February 14, 2017

How to Speed up Your Apache Web Server and Your Website Page Speed

In today's fast-paced online world, speedy loading times are almost considered to be a given. Websites that take a long time to load or lag in between pages are often left behind by the vast majority of Internet users, which is why optimizing this aspect of the visitor's experience is essential for long-term success.

Apache, currently one of the world's most widely-used web servers, was not expressly designed to set benchmark records, but it can nevertheless handle an impressive number of requests from remote clients and provide a high level of performance if administrators take the time to implement the following five tips and tricks:

1. Always keeping Apache updated to its latest version

Like any piece of software, Apache will work best if upgraded to its latest version. Everything from bug fixes to general improvements will be included in these updates, so it's worth taking the time to download and install them for your system of choice.

2. Upgrading to a newer version of Kernel

From 2.4 onwards, Kernel supports a sendfile system that allows for high performance network transfers, therefore enabling Apache to deliver static content much faster. For this reason, it pays to upgrade as soon as possible, even if the actual process isn't exactly friendly for beginners and requires a bit of in-depth knowledge about the internals of Linux. 

3. Choosing a Multi-processing Module that works for you

Multi-processing modules allow you to decide how to configure the web server, an important functionality that cannot be neglected at an admin level. Apache currently offers three MPMs to choose from. There's the "prefork", the "worker" and the "event". Study each to get to know their respective advantages and disadvantages, and then choose the one that works best for your particular situation.

4. Allocate the appropriate amount of RAM

Out of all the hardware items that must be taken into account when optimizing your Apache process, RAM is by far the most important. While you cannot control RAM directly, you can limit the number of child processes through the MaxRequestWorkers directive, which will set a limit on RAM usage by Apache. Be sure to always keep RAM usage within limits and never rely on swap because it negatively impacts performance levels.

5. Know your applications

Finally, in order to avoid overburdening your system, be sure to refrain from loading any Apache modules that are not strictly necessary for your application to work. In order to do this, you'll need to know which applications are running on your server, and disable the modules using the procedures for CentOS and Debian respectively.

As you can see, the aforementioned five tips can make a massive difference when it comes to increasing your Apache web server's performance. Of course, optimizing performance without also increasing website safety is pointless, so take care to implement adequate security measures as well.

Now, if you are like the vast majority of website owners these days, you probably have your own site on platforms like Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento or SITE123. These were all designed to be as SEO-friendly as possible, but that doesn't mean they are immune to slow loading times. As always, a badly-run page can be seen as a sign of unprofessionalism, regardless of which website platform you use. So be sure to boost your site's load speed by employing these essential strategies:

· Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

· Use a caching plugin

· Add Expires headers to leverage browser caching

· Clean up your database

· Compress your website with gzip

· Fix all broken links

· Reducing Your redirects

· Minify your CSS and JS files

· Replace PHP with static HTML where possible

· Link to your stylesheets, don’t use @import

· Specify image dimensions

· Put CSS at the top and JS at the bottom

· Disable hotlinking of images

· Switch off all plugins you don’t use

· Minimize round trip times (RTTs)

That concludes our quick rundown of the most important things you can do to boost the loading speed of your website or blog. Nowadays especially, with mobile Internet usage becoming the norm, people are becoming less patient with sites that take forever to load. So make sure that you do everything in your power to keep your website running smoothly and efficiently, and you'll quickly reap the rewards of your efforts.

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