When visiting websites, you’re relying on a web server that’s managed by software to present the webpages to you and everyone else visiting at that time. There are many “brands” of web servers that are used on the internet. Some web servers have been around since the mid-90s, like Apache, while others came after. These “other” web servers can potentially offer better capabilities, transforming a website’s user experience.
Of the web servers available today, a few well-known examples are Apache, Nginx, and LiteSpeed. Some users report that LiteSpeed is the best, and that it offers increased performance. Many website owners have migrated their servers from Apache to LiteSpeed due to LiteSpeed’s advantages, which we’ll cover later in this article.
If you want to migrate your web server to LiteSpeed, but aren’t sure how, there are a couple of ways to do it. In this article, we will focus on migrating from Apache to LiteSpeed on WHM.
Web Servers: What is WHM?
When using a web server, managing the website’s settings is typically done using administrative tools. A good example of an administrative tool is cPanel. While it works well with individual accounts, what happens when your business needs to expand? What happens if an error brings down your cPanel account?
WHM may be the way around this potential issue. Web Host Manager (WHM) is a web-based application that allows website owners to manage more than one cPanel account at a time. The application gives the server owner the ability to work on the “back-end” and apply server settings and limitations.
It may seem like using WHM is more complicated, but it isn’t. There are benefits to managing multiple websites this way:
- Higher Security – Using a different cPanel account for each website means more security and separation. If one is compromised, the rest are safe.
- Reselling – Having a WHM account lets you monetize your server. For example, create new accounts for your customers to purchase.
- Easier Management – With WHM, you can check on all activity from your websites in one place instead of having to log in separately.
What does WHM have to do with Apache and LiteSpeed? Typically, server owners can switch from one type of web server to another using WHM, but we’ll get more into that later.
Apache vs. LiteSpeed Web Servers
When you own a website for your business, or your blog, you want it to function the best it can without issues. Having a web server requires that you pay attention to server speed, the uptime, and the server’s ability to expand. If you’re using cPanel, then chances are you have used Apache and know its strengths and weaknesses.
A robust web server is crucial for maintaining a successful business, and choosing between Apache or LiteSpeed web servers ensures you're in good hands. While both options are reliable, LiteSpeed is often considered to be the superior choice when it comes to speed and stability.
What is an Apache Web Server?
Apache has been around since 1995, and it still runs a good portion of web servers on the internet. For context, about 33% of web servers still use Apache, and that’s largely due to its compatibility and customization options. Apache is open-source and free, which is courtesy of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). Apache is also popular because it works on all types of machines.
How Does an Apache Server Work?
Apache works well for small websites with low to mid-traffic requirements with minimal configuration. Apache can handle websites of all sizes and traffic levels depending on the server configuration and hardware resources.
The programming for Apache works on an HTTP server, and, like all web servers, it’s the middle ground for connecting the server to online browsers. If a visitor wants to access your website’s homepage, they will request access and Apache will send back the HTML, text, and image files of your site using HTTP protocol. Website owners can use WHM or cPanel to manage the Apache server settings.
Disadvantages of Apache Servers
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t use Apache servers for websites, but if you want more functions and better performance, then LiteSpeed is a good idea. Apache servers aren’t perfect, and they have their flaws, namely:
- Performance issues occur more often on sites that have heavy traffic.
- Its many customization options invite trouble, insecurities, and bugs.
- Apache requires consistent updates.
Part of Apache’s appeal is its customization and compatibility, but it’s a double-edged sword and may lead to unforeseen consequences. If you find yourself needing a good Apache replacement, LiteSpeed serves as an excellent option with improvements to address issues often seen when using Apache.
What is a LiteSpeed Web Server?
Technology usually improves by building on itself and that’s true with LiteSpeed. Although LiteSpeed has some programming differences, it was meant to replace Apache. In 2003, LiteSpeed Technologies created the LiteSpeed Web Server (LSWS), and it works as a direct substitute.
LiteSpeed servers can read all of Apache’s files, use the same commands, and utilize the same control panels. The main purpose of creating LiteSpeed was to improve Apache’s performance and scaling limitations. LiteSpeed currently powers about 12% of online servers today. If you want to use LiteSpeed to power your websites, it would be hard to disagree with you.
Advantages of LiteSpeed Servers?
Unlike Apache, LiteSpeed isn’t a free web service, but many consider the costs completely worth it. With LiteSpeed, website owners can improve their speed and stability without having to change settings or deal with unpleasant migration hiccups. LiteSpeed enables an easy and seamless transition from Apache to LiteSpeed in a few minutes and doesn’t change the .htaccess or configuration files.
