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Lighttpd is "a secure, fast, compliant, and very flexible web-server that has been optimized for high-performance environments. It has a very low memory footprint compared to other webservers and takes care of cpu-load. Its advanced feature-set (FastCGI, CGI, Auth, Output-Compression, URL-Rewriting and many more) make lighttpd the perfect webserver-software for every server that suffers load problems."


Install the lighttpd package from the official repositories.


Basic Setup

The lighttpd configuration file is: /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf. By default it should produce a working test page.

To check your lighttpd.conf for bugs you can use this command - helps finding misconfigurations very fast:

$ lighttpd -t -f /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

The default configuration file specifies /srv/http/ as the document directory served.

To test the install:

# echo 'TestMe!' >> /srv/http/index.html
# chmod 755 /srv/http/index.html

To start the server:

# systemctl start lighttpd

Then point your browser to localhost, and you should see the test page.

To start the server on every boot:

# systemctl enable lighttpd

Example configuration files are available in /usr/share/doc/lighttpd/.


Install fcgi. Now you have lighttpd with fcgi support. If it was that what you wanted you are all set. People that want Ruby on Rails, PHP or Python should continue. Template:Box Note

First copy the example config file form /usr/share/doc/lighttpd/config/conf.d/fastcgi.conf to /etc/lighttpd/conf.d

The following needs adding to the config file, /etc/lighttpd/conf.d/fastcgi.conf

server.modules += ( "mod_fastcgi" )

#server.indexfiles += ( "dispatch.fcgi" ) #this is deprecated
index-file.names += ( "dispatch.fcgi" ) #dispatch.fcgi if rails specified

server.error-handler-404   = "/dispatch.fcgi" #too
fastcgi.server = (
    ".fcgi" => (
      "localhost" => ( 
        "socket" => "/run/lighttpd/rails-fastcgi.sock",
        "bin-path" => "/path/to/rails/application/public/dispatch.fcgi"

Then in /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf:

include "conf.d/fastcgi.conf"

For PHP or Ruby on Rails see the next sections.


Install php and php-cgi (see also PHP and LAMP).

Check that php-cgi is working php-cgi --version

PHP 5.4.3 (cgi-fcgi) (built: May  8 2012 17:10:17)
Copyright (c) 1997-2012 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.4.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2012 Zend Technologies

If you get a similar output then php is installed correctly.

Create a new configuration file:

# Make sure to install php and php-cgi. See:                                                             

server.modules += ("mod_fastcgi")

# FCGI server
# ===========
# Configure a FastCGI server which handles PHP requests.
index-file.names += ("index.php")
fastcgi.server = ( 
    # Load-balance requests for this path...
    ".php" => (
        # ... among the following FastCGI servers. The string naming each
        # server is just a label, and it has little functional impact.
        # (affects logfile output?)
        "localhost" => ( 
            "bin-path" => "/usr/bin/php-cgi",
            "socket" => "/tmp/php-fastcgi.sock",
            # breaks SCRIPT_FILENAME in a way that PHP can extract PATH_INFO
            # from it 
            "broken-scriptfilename" => "enable",
            # Launch (max-procs + (max-procs * PHP_FCGI_CHILDREN)) procs, where
            # max-procs are "watchers" and the rest are "workers". See:
            "max-procs" => 4, # default value
            "bin-environment" => (
                "PHP_FCGI_CHILDREN" => "1" # default value

Make lighttpd use the new configuration file:

include "conf.d/fastcgi.conf"

Reload lighttpd:

# systemctl reload lighttpd
Note: If you receive errors like No input file found when attempting to access php files, there are several possible explanations. See this FAQ for more information.
Using php-fpm

There is no adaptive spawning anymore in recent lighttpd releases. For dynamic management of PHP processes, you can use php-fpm.

# pacman -S php-fpm
# systemctl enable php-fpm
# systemctl start php-fpm
Note: You can configure the number of servers in the pool and tweak other configuration options by editing the file /etc/php/php-fpm.conf. More details on php-fpm can be found on the php-fpm website. You should also note that when you make changes to /etc/php/php.ini you will need to restart php-fpm

In /etc/lighttpd/conf.d/fastcgi.conf add:

server.modules += ( "mod_fastcgi" )

index-file.names += ( "index.php" ) 

fastcgi.server = (
    ".php" => (
      "localhost" => ( 
        "socket" => "/run/php-fpm/php-fpm.sock",
        "broken-scriptfilename" => "enable"

Install eacceleratorAUR from the AUR.

Add own config file for eaccelerator:

zlib.output_compression = On
Tip: I additionally set safe_mod to On in my setup, but this is not required.
Try a php page

Create the following php page, name it index.php, and place a copy in both /srv/http/ and /srv/http-ssl/html/


Try navigating with a web browser to both the http and https address of your server. You should see the phpinfo page.

Check eaccelerator caching:

# ls -l /home/phpuser/eaccelerator/cache

If the above command outputs the following:

-rw-------  1 phpuser phpuser 456 2005-05-05 14:53 eaccelerator-277.58081
-rw-------  1 phpuser phpuser 452 2005-05-05 14:53 eaccelerator-277.88081

Then eaccelerator is happily caching your php scripts to help speed things up.

Ruby on Rails

Install and configure FastCGI (see #FastCGI above).

