration system, requiring a steep learning curve for beginners. Lighttpd provides a simpler configuration syntax compared to Apache HTTP Server, making it easier to set up and manage. Nginx follows a similar configuration style as lighttpd, which is straightforward and easy to understand. Once acquainted, Nginx's configuration tends to be more intuitive.

  5. Flexibility and Use Cases: Apache HTTP Server is known for its versatility and can be used for a wide variety of use cases. It supports a multitude of modules, making it suitable for complex web applications and content management systems. Lighttpd is ideal for lightweight scenarios where speed and efficiency are crucial, such as serving static files or low-resource environments. Nginx strikes a balance between the feature-richness of Apache HTTP Server and the lightweight design of lighttpd, making it suitable for both simple and complex applications.

  6. Server Market Share and Community Support: Apache HTTP Server has been the most popular web server for many years and has a large and active community. It has a significant market share, which means it has a wealth of resources, documentation, and community support available. Lighttpd has a smaller market share but still has an active community and provides good documentation. Nginx has gained popularity in recent years and has a rapidly growing community with excellent support and resources.

In summary, the main differences between Apache HTTP Server, lighttpd, and Nginx lie in their performance, resource usage, architecture, module system, ease of use, flexibility, and market share. Each web server has its strengths and weaknesses, and the choice depends on the specific requirements and priorities of the project or application.

Advice on lighttpd and NGINX

I am diving into web development, both front and back end. I feel comfortable with administration, scripting and moderate coding in bash, Python and C++, but I am also a Windows fan (i love inner conflict). What are the votes on web servers? IIS is expensive and restrictive (has Windows adoption of open source changed this?) Apache has the history but seems to be at the root of most of my Infosec issues, and I know nothing about nginx (is it too new to rely on?). And no, I don't know what I want to do on the web explicitly, but hosting and data storage (both cloud and tape) are possibilities. Ready, aim fire!

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Replies (1)
Simon Aronsson
Developer Advocate at k6 / Load Impact · | 4 upvotes · 664K views
Recommends
on
NGINXNGINX

I would pick nginx over both IIS and Apace HTTP Server any day. Combine it with docker, and as you grow maybe even traefik, and you'll have a really flexible solution for serving http content where you can take sites and projects up and down without effort, easily move it between systems and dont have to handle any dependencies on your actual local machine.

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Needs advice
on
Apache HTTP ServerApache HTTP Server
and
NGINXNGINX

From a StackShare Community member: "We are a LAMP shop currently focused on improving web performance for our customers. We have made many front-end optimizations and now we are considering replacing Apache with nginx. I was wondering if others saw a noticeable performance gain or any other benefits by switching."

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Replies (3)
Recommends
on
NGINXNGINX

I use nginx because it is very light weight. Where Apache tries to include everything in the web server, nginx opts to have external programs/facilities take care of that so the web server can focus on efficiently serving web pages. While this can seem inefficient, it limits the number of new bugs found in the web server, which is the element that faces the client most directly.

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Leandro Barral
Recommends
on
NGINXNGINX

I use nginx because its more flexible and easy to configure

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Christian Cwienk
Software Developer at SAP · | 1 upvotes · 632.3K views
Recommends
on
Apache HTTP ServerApache HTTP Server

I use Apache HTTP Server because it's intuitive, comprehensive, well-documented, and just works

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Decisions about lighttpd and NGINX
Daniel Calvo
Co-Founder at Polpo Data Analytics & Software Development · | 8 upvotes · 234.3K views

For us, NGINX is a lite HTTP server easy to configure. On our research, we found a well-documented software we a lot of support from the community.

We have been using it alongside tools like certbot and it has been a total success.

We can easily configure our sites and have a folder for available vs enabled sites, and with the nginx -t command we can easily check everything is running fine.

