Apache slow? Boost your web server performance in 3 steps
Is your website fast enough? Majority visitors abandon sites that take over 3 seconds to load. Slow websites lead to business loss, and that’s when server owners get panicky.
Among the various web servers available, Apache still holds a major market share. In our server administration services, we often get requests from server owners who complain about Apache slowness.
Fixing Apache slow issues cannot be done with band-aid solutions. It is a comprehensive process that starts with examining the server specifications, to fine-tuning the web applications.
Is your Apache slow like a snail?
The performance of Apache server is usually measured using 3 parameters:
- Number of web server requests that it can serve every second
- The response time for each new connection or request
- Throughput in bytes per second
When customers contact us citing Apache slow issues, we first measure the web server performance using bench-marking tools such as ‘ab’ and other load testing tools. We perform these measurements under varying load of clients and requests.
This helps us to emulate peak hour traffic or load spikes in the web server and to see how Apache copes. Once we confirm that Apache is slow, we boost it with our step-by-step debugging methodology.
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Resolving Apache slow issues in servers
Ideally, the initial web server setup should be done aiming for maximum performance. But many server owners start worrying about web server slowness only when their customers start complaining or leave.
Here, we’ll see the 3 major steps that we adopt to speed up Apache performance in our customers’ servers.
1. Monitoring the web server traffic
Web server traffic can originate from different sources. It may include valid traffic to busy websites, DOS attacks to the web server, multiple bots crawling the sites, and so on.
Determining if the web server access is valid or problematic one, is the first thing we do. Examining the web server connections to rule out web server attacks, verifying access logs to pinpoint bad bots, etc. are part of this task.
Based on the detected type of traffic, we take further actions to tackle each issue. In the case of valid traffic, we probe further to see if any specific user or application is misusing the web server.
2. Identifying the underlying bottle-necks
A server without adequate resources, will not be able to handle the traffic that comes to it. For instance, a server with only 500MB RAM can crash with even 50 web server processes.
Having adequate CPU and RAM and network speed, plays a crucial role in Apache speed. Examining the resource usage and error logs helps us to determine if there is any resource crunch in the server.
Most Apache web servers are coupled with database servers such as MySQL and processors such as PHP. Tweaking these software and the web applications that run in the server, also play an indispensable role in speeding up Apache.
3. Fine-tuning the Apache web server
From slow DNS lookups to unwanted modules, anything can cause Apache to slow down. Auditing the Apache installation and configuration settings help us to identify the culprits that adversely affect the web server performance.
We then fine-tune and tweak the Apache settings to assign the parameters that best suit the server performance. For instance, the maximum connections allowed by Apache is determined based on CPUs and RAM size in server.
Enabling web server cache, recompiling Apache with optimal modules, configuring Apache as reverse proxy along with NginX web server – the actions we perform would vary based on the unique requirements of that server.
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Apache slowness are a main cause of concern for many server owners. Today we’ve seen how Bobcares handles such issues in a comprehensive manner and come up with impeccable solutions that are tailor-made for each server.