Proxy to Lighttpd for Rails apps

Over the last few weeks I have been looking at what is required to deploy rails applications in an environment with a peak load of about 30 requests a second but with an average rate of 1 request per second.

I am running Apache and initially I was hesitant to try fastscgi due to the horror stories that I read about on the rails mailing list. I initially tried mod_ruby but it was not speedy and it consumed large chunks of memory. I assume this was due to to the ruby interpreter being added to each process.

Next I migrated to fastcgi which was not anywhere near as painful as I had heard. I followed the directions in Apache tuning for Rails and FastCGI and I had it up and running in no time. Very occasionally I am seeing fastcgi processes that are left alive after a web server reload. Apparently Lighttpd does not have this problem but I need to stick with Apache2 because of applications running on the server.

I want to try an approach that I read about on the rails mailing list that involves proxying requests to Lighttpd from Apache2 using configuration like the following. This would then allow me to run a separate Lighttpd on to handle the rail requests.

    ProxyPass /
    ProxyPassReverse /

I also noticed an easy way to host multiple rails applications on one hostname. Previously I had created a new hostname for each rails application ala,, etc.

    ProxyPass /napts/
    ProxyPassReverse /napts/

And then in my rails application I need to add the following to my environment.rb

ActionController::AbstractRequest.relative\_url\_root = /napts

Pretty neat! and it clears up many of my remaining issues with rails.