There is a new version of this tutorial available for Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf).

Installing Lighttpd With PHP5 And MySQL Support On Ubuntu 9.10

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
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Lighttpd is a secure, fast, standards-compliant web server designed for speed-critical environments. This tutorial shows how you can install Lighttpd on an Ubuntu 9.10 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.

I'm running all the steps in this tutorial with root privileges, so make sure you're logged in as root:

sudo su


2 Installing MySQL 5

First we install MySQL 5 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 root@localhost as well as, 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 an Ubuntu 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 Ubuntu, 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, Ubuntu 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

root@server1:~# ls -l /etc/lighttpd/conf-enabled
total 0
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 44 2009-11-13 17:36 10-fastcgi.conf -> /etc/lighttpd/conf-available/10-fastcgi.conf

Then we reload Lighttpd:

/etc/init.d/lighttpd force-reload

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