Cherokee: Why it could own the Internet

I’ve typically been pretty conservative when choosing a web server. Typically, I’ll use Apache to run most sites, and possibly Lighttpd for static files. Experimenting never really has been something done with a web server once I’m past the initial setup.

I’m willing to change that, however, especially after seeing the Cherokee web server in action. At first glance it seems to just be another lightweight web server, and in the end, it is.

The Cherokee website has its own benchmarks against Apache, Lighttpd, and Nginx, with Cherokee coming out on top in terms of the most requests. They are fairly comprehensive, though if you’re not one to trust benchmarks these may not seem any different from those conducted by others.

The one sole feature that could really give Cherokee a solid place in the server market is its method of administration. Most free software server solutions typically offer plenty of organized configuration files to tune and edit at your leisure. If you really have the desire to do so, Cherokee won’t prevent you from directly editing its own configuration. However, there is something much better:

The entire server can be managed using cherokee-admin, the web interface you see above. In fact, it’s highly recommended to manage the server using this administration interface. Your first thoughts may include security issues of a web-managed server, but many of those are dissolved quickly: cherokee-admin must be run in a console, and then a one-time-use password is generated for the administration interface. When you are done, stop cherokee-admin, and everything is safely closed away once more.

The administration interface alone may be responsible for converting many websites to Cherokee. Any entry barrier that may have existed from editing config files might nearly disappear: right after installation, all you must do is fire up cherokee-admin and begin configuring your new web server.

There are a lot of other cool gems included as well. A panic script can be invoked should Cherokee crash, alerting the administrator immediately. It natively supports fcgi and FastCGI, and includes a default rule to help set up PHP in a few moments. Even things such as switching users, accomplished by compiling suexec in Apache, are only a text entry away in Cherokee.

Version 0.99.9 was recently released, so 1.0 can’t be too far around the corner. If you’re looking to find a server that doesn’t need to be manually configured, or just want something speedy, Cherokee is definitely the path to take.

Avatar for jacob Jacob Peddicord -

Jacob is a web developer, student, and programmer from Ohio. He is a staff member at the Ubuntu Forums and is most likely a fanboy of the distribution. He loves to write in code and words, play video games, and rant about topics most would have abandoned long ago. Jacob uses GNOME and is never seen running stable software, much to the demise of his laptop.

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Discussion: Cherokee: Why it could own the Internet

  1. jaux (guest)

    # Posted on 07 April 2009 at 04:47 AM

    I'm using cherokee as my web server for awhile, it's lightweight, fast and reliable enough for me, I really like it.

    However, it's still in active development and every time I upgrade my server to newer version, I got some configuration file compatibility issues needed to be fixed, so I feel it still isn't the time for massive adoption of this web server.

  2. NDRS (guest)

    # Posted on 07 April 2009 at 07:11 PM

    I use this webserver for private purposes but also for other larger projects. I have yet to be dissapointed by this webserver. It has always delivered good performance.

  3. Alvaro Lopez Ortega (guest)

    # Posted on 07 April 2009 at 08:41 PM

    Great post; constructive criticism is always desirable!

    You haven't been the first person who complained about the configuration file format changes. So, due to popular demand, the upcoming versions of Cherokee (>= 0.99.11) will handle those format updates gracefully.

    Thanks for your feedback Jacob. :-)

  4. Pierre (guest)

    # Posted on 21 July 2009 at 08:14 AM

    TrustLeap G-WAN is much faster than Cherokee, and:

    15x faster than Apache 3.5x faster than Rock (webspec's 2008/2009 winner) 4x faster than Microsoft IIS 7.0 and ASP.NET. 400x faster than PHP, 200x faster than Python

    With G-WAN, companies can use much less computers (and electricity) to achieve the same works.

    The beauty of performance tests (in a world of uncertainties) is that they define instant tangible value. See by yourself:

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