Install ruby from [extra] and ruby-fcgiAUR from AUR.

Follow instructions on RubyOnRails.

Python FastCGI

Install and configure FastCGI (see #FastCGI above).

Install flup:

# pacman -S python2-flup


fastcgi.server = (
    ".py" =>
        "python-fcgi" =>
        "socket" => "/run/lighttpd/fastcgi.python.socket",
         "bin-path" => "",
         "check-local" => "disable",
         "max-procs" => 1,

Put the in the root of your server (don't forget to chmod +x it)

#!/usr/bin/env python2

def myapp(environ, start_response):
    print 'got request: %s' % environ
    start_response('200 OK', [('Content-Type', 'text/plain')])
    return ['Hello World!']

if __name__ == '__main__':
    from flup.server.fcgi import WSGIServer

Thanks to firecat53 for his explanation


Generate an SSL Cert, e.g. like that:

# mkdir /etc/lighttpd/certs
# openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 7300 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout /etc/lighttpd/certs/ -out /etc/lighttpd/certs/
# chmod 600 /etc/lighttpd/certs/

Edit /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf. To make lighttpd SSL-only (you probably need to set the server port to 443 as well)

ssl.engine = "enable" 
ssl.pemfile = "/etc/lighttpd/certs/"

To enable SSL in addition to normal HTTP

$SERVER["socket"] == ":443" {
    ssl.engine                  = "enable" 
    ssl.pemfile                 = "/etc/lighttpd/certs/" 

If you want to serve different sites, you can change the document root inside the socket conditional:

$SERVER["socket"] == ":443" {
    server.document-root = "/srv/ssl" # use your ssl directory here
    ssl.engine                 = "enable"
    ssl.pemfile                = "/etc/lighttpd/certs/"  # use the path where you created your pem file

or as alternative you can use the scheme conditional to distinguish between secure and normal requests.

$HTTP["scheme"] == "https" {
    server.document-root = "/srv/ssl" # use your ssl directory here
    ssl.engine                 = "enable"
    ssl.pemfile                = "/etc/lighttpd/certs/"  # use the path where you created your pem file

Note that you cannot use the scheme conditional around ssl.engine above, since lighttpd needs to know on what port to enable SSL.

Server Name Indication

To use SNI with lighttpd, simply put additional ssl.pemfile configuration directives inside host conditionals. A default ssl.pemfile is still required.

$HTTP["host"] == "" {
    ssl.pemfile = "/etc/lighttpd/certs/" 

$HTTP["host"] == "" {
    ssl.pemfile = "/etc/lighttpd/certs/" 

Redirect HTTP requests to HTTPS

You should add "mod_redirect" in server.modules array in /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf:

server.modules += ( "mod_redirect" )

$SERVER["socket"] == ":80" {
  $HTTP["host"] =~ "" {
    url.redirect = ( "^/(.*)" => "$1" )                 = "" 

$SERVER["socket"] == ":443" {
  ssl.engine = "enable" 
  ssl.pemfile = "/etc/lighttpd/ssl/server.pem" 
  server.document-root = "..." 

To redirect all hosts to their secure equivalents use the following in place of the socket 80 configuration above:

$SERVER["socket"] == ":80" {
  $HTTP["host"] =~ "(.*)" {
    url.redirect = ( "^/(.*)" => "https://%1/$1" )

To redirect all hosts for part of the site (e.g. secure or phpmyadmin):

$SERVER["socket"] == ":80" {
  $HTTP["url"] =~ "^/secure" {
    url.redirect = ( "^/(.*)" => "$1" )

Output Compression

In /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf add

var.cache_dir           = "/var/cache/lighttpd"

Then create directory for a compressed files:

# mkdir /var/cache/lighttpd/compress
# chown http:http /var/cache/lighttpd/compress

Copy example configuration file:

# mkdir /etc/lighttpd/conf.d
# cp /usr/share/doc/lighttpd/config/conf.d/compress.conf /etc/lighttpd/conf.d/

Add following in /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf:

include "conf.d/compress.conf"

Template:Box Note


Lighttpd downloads .php files

If lighttpd downloads .php files instead of "initializing" them you probably missed to add these lines to your /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf.

server.modules = (

fastcgi.server = ( ".php" => ((
                     "bin-path" => "/usr/bin/php-cgi", #depends where your php-cgi has been installed. Default here.
                     "socket" => "/tmp/php.socket",
                     "max-procs" => 2,
                     "bin-environment" => (
                       "PHP_FCGI_CHILDREN" => "16",
                       "PHP_FCGI_MAX_REQUESTS" => "10000"
                     "bin-copy-environment" => (
                       "PATH", "SHELL", "USER"
                     "broken-scriptfilename" => "enable"

Styles (CSS) not working properly

The default lighttpd config does not include a mimetype definition for CSS so when standards compliant browsers get text/html instead of text/css they get confused and nothing displays properly. To fix this add an entry for CSS.

mimetype.assign	= (
  ".html" => "text/html",
  ".txt" => "text/plain",
  ".jpg" => "image/jpeg",
  ".png" => "image/png",
  ".css" => "text/css",
  "" => "application/octet-stream"

New lines are not needed and are only used here for readability.

Note: The "application/octet-stream" declaration must be at the end. It is a catch-all, and any declarations after it will be ignored.

See also