Goodbye to LiteSpeed Web Server

In this blog post, I will share a product update that has been overdue for a couple of months now.

At Rovity, we have been using LiteSpeed Web Server Enterprise for more than one and a half years.

I haven’t seen any impressive page loading during these so many months. 

Maybe I fail to squeeze the LiteSpeed Web Server to get the maximum performance benefit it offers. Or I don’t even know how to fine-tune it, even though they say it comes with the best available settings or pre-fine-tuned.

However, during my debugging process, I saw that their server is indeed caching the requests. Yet, I couldn’t find that the server was optimized well and loading the WordPress websites faster as per their promises.

For me, LiteSpeed Web Server failed to prove that it is the best available server for my use case.

And there are a couple of other reasons I switched away from LiteSpeed Web Server.

LiteSpeed Web Server Is Costly

I used to pay around $60 per month as the license cost for my LiteSpeed Web Server. For me, the price is very much overpriced, just like their software is very much overhyped.

I don’t think I haven’t received any value in proportion to the cost I used to pay.

However, this cost is not the primary reason I switched away from LSWS. The reason is just one of many, and it is least important.

The Cache Wasn’t Working Well

WordPress is a PHP-based CMS. It generates pages dynamically based on user requests.

Back-end applications like PHP, MySQL, the webserver, and other application stacks generate the page when users request a page.

Usually, this would happen almost every time unless we cache it.

So popular WordPress cache plugins like LiteSpeed used to cache this already generated version file as an HTML file. HTML is a static file and does not generate dynamically with other programs’ help.

So when another user requests the same page, this compiling won’t be necessary. The web server can immediately deliver this HTML file that the system has already created. 

It’s called caching in simple terms. And based on my experience, I couldn’t get a consistent cache hit to all of my hosted websites.

However, I can achieve more than 90 percent of the cache hit rate with my current webserver stack.

That’s a very impressive ratio and an expected output. Seeing this result is satisfying because my clients did not have to put much effort and configure the web application crazily.

As a premium hosting service provider, I need to offer you this. I need a simple mechanism to give to my clients that works out of the box.

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Tier 1 Network Partners. < 30ms Global Latency.

Get access to our vibrant CDN for FREE and have a blazing fast website next to your customers; wherever they live.
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By the way, if your website is not hosted with Rovity, you can still experience the performance boost that I am referring to here.

Do you know how?

Check the speed by simply clicking on random blog posts on this website. And then you will see pages loading near instantly. I believe this is similar to how a web app loads.

And that’s what I am talking about, and that’s what I am offering to you.

If your domain is hosted with us, you will probably already be experiencing and enjoying this performance boost. Don’t hesitate to contact our Technical Support team if your domain isn’t configured yet.

My support team is a live chat away and will love to help you get started with all the excellent features we offer here.

Limitations on Page Optimization

LiteSpeed team recently launched their QUIC Cloud CDN and WordPress optimization online services.

Since then, they have used this service to generate Unique CSS, lazy loading images, and other performance optimization for a website required.

This service operates based on a tier pricing model coupled with a monthly fixed credit.

I often get my customers complaining that their image optimization feature is not working. Or they don’t see generating CCSS and UCSS for their newly created pages and posts.

When I checked their account, I happened to see that they were running out of the quota for the month.

And guess what? Either they need to wait for the quota to be reset for the next month or make the payment to get the service restarted for them.

Other premium caching plugins such as WP Rocket and FlyingPress do not have limitations. We can generate Critical CSS and Unique CSS without worrying about the quota rate limit.

The Core Web Vitals Score Optimization Is Unreal

Optimizing for the Core Web Vitals is the new norm on the Internet.

Google introduced/imposed Core Web Vitals. People were so worried about their Core Web Vitals and SEO. So website owners went crazy to get a higher score, and WordPress plugin developers heard that noise.

WordPress cache plugin developers have seen the massive demand for optimization requirements. Then they started developing their plugins to optimize the website for Core Web Vitals.

However, it may not be entirely possible to achieve the perfect Core Web Vitals score. There is no reliable method to reduce the weight of the website.

