Though LightTPD (or “Lighty”) is the darling lightweight webserver of 2005, Jef Poskanzer’s thttpd has been serving static content securely and wickedly fast since 1995 or so.

O’Reilly’s recently posted a tutorial, “Lightweight Web Serving with thttpd”, which is worth a look if you run a high-traffic site or have underpowered server hardware. The article walks you through installing and configuring thttpd, setting up CGI and virtual host support, and using thttpd as a static content server behind a more full-featured server like Apache.

I keep a functional install of thttpd at the ready so that in the event of an Apache meltdown my server can at least tell visitors what’s wrong. Other sites, like, have more serious uses for it.

Jef is a long-time member of The Well, incidentally.

(I see in the comments at the end of the O’Reilly piece that the author was somehow unaware of LightTPD – perhaps there’ll be a followup comparison.)