Lighttpd on FreeBSD : Hard Lock on Upload?

I’ve recently migrated my server(s) to a new VPS, one which offers BSD as a hosting option. I have long been a fan of FreeBSD on my servers, so this was a deal I couldn’t pass up. I did, however, run into one fairly difficult problem based on my combination of FreeBSD and lighttpd web server. I felt it was important to blog about it so that “teh internets” could share the wisdom and, hopefully, others could solve this same issue quickly.

Problem

The web server seemed to work great. It was handling traffic efficiently. Logs were going where they were expected. Rewrites were working. All the main things that I would expect to test were working just fine. And then I uploaded a file.

Hard lock. Panic. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. This was bad.

I was even able to reproduce it. Anytime I would upload a file to the server (in my case via WordPress upload form), the server would hard-lock and I’d have to manually bring it back up.

Solution

The solution was to manually define the server.network-backend value, instead of using the auto-detected value. Apparently, at the time of this writing, the auto-detection on FreeBSD is.. less than perfect. The solution that I found was to add the following line to my lighttpd.conf:

server.network-backend = "writev"

After restarting the lighttpd service things seemed to perform as expected.

Conclusion

FreeBSD is a great, stable hosting platform. Lighttpd is a lightweight, efficient web server. Together they provide me with a very efficient, stable web hosting environment. The simple detail is to define the right parameters for the platform in the configuration.

2 thoughts on “Lighttpd on FreeBSD : Hard Lock on Upload?

  1. Thanks for this post! I had the problem that my server would lock up whenever I uploaded an attachment in Roundcube webmail. Setting server.network-backend to “writev” fixed this.

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