There are many things to consider to pass the Core Web Vitals test. For example, how many plugins are used, what themes are used, how many images are present, how many external calls are made.

So what these plugin developers did was fool the assessment algorithm.

They have lazy-loaded almost everything below the fold and only the above fold content extracted separately.

So basically, they trimmed your website with a tiny portion of it. Whenever you run a Google PageSpeed Insights test, these cache plugins will present this shortened version for the test to pass with a higher score, like 90 plus.

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And the poor website owner will be dancing because they saw a green score on their test.

But these cache plugins purposely generated this tiny version of your website exclusively for the test tools. And unfortunately, that version is not available for actual human visitors.

When humans visit your website, they will still get a limited optimized version. It won’t be the optimized version for the CWV assessment test.

Here, I am not blaming these plugin developers. They are into business, and they wanted to make their product stand out with a 100 percent better score on Google PageSpeed Insights.

So they made whatever they had to please you and then pulled your money for that service.

But the real human visitors who matter to you, your website, and your business were still struggling with the slow version of your website.

Optimized Theme Is the Best Solution for a Better Core Web Vitals Score

Most of the time, the WordPress theme you have installed will dictate how optimized your website is.

A poorly written bloated theme will surely give you a meager score on such metrics.

A well-optimized theme will undoubtedly give you a better score on the online test and load faster for real visitors—a win-win situation for everyone.

Popular WordPress theme developers are aware of this, and they have already started delivering it.

Even popular builder tools like Elementor Pro and Divi now optimize their core structure heavily for better performance.

For example, see this performance tab of the Divi theme options.

Divi Performance Options

It has almost all of the performance techniques built into its core. This eliminates the need for external plugins.

And WordPress also identified their lack of optimization when compared with their alternatives. They have also started optimizing the core for a better performance boost.

This is a strategic move to make almost every WordPress website as fast as their competitors like Ghost.

I’m excited to see how the WordPress Performance team takes our website into the future.

WordPress Now Natively Supports WebP Images

The WebP image format is relatively new and is smaller in size than the .png and .jpg formats.

So it was wise to use the WebP image instead of png or jpg images.

Even though this image format is relatively new, modern web browsers support this format to use it on our websites safely.

Can I Use WebP Image Format

I used the LiteSpeed Cache plugin to convert my already uploaded PNG files to WebP format.

But that’s not needed now since WordPress has had native support for WebP images since version 5.8. That means we can upload, edit and see the photos in the Media Library of the WordPress website.

WebP Image Format in WordPress Media Library

LiteSpeed Isn’t Bad for Me

I wrote some of my concerns about why I switched away from LiteSpeed. But that doesn’t mean that I hate it.

I appreciate their efforts and innovations in fields like HTTP3, and I will be missing those features. But those tiny features aren’t justifying what I have already not satisfied with LiteSpeed.

What Web Server Is Now We Use

I’m sure you will be curious to know what web server we are using now instead of LiteSpeed Web Server.

We are now using a mix of Apache and Nginx.

This is the stack we used before LSWS almost one and half years ago.

One and half years is a large time frame for any technology company. 

The DirectAdmin control panel evolved very much.

Nginx adopted many new technologies.

Apache improved a lot over the past year and a half.

Since we are using DirectAdmin, we have the raw power to our servers, and we can fine-tune and tweak Apache and Nginx as I wish.

At Rovity, we always wanted to give our customers the best in class hosting experience, which is one of the reasons we switched back to Nginx.

And unlike earlier, the performance is now very much visible, and you can experience it yourself.

Please watch this video to know how you can test the performance of your website and see the loading speed.

There are so many more reasons I wish to write here. But this blog post is already lengthy for an announcement-type blog.

I will wrap it up here, and I hope you find it informative and helpful.

Suppose you wish to get a powerful shared hosting cloud server to host your WordPress website. In that case, I suggest you consider Rovity.

I’m sure that you will love it. Even if you are currently using expensive Managed WordPress hosts or VPSs, you can instantly feel the difference.