I have finally upgraded to my own VPS. Dreamhost was a great host, but I prefer being able to setup and break everything all by myself. Also, having dedicated resources makes things like photo galleries work much better. As such, and all of its related sites are now running on a 256 slice from Slicehost. I’m running Ubuntu Hardy with Lighttpd as the web server.

When I was setting up the server I initially used Apache as it is what I am most familiar with and it is pretty easy to get up and running. But when I was trying to use my site, I realized that Apache is far too heavy with its memory usage. Even caching various things there was still not enough memory available for any kind of load. I had used Lighttpd once at work for a Rails app and had heard that it was significantly lighter than Apache. As such, I decided to try getting it up and working. That was easier said than done…

Problem: PHP wouldn’t work
Solution: Install php5-cgi and then activate the fcgi module (not the other way around)

Problem: Multiple virtual hosts by hostname?

Problem: No .htaccess support (for mod_rewrite, mod_deflate)
Solution: No ideal solution for this one really, but you can setup mod_rewrite/mod_deflate rules in the config for each vhost. I prefer the .htaccess method, but this works for now. For most popular apps you should be able to find lighttpd rules to replace the .htaccess rewrite rules.

On the off-chance, you want to signup for Slicehost and wouldn’t mind using me as a referral, here is my affiliate link: