Choosing a LiteSpeed Web Server License

When you first encounter LiteSpeed Web Server (LSWS), choosing the right license or even the right LSWS edition can be difficult. This wiki will explain the differences between the different editions and licenses (focusing more on licenses) and go over some ways to help you decide which license is right for you.

LiteSpeed Web Server Editions

There are three different editions of LiteSpeed Web Server. (See the feature comparison on the main site for an in-depth comparison.)

  • Standard Edition: Free. Meets the needs of small websites. Automatically reads and uses Apache configurations but is limited to 150 concurrent connections and up to 5 Apache vhosts.
  • OpenLiteSpeed: Open source and free. Powerful enough for any website, but does not automatically read and use Apache configurations. Easy to configure (understands Apache mod_rewrite syntax), but requires that you configure it on your own.
  • Enterprise Edition: The ultimate combination of power and usability. Even more power and features than OpenLiteSpeed. Faster than any other major web server. Requires almost no setup because it automatically reads and uses your existing Apache configurations (including .htaccess files). Compatible with cPanel, Plesk, DirectAdmin, Interworx, and almost all web applications.

LiteSpeed Web Server Enterprise Edition Licenses

LiteSpeed Web Server Enterprise Edition has 6 different licenses to choose from. These licenses reflect how much power LiteSpeed Web Server will be given. Generally, the licenses are divided by how many cores LSWS will have access to, though there are two special, more affordable licenses only for VPSs.

  • VPS Licenses: An affordable option for a smaller VPS. The VPS license has a limit of 500 concurrent connections and 2GB RAM. The VPS license has access to one core on your server.
  • Ultra VPS Licenses: A solution for VPS users who have between 2GB and 8GB of RAM. The Ultra VPS license has a limit of 800 concurrent connections. VPS users wanting to utilize more than 8GB of RAM will require a 1-CPU license. (The Ultra VPS license is only supported on LiteSpeed Web Server v4.2.2 and up.)
  • 1-CPU, 2-CPU, 4-CPU, and 8-CPU Licenses: The number of CPUs in the license title refers to the number of the server's cores that LSWS will be able to make use of. Thus a 1-CPU license will have access to one core, and a 2-CPU license will have access to two cores, etc. Note that you are not required to have LSWS make use of all your server's cores! (See below.) LSWS is fast and lightweight enough to run very, very well on only a fraction of a server's available cores.
  • LSCache: LiteSpeed Cache, our extremely powerful page caching feature, is bundled free with 2-CPU or greater licenses. For all other licenses, LSCache can be bought as a separate module.

Notes: VPS and Ultra VPS licenses will not install on a dedicated server or VPS over the licenses respective RAM limits. If the concurrent connection limit is surpassed, extra connections will be queued until there is room within the connection limit. Currently supported VPS platforms are KVM, HyperV, Virtuozzo, OpenVZ VPS, XEN, VMWare and UserModeLinux VPS.

Owned Licenses vs Leased Licenses

Owned License

  • One time payment
  • One year of free LiteSpeed Web Server upgrades

(If you would like to upgrade LiteSpeed Web Server to a newer version on your current license after this one year period, you can purchase another year of upgrades at a discounted price.)

Leased License

  • Smaller monthly/yearly payments
  • Free LiteSpeed Web Server upgrades at any time

Choosing the Right License

You do NOT need to buy a license to match the number of CPUs or cores on your physical server. The number of CPUs in the license title simply denotes the number of cores that the LSWS process will be allowed to utilize. LSWS is fast and lightweight enough to run very, very well on only a fraction of a server's available cores. In almost all cases, you are better off buying a license for only a fraction of your server's cores and leaving the other cores available for heavier processes like PHP and MySQL.

Note: Hyper-threads do NOT count towards your core total.

Some factors to consider

  • Have you tried a trial license?

We offer free 15 day trial licenses. These licenses are 2-CPU licenses. Using a trial license may be a good way to figure out if LSWS is right for you and what type of license you may need.

  • You can always upgrade or downgrade.

Often, finding exactly the right license for your usage is a matter of trial and error. Different sites put pressure on different parts of the server. The best approach may be to purchase a license, then try upgrading or downgrading to see if it affects your service noticeably. You can upgrade or downgrade at any time and you will only be charged (or credited) the difference in the license fee for the remainder of the billing period.

  • What other processes are running on the same server?

For example, if you have a 4 core server and run LSWS, PHP, and MySQL on the same server, you will probably be best served by a 1- or 2-CPU license. LSWS is light enough that it only needs access to 1 or 2 of this server's cores. PHP and MySQL (which are much more resource intensive than LSWS) will be unaffected by this limit and will have access to all 4 of the server's cores.

  • Is the content you serve mainly static (such as images, file downloads, etc.)?

Static content is served by LSWS directly, so assigning it more CPU cores may help with this. If your server is mainly using PHP or MySQL (for instance, if it is running web applications like WordPress, etc.), giving LSWS access to more cores will not help as LSWS is not the bottleneck in these cases.

  • Do you have a high volume of HTTPS traffic?

HTTPS requires more CPU power for encryption. You may find that giving LSWS access to more cores in this case will improve performance. Do not overestimate this effect though. Unless your server only serves static HTTPS, LSWS should still only have access to a fraction of the server's cores.

Indicators that you need to upgrade your license

A top command will reveal important information about how much resources different processes are taking on your server. (LSWS's process is called lshttpd.) A couple of these outputs are useful for determining if your installation of LSWS needs access to more cores:

  • %CPU - Generally LSWS's CPU usage is low. If LSWS's CPU usage starts climbing, and especially if it climbs while your overall load is low, it can indicate that LSWS is hitting a bottleneck and would benefit from access to more cores.
  • %wa - High I/O wait can also be an indicator that LSWS needs more worker processes (and thus access to more cores).

How do I check how many concurrent connections I have?

Some editions and licenses have a limit on the maximum number of concurrent connections you can serve. Our Standard Edition has a limit of 150 concurrent connections. The VPS license has a limit of 500, and Ultra VPS has a limit of 800.

If you've already installed LSWS, you can check the number of concurrent connections in the Real-Time Statistics report in the WebAdmin console.

Even without LSWS you can use the command

netstat -an | grep 80 | grep ESTA | wc -l 

to check your current number of concurrent connections. You may be surprised how few concurrent connections you have. (For example, a forum with 3,000 users online might use 300 concurrent connections or less, as those 3,000 users are not executing actions at the exact same time.)

litespeed_wiki/licenses/choosing-a-license.txt · Last modified: 2015/08/07 14:37 by Michael Alegre