OpenLiteSpeed Reactions (Part 1)

As promised, today we're going to review and respond to some users' reactions to OpenLiteSpeed.

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Overall, most reactions have been positive — a few retweets, some encouragement on the OpenLiteSpeed Google Group, in WHT, and LET. Thank you to eva2000, who has been taking over (figuratively) the Google Group, offering advice, putting in bug reports, and even posting some OpenLiteSpeed vs. Nginx benchmarks. His blog post on the subject is interesting, especially because I think it's the first head-to-head comparison of the two, both in terms of speed and features. He's also started the conversation at LET. (And when it got hijacked, he started it again.)

Update: eva2000 has also added a guide for tuning some common settings.

People have been asking what the differences are between LiteSpeed Web Server Standard Edition and OpenLiteSpeed, and what OpenLiteSpeed means for the future of Standard Edition. OpenLiteSpeed and Standard Edition both have their advantages — Standard Edition reads .ADR-001
htaccess files and can be used with control panels (but with a limit of 5 virtual hosts), OpenLiteSpeed can be scaled to multiple cores/processors and has no concurrent connection limit. Both are free, of course, but only OpenLiteSpeed is open source.

We don't yet have a final answer about the future of Standard Edition. We are looking towards OpenLiteSpeed to become the dominant free version, but we realize that we do have quite a few users that depend on Standard Edition. We still need to see how OpenLiteSpeed progresses.

The biggest discussions, though, seem to be about .htaccess files. Some have worried that not having .htaccess files renders the Apache-compatible rewrite rules useless. This is not true. Rewrite rules are still very much usable, they just need to be taken out of .htaccess files and put into your OpenLiteSpeed configurations. This can be done at the virtual host and context levels. For many of your .htaccess rewrite rules, you can just cut and paste them into a context setting connected to a particular directory. (Contexts can be used as LiteSpeed's version of .htaccess files.) This is not the same drop in compatibility as in Enterprise Edition, but you don't need to learn a whole new rewrite language.

Others have pointed out that .htaccess files are just a hindrance on performance (which is why Nginx has avoided anything resembling .htaccess files). This may be true, and perhaps someone will develop a way to do shared hosting without something like .htaccess files, but one of the things that has always made Enterprise Edition great is that it takes .htaccess files and handles them efficiently, without a huge drop in performance. But I guess that is a topic for a different post…

Update: It's also been asked whether releasing an open source LiteSpeed Web Server might make LiteSpeed Web Server as a whole more vulnerable to hacks and loopholes. This is a valid concern, but we feel confident that OpenLiteSpeed will actually result in a more secure Enterprise Edition. First of all, the OpenLiteSpeed code is not exactly the same as our Enterprise Edition's code. Second, even if a loophole is found, Enterprise's binary should be able to defend against buffer overflow attempts. And finally, in the long run, OpenLiteSpeed should mean more eyes checking the code, which means more people to find flaws and less zero days.BR0-001

That's all for now. Here's hoping many more of you will make the jump to LiteSpeed!

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