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InstallFromSource

Get the source

You can either use a release from www.lighttpd.net/download or compile from git:
  • Using a release/snapshot:
    Extract the tar ball and enter the new directory:
    tar -xf lighttpd-1.4.XXX.tar.gz
    cd lighttpd-1.4.XXX
    
  • git (you will need autoconf and automake for this):
    First time:
    git clone https://git.lighttpd.net/lighttpd/lighttpd1.4.git
    cd lighttpd1.4
    ./autogen.sh
    

    Next time in lighttpd1.4/:
    git pull
    ./autogen.sh
    
  • svn: instead of git you can also use svn, the initial checkout is created with:
    svn checkout https://github.com/lighttpd/lighttpd1.4/trunk lighttpd1.4
    

    And updates will be fetched with the usual:
    svn update
    

Also see DevelGit and Devel.

Install dependencies

Depending on which features you want, you need other libraries; you will want at least libpcre and zlib, for more see OptionalLibraries.
On most systems you need to install the development version of the library packages, the library itself won't be enough!

On debian you can also use apt-get to install all build dependencies:

apt-get build-dep lighttpd

Configure

Now you have to use the ./configure script - there is a help option for it:

./configure --help

Don't forget to set the --prefix if you don't want to install in /usr/local.

Build

If the configure step was successful, you can now build it:

make

Install

After a successful build you may install the package. This is not needed, but you will have to give lighttpd the correct location of the modules if you don't (see ./lighttpd -h).
As you hopefully didn't use root to build the package, you probably have now to get root access:

su make install

signals

lighttpd responds to the following signals:

  • SIGTERM - shut down immediately (terminate existing connections, then exit)
  • SIGINT - shut down gracefully (serve existing connections, then exit)
  • SIGUSR1 - reload gracefully (serve existing connections, then reload config)
  • SIGHUP - re-open log files (NOTE: does not reload lighttpd configuration)

(Note: SIGUSR1 behavior is available in lighttpd 1.4.46 and later)

graceful restart

https://blog.lighttpd.net/articles/2005/09/02/graceful-restart/
The current recommended way to reload lighttpd config is to gracefully stop and then to restart lighttpd.

With lighttpd 1.4.46 and later, SIGUSR1 is the recommended method to gracefully handle configuration reloads and log rotation, though a graceful stop and then restart of lighttpd is still required for lighttpd configurations which chroot.

initscripts

Depending on the operating system and distribution brand, there are many ways to set up lighttpd to run as a daemon when the system starts up, and to send signals to lighttpd for start/stop/restart/etc. Rather than attempting to maintain scripts for an unknown number of distros, here are links to a few, which can be used as examples.

sample systemd unit script lighttpd.service

Supervise

As an alternative to init scripts you can setup a "supervised" lighttpd with daemontools or runit, see LighttpdUnderSupervise