Lighttpd vs Apache HTTP Server

When I was seeing netcraft site to know the web server which is running on, I saw lighttpd. I was really surprised because I am expecting some popular Apache http server or enterprise webservers like sun webserver.

Then I just wanted to try it; so I have downloaded lighthttpd and built it manually on my solaris 10 box. Then I found that I did not have php in my machine. So, I have downloaded that from sun freeware site and installed it using pkgadd. Then I came to know that lighttpd only supports php built with fastcgi support. So, I have downloaded the source from the same sun freeware site and built it with fastcgi support. After that, I have edited 4-5 lines in lighttpd config file. Thats it.. wrote some helloworld php script and tested it. it is working fine!!
From my experience it is too fast. I did not benchmark the results, but it is faster than apache. One excellent feature in lighttpd is the ability to spawn fastcgi processes outside the server whenever necessary. If my server is getting heavy traffic, then I will spawn 2 or 3 fastcgi processes [these processes can be spawned on different machines also]. Server will automatically do the load balancing.

If my application is a 2 tier application and traffic is very high, then I will definitely go for lighttpd. There are also other modules like redirector, alias etc. The only drawback that I found in lighttpd is very less community support. Compared to apache which has many modules contributed by community, lighttpd has very less or no community base. I felt one more feature missing in lighttpd is connector to JavaEE application servers. In apache, mod_jk is there. If similar module is there for lighttpd, I will use this webserver for all my enterprise applications also.