LiteSpeed Technologies is dedicated to enabling a faster Internet and lowering infrastructure cost. LiteSpeed provides one-stop web-acceleration solutions, which advance cutting-edge technologies. The company developed the popular web server LiteSpeed Web Server and OpenLiteSpeed. LiteSpeed Web ADC, which is an affordable, high-performance HTTP load balancer application and LiteSpeed Cache Plugins are also the names, brought us by LiteSpeed Technologies. We talked with the LiteSpeed team about the projects of the company and its future plans.
LiteSpeed Technologies was founded in 2002. Could you please tell us about the history and important milestones of the company?
Of course! As you mentioned, LiteSpeed Technologies was founded in 2002, and LiteSpeed Web Server, our flagship product, was launched the following year. In 2007, we made LiteSpeed Web Server work as a drop-in replacement for Apache, made it compatible with cPanel, and introduced our Web ADC product. OpenLiteSpeed, our open source web server, was released in 2013. Two years later, our game-changing LSCache engine with ESI was developed, and we introduced HTTP/2 support in our servers.
In 2017 LiteSpeed Web Server became the first production-grade server to support QUIC. Just last year, we were again ahead of the curve with HTTP/3 support, and we open-sourced our HTTP/3 and QUIC library in an effort to accelerate more widespread adoption of the new technology. This year we are proud to present QUIC.cloud CDN, and expect to have it out of beta soon!
Can you tell us about your team? How many staff do you employ now? Describe a normal day at the office.
LiteSpeed is a company of about 25 people, 15 of whom work in our New Jersey headquarters. In our office, the workday begins at 8:30 am, and continues through to 5:30 pm, though some of us shift our hours a bit earlier or a bit later. All-day, our cubicles are abuzz with the sound of keyboards clacking. Sometimes small groups break off for discussion in the kitchen or one of our closed-door offices.
We have free-flowing coffee and tea all day, and an hour off for lunch. We often eat together in our large kitchen, and many of us fill the rest of the hour with ping-pong on our two tables. Of course, now we are all working from home, but we expect to be back in the office once the pandemic threat is over.
What makes LiteSpeed Web Server different from the competitors? High-performance, scalability, security, or something else?
All of the above! LiteSpeed Web Server (LSWS) is often compared directly to Apache, as it was designed to be a drop-in replacement. But under the hood, it actually has more in common with Nginx.
LSWS was built from the ground up to use an event-driven architecture, which is more efficient and better-performing than Apache’s process-based model. But unlike Nginx, LSWS was designed to understand Apache’s configuration files, mod_security rules, and mod_rewrite rules. And it supports .htaccess natively, in a much more efficient way. Because of this compatibility, LiteSpeed Web Server may be used with any control panel that was written for Apache, including cPanel, Plesk, and DirectAdmin.
There are open-source projects as well as commercial products. Could you please tell us about these projects?
Sure. We are strong believers in open source. All of our LSCache plugins are open source, as is our OpenLiteSpeed web server. Additionally, we have our version of Memcached and three server APIs (PHP, Ruby, and Python). Most recently, we open-sourced our QUIC/HTTP3 library, which contains the HTTP/3 code we use in our own products. It includes both client and server logic as well as fully functional example client and server programs.
What are the main differences between LiteSpeed Web Server and OpenLiteSpeed?
OpenLiteSpeed is an open-source, free solution. It contains all of the essential features found in LiteSpeed Enterprise and represents our commitment to support the Open Source community. Enterprise is entirely compatible with Apache rewrite and .htaccess rules and is compatible with any control panel that was written for Apache. LiteSpeed Enterprise is ideal for shared hosting environments, while OpenLiteSpeed is generally better suited to VPS users with non-e-commerce sites.
We know the COVID-19 pandemic increased the importance of web hosting technologies and security. How did the COVID-19 pandemic change the way that you do business?
Not much has changed for us, honestly. We are all working at home to do our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19, but otherwise, we are working the same as always!
What is the actual market share of LiteSpeed products? What is your most popular product?
According to W3Techs, as of June 10, 2020, LiteSpeed holds 6.8% of the market share for Web Servers in the top ten million sites. Our most popular product is LiteSpeed Web Server, but our new QUIC.cloud CDN service, currently in beta, is rapidly gaining popularity as well.
What information do you usually look for when measuring your business’s marketing impact?
We focus mainly on market share to measure the success of our word-of-mouth marketing strategy. Additionally, we pay close attention to website analytics and the activity of our social networks.
How widely is LSCache plugin adopted through the industry? Which platform is it used most? (WordPress, Drupal, Magento, etc.)
By far, our WordPress plugin is the most popular among our cache plugins. This is likely due to two things: the wild popularity of WordPress itself, and the extra optimization features that we have added to the plugin to supplement the cache features.
What is your opinion about the competition in WordPress caching solutions? Why should people use LSCache plugin? What makes it different?
LSCache has the distinct advantage of being a server-level cache. And so, unlike other WordPress cache plugins, the basic cache functions are actually carried out by the server. The plugin is provided as an easy way for a site admin to communicate with the cache engine, but it doesn’t actually execute any of the caching tasks, and the cache files themselves are not stored within the WordPress file structure.
Through its tight integration with the server, LiteSpeed Cache provides powerful cache management tools that are simply not possible for the other plugins to replicate. LSCache can remember things about the cache entries that other plugins cannot, and it can analyze dependencies. It can utilize tags to manage the smart purging of the cache, and it can use various cookies to serve multiple versions of cached content based on things like device type, geographic location, and currency.
Could you please tell us about LiteSpeed Web ADC? What is the importance of a high-performance HTTP load balancer application?
LiteSpeed Web ADC is more than an HTTP Load Balancer. It is capable of handling Layer 4 connections, which adds flexibility to handle most, if not all, network proxy needs. Web ADC supports HTTP/1.1, HTTP/2, HTTP/3, and QUIC in both the frontend and the backend. This enables administrators to optimize their network performance as well as provide backward compatibility. LiteSpeed Web ADC is a leader in production-ready web serving technologies.
Having such a capable load balancer application is important for several reasons. For one, larger sites that require significant hardware investments can now run the site across multiple servers, permitting site owners to scale up when they are ready, rather than having to deal with a large upfront cost. At the other end of the spectrum, administrators of many sites can use the Web ADC as a single access point for thousands of sites hosted across several servers, simplifying set up.
Both types of users benefit from having a proxy that is always at the forefront of technology. As developments are made, users can continue to employ their trusty old applications, secure in the knowledge that they are keeping up with the latest advancements.
What are the latest technologies that you’ve focused on? Tell us about your future plans for web hosting and the server market.
Our recent focus has been on developing the new QUIC.cloud service. QUIC.cloud is the final element in a three-pronged approach to WordPress optimization (the first two being LiteSpeed Web Server and the LSCache plugin). QUIC.cloud provides image optimization, critical CSS generation, and low-quality image placeholder generation services for WordPress sites. Perhaps the most exciting QUIC.cloud feature, though, is the CDN, which is the first and only CDN to have the ability to cache dynamic WordPress pages.
The CDN is currently in beta, but a full release is planned for next quarter.
Could you please share photos of the team and your workspace with us?
Here are a few photos of our team and our workspace: