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  • Writer's picturemohan s

Techniques to scale your Web Site fast

Find the bottleneck


To find the bottleneck first empty the browser cache and reloaded the page with firebug running. The Net panel showed that it took 24 seconds to load the initial page. After that, the remaining files loaded quickly.


I should have realized right away that this behavior meant the server was hamstrung by a thread limit. It took me ten minutes to figure that out the bottle neck


Step 1: Cut image quality


Since the new post was my first image-heavy post, I realized I could cut bandwidth consumption in half by compressing images.

ImageMagick's convert tool can shrink images at the command line:

 $ convert image.ext -quality 0.2 image-mini.ext

I wrote a shell script to compress every image in my images directory.

Then, I did a search-and-replace in emacs to switch everything to the -miniimages. Page load time dropped from 24 to 12 seconds.

Quick and dirty, yet effective.


Step 2: Make content static


I use server-side scripts to generate what are actually static pages.

Under heavy load, dynamic content chews up time.

So, I scraped the generated HTML out of View Source and dropped it in a static index.html file.

Page load times dropped to 6 seconds. Almost bearable!


Step 3: Adding threads in the apache conf


In firebug, pages were sill bursting in after the initial page load.

On a hunch, I checked with my linode control panel. I saw that the CPU utilization graph was near 3%, and that there was plenty of bandwidth left.


Suddenly, I remembered that the default apache configuration sets a low number of processes and threads.


Requests were streaming in and getting queued, waiting for a free thread.

Meanwhile, the CPU was spending 97% of its time doing nothing.

I opened my apache configuration file, found the mpm_worker_module section, and ramped up processes and threads:

 <IfModule mpm_worker_module>
    StartServers          4  # was 2
    MaxClients          600  # was 150
    MinSpareThreads      50  # was 25 
    MaxSpareThreads     150  # was 75
    ThreadsPerChild      25
    MaxRequestsPerChild   0
 </IfModule>

Page load times fell to two seconds.


Originally Published on Thursday, March 20, 2014 in my old blog.

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