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Grant Steuart
  • Server rendered HTML output from PHP is being migrated to the client as Vue.js components, future plans to provide additional content, and other new miscellaneous features all result in a substantial increase of static files needing to be served from the server. NGINX has better performance than Apache for serving static content.
  • The change to NGINX will require switching from PHP to PHP-FPM resulting in a distributed architecture with a higher complexity configuration, but this is outweighed by PHP-FPM being faster than PHP for processing requests.
  • The NGINX + PHP-FPM setup now allows for horizontally scaling of resources rather vertically scaling the previously combined Apache + PHP resources.
  • PHP shell tasks can now efficiently be decoupled from the application reducing main application footprint and allow for scaling of tasks on an individual basis.
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I was in a situation where I have to configure 40 RHEL servers 20 each for Apache HTTP Server and Tomcat server. My task was to 1. configure LVM with required logical volumes, format and mount for HTTP and Tomcat servers accordingly. 2. Install apache and tomcat. 3. Generate and apply selfsigned certs to http server. 4. Modify default ports on Tomcat to different ports. 5. Create users on RHEL for application support team. 6. other administrative tasks like, start, stop and restart HTTP and Tomcat services.

I have utilized the power of ansible for all these tasks, which made it easy and manageable.

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Pros of lighttpd
Pros of NGINX
  • 7
    Lightweight
  • 6
    Easy setup
  • 2
    Simplicity
  • 2
    Full featured
  • 2
    Proxy
  • 2
    Virtal hosting
  • 2
    Open source
  • 1
    Available modules
  • 1
    Fast
  • 1
    Security
  • 1
    Ssl support
  • 1.4K
    High-performance http server
  • 893
    Performance
  • 730
    Easy to configure
  • 607
    Open source
  • 530
    Load balancer
  • 288
    Free
  • 288
    Scalability
  • 225
    Web server
  • 175
    Simplicity
  • 136
    Easy setup
  • 30
    Content caching
  • 21
    Web Accelerator
  • 15
    Capability
  • 14
    Fast
  • 12
    High-latency
  • 12
    Predictability
  • 8
    Reverse Proxy
  • 7
    The best of them
  • 7
    Supports http/2
  • 5
    Great Community
  • 5
    Lots of Modules
  • 5
    Enterprise version
  • 4
    High perfomance proxy server
  • 3
    Reversy Proxy
  • 3
    Streaming media delivery
  • 3
    Streaming media
  • 3
    Embedded Lua scripting
  • 2
    GRPC-Web
  • 2
    Blash
  • 2
    Lightweight
  • 2
    Fast and easy to set up
  • 2
    Slim
  • 2
    saltstack
  • 1
    Virtual hosting
  • 1
    Narrow focus. Easy to configure. Fast
  • 1
    Along with Redis Cache its the Most superior
  • 1
    Ingress controller
Cons of lighttpd
Cons of NGINX
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 10
      Advanced features require subscription
    - No public GitHub repository available -

    What is lighttpd?

    lighttpd has a very low memory footprint compared to other webservers and takes care of cpu-load. Its advanced feature-set (FastCGI, CGI, Auth, Output-Compression, URL-Rewriting and many more) make lighttpd the perfect webserver-software for every server that suffers load problems.

    What is NGINX?

    nginx [engine x] is an HTTP and reverse proxy server, as well as a mail proxy server, written by Igor Sysoev. According to Netcraft nginx served or proxied 30.46% of the top million busiest sites in Jan 2018.

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    What companies use lighttpd?
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    What tools integrate with lighttpd?
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    What are some alternatives to lighttpd and NGINX?
    Apache Tomcat
    Apache Tomcat powers numerous large-scale, mission-critical web applications across a diverse range of industries and organizations.
    JBoss
    An application platform for hosting your apps that provides an innovative modular, cloud-ready architecture, powerful management and automation, and world class developer productivity.
    Jetty
    Jetty is used in a wide variety of projects and products, both in development and production. Jetty can be easily embedded in devices, tools, frameworks, application servers, and clusters. See the Jetty Powered page for more uses of Jetty.
    XAMPP
    It consists mainly of the Apache HTTP Server, MariaDB database, and interpreters for scripts written in the PHP and Perl programming languages.
    JavaScript
    JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.