Lighttpd Webserver Installation in Debian

What is Lighttpd ?

Security, speed, compliance, and flexibility--all of these describe LightTPD 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, CGI, 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.

What's with the name?

Light footprint + httpd = LightTPD

Lighttpd Features

Advanced Features:

virtual hosts
virtual directory listings
URL-Rewriting, HTTP-Redirects
automatic expiration of files
Large File Support (64bit fileoffsets)
Ranges (start-end, start-, -end, multiple ranges)
on-the-fly output-compression with transparent caching
deflate, gzip, bzip2
basic, digest
backends: plain files, htpasswd, htdigest, ldap
fast and secure application controlled downloads
Server Side Includes
User Tracking


same speed as or faster than apache + mod_php4
includes a utility to spawn FastCGI processes (neccesary for PHP 4.3.x)
via FastCGI and CGI interface
support Code Caches like Turckmm, APC or eaccelarator
load-balanced FastCGI
(one webserver distibutes request to multiple PHP-servers via FastCGI)

Security features:

chroot(), set UID, set GID
protecting docroot
strict HTTP-header parsing

Lighttpd Supported platforms

Releases of lighttpd are built regulary for at least the following platforms

Linux (binary packages for FC3, SuSE, Debian, Gentoo, PLD-Linux, OpenWRT)
*BSD (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, MacOS X)
Windows (Cygwin)

while it is known to compile cleanly on

and various other POSIX compatible OSes

Download Lighttpd

Lighttpd Documentation

Lighttpd FAQ

Install Lighttpd in Debian

First, check of the requirements are ok

# apt-get install libpcre3

# apt-get install zlib1g

# apt-get install mysql-common libmysqlclient12

Go to  and download the debian package for your distribution/platform.

# wget

# dpkg -i lighttpd_1.4.3-1_i386.deb

If there is no debian package for your platform you have to compile it yourself.

If you run unstable (Check you sources.list is configured for unstable),then you can install it via apt:

# apt-get update

# apt-get install lighttpd lighttpd-doc

This will install lighttpd in debian

Configuring lighttpd

Following are important files for lighttpd server:

The default lighttpd configuration file: /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf (download sample lighttpd.conf file)

Service startup script: /etc/init.d/lighttpd (download sample lighttpd file)

These files are installed by default for all binary installations methods. Now lighttpd installed and it is time to configure lighttpd.

Understanding core lighttpd Directives

Following are core lighttpd Directives:

server.document-root = “/var/www/html”: Specifies default document-root for your server.

server.port = 80: Specifies default http port for your server.

server.username = “lighttpd”

server.groupname = “lighttpd”: Specifies default username and groups to start/stop lighttpd server. This is a security feature (as it drops root privileges).

server.bind = “server-ip-address”: Specify server ip-address. You can also specify hostname such as

server.tag =”lighttpd”: Use to setup lighttpd name and version number (default). This is security feature. You can setup it as follows:

server.tag =”myWebServer v1.0

server.errorlog = “/var/log/lighttpd/error.log”: Specify the error-log file.

accesslog.filename = “/var/log/lighttpd”: Specify the accesslog file name (use to generate stats using stats software).

index-file.names = ( “index.php”, “index.html” ): A list of files to search for if a directory is requested.

server.modules = (
): Above modules are loaded by lighty:

mod_access: The access module is used to deny access to files with given trailing path names.
mod_accesslog: Use to write CLF log, flexible like apache
mod_fastcgi : FastCGI for perl/PHP etc
mod_rewrite : Good for writing SEO urls
mod_auth: Authntication (password protected directory)
mimetype.assign = (
“.pdf” => “application/pdf”,
“.sig” => “application/pgp-signature”
): Use to setup mimetype mapping.

If you want more available server modules and options check here

Open file /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf and setup all of the above directives:

# vi /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

Save the file and start the lighttpd:

# /etc/init.d/lighttpd start

Verify that lighttpd is running:

# netstat -ntulp

Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address Foreign Address State PID/Program name
tcp 0 0* LISTEN 29855/sshd
tcp 0 0* LISTEN 5866/lighttpd

Open you webbrowser and test by typing URL: or http://server-ip/

Main Source of article can be found here