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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 3.1. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle is probably available here: lighttpd.

Lighttpd (a.k.a. Lighty) is a lightweight webserver with a small memory footprint that works well with PHP accelerators like eAccelerator and Alternative PHP Cache (APC). It is an alternative to Apache and IIS particularly well suited to systems with low resources, especially RAM -- ideal when using virtual private server (VPS) hosting services. Even on hosts with plenty of resources, Lighty is as fast as Apache if not faster and worth considering.

Note that while Lighttpd has all the basic features that Apache does, it does not have the depth and versatility of Apache's more advanced features. There are one or two small incompatibilities as well and it does not share the same level of knowledge and support. You are encouraged to be certain it meets your needs before deploying in a production environment.

Installation varies according to platform, so if the following example doesn't apply to your server configuration, check the official instruction page here. You will also need to install php (preferrably with an accelerator) and fast-cgi according to these instructions.

A notable difference between Lighttpd and Apache is the expires directive that controls the caching of content. Apache allows you to set the expiry by file type, e.g. making a jpg image stay in the browser cache for a week, older versions of Lighttpd specify folders to be cached. Versions with ETag generation support provide full expiry mechanisms and control.

Fedora 6, 7, 8 & 9 Example

On the latest versions of Fedora, lighttpd is a part of the official repository and can be installed using yum to meet all of Moodle's base requirements, including the PHP accelerator Alternative PHP Cache (APC), using the following command.

yum install lighttpd lighttpd-fastcgi mysql php php-mysql \
php-pecl-apc php-gd php-mbstring php-xmlrpc php-pdo ;

Edit /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf to point to the Moodle root directory and the PHP-CGI area to activate and point to PHP's fastcgi executable, under the respective sections:

## a static document-root example
server.document-root        = "/home/moodle-1.9/"
#### fastcgi module
fastcgi.server             = ( ".php" =>
                               ( "localhost" =>
                                   "socket" => "/tmp/php-fastcgi.socket",
                                   "bin-path" => "/usr/bin/php-cgi"

Since Moodle maintains its own logs and reporting tools, you can disable lighttpd's server-level logging by commenting out (put a # mark in front of) the following lines in /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf, as follows under the respective sections.

## modules to load
# "mod_accesslog"
#### accesslog module
#accesslog.filename          = "/var/log/lighttpd/access_log"

If your server has CPU cycles to spare, enabling compression improves network speed and the student's perceived response time, especially for off-campus and distance learners. Compression should be separated at the HTTP and PHP levels to maximize CPU cycles (especially on multiple-CPU or multi-core systems). First uncomment the compression module in /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf, create a directory for the compressed file temporary store (in this example, it's /home/compress.tmp) and enter it along with the types of files to compress (do not include PHP mimetypes here), as follows under the respective sections:

## modules to load
# NOTE: a comma (,) is necessary when other active modules follow this one,
# unnecessary when this is the final active module in the server.modules directive
"mod_compress" #, 
#### compress module
compress.cache-dir         = "/home/compress.tmp/"
compress.filetype          = ("text/plain", "text/javascript", "text/css", "text/xml")

Second, edit /etc/php.ini to enable compression on the PHP output and consider increasing the maximum server submission size (individual courses can still be limited lower than and up to this limit within Moodle itself, if needed).

zlib.output_compression = On
post_max_size = 32M

See Also