Lighttpd on Cpanel VPS

Working on a new project for a client, I need to run Django/Satchmo. At my advice, the client purchased a VPS from LiquidWeb to run it on. The problem is that I want to run with Python 2.5 instead of 2.4, and I don’t want to use Apache 1.3. Unfortunately, that’s what comes stock with CPanel. So, I came up with a decent workaround that I haven’t seen documented anywhere else. What I did was to set up Lighhtpd on one of the other IPs provided with the account, and I simply use my custom-compiled Python with that.

Step by step instructions

Step 1 – Add a new user Login to your WHM instance and add a new user. Do not check the “IP” checkbox. We’ll be faking out CPanel on this one. Step 2 – Plan your IP usage 2) Using WHM, go to IP Functions/Show IP Address Usage. The first IP should be the IP you used to get to WHM. I’ll call that your “Base IP”. Pick any of the other unused IPs and note that for the next step. That’s where you’ll be binding Lighttpd. Step 3 – Update your DNS 3a) Using WHM, go to DNS Functions/Edit DNS Zone. Note that you should have (at least) two. One is the domain for WHM and the other is your new domain. On Liquidweb, these are “” and “”. 3b) Edit the DNS Zone for “”. Change “” from “CNAME” “” to “CNAME” “” (which you noted above). This will keep mail going to the IP for your WHM instance, which is where CPanel is expecting it to go. 3c) Continuing to edit the zone, change the “a” record for “” from the base IP to the IP you’ll be using for Lighttpd. 3d) Save. 3e) Watch out for the gotcha. You have to be using your own VPS as the private nameserver for your domain or this won’t work. Your VPS provider should have instructions for how to tell your domain registrar to register a private nameserver. It is very common, but not as widely understood as I might hope. If you can’t do this, then you’ll just assign IPs using whatever nameserver you are already using, and CPanel wouldn’t be managing your IPs anyway. Step 4 – Get root 4) You want to get yourself “sudo” rights as the new user you added in step 1. Do this by logging in as root (your WHM user) on the base IP. Then run “visudo”. Find the line that says “root ALL=(ALL) ALL” and add a new line after it that says “YOURUSERNAME ALL=(ALL) ALL”. Of course, substitute the user name from step 1 here. Step 5 – Build and install Lighttpd 5a) Login to the base IP as the username from step 1. 5b) Get the lighttpd tarball, and build.

$ wget
$ tar xzf lighttpd-1.4.13.tar.gz
$ cd lighttpd-1.4.13
$ ./configure --with-openssl && make
$ sudo make install

Step 6 – Disable Apache on the Lighttpd IP 6a) Right now, Apache is listening on all your IPs, you need to stop it being so greedy. Edit /etc/httpd/httpd.conf

$ sudo vi /etc/httpd/httpd.conf


Search for “Listen”, then add “Listen” after that line. Substitute your “Base IP” for the 6b) Restart Apache

$ sudo /etc/init.d/httpd restart


Step 7 – Bind Lighttpd to your chosen IP. 7) Edit /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf and substituting your lighttpd IP for, add: server.bind = "" Step 8 – Add an init script for Lighttpd 8a) I couldn’t use the init script that came with the Lighttpd distribution, since it was written for LSB, and my VPS has a Red-hat based init system so I wrote my own, feel free to use or improve it. Put something like this at /etc/init.d/lighttpd

#! /bin/sh
# Copyright (c) Bruce Kroeze brucek@solidsitesolutions
# All rights reserved.
# Provides: lighttpd
# Default-Start:  3 5
# Default-Stop:   0 1 2 6
# Description:    Start lighttpd

test -r $LIGHTTPD_CONFIG || exit 6

test -x $LIGHTTPD_BIN || exit 5

if [ -f /etc/init.d/functions ]; then
  . /etc/init.d/functions
elif [ -f /etc/rc.d/init.d/functions ]; then
  . /etc/rc.d/init.d/functions
  echo "Could not find functions file, your system may be broken"
  exit 1

case "$1" in
        echo -n "Starting lighttpd"
        echo -n "Shutting down lighttpd"
        killproc lighttpd
        $0 status >/dev/null &&  $0 restart
        $0 stop
        $0 start
        echo -n "Reload service LIGHTTPD"
        killproc -INT lighttpd
        $0 start
        touch $LIGHTTPD_PID_FILE
        echo -n "Checking for service LIGHTTPD: "
        status lighttpd
        test /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf -nt $LIGHTTPD_PID_FILE && echo reload
        echo "Usage: $0 {start|stop|status|try-restart|restart|force-reload|reload|probe}"
        exit 1

8b) That script requires a config file at /etc/sysconfig/lighttpd. Here’s mine:


8c) Install the init script with “sudo chkconfig –add lighhtpd” Done! Start testing.

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