Output Compression

Module: mod_compress


DEPRECATED mod_compress has been subsumed by and replaced with mod_deflate since lighttpd 1.4.56

Output compression reduces the network load and can improve the overall
throughput of the webserver. All major http-clients support compression by
announcing it in the Accept-Encoding header. This is used to negotiate the
most suitable compression method. We support deflate, gzip and bzip2.

deflate (RFC1950, RFC1951) and gzip (RFC1952) depend on zlib while bzip2
depends on libbzip2. bzip2 is only supported by lynx and some other console

We currently limit to compression support to static files.


mod_compress can store compressed files on disk to optimize the compression
on a second request away. As soon as compress.cache-dir is set the files are

(You will need to create the cache directory if it doesn't already exist. The
web server will not do this for you. The directory will also need the proper
ownership. For Debian/Ubuntu the user and group ids should both be www-data.)

The names of the cache files are made of the filename, the compression method
and the etag associated to the file.

Cleaning the cache is left to the user. A cron job deleting files older than
10 days could do it: ::

  find /var/www/cache -type f -mtime +10 | xargs -r rm


The module limits the compression of files to files smaller than 128 MByte and
larger than 128 Byte.

The lower limit is set as small files tend to become larger by compressing due
to the compression headers, the upper limit is set to work sensibly with
memory and cpu-time. In fact, if you are on a low end server, you may get better performance if you disable mod_compress.


override default set of allowed encodings

e.g.: ::
    compress.allowed-encodings = ("bzip2", "gzip", "deflate")

name of the directory where compressed content will be cached

e.g.: ::
    compress.cache-dir = "/var/www/cache/" 

    # even better with virt-hosting
    $HTTP["host"] == "" {
      compress.cache-dir = "/var/www/cache/" 

Default: not set, compress the file for every request

mimetypes which might get compressed (since 1.4.24 a "simple" filetype also matches "extended" mimetypes, i.e. "text/plain" will compress "text/plain; charset=utf-8" too)

e.g.: ::
    compress.filetype           = ("text/plain", "text/html")

Keep in mind that compressed JavaScript and CSS files are broken in some
browsers. Not setting any filetypes will result in no files being compressed.
NOTE: You have to specify the full mime-type! If you also define a charset,
for example, you have to use "text/plain; charset=utf-8" instead of just "text/plain".
Default: not set

maximum size of the original file to be compressed kBytes.

This is meant to protect the server against DoSing as compressing large
(let's say 1Gbyte) takes a lot of time and would delay the whole operation
of the server.
There is a hard upper limit of 128Mbyte.
Default: unlimited (== hard-limit of 128MByte)

compress.max-loadavg (since 1.4.43)
max system loadavg before bypassing compression, e.g. "3.50"

Display compressed files

If you enable mod_compress, and you want to force clients to uncompress and display
compressed text files, create a condition to force the mimetype.
Example :

  $HTTP["url"] =~ "\.txt\.gz" {
    setenv.add-response-header = ( "Content-Encoding" => "gzip" )
    mimetype.assign = (".txt.gz" => "text/plain")

If you want to add headers for uncompress and display diff.gz files , add this
section in your conf : ::

  $HTTP["url"] =~ "\.diff\.gz" {
    setenv.add-response-header = ( "Content-Encoding" => "gzip" )
    mimetype.assign = ()

Compressing Dynamic Content


To compress dynamic content with PHP please enable ::

  zlib.output_compression = On

in the php.ini as PHP provides compression support by itself. See zlib.configuration in PHP Manual.

mod_compress of lighttpd 1.4 r1992 may not set correct Content-Encoding with php-fcgi.
A solution to that problem would be:

1.disable mod_compress when request a php file::

    $HTTP["url"] !~ "\.php$" {
        compress.filetype = ("text/plain", "text/html", "text/javascript", "text/css", "text/xml")

2.enable mod_setenv of your lighttpd::
    server.modules  += ( "mod_setenv" )

3.manually set Content-Encoding::
    $HTTP["url"] =~ "\.php$" {
      setenv.add-response-header  = ( "Content-Encoding" => "gzip")


To compress dynamic content with TurboGears please enable ::

  gzip_filter.on = True
  gzip_filter.mime_types = ["application/x-javascript", "text/javascript", "text/html", "text/css", "text/plain"]

in the config/app.cfg file in your TurboGears application. The above lines
should already be in the file. You just need to remove the comment symbol
in front of the lines to make them active.


To compress dynamic content with Django please enable the GZipMiddleware ::


in the file in your Django project.


To compress dynamic content with Perl/Catalyst, simply use
the Catalyst::Plugin::Compress::Gzip module available on CPAN ::

  use Catalyst qw(

in your main package ( Further configuration is not required.

Updated by gstrauss almost 4 years ago · 41 revisions