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I'm in the process of creating a hosted web application that has the potential for huge amounts of traffic. In the past, I've almost always used Apache as a web server, so I have very little experience with lighttpd.

For those who have experience migrating high-traffic sites from Apache to lighttpd, have you seen significant performance improvements? Did you run into any problems immediately or later down the road?

I'm not looking for opinions on which web server is better.

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Have you considered Nginx at all? If so, why didn't you pick it? –  reconbot Jul 23 '09 at 20:03

3 Answers 3

In my company we choose lighttpd and then nginx as replacements of Apache to serve static content with excellent results. We still use Apache for dynamic content. The combination gives us good performance under high load.

No problems were present in the migration but you need to do a tests to adjust the settings of nginx or lighttpd to your needs. Biggest problem was to replicate the mod_rewrite rules from apache.

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I don't know how you would define "high-traffic", but I have migrated one site from Apache to Lighttpd. The site was busy enough with Apache that we were looking at yet another hardware upgrade to keep the site running smoothly. We switched to lighttpd and noticed a huge performance improvement at lower load. I've been very happy with lighttpd and use it where ever possible.

The only places I continue to run Apache is where I need some of its more advanced features (such as Webdav, which Lighttpd has but I found to be somewhat buggy when I tried it a year ago) or when I'm deploying a site to customers who expect Apache and .htacess and all that entails.

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One of the performance factors you'll notice off the bat is ram consumption. Under high visitor load apache eats a lot of ram, where lighttpd will not.

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