There are times when you need to spare hardware resources (either to keep using legacy hardware, to play the embedded card, or just to be efficient because a large footprint is trashing CPU caches, leading to unacceptable levels of idle-states).

In this spirit, some efforts have been made to make 'light' ports of Java or Mono (C# for Linux), and they range in the 80-50 MB (instead of the 100-200 MB).

Add a Web server (Apache, IIS, etc.) to the scripting engine and you can happily dive into the GB (IIS + .Net) only to load the tool in memory.

Anybody with more modest tools in the specs area?


lighttpd + django should be pretty lightweight.

  • Good point! That's much better than the mainstream solutions. – Anonymous Aug 16 '10 at 9:28
  • Oops! Just forgot G-WAN's 120 KB. Hard to beat this one. – Anonymous Aug 16 '10 at 10:05

nginx is known for it's superb performance and low resource usage (about 2.4 MB the last time I heard of it). The down side is, you appearently have to recompile the whole server, if you want to include a new module.

As for languages, I always like to point everyone (especially web developers) to haXe, for a number of reasons. In this case, because the NekoVM is a possible target. It has quite a low footprint, decent speed and allows in-memory persistency. However there's currently no way to run NekoVM on an nginx server. Which gives you the chance to step in and become a hero ;-)

Also haXe's C++ backend will soon be worked on to be suitable for web server development. As you seem to have experience with C++, this may be of interest to you.



It's difficult to find comparisons which help to decide, but the tests below use the same tool and procedure used by the Open-Source Phoronix benchmark.

Here are a couple of performance/CPU/RAM comparisons of Nginx, Lighttpd and G-WAN available here and there.

Both tests use different clients (ab is single-thread and weighttp, made by Lighttpd, is multi-thread), different CPUs (an i3 dual-Core CPU vs a XEON CPU with 6 Cores) and different versions of the servers, but the hierarchy is the same (except for the memory footprint: in this matter, the second test's winner is different from the first test).

The smallest footprint comes with G-WAN (a 150 KB process) which supports Java, C, C++, D, and Objective-C scripts natively while others require to use FastCGI backends.

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