Lighttpd is an open-source web server that powers numerous websites in the world. Lighttpd focuses on providing increased performance and a light memory footprint. Lighttpd works with the popular MySQL database server (MariaDB) and the PHP server-side dynamic scripting language.

Thanks to the low hardware requirements, it manages high data traffic even on poorly performing systems. It is a strong alternative to the more resource-intensive LAMP stack but otherwise very powerful.

This tutorial will show you how to install Lighttpd on Ubuntu 18.04 server.


Before we get started, you will need the following.

  • An Ubuntu 18.04 server
  • Access to the root user account or an account with Sudo Privileges
  • Basic understanding of Linux commands

We assume you have already connected to your server via an SSH connection. Good! Let's start.

Step 1: Installing Lighttpd

We will update our repository to ensure the latest version of Lighttpd is on our system. To do that, enter the command below.

sudo apt-get update

apt-get upgrade

Now run the following command to install Lighttpd directly from the Ubuntu repository.

sudo apt install lighttpd

Once the installation is completed, you are ready to start the service. However, before we start the service, we should make some configuration changes. Open the lighttpd.conf file using the nano text editor.

nano /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

It is necessary to enable Lighttpd to listen to IPv4 addresses. To do this, scroll down to the section which shows ‘bind to a specific IP’ and add the following:

## bind to a specific IP
server.bind = "localhost"
$SERVER["socket"] == "" { }

Save the file and exit the text editor. Ctrl + x > y > Enter

Now we have everything ready to activate Lighttpd on the server. Enter the following command to start the service:

sudo systemctl start lighttpd

We will also enter the below command so that the service will also start automatically during a system startup:

sudo systemctl enable lighttpd

To check the status of the service, run the following command:

systemctl status lighttpd

Lighttpd is ready to be used. Before that, you should make some configurations on your firewall.

Step 2: Firewall configuration

In the case of the firewall on your system, it is usually set to not accept HTTP and HTTPS traffic. This will be a problem since Lighttpd works using these protocols. Therefore, to allow HTTP (port 80) and HTTPS (port 443) traffic to your server, you need to allow the respective ports from your firewall:

sudo ufw allow 80

sudo ufw allow 443

Once this is done, you can test the operation of the server by visiting your browser and entering the following command.

http: //server_ip_address

If you see an output similar to this, you have successfully made the configurations for Lighttpd.

Step 3: Installing MariaDB

Usually, Lighttpd works together with the MariaDB database, which is the MySQL replacement for CentOS. You can install the database server using the following command:

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server

Once the installation is completed, we will need to start the service as it doesn’t start automatically once the installation completes. Enter the following commands to start the service on your server and enable it to start on server boot up:

sudo systemctl start mariadb

sudo systemctl enable mariadb

If everything was set up correctly, you could enter the following command to get the status of the MariaDB server.

sudo systemctl status mariadb

You should get the following output. For a more in-depth view of the installation, check out our MariaDB installation guide for CentOS.

Step 4: Install PHP and PHP extensions

Now we will install PHP and all the necessary PHP extensions. To do this, run the following command on your terminal:

sudo apt-get install php7.2 php7.2-fpm php7.2-mysql php7.2-cli php7.2-curl php7.2-xml php7.2-mbstring php7.2-gd

Once PHP 7.2 has been installed, we need to enable PHP-FPM and FastCGI for Lighttpd. We will open the configuration file using the nano text editor:

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/fpm/pool.d/www.conf

Scroll down in the configuration file and locate this section:

listen = /run/php/php7.2-fpm.sock

Now replace this part with the following:

listen =

All is set in the PHP-FPM files. Save the file and exit the nano text editor by pressing Ctrl + x > y > Enter.

Now we will edit the configuration file of FastCGI using the below command:

nano /etc/lighttpd/conf-available/15-fastcgi-php.conf

Find the following lines:

"bin-path" => "/usr/bin/php-cgi",
"socket" => "/var/run/lighttpd/php.socket",

Then replace those values with

"host" => "",
"port" => "9000",

All is set in the FastCGI config files. Save the file and exit the nano text editor by pressing Ctrl + x > y > Enter.

Now we will go ahead and enable both FastCGI and FastCGI-PHP modules:

sudo lighty-enable-mod fastcgi

sudo lighty-enable-mod fastcgi-php

 Restart Lighttpd and PHP7.2-FPM to apply all the configuration changes:

sudo service lighttpd force-reload

sudo systemctl restart php7.2-fpm

That’s all there is to it – in this tutorial, we learned how to install Lighttpd on an Ubuntu 18.04 Cloud VPS and enable MariaDB, PHP and PHP-FPM with FastCGI support in Lighttpd.


We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on installing Lighttpd on the Ubuntu server. If you encounter problems throughout installation, don’t hesitate to contact us in the comment section below.

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