Here at Peters Web HQ we recently made the change from using Apache web server technology to using 'Litespeed' (yes I know this service already sounds super quick!). As we are new to this web server technology we felt it was a great idea to include some information here as a handy guide for our clients. We will go on to give an outline of this service and also a few hints and tips in terms of setting up Litespeed cache for your own use., so without further ado..........
Litespeed is a type of web server technology, the essence of this type of application is to load information about the website from the server to the internet browser. Since its development in 2003 it has gone on to become one of the most popular web servers currently in use, this is down to the fact that it delivers high speed server performance using the same framework as Apache (the software is considered to be an Apache drop in replacement).
When comparing Apache and Litespeed a great analogy to use would be to think of a store (in this instance we will use the analogy of a clothing store). Imagine that when you visit a store you must be accompanied by a sales assistant at all times, from when you enter the store, whilst looking around and then having to use the same sales assistant to run through a sale at the end of the visit. Throughout this experience each shopper that enters the store must be assigned their own personal assistant, eventually all of the assistants available are tied up with their own store visitor. New visitors to the store then have to wait outside the store until an assistant becomes available to partner them - this scenario is comparable to the operation of Apache which operates in a 'product driven' fashion. In terms of Litespeed this acts in an 'event-driven' fashion, when a visitor comes into the store they are greeted at the door but then are left to browse the store on their own. If they wish to try something on the door to the changing room is left unlocked so that they can use the facility whenever they wish (in comparison to Apache this would be like an assistant having to unlock and lock the door depending on whether a customer needed to use the changing room). Finally if a visitor chooses to buy an item they run it through with a cashier at the end of the visit. In terms of this change in operations, Litespeed runs much quicker in terms of how it processes information. There are less resources tied up when using Litespeed which allows for a much quicker load time for a given website.
Aside from the operations of Litespeed that are stated above there are other ways in which Litespeed performs better than a system such as Apache. Firstly LiteSpeed interprets languages such as PHP and Python 50% faster than Apache further increase its speed of performance. Secondly Litespeed allows for the caching of dynamically created content - for example your WP site is loaded from a database, therefore its considered dynamic. Litespeed only has to query the database once in a given time frame (versus Apache that has to query it every time a user logs on). Litespeed caches the information that is retrieved from the database hence why it doesn't need to query the database with each user request.
So, how do you use Litespeed cache?
- Install the plugin for WP
- After installation you may wish to alter some of the parameters within the plugin (e.g HTTP/2 push I always toggle on along with the minification settings). I recommend that if you are new to these parameters to toggle one at a time and reload your page to get a feel for the effect of the toggle, do these for each option that you toggle before proceeding to the next option (or buy our management service!)
We have purposefully kept this article short to give you a flavour of what Litespeed has to offer, we were surprised by how much the performance of our websites improved when we began using Litespeed so felt compelled to write a little about it.
Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us here at Peters Web should you require any more guidance on this topic. You can contact us via a support ticket (open a ticket) to our hosting department.