Images-only webserver, lighttpd vs NginX

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Mon Nov 3 12:00:17 PST 2008

Francis Dubé wrote:

> As a part of the solution, I decided to build a jail with a light 
> webserver dedicated to images requests, the biggest part of the requests 
> the server have to process. Most of the websites hosted on the server 
> have approximately 200 small images with a size between 1k and 32k each. 
> I'm currently hesitating between NginX and lighttpd, which both seems to 
> offer similar benchmarks for this job. The questions :
> Is someone doing something similar to this with one of the two ?

I've had very good results with nginx for doing this sort of thing.

> Which one do you suggest and why ?

I originally chose nginx because it did what I wanted and it didn't conflict with Apache (ie. by installinga binary called 'httpd') on the 
same machine.  However I wasn't aware of lighttpd at that point.  By 
the time I did find out about lighttpd, there was no compelling reason 
to change from nginx.

I think you'll find either is adequate to your needs.  Unless you're
trying to squeeze the absolute last drop of performance out of your 
hardware, consider other things than raw speed.  Do you find the 
configuration files easy to understand and deal with?  Can you strip 
down the server to the absolute minimum necessary to serve your needs, 
and if so which of the two is smaller?  Which server name do you find 
easier to type?

> I've read about a memory leak in lighttpd, is anyone is having issues 
> with this under FreeBSD ?

Hmmmm... That would disqualify it from serious contention straight 
away.  But
shows the memleak bug fixed in the latest version 1.4.20, which is
in ports.

Haven't had any stability problems ever with nginx.

> Any ideas regarding our situation is appreciated,

I think either of these packages will probably serve you well.  If
you really can't choose between them, then toss a coin.  



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                   7 Priory Courtyard
                                                  Flat 3
PGP:     Ramsgate
                                                  Kent, CT11 9PW

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