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Lightweight Web Serving with thttpd

Post date: December 1, 2005, 00:12 Category: Views: 7722 Comments
Tutorial quote: The Apache HTTP Server is the most popular web server due to its functionality, stability, and maturity. However, this does not make it suitable for all uses: slow machines and embedded systems may have serious problems running it because of its size. Here is where lightweight HTTP servers come into play, as their low-memory footprints deliver decent results without having to swap data back to disk.

Similarly, these small HTTP servers are suitable to serve static content efficiently so as to allow Apache, mod_perl, mod_python, or even servlet containers to handle dynamic requests without tying up memory-hungry children to serve small images. In other words, these applications can serve as a complement to your existing full-featured web server, not as a replacement.

One of these servers is thttpd, a simple, small, portable, fast, and secure HTTP server. Among its features are support for the HTTP/1.1 standard, CGIs, virtual hosts, and IPv6. This article shows how to install and configure this software under NetBSD. I chose NetBSD not only because it is my preferred OS, but also because it has the ability to run on the most disparate old hardware, where thttpd shows its strengths. I had a Macintosh Performa 630 (a 68LC040 chip at 33MHz) running NetBSD/mac68k 2.0 with thttpd on top of it, serving pages to my home network nicely.

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