Anyone else think it's about time to beat a WEB server to death?

Jordan K. Hubbard jkh at
Fri Nov 10 09:36:11 PST 1995

I frequently get asked the question: "How many users can I run off a
FreeBSD WEB server?" and I'm naturally tempted to ask in response
"How long is a piece of string?"

However, I check myself with the knowledge that it's not an entirely
unreasonable thing to want to know, and I merely wish that I had more
data on this subject to provide in response.  It's obviously
impossible to come up with one number that fits all situations, but
various guesstimates can be derived from existing data so that given a
link speed of x, a PC of macho-factor y and the "average" user doing
z, you can come up with a performance projection of n users.

The only problem is that I don't *have* any existing data worth

I've really only two WEB servers that I can honestly say I have much
experience with, and that's and
Unfortunately, gets so little WEB traffic in comparison
to FTP traffic (on which we have LOTS of data) that the numbers are
almost lost in the noise. is also a popular server as
servers go, but not so popular that we're getting dozens of hits per
second or anything as impressive sounding as that.

What I'd most ideally like would be some numbers from a site that's to
WEB servers what is to FTP servers, but I'll take whatever
I can get! :-)

Anyone got any stats they'd like to share?  # of running daemons,
server used, hits-per-second, hardware used, that kind of thing.

If we can't get any actual data from existing WEB service providers,
or even if we can, might I prevail on someone out there with a
well-connected box to possibly declare a "flag day", during which as
many people on this list as possible (and anyone else they can find)
aggressively attempts to beat the server to its knees while the server
maintainers busily collect stats on the event?

Heck, if you need some additional incentive for signing up for such a
mad scheme then might I suggest also putting up some adverts for
whatever service you offer on the page as "live data" (grin) so all
those hundreds (thousands?) of users will also see your advertising in
the process of trying to see how much punishment a FreeBSD WEB server
can take..  We could even make it more widely publicised challenge by
posting details of the event in various non-FreeBSD newsgroups, like
Linux's or BSDI's.  Given an open invite to see if they can bring a
FreeBSD WEB server to its knees, I'm sure many of the "competing OS"
advocates wouldn't be able to resist a challenge like that, especially
if the testing authority promised in advance to be relatively
impartial and post full results, be they good or bad.  I'm confident
enough in this product that I think we'd come out looking pretty good!

Either way, it would also generate a lot of publicity for all
concerned (us and the test machine providers) and furnish the FreeBSD
Project with some very valuable data that it doesn't have now.

So how about it?  Any takers?  If you're really interested in helping
to further the cause of Spreading The Word, I can assure you that this
would be a significant step in the right direction.  I'll also be more
than happy to work with whomever steps forward in drafting a
reasonably provocative-sounding announcement to ensure that people
take up the gauntlet.  After all, how much trouble can whapping
"reload" for 5 or so minutes be?  :-)


P.S. Suggestions on how to make this an even more meaningful test from
those webmaniacs out there among you would also be sincerely

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