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lighttpd is a fast and lightweight web server.


USE flags

USE flags for www-servers/lighttpd Lightweight high-performance web server

bzip2 Use the bzlib compression library
fam Enable FAM (File Alteration Monitor) support
ldap Add LDAP support (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol)
libev Enable fdevent handler
memcached Add support for memcached
mmap Use mmap with files owned by lighttpd. This is a dangerous option as it may allow local users to trigger SIGBUS crashes.
mysql Add mySQL Database support
php Include support for the PHP language
rrdtool Enable rrdtool support via mod_rrdtool
webdav Enable webdav properties
xattr Add support for extended attributes (filesystem-stored metadata)


Install www-servers/lighttpd:

root #emerge --ask www-servers/lighttpd


The lighttpd configuration is handled by /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf. The first example shows a single-site access, with SSL and no dynamic capabilities (such as PHP).

FILE /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.confExample 1
$SERVER["socket"] == "" { = ""
  server.document-root = "/var/www/"
  server.errorlog = "/var/log/lighttpd/http_error.log"
  accesslog.filename = "/var/log/lighttpd/http_access.log"
  ## SSL Configuration
  ssl.engine = "enable"
  ssl.pemfile = "/etc/ssl/lighttpd-ssl.pem" = "/etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificate.crt"
  # SSL options
  ssl.use-sslv2 = "disable"
  ssl.cipher-list = "TLSv1+HIGH !SSLv2 RC4+MEDIUM !aNULL !eNULL !3DES @STRENGTH"

To enable additional functionalities configure needed modules in /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf. For instance, to enable PHP using the FastCGI processor:

FILE /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.confExample 2 - Enabling PHP support
include "mod_fastcgi.conf"

IP access lists

This third example shows how to allow access to a particular site /server-status only to certain IP addresses. To allow using service status on the and addresses, set the following lines in the lighttpd.conf file:

FILE /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.confExample 3 - Enabling and configuring an IP access lists for /server-status page
# enable access module
server.modules = {
# enable server-status page globally
status.status-url  = "/server-status"

# restrict access to server-status to listed IP hosts
$HTTP["remoteip"] !~ "|" {
      url.access-deny = ( "/server-status" )

Start up

In order for the lighttpd service to start automatically it must be properly added to the init handler program. Gentoo has two main init handler programs: OpenRC and Systemd.


With OpenRC use the rc-update command:

root #rc-update add lighttpd default


With systemd use the systemctl command:

root #systemctl enable lighttpd.service


Verifying /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf configuration file with lighttpd-angel, it will return the exit code 0, if everything is configured properly:

root #lighttpd-angel -t -f /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
Syntax OK
lighttpd-angel.c.140: child (pid=32491) exited normally with exitcode: 0

If the configuration file has errors, it will print it to stdout, like in the example below:

root #lighttpd-angel -t -f /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
2012-09-02 12:52:08: (plugin.c.131) Cannot load plugin mod_fastcgi more than once, please fix your config
2012-09-02 12:52:08: (network.c.379) can't bind to port: 80 Address already in use 
lighttpd-angel.c.140: child (pid=32139) exited normally with exitcode: 255

See also

  • Apache — an efficient, extensible web server. It is one of the most popular web servers used the Internet.
  • Nginx — a robust, small, high performance web server and reverse proxy server.

External resources