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Apache vs. Lighttpd: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 10, 2023
Apache is a widely-used, open-source HTTP server, known for its power and stability. Lighttpd, also open-source, is known for its speed and efficiency, particularly in serving static media. Both have varied use-cases based on web server needs.

Key Differences

Apache HTTP Server, simply referred to as Apache, is one of the oldest and most reliable web server platforms available. Created by the Apache Software Foundation, it offers various features like customizable error messages and authentication configurations, which makes it an exceptional choice for various types of websites and applications. Lighttpd, on the other hand, can be viewed as a lightweight alternative that provides a slight contrast in terms of use-case scenarios.
Lighttpd, pronounced "lighty", stands out due to its low memory footprint and small CPU load, which provides optimal performance especially for servers that handle a high volume of parallel connections. Compared to Apache, it might offer fewer features and less flexibility but is often appreciated for its simplicity and the ability to handle traffic spikes with ease. This makes Lighttpd a preferential option for websites where the efficient delivery of static media is a priority.
Apache has, over the years, established a massive user base and is utilized by numerous websites across the globe. Its wide adoption can be attributed to its flexibility, robustness, and a large repository of modules. In comparison, Lighttpd may not boast as extensive a user base as Apache, but it does hold a respectable position in the realm of web servers, often being the go-to choice for applications that prioritize speed and minimal resource utilization.
When it comes to configuration, Apache provides a plethora of options, granting administrators significant control over its functioning. Although this might introduce a level of complexity in management, it is outweighed by the granular control offered. Lighttpd, while offering a straightforward configuration mechanism, may not provide as comprehensive control as Apache, tending to be favored in scenarios where simplicity and rapid deployment are critical.
Apache has a notably large community, thereby providing a vast pool of knowledge in terms of documentation, forums, and expert advice. This availability of extensive support and resources generally makes problem-solving and information-seeking more accessible. Lighttpd, albeit having a smaller community, still maintains a dedicated user base and a satisfactory level of documentation, ensuring support and resource availability to address issues and queries.

Comparison Chart

Age and Adoption

Older, widely adopted
Newer, niche adoption


Powerful, can be resource-heavy
Lightweight, less resource-intensive


Highly flexible with modules
More focused, less flexibility

Use Case

General-purpose web server
Often used for static content delivery


Complex but granular control
Simpler, straightforward configuration

Apache and Lighttpd Definitions


Apache serves both static and dynamic website content.
Apache can dynamically generate and serve web pages through scripting languages like PHP.


Lighttpd is a web server designed to be lightweight and optimized for speed.
Lighttpd efficiently serves static content, making it a favorite for high-traffic websites.


Apache is a robust, open-source web server software.
Many websites utilize Apache due to its stability and extensive feature set.


Lighttpd is often utilized for its low resource consumption.
Lighttpd can manage many simultaneous connections without consuming excessive system resources.


Apache is developed and maintained by the Apache Software Foundation.
The Apache Software Foundation regularly updates Apache to enhance its functionality and security.


Lighttpd supports FastCGI, SCGI, and CGI interfaces to external programs, enabling dynamic web page creation.
By leveraging FastCGI, Lighttpd facilitates speedy rendering of dynamic content.


Apache allows for various modules to extend its functionality.
Web developers frequently add modules to Apache to enable additional capabilities like URL redirection.


Lighttpd is renowned for its performance and speed, particularly when serving static web content.
Due to its focus on speed, Lighttpd effectively manages the swift delivery of images and other static files.


Apache uses a configuration file for server settings and adjustments.
By editing the Apache configuration file, administrators can alter server performance and behavior.


Lighttpd is suitable for servers with less computational power due to its minimalistic design.
Lighttpd proves beneficial for small servers as it offers optimal performance without demanding substantial computational power.


A member of a Native American people inhabiting the southwest United States and northern Mexico. Various Apache tribes offered strong resistance to encroachment on their territory in the latter half of the 19th century. Present-day Apache populations are located in Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.


Any of the Apachean languages of the Apache.


A member of the Parisian underworld.


Alternative case form of Apache, a Parisian gangster.


Any member of Athapaskan tribes that migrated to the southwestern desert (from Arizona to Texas and south into Mexico); fought a losing battle from 1861 to 1886 with the United States and were resettled in Oklahoma


A Parisian gangster


The language of the Apache people


What characterizes Lighttpd?

Lighttpd is a lightweight, high-performance web server, known for efficiently serving static content.

Is Apache suitable for dynamic content?

Yes, Apache can serve both static and dynamic web content through various modules and integrations.

What is Apache?

Apache is an open-source, robust, and highly flexible web server software.

Can Lighttpd manage virtual hosting?

Yes, Lighttpd can manage virtual hosting, allowing one server to host multiple domains.

What is a notable feature of Lighttpd?

Lighttpd is recognized for its low resource usage and ability to handle a high volume of parallel connections efficiently.

Can Lighttpd serve dynamic content?

Yes, Lighttpd can serve dynamic content, especially through interfaces like FastCGI.

Can Apache be used on various operating systems?

Yes, Apache can be installed and run on various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

How is the performance of Apache compared to Lighttpd?

While Apache is powerful and versatile, Lighttpd is often considered faster and more resource-efficient, especially in specific use-cases like serving static content.

Is Lighttpd an appropriate choice for multimedia websites?

Lighttpd can be a preferable choice for multimedia websites as it efficiently serves static content and can handle high concurrent connections with minimal resource utilization.

Can Apache handle large amounts of traffic?

Yes, Apache can handle large traffic volumes, but it may consume substantial system resources to do so.

Is Lighttpd an open-source web server?

Yes, Lighttpd is an open-source web server and is freely available for use and modification.

How does Apache handle modules?

Apache allows users to dynamically load modules to enhance functionality and adapt to various use cases.

What is the configuration file of Lighttpd called?

The primary configuration file for Lighttpd is typically named "lighttpd.conf".

Can Apache handle a reverse proxy configuration?

Yes, Apache can be configured as a reverse proxy, forwarding requests to other servers.

What programming languages does Apache support?

Apache supports a wide range of programming languages, such as PHP, Python, and Perl, through various modules and handlers.

Does Apache offer SSL and TLS support?

Yes, Apache provides extensive SSL and TLS support for secure web communication.

Which web server has a larger user community, Apache or Lighttpd?

Apache has a larger user community, providing extensive documentation and support resources.

Is Lighttpd suitable for serving static content?

Yes, Lighttpd is particularly renowned for efficiently serving static web content.

Is Lighttpd capable of URL rewriting?

Yes, Lighttpd supports URL rewriting, enabling user-friendly URLs and redirect functionality.

Does Lighttpd have a wide adoption?

Lighttpd has a more niche adoption compared to Apache but is preferred in scenarios that prioritize lightweight architecture and speed.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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