lighttpd + PHP-FPM on Debian Squeeze

I’m not a super-BOFH but I do like to host my own blog (not this on, though) and play with stuff.

In the past I used to use Apache, but I never liked the VirtualHosts configuration, specially when it gets big. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying its not right, its just not right for me. So I switched to lighttpd and I loved the configuration. It also has good performance.

This lighttpd server hosts a couple of WordPress blogs among other stuff and I noticed some slowness from time to time. Since its not critical to me I didn’t bother much. But then, reading some of my RSS feeds I heard about PHP-FPM. Never heard of it before.

It will run as a system daemon and take care of spawning PHP processes for handling requests when necessary, among other things. Its performance should be better than old FastCGI, so I decided to give it a try.

There is no PHP-FPM package on Debian Squeeze, but fortunately we can use the Dotdeb respository which does have one. Follow the instructions here and install PHP-FPM:

apt-get install php5-fpm

You may also want to upgrade all your PHP related packages, Dotdeb
contains good and updated packages.

Now we need to configure lighttpd to use PHP-FPM. Lets create a
configuration file for that in /etc/lighttpd/conf-available with the
following content:


I suggest you name the file 10-fastcgi-fpm.conf. Now lets disable old FastCGI and enable our new module:

lighttpd-disable-mod fastcgi
lighttpd-disable-mod fastcgi-php
lighttpd-enable-mod fastcgi-fpm

And last, restart the server:

/etc/init.d/lighttpd force-reload

I didn’t benchmark it thoroughly, but my rtGUI page used to take up to 10 seconds to load and now it takes less than a second. Not bad!