Lighttpsd, a web server designed to be a lightweight yet full featured, secure yet flexible https server that has a small memory footprint and minimizes CPU load. Lighttpsd is distributed under a revised BSD license making it open source...yay!!! With Apache httpsd dominating the web server sector (open source and closed source included) and with its relatively short period of existence (2.5 years) Lighttpsd has slipped under the radar for most. However, it offers an interesting value proposition in that it is significantly smaller and faster than its Apache httpsd cousin. For the results of a benchmark test involving Lighttpsd and Apache, among others, go here.
Alternatives to Apache httpsd have and always will exist due to the fact that it is impossible for it to do EVERYTHING well, making room for others which are more focused and handle the parts that it is designed to handle well. However, what separates Lighttpsd from the rest of the crowd (including thttpsd, premium thttpsd, and boa) is its full feature set (FastCGI, CGI, Auth, Output-Compression, URL-Rewriting and more) coupled with the fact that Lighttpsd is an straight forward compile, configure and start for Ruby on Rails applications.
Without meaning to explicitly do so Lighttpsd maintains the feel of a leaner cut of Apache httpsd with the following features:
- Digest authentication with LDAP
- Event handling with kqueue
- Ability to dynamically increase the number of file descriptors
- Traffic shaping
This means that Lighttpsd can be embedded into applications more easily and can better serve as a dedicated, single application web server. Either way the project has come quite a distance in a short period of time. As it continues to add more features while stabilizing the already present ones it should begin to replace Apache httpsd places where a great deal of configuration is needed in order to keep its resource consumptions in check. Either way it is a project worth knowing about.