Getting started with OpenLiteSpeed

Since we all get used to use one piece of software, Lets stir up the pot. We are mostly using nginx and apache httpd for webserver. But there is a replacement for apache httpd which supports .htaccess files, meaning we can switch very easily to it, called OpenLitesSpeed. OpenLiteSpeed is the free and Open Source “counterpart” of the LiteSpeed server by litespeedtech. It claims to be faster than Nginx and Apache httpd. And as an extra, it can handle .htaccess files, so many applications will work just out-of-the-box.


Event driven processes, less overhead, more connections, and enormous scalability, with no hardware upgrade required!

Add the popular LiteSpeed Cache for WordPress plugin, and you get a 100% open source, accelerated hosting platform for WordPress.

So it should be faster than what we usually have and we can keep on using our beloved .htaccess files to do some fancy stuff.

The enterprise version LiteSpeed can even work with your Apache httpd config, which is truely awesome.

The really well integrated mod_security and GeoIP modules are a very good selling point here, because we will need those anyway. So it being built-in is super nice.

It has an admin interface

This is actually really nice to have an admin interface with your webserver. By default you can access the admin by browsing to https://openlitespeed.docker:7080, or another domain where you are running OpenLiteSpeed. The default installation comes with self signed certificates which is not an issue while toying around.

admin login

admin dashboard

We can control the webserver completely from the admin. So for people liking a gui better, this is really nice.

Example vhost

The default vhost we can find on http://openlitespeed.docker:8088.

example vhost

We get some nice examples of some of the capabilities to learn how to use this webserver.

example vhost feature links

For example here we have basic php and a custom error page.

example vhost php and error page


Creating a new vhost can be done completely from the admin interface. We will need some time to get used to this, because some things are split up differently than what we are used to. For example there is the concept Listener, where we can define the port and if it’s secure (SSL). And then we can attach vhosts to that listener. Where for Apache httpd or nginx we are used to just define the port(s) we are listening on in the vhost configuration.

For example, we add the HTTP listener and add the Example vhost to it:

We go to the listeners and going to create a new listener by clicking the plus sign.


We fill in our configuration and can even pin this listener to a specific cpu core if we want.

new listener config

Now we have a new HTTP listener. We already get an indication we will have to reload the webserver since we have done configuration changes, but we will not yet reload.

new listener

We’ll click the magnifying glass to see the listener. Here we can add vhosts to this specific listener. We can attach the same vhost to different listeners because we will not remove the Example vhost from the default listener (on port 8088).

listener detail

Adding our vhost on all domainnames now.

add vhost to listener

We have our vhost attached and will now gracefully reload the webserver by clicking the green button with the circle arrow.

its there and reload

When we now browse to http://openlitespeed.docker/, we get the example page.

example page on default http

So now we also want to create a new vhost. We already have a index.html and index.php lined up in /phpapp/pub. So lets find out how hard this will be to add.

virtual hosts

Now we will add a phpapp vhost which can be found in /phpapp.

phpapp virtual host

We have our vhost, but even though there is already a notification we will need to restart the server we will first continue our configuration.

virtual hosts with phpapp

In the “General” tab of the vhost detail we must configure our Document root and if we want compresion and such.

vhost documentroot

To have it easily available we’ll just remove the example vhost from the HTTP listener and add our new phpapp vhost listening to all domains.

http listener with phpapp

Our great index page:

phpapp index page

And the phpinfo:

phpapp index.php

So all in all this is relatively straight forward to get things working with this server.


OpenLiteSpeed definitly looks like a nice and great webserver too look at and play with. How it compares performance wise versus the more defacto webservers is a question for another time. It is great to have an admin panel on board with the webserver, from the admin configuring a website is certainly not really hard so thats a plus. When we go and look in the configuration files we might wonder how to automate this because the main httpd_conf.conf file is being modified to add a new vhost, or if the information for a listener is changed. So that might be a drawback here, not so easy to manipulate directly from the config files as what we are used to when using Apache httpd or nginx.