There is a new version of this tutorial available for Debian 8 (Jessie).

Installing Lighttpd With PHP5 And MySQL Support On Debian Lenny

Lighttpd is a secure, fast, standards-compliant web server designed for speed-critical environments. This tutorial shows how you can install Lighttpd on a Debian Lenny server with PHP5 support (through FastCGI) and MySQL support.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

In this tutorial I use the hostname with the IP address These settings might differ for you, so you have to replace them where appropriate.


2 Installing MySQL 5.0

First we install MySQL 5.0 like this:

aptitude install mysql-server mysql-client

You will be asked to provide a password for the MySQL root user - this password is valid for the user [email protected] as well as [email protected], so we don't have to specify a MySQL root password manually later on:

New password for the MySQL "root" user: <-- yourrootsqlpassword
Repeat password for the MySQL "root" user: <-- yourrootsqlpassword


3 Installing Lighttpd

Lighttpd is available as a Debian package, therefore we can install it like this:

aptitude install lighttpd

Now direct your browser to, and you should see the Lighttpd placeholder page:

Lighttpd's default document root is /var/www on Debian, and the configuration file is /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf. Additional configurations are stored in files in the /etc/lighttpd/conf-available directory - these configurations can be enabled with the lighttpd-enable-mod command which creates a symlink from the /etc/lighttpd/conf-enabled directory to the appropriate configuration file in /etc/lighttpd/conf-available. You can disable configurations with the lighttpd-disable-mod command.


4 Installing PHP5

We can make PHP5 work in Lighttpd through FastCGI. Fortunately, Debian provides a FastCGI-enabled PHP5 package which we install like this:

aptitude install php5-cgi


5 Configuring Lighttpd And PHP5

To enable PHP5 in Lighttpd, we must modify /etc/php5/cgi/php.ini and add the line cgi.fix_pathinfo = 1 right at the end of the file:

vi /etc/php5/cgi/php.ini

cgi.fix_pathinfo = 1

To enable the fastcgi configuration (which is stored in /etc/lighttpd/conf-available/10-fastcgi.conf), run the following command:

lighttpd-enable-mod fastcgi

This creates a symlink /etc/lighttpd/conf-enabled/10-fastcgi.conf which points to /etc/lighttpd/conf-available/10-fastcgi.conf:

ls -l /etc/lighttpd/conf-enabled

server1:/usr/bin# ls -l /etc/lighttpd/conf-enabled
total 0
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 44 2009-03-19 15:16 10-fastcgi.conf -> /etc/lighttpd/conf-available/10-fastcgi.conf

Then we reload Lighttpd:

/etc/init.d/lighttpd force-reload

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From: Anonymous

If use

Debian Squeeze

 this command = lighttpd-enable-mod fastcgi

in Squeeze =  lighttpd-enable-mod fastcgi fastcgi-php

From: Anonymous

Confirmed for Debian Squeeze. It only works with 'fastcgi-php'.