LiteSpeed Web Server or OpenLiteSpeed?
You’ve heard about how LiteSpeed Cache can significantly improve your WordPress site’s performance, but there is more than one way to get LiteSpeed Cache. How do you know which option is best for you? Let’s answer that question by taking a closer look at our two web server options: OpenLiteSpeed and LiteSpeed Enterprise.
Simply put, if you are already an OpenLiteSpeed (OLS) user, or a LiteSpeed Web Server (LSWS) user, and your current choice is working for you, then there is no need to switch. The LiteSpeed Cache Plugin for WordPress (LSCWP) works with either OLS or LSWS to speed up your site.
But what if you have not yet decided which LiteSpeed server to use? Let’s look at a few common scenarios, and see which web server is best for each.
|If you are…||You should use…|
|a VPS user with simple non-ecommerce sites||OpenLiteSpeed|
|running a WooCommerce (or similar eCommerce plugin) site||LiteSpeed Enterprise|
|more comfortable with Managed WP hosting and full Apache compatibility||LiteSpeed Enterprise|
Need more help making a choice? Read on!
Similarities Between Servers
Both LiteSpeed servers run on Linux and FreeBSD, and share an impressive list of basic features, including:
- Support for both common and cutting-edge Internet protocols: HTTP / SPDY / HTTP/2 / QUIC / HTTP/3
- IPv4 and IPv6 support
- Language support: PHP, Perl, Ruby, Python, NodeJS, JSP, etc.
- SAPIs: LiteSpeed API, CGI, FCGI, AJPv13, Proxy
- Unlimited virtual hosting, both IP-based and name-based
- Gzip and Brotli compression
- WebSocket Proxy
- TLS v1.3
- CloudLinux CL LVE support
OLS and LSWS both have the ability to understand Apache rewrite rules, configuration files, and ModSecurity, making it easy to switch from Apache to LiteSpeed. Both servers share an event-driven architecture, comprehensive security options, high availability and many more features, which are listed in full on our website.
LiteSpeed Cache for WordPress (LSCWP) plugin is supported by both servers. LSCWP has earned a 5-star reputation for good reason. And while the optimization features of the LiteSpeed Cache plugin can, technically, be used with any server (LiteSpeed, Apache, nginx, etc.), the caching features, which are LiteSpeed exclusive, can only be used with a LiteSpeed server product.
So, how do you choose? Let’s take a closer look at the differences between OpenLiteSpeed and LiteSpeed Enterprise.
OpenLiteSpeed, our free, open source web server comes with a powerful cache engine, unlimited worker processes, and community support options.
OLS understands Apache rewrite rules, however a restart is required in order to process any new or changed .htaccess files. For this reason, OLS is most frequently used for individual sites that don’t change often.
For those who like working with a control panel, OLS is compatible with DirectAdmin and CyberPanel.
It’s easy to give OpenLiteSpeed a try. One-click images are available in a variety of cloud services, including Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform.
LiteSpeed Web Server
LiteSpeed Enterprise is a fully-Apache-compatible drop-in-replacement. LSWS autodetects changes to .htaccess and adjusts as necessary without requiring a restart. For this reason, It is ideal for shared hosting environments where updates are frequent.
LSWS is compatible with any control panel that was written for Apache. This includes cPanel, Plesk, DirectAdmin and more.
In addition to the extensive security features shared with OpenLiteSpeed, Enterprise also boasts protection from WordPress Brute Force attacks.
Like OLS, LSWS features a powerful cache engine. But LSWS’s cache engine goes further with ESI support included. ESI, or Edge Side Includes, allows LiteSpeed to cache mixed public and private content on a single page. It’s especially useful in eCommerce situations.
ESI makes it possible to cache the following:
- logged-in users
- non-ajax-based WooCommerce carts
- widgets with different cache requirements than the rest of the page
Other caching solutions require you to exclude pages with such content from their caches. LiteSpeed Enterprise with ESI support allows you to cache all of it.
LSWS is a licensed product with a number of tiers to fit within any budget. The lowest tier, perfect for personal sites and developers, is the Free Starter, which includes the full-featured LSWS Enterprise software and is available for a single domain with a 2GB VPS. It’s 100% free, forever.
Site Owner tiers start at $10/month for 5 domains on an 8GB VPS, and Web Hosting tiers are available for agencies and hosting providers who need unlimited domains.
The whole point of this article is to help you to choose between OpenLiteSpeed and LiteSpeed Enterprise, and so we don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about other options. But we do want you to know that these options exist! So here is just a very brief overview of our CDN and ADC products. Please feel free to explore the links, to learn more about each.
Even if you know you want to use LiteSpeed, sometimes it is not feasible to switch to a new server, for whatever reason.
Our QUIC.cloud CDN is a reverse proxy content delivery network, and is the only CDN that interfaces with the LSCache plugin to intelligently cache all of the content on your WordPress site. Learn more about the benefits of QUIC.cloud.
LiteSpeed Web ADC
If you’re managing a clustered environment, consider LiteSpeed Web ADC.
Our ADC is an affordable, high-performance HTTP load balancer application. Even if your backend servers are not LiteSpeed servers, with LiteSpeed Web ADC on the front end, you can interface with the LSCache plugin across all WordPress sites in the cluster. Learn more about LiteSpeed Web ADC.
LiteSpeed’s web server editions share an impressive selection of cutting edge features in common, and you can explore them more fully on our website. However, as we’ve seen, there are some differences between OLS and LSWS, and each server caters to a different audience.
We hope you now have a better idea of which LiteSpeed server will work for you. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments, or drop by our Slack workspace for the opportunity to chat with other LiteSpeed enthusiasts.
This content was last verified and updated in August of 2022. If you find an inaccuracy, please let us know! In the meantime, see our documentation site for the most up-to-date information.