If you plan to use WHM, then a free LiteSpeed plugin is available to manage the server. The service serves files much faster than Apache, and it uses less hardware resources while doing it. LiteSpeed also works in WHM, Plesk, and DirectAdmin consoles.
LiteSpeed can also use Apache’s security resources and provide the following:
- Built-in anti-DDoS features, such as connection throttling.
- Supports both QUIC and HTTP/3 reliably, so there are no slow starts or added handshakes.
In the business world, time is money, and in the internet world, search engine optimization (SEO) equals better site performance. By using LiteSpeed, website owners may be able to improve Google rankings by having a faster server experience.
How to Migrate from Apache to LiteSpeed
Now that we’ve given you several reasons to switch to LiteSpeed, let’s talk about making the switch with WHM. Since we know LiteSpeed works with WHM, migrating your Apache server to LiteSpeed should be a straightforward process.
Step 1: Purchase a LiteSpeed Server License
First, purchase a LiteSpeed server license from the cPanel store, and obtain root access to the server.
Step 2: Install LiteSpeed
Install LiteSpeed on your server. You can follow the official installation guide provided by LiteSpeed Technologies for specific details.
Step 3: Log in to WHM
Log in to WHM with your root credentials.
Step 4: Navigate to the LiteSpeed Web Server Plugin
Navigate to the LiteSpeed Web Server plugin in WHM. If you don't see it, check the plugin installation by searching for LiteSpeed or Plugins in the WHM search bar. If the LiteSpeed plugin appears in the search results, it has been correctly installed.
Step 5: Disable ruid2
You may see a warning about the ruid2 Apache module, which allows the software to run as different users but is not compatible with LiteSpeed.
To disable ruid2, select EasyApache in your WHM menu and click Customize in the Currently Installed Packages area.
Step 6: Review and Apply Changes
Select Apache Modules, find ruid2, and make sure it's off. Then, click the Review tab and the Provision button to apply the changes.
Step 7: Return to the LiteSpeed Web Server Plugin
Return to the LiteSpeed Web Server plugin in WHM, where you should now see an option to Switch to LiteSpeed, along with the corresponding icons (LiteSpeed has a lightning bolt icon, and Apache has a feather icon).
Step 8: Confirm Your Selection to Switch to LiteSpeed
Click the Switch to LiteSpeed icon, and WHM will begin loading, which may take a few minutes. The plugin will ask you to confirm your selection, and you'll once again click Switch to LiteSpeed. Once the process is complete, you've successfully migrated from Apache to LiteSpeed.
Now let's explore the benefits of LiteSpeed in more detail including the key advantages of LiteSpeed over Apache and why your business should consider making the switch.
LiteSpeed vs. Apache: Why Should Your Business Migrate to LiteSpeed?
If you’ve already managed an Apache server, LiteSpeed isn’t much different. We’ve already discussed the security features of LiteSpeed, but its improved performance capabilities are attractive to expanding businesses or those who have heavy traffic events. LiteSpeed’s programming architecture is based on event-driven capabilities.
Apache must create a new process every time there’s a new connection to the server. Over time, this may require more upgrades and time, and the server works harder to stabilize the connections. With LiteSpeed, your server can handle thousands of connections because it services all connections using less hardware. Page loading times are much improved. So, with reduced time, visitors can browse and quickly find what they need.
If you’re building a WordPress site, LiteSpeed’s built-in cache, LSCache, has plugins that work in tandem with WordPress. Because the cache is server-side, it produces webpages that are instantly ready for use. With LSCache, your site could have high page optimization, an improved user experience, and image optimization services.
It’s easy to see that LiteSpeed works well for online eCommerce sites like WooCommerce. If you’re looking to expand or have heavy traffic on your site, LiteSpeed may be a good fit for your needs.
Having a stable web server is a requirement when running a business, and it will reflect negatively if yours is prone to errors, slow loading times, downtime, and lackluster security. As a business, our team at Liquid Web understands where you’re coming from, and we have the experience to improve your server experience.
We specialize in managing dedicated, cloud, and clustered hosting environments for online applications. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of using Apache vs. LiteSpeed, let us advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of both and build you a customized solution.
We have 25 years of experience managing servers and can assist on server management. If you’re interested in migrating from Apache to LiteSpeed, contact our team today so we can help you focus on running your business. Try a LiteSpeed dedicated web server today.
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