OpenLiteSpeed vs Nginx

One of the first – and most crucial – decisions that a website owner will need to make is what type of web server to use. The decision to host your website on a Linux system is a no brainer, but when it comes to web servers, there are a few choices and they all come with their own pros and cons. Among the most popular on Linux is NGINX and OpenLiteSpeed, both well known for their speed and ability to host concurrent connections.

In this tutorial, we will compare NGINX and OpenLiteSpeed web servers across a few key areas. The right choice will largely come down to a site’s needs and the administrator’s preference. Our comparison of these two web servers will help you decide on which software is the better choice for hosting your website.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • OpenLiteSpeed vs NGINX – which is right for you?
OpenLiteSpeed vs Nginx
OpenLiteSpeed vs Nginx
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Any Linux system or supported host
Software NGINX and OpenLiteSpeed web servers
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

OpenLiteSpeed vs Nginx

OpenLiteSpeed and NGINX are two of the most popular web servers today, with Apache being the other big name that is tossed around when it comes to Linux web servers. Everyone knows that Apache is not built for speed, but for features. Both OpenLiteSpeed and NGINX are built for speed, and both approach it in different ways. A website administrator will have a very different experience, depending on which server they decide to pick. Check out some of the key areas below for some advice on which one is right for your website.

Speed Comparison

Speed is always the most important factor when comparing web server software, or pretty much anything tech related. But a speed comparison between OpenLiteSpeed and NGINX is not that easy. Both servers can be set up and configured in many different ways. Rather than analyzing every possible scenario, we will reduce it down to the two most likely situations:

1. An expert website administrator will find NGINX to be faster, as they can configure Varnish for caching and REDIS or Memcache for memory caching, and optimize their configuration files to get the best possible performance. Top websites use NGINX because they can hire dev ops with enough experience to configure some of the fastest websites in the world. But is this realistic for the average user? No, not really.

2. A less experienced website administrator will find OpenLiteSpeed to be faster, as they can spend only a few minutes configuring it and already have a faster site than they would with NGINX out of the box. OpenLiteSpeed is just a lot easier to use, and although you may not be able to squeeze every possible ounce of performance out of your hardware the way you can with NGINX, the vast majority of users are not experienced enough to benefit from NGINX.

Winner: NGINX, but it depends on your experience level


The LiteSpeed Cache WordPress plugin only works with OpenLiteSpeed and LiteSpeed web servers, and is one of the best caching plugins available. It is totally free and very easy to use. NGINX can also utilize micro caching but administrators must manually configure these features and tinker to get the settings exactly as they need. For the average web owner, this is not very realistic.

Winner: NGINX and OpenLiteSpeed, depending on experience level

Apache Compatibility

If your website has been configured for Apache, such as with .htaccess files, then OpenLiteSpeed is going to make your life a lot easier than switching to NGINX. OpenLiteSpeed is completely compatible with Apache’s rewrite rules, and LiteSpeed (the enterprise version) has additional compatibility so that you can simply drop it in place of Apache and be up and running. On the other hand, NGINX offers no cross compatibility and all of your rules would need to be completely rewritten.

Winner: OpenLiteSpeed

Ease of Use

This one is not even a competition. OpenLiteSpeed offers a web based admin panel, where users can tick boxes and enter values into text fields to configure their settings. Contrast this to NGINX, which uses rigid configuration files and does not hold your hand along the way. For experienced web admins, this is no problem, and they may even prefer the NGINX route.

As mentioned earlier, OpenLiteSpeed also offers a very simple caching solution, in the form of a WordPress plugin. NGINX does not offer anything like this, and the caching must be configured on Linux itself. Again, not a problem for very experienced users. But the average joe can get their site up and running, while still having a server just as efficient, by opting for OpenLiteSpeed.

Winner: OpenLiteSpeed

Closing Thoughts

In this tutorial, we compared NGINX to OpenLiteSpeed web server across a few key areas on a Linux system. To sum it up in a single paragraph, OpenLiteSpeed is much better for everyday users, or anyone with a website that is not going to average thousands of clicks per minute. NGINX is capable of better performance, but requires much more advanced configuration, which is not realistic for non experts or administrators that own more than a few websites.