Question

Openlitespeed vs Nginx benchmark (WordPress)

Posted December 22, 2021 227 views
NginxWordPress

From GTMetrix tests I found on Reddit, Nginx with FastCGI cache is loading much faster than any website using Litespeed. And yet, there are many comments on forums claiming that OLS is much faster than Nginx and saying Nginx cannot scale high-traffic very well.

As my understanding, Nginx is used by nearly every high-traffic WP website like CNN, New York Times, and Buzzfeed. If Nginx is so bad at scaling high-traffic, why are these companies using it?

There are some discussions (not sure I should post them here) that strongly criticized Litespeed, saying that their company blog and several of their affiliate bloggers are purposefully sharing graphics of a speed test where FastCGI cache was disabled in the Nginx server, causing the results to be skewed in favor of OLS… if that is true, it makes more sense why GTMetrix shows Nginx servers being faster.

Even for non-WordPress, I found that aaPanel (control panel) speed tests concluded Nginx was faster than OLS too.

I mean nobody cares about a few milliseconds difference but Litespeed is saying things like Nginx is 15x slower than Litespeed and very dramatic statements like that…

Is this some desperate marketing campaign with smoke-and-mirrors?

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2 answers

Hello,

I personally believe that it is a matter of personal preference and also could be website-specific.

The best thing to do is to test this with your own website and see how it performs. What you could do is create two Droplets, one with Nginx and PHP FPM and another one with Open Light Speed. After that, you could run some load tests and see how your website performs.

You could take a look at this tutorial here on how to start with load testing:

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/an-introduction-to-load-testing

Once you have the results, you could make an informed decision on which solution is better for your specific use case.

Hope that this helps.
Best,
Bobby

by Brian Boucheron
In this article, we'll talk about the server side of web performance optimization: how fast can your server respond to your user's requests? We'll review the general landscape of load testing, step through a plan to find your server's maximum practical response rate, and discuss some options for open source load testing software.
  • As a side note, I am personally a fan of Nginx and I use it for all of my projects. I also have good knowledge of how to manage and optimize Nginx.

    However, this should not influence your decision and it is best to use the technology that best fits your needs for the specific use-case and you feel comfortable with.

In response to OP comment:

From GTMetrix tests I found on Reddit, Nginx with FastCGI cache is loading much faster than any website using Litespeed. And yet, there are many comments on forums claiming that OLS is much faster than Nginx and saying Nginx cannot scale high-traffic very well.

There are some discussions (not sure I should post them here) that strongly criticized Litespeed, saying that their company blog and several of their affiliate bloggers are purposefully sharing graphics of a speed test where FastCGI cache was disabled in the Nginx server, causing the results to be skewed in favor of OLS… if that is true, it makes more sense why GTMetrix shows Nginx servers being faster.

In the past few years, Litespeed has partnered with various bloggers in a cross-promotion scheme. Some of these bloggers and web hosts (who also post on sites like Reddit and Facebook) earn money from Litespeed for every premium license they can sell to customers. Some of them are “featured” on Litespeed’s social media and blog, so there is sort of this back-and-forth promotional exchange going on.

https://wordpress.org/support/topic/litespeed-or-apache-for-wordpress/

Your webhost is trying to bully you into paying for Litespeed because they keep up to 1/3 of your monthly Litespeed payment as commission. (This is why hosting companies so heavily promote Litespeed and CloudLinux, another product where a percentage of your monthly payment is “kicked back” as commission.)

The ensuing dishonest hype is therefore nothing new, this has happened ever since affiliate links became a part of the internet.

“This product is amazing, I use it every day, click here to buy now!” (and no mention that they get $$$ from the sale). This is actually illegal in the United States – not disclosing that you have a financial incentive to promote a product.

The criticism of Litespeed Tech you are talking about is not blaming these bloggers or affiliates however… it’s blaming their actual company for publishing “benchmarks” showing Openlitespeed performing MUCH faster than Apache/Nginx. They published such benchmarks on a third-party website too, and shared them on social media, where they failed to mention they were the owners of that website (which looked like a neutral website). And to make matters worse, they disabled caching on the Nginx server in their tests while enabling caching on the Litespeed servers.

So, Reddit users predictably called them out pretty strongly:

https://www.reddit.com/r/selfhosted/comments/f06vse/litespeed_servers_seem_like_a_marketing_scam_are/

And, yes, nearly every high traffic website (not just WordPress sites) are using Nginx these days, often as a reverse proxy or load-balancing, if not just a basic origin web server.