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In my set-up, I run (as root) ln -s ~/share /var/www. By doing this, anyone on the local network will access the ~/share directory by pointing their browsers at http://hostname/share. I use apache, but I suspect that it's overkill (memory usage) for this simple use.

What alternative light-weight web servers can I use for this? Will it also be tinker-free (in Debian, there's no extra set-up for apache, beyond installation)?

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how little memory do you have? I suspect with the next to no use the server will receive, it doesn't really matter how light/heavy? – xenoterracide Jan 10 '11 at 1:48
I'm not even running short, but then again, I don't burn money just because I'm a billionaire. Also, I do think it matters, because it's likely that the bigger the httpd, the longer it takes to start. – Tshepang Jan 10 '11 at 4:50
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You will have a long list for this. At my workplace we have Cherokee instead of Apache. Cherokee has a nice web admin interface that makes configuration really easy.

I also heard about Nginx and lighttpd.

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Cherokee looks good. I also like how it displays the icons. – Tshepang Jan 9 '11 at 18:41

Lighthttpd is lightweight and easy to setup. nginx seems to be the more popular choice nowadays, tho.

It really isn't going to make much of a difference either way. I'd just stick with Apache, if you want to tweak it to use less memory try apache2-mpm-worker.

sudo aptitude install apache2-mpm-worker

Also, since you want all this stuff working 'out of the box', what version Debian are you running?

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I use Debian Squeeze. Also, I just install apache2 which installs whatever apache2-mpm-worker installs, and nothing more. – Tshepang Jan 10 '11 at 9:04
I'm not sure I understand your comment. Apache2 uses mpm_prefork by default which is single threaded and so uses more memory. – skrewler Jan 10 '11 at 11:11
In Debian, apache2 is a meta-package that depends on apache2-mpm-worker or apache2-mpm-prefork or apache2-mpm-event or apache2-mpm-itk, in that order. That is, running apt-get install apache2 will pull in apache2-mpm-worker, and if it's not available, will go on to the next one, and so on. – Tshepang Feb 4 '11 at 20:42

You could try thttpd. It's very lightweight, uses very few resources. It does have some slightly odd policies about file access as I recall.

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requires some tinkering --> didn't work out-of-the-box – Tshepang Jan 9 '11 at 18:04

nginx (pronounced Engine-X) is a very popular lightweight alternative for serving static (and other) content. It works out of the box on most distributions.

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requires some tinkering --> didn't work out-of-the-box – Tshepang Jan 9 '11 at 18:38

for temporary share, I have this shell script in my path:

#!/usr/bin/env bash


cd "$DIR"
python -c "import SimpleHTTPServer;SimpleHTTPServer.test()" $PORT

By default, shares the current directory on port 8000, syntax is scriptname [<port> [<dir>]]

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I can't help wondering, will the Python module SimpleHTTPServer allow concurrent file sharing? Last time I checked it didn't seem to. – phunehehe Jan 9 '11 at 16:46
@phunehehe if you want concurrency, try this stackoverflow question but if you go so far, keep apache, add mod_userdir, even like that it will be lighter. – shellholic Jan 9 '11 at 16:56

Debian packages that provide a web server provide the httpd package. Just about anything in there that isn't a version of Apache is a lightweight web server.

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I went through that list, and it was what-a-waste-of-time (some of the stuff is hardly maintained, some isn't tinker-free), that's why I asked for specific recommendations. – Tshepang Jan 9 '11 at 18:08

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