Nowadays, speed is imperative where it comes to the Web. Users expect websites to load fast and interact even quicker. As businesses grow increasingly dependent on e-commerce and digital marketing to survive and thrive, the need to attract and retain prospective customers is only growing stronger.
While new solutions are popping up at an ever-increasing rate and the Web continues to evolve, many companies and individuals still rely on content management systems, or CMS, like those trusty favorites, WordPress and WooCommerce, to power their online platforms. That kind of dynamic website is exceptionally dependent on the server-side, meaning that much of their speed comes down to front-end code and the server stack itself (learn more about how to speed up your website).
Recently, a relative newcomer to server software called LiteSpeed Web Server has been taking the Web by storm due to its excellent performance and powerful caching plugin. This article will explain what it is, how it stacks up against competitors, and how it can help your website become substantially faster.
What is LiteSpeed Web Server?
LiteSpeed Web Server is the (currently) fourth most popular web server software in the world. Unlike the two most popular web server software solutions globally, Apache and NGINX, which are open source, LiteSpeed was developed in 2003 by a private company, LiteSpeed Technologies, which continues to maintain and improve on it to this day. Built with speed in mind, LiteSpeed Web Server was an early adopter of the HTTP/3 standard and the QUIC network protocol developed by Google.
Compared with Apache, a more traditional server software option, LiteSpeed is significantly faster and runs its native server API (LSAPI) for PHP, which means web applications written in PHP, such as WordPress, run up to 83% faster. However, unlike its other competitor NGINX, LiteSpeed is developed as a drop-in replacement for Apache, meaning that moving web applications from Apache to LiteSpeed is significantly easier. In contrast, NGINX requires a lot of custom rewriting for a platform like WordPress, WooCommerce, Laravel, or Drupal to work.
What are the advantages?
There are a few reasons why LiteSpeed has grown its market share exponentially in the last few years:
- Easy Apache replacement: as mentioned, LiteSpeed Web Server easily replaces the often-used but ancient Apache server software, meaning you can speed up a website considerably without having to mess with configuration files or a whole new logic;
- Ultimate WordPress speed: LiteSpeed Web Server was developed with WordPress in mind, making it ideal to use alongside the CMS that over 80% of the Web uses. Any website that uses WordPress immediately benefits from switching from Apache to LiteSpeed, even without caching;
- LiteSpeed Cache: LiteSpeed Technologies has its own plugin for various CMS platforms for caching dynamic pages as static HTML pages, which even works with E-commerce pages thanks to edge side includes (ESI), which essentially create a mix of dynamic and static elements on the page. This radically enhances the already great speed LiteSpeed’s PHP LSAPI provides, making it a must-use for the vast majority of websites;
- HTTP/3 and QUIC: As mentioned, LiteSpeed was one of the very first adopters of the future-proof HTTP/3 standard, as well as QUIC, a super-fast protocol developed by Google (that actually formed part of the basis for HTTP/3 as well). This makes it way ahead of the curve where it comes to connection protocol standards, compared to its competitors;
- Integrated Content Delivery System: LiteSpeed Technologies also has its own content delivery system (CDN) built to use alongside LiteSpeed: QUIC.cloud (no relation to the aforementioned protocol), which allows you to serve static content, such as images, to users everywhere in the world in an instant.
LiteSpeed Web Server pricing
As the name implies, LiteSpeed Web Server is server software, meaning it’s not as simple as just buying a product and suddenly having a faster website. It’s a license for web hosting services, meaning that you need to find a good, reliable web host that has adopted LiteSpeed Web Server, which is still not very common.
There is an open-source (free) alternative called OpenLiteSpeed, but that too requires you to set up a web server of your own. Also far more limited than the enterprise solution, not including, for instance, ESI to cache e-commerce and other dynamic pages. So, you still need to pay for hosting and set it up, and you still end up with an inferior product.
How to get a server with LiteSpeed
If you’re interested in trying out the neck-breaking speed that is LiteSpeed Web Server, good news, you’re in the right place! Neoxea is a Web Hosting company with various Web Hosting plans, including Managed WordPress plans and WooCommerce plans for E-commerce websites, all very affordable and tailor-made for people starting their Web journey as experienced developers. Full-fledged companies need great hosting at great prices—and, of course, with all plans running on LiteSpeed Web Server, so you can get not only excellent support and top-tier hosting and upkeep but also the very best performance. Get in touch and give LiteSpeed a go!