question on hosting and memory

Wil Hatfield freebsd at
Thu Aug 4 05:47:07 GMT 2005


First no host should be running anything less than dual 2.x Xeons and 1GB of
RAM. Thats a minimum. Add a large swap of about 4GB.  Then tailor your 1.3
so it only compiles with the components necessary. Basic core, PHP,
Frontpage, Python as DSO whenever possible. And your PHP should only be
compiled with what you actually expect to use. Our httpd's are using about
10MB each with PHP loaded. Then fine tune your httpd.conf timeouts so that
those idle processes don't stick around too long.

Then tune your kernel settings a bit. I use these in sysctl.conf and came
about them through trial and error mostly. Of course this means that
somebody on the list here may disagree with them but they work well and help
keep the processes in line.


Of course you will need to fine tune other full time applications on the
machine to use as little resources as possible themselves. This includes
your SMTP server, Pop3 server, etc. The more you can fine tune the faster
the machine can do its business and move on to the next task.

Hope it helps,

Wil Hatfield

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-freebsd-questions at
[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of David Banning
Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2005 10:27 PM
To: questions at
Subject: question on hosting and memory

I am running apache 1.3 with php and I find when that for each person
who visits the site, an additional 29 meg is consumed of my measly 512M.
Searching around, it seems like this is relatively normal.

So here is my question. How do big-time servers handle these type of
memory requirements? Presumably there are servers out there getting
thousands of visitors at once. Do they have 29 Meg * 1000 for every
thousand visitors? At what memory ceiling do they setup another server
machine to handle the load? Wouldn't it require a ton of servers to handle
a load of a thousand visitors?

I am nowhere in this league, but the question comes to mind because it
seems crazy that 20 visitors to my site can clog things up, simply because
I choose to run apache and php.

I have been looking at lighttpd decrease memory usage, but I require
url rewriting and I find the documentation for lighttpd