apache

Getting OSC's Drupal Install Optimized on Slicehost

Initially, when thinking about finally taking the plunge and purchasing a slice or two from Slicehost, I thought, "wow, this is going to be incredibly fast and awesome, compared to my Host Gator account!"

Slicehost + Drupal

But, after setting everything up and putting Open Source Catholic live on the fresh slice, running free -m, and looking at the results, reality set in: 256 MB of RAM is not much to work with if you're running a Drupal site on a LAMP stack! Drupal usually consumes 15-40 MB of RAM per page view for a logged-in user, and if you have a site with 10 or so logged in users at any moment... well, bad things can happen.

For anonymous users, using Boost will help your site fly no matter the amount of RAM you have. But even so, a bunch of requests to uncached pages will cause your site to load a heck of a lot slower, and will fill up your RAM faster than a fire hose fills up an 8 oz. glass!

Using default Apache, MySQL and PHP settings, free -m showed a full 250 MB of RAM used, along with 400-500 swap space used (swap should be kept to a minimum—if you have a lot of swap usage, that means the hard drive is being used instead of RAM, and the hard drive is inherently many times slower!). After performing a few quick modifications to Apache and MySQL, I was able to get this number down to 140 MB RAM / 40-60 MB swap, on average.

I modified the server configuration in two different places: Apache's httpd.conf, and MySQL's my.cnf:

From OSC: Caching a Page; Saving a Server

I posted a story over on Open Source Catholic today concerning page caching and its importance for saving a server under a heavy load (read: the slashdot effect). You can save a lot of resources on your server by not only using built-in page caching on your favorite CMS, but also exploring further options (for Drupal, there's Boost (read our case study on Boost); for WordPress, there's WP Super Cache). From OSC:

A couple months ago, the Archdiocese of Saint Louis announced that a new Archbishop had been chosen (then-Archbishop-elect Robert J. Carlson). For the announcement, the Archdiocese streamed the press conference online, then posted pictures on the St. Louis Review website of the day's events (updated every hour or two).

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