Apache vs Litespeed

When you say “web server,” Apache is the first thing to pop into my head. And for good reason! This web server handles nearly 60% of all website traffic and has been pivotal in the creation of the modern internet. In fact, without Apache, there probably wouldn’t be an internet as we know it.

However, Apache is not without its competitors, and one of its fiercest is Litespeed. So which one is better? Read on to find out.

A Look At Apache

Apache HTTPD

Apache was born in 1995 as a way for tinkerers to make websites. From that humble beginning a true modern powerhouse was born. Under constant development by droves of dedicated fanatics, the Apache server is one of the most stable and secure servers available. Its ability to load in components also ensures that it remains one of the most flexible. For example, if you want to use Google’s new Go programming language as your server-side scripting language, there is a library for that.

The best part of Apache? It is completely free.

A Look At Litespeed


The Litespeed server is a fairly new piece of software. The product of Litespeed industries Inc and founded in 2002, the Litespeed server can read Apache configuration files and can essentially be dropped in to replace any Apache server. It is also a much more lightweight server, with the company claiming that a single Litespeed server can handle the same amount of traffic as two Apache servers.

Unlike Apache, Litespeed is a commercial product. While there is a free version available, many features are reserved for the enterprise version, which costs at a minimum $350.00 a year.

Litespeed Vs Apache

First things first: Litespeed doesn’t lie about being able to handle more traffic than Apache. In one instance, an Apache server that had been going under from DDOS attacks was swapped out for a Litespeed install. Where the Apache server crashed from the attack, the Litespeed server crawled along, barely functioning but functioning nonetheless.

But then Litespeed is meant as a lightweight alternative to Apache, much like a scooter to a truck.

Litespeed also suffers from security holes. While its closed source provides the illusion of security, Apache’s longstanding open code base lets every hacker take a crack at it. Over the years, the Apache server has seen a level of scrutiny and development that Litespeed, with it’s smaller development team, could only dream of.

Apache also has a flexibility that Litespeed can’t match. While Litespeed can handle the configuration files, it can’t handle the components you can integrate with it. While you could code a plugin specifically for Litespeed, doing so would take a fair amount of time and programming skill, whereas within minutes you can have common components installed on an Apache server. Even with Litespeed supporting most of the popular control panels, there are enough components that don’t work to make switching a concern.

And for those who care about such things, Litespeed also maintains a fairly restrictive EULA that limits what content you can legally provide with the server.

Winner: Apache

Between the cost ($350 yearly for a single core processor, more for more cores), security concerns and questionable EULA, choosing Apache is an easy choice. If you really need a lightweight server, seek out a free alternative like Lighttpd. You get similar speed increases without the cost.

Apache may not be the fastest server available, but it is one of the most flexible and its used by all the best web hosting companies. A vanilla install will provide you with a slew of functions that these other web servers don’t offer. Combine that with a massive community, a universe of components and a wonderful pricetag (free!), Apache is hard to beat.

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