Choosing a Webserver

So many times, people choose to run WordPress on a traditional LAMP stack…STOP IT! Just because something is an industry standard, doesn’t mean it’s good. Yes, LAMP is a good stack sometimes, but not always. That’s the important thing to know: when to use it, and when to use another stack.

For the time being, I’m going to focus on “A” and leave L,M, and P out of this.

In LAMP, A is Apache, one of the old and most popular web server applications on the Internet. Apache is great and serves up a lot of websites all over the web, but you want see any of the top 10 websites using it. WordPress.com doesn’t even use Apache! I used Apache for a long time, but have since moved away due to performance issues. No hard feelings though! I still use it in some places!

What most people don’t know is that Apache is relatively bloated these days and doesn’t use RAM/CPU in the most efficient manner possible. It’s not Apache’s fault, it’s just the result of being in existence since 1995 (Yes, I’m implying that’s old).

I won’t go over the installation/setup (in this post) as each one is very different from the other, but here are a few alternatives to consider before going with Apache:

NGINX:

NGINX™ is an advanced Internet infrastructure software. It is a high performance web server with the lowest memory footprint and it provides complete combination of the most essential features required to build modern and efficient web infrastructure.

Today NGINX is the 2nd most popular open source web server on the Internet.

NGINX functionality includes HTTP web server, HTTP and SMTP/IMAP/POP3 reverse proxy, content caching, load balancing, compression, bandwidth policing, connection multiplexing and reuse, SSL offload and media streaming.

LIGHTTPD:

Security, speed, compliance, and flexibility — all of these describe lighttpd (pron. lighty) which is rapidly redefining efficiency of a webserver; as it is designed and optimized for high performance environments. With a small memory footprint compared to other web-servers, effective management of the cpu-load, and advanced feature set (FastCGI, SCGI, Auth, Output-Compression, URL-Rewriting and many more) lighttpd is the perfect solution for every server that is suffering load problems. And best of all it’s Open Source licensed under the revised BSD license.

Litespeed:

LiteSpeed Web Server is the leading high-performance, high-scalability web server. It is completely Apache interchangeable so LiteSpeed Web Server can quickly replace a major bottleneck in your existing web delivery platform. With its comprehensive range of features and easy-to-use web administration console, LiteSpeed Web Server can help you conquer the challenges of deploying an effective web serving architecture.

See? There are other options out there. Ironically, each one clames to be the best.

Go ahead, step out of your comfort zone and use something other than Apache this time. You can do it!

I’ll talk about what I use and why in an upcoming post…I might even go over how to install it…in fact, I will! I’ll even cover installation and configuration of Apache, NGINX, and Lighttpd…with juicy sample config files to make your hearts melt. Stay tuned for those.