WSO2 WSF/PHP with Lighttpd

I wanted to test drive WSO2 WSF/PHP on Lighttpd because I couldn’t find any documentation specific for Lighttpd, or any one complaining that it cannot be done. I set up a new VMWare image running Debian so that I can blog all the steps involved in getting WSO2 WSF/PHP working on Lighttpd running on Debian.

Step 1: Install Lighttpd, PHP5

I used apt-get to install Lighttpd and PHP5

 $ sudo apt-get install lighttpd php5 

Step 2: Download and install WSO2 WSF/PHP.

I downloaded the Debian package.

 $ axel -an 5
$ dpkg -i wso2-wsf-php-1.2.0-debian.deb

Step 3: Enable WSO2 WSF/PHP

I created a new file /etc/php5/conf.d/wsf.ini and added the following line. 

Step 4: Enable FastCGI and PHP

Fastest method to run PHP on Lighttpd is FastCGI, so we will be enabling FastCGI.

 $ sudo lighty-enable-mod fastcgi

On Debian Lighttpd FastCGI configuration file contains the configuration for PHP4. We will have to edit /etc/lighttpd/conf-enable/10-fastcgi.conf to look like bellow.

server.modules   += ( "mod_fastcgi" )

## Start an FastCGI server for php5 (needs the php5-cgi package)
fastcgi.server = ( ".php" =>
"bin-path" => "/usr/bin/php5-cgi",
"socket" => "/tmp/php.socket",
"max-procs" => 2,
"idle-timeout" => 20,
"bin-environment" => (
"bin-copy-environment" => (
"broken-scriptfilename" => "enable"

Step 5: Restart Lighttpd

You have to reload the Lighttpd configuration files.

 $ sudo /etc/init.d/lighttpd restart

You have successfully installed WSO2 WSF/PHP on PHP5 and Lighttpd. It is time to test whether it is a success. Simplest approach would be to see phpinfo() page. Create a php file with the following line of code and place it in the document root. Then using a web browser goto that URL. In the page search for wsf section. This contains all the configurations about the WSF extension.

I went throught to the trouble of actually consuming a SOAP web service to see whether this setup actually works and it was a success, but that is simply out of the scope of this post. These instructions should work on other Linux distributions with minor changes and any platform with few changes.

Fly WSO2 WSF/PHP with Lighttpd. Have fun.

Flying light with lighty

I moved all my sites to my all new server. There I’m running Lighttpd as the front facing web server. I do have Apache HTTP Server running for the sake of svn serving. It was not very hard to migrate sites from Apache HTTP Server to Lighttpd. Only feature I missed was .htaccess file support or substitute. I just had to migrate all the operations taking place in the .htaccess files to the Lighty configuration file.

Overall migration was smooth. I have nothing to complain, memory foot print is small as it could get. Since I’m serving only PHP and Python I’m making use of FastCGI and it is really fast. You wouldn’t believe me if I tell you the performance gains. I can serve 700 requests per second when it comes to my Geo-IP web service (I believe the limit was the resources on the test machine), the server is not even sweating. If I was running the same application on Apache HTTP Server it would barely serve 230 requests per second, 204% performance gain.

If you visit any of my sites except for the blog itself (which is hosted at you would see the performance. responds within a second, that’s lighting fast. All this with a Debian running on Xen with 128MB physical memory and 256MB swap.

I would recommend Lighty to any one with simple serving requirements. It saves lot of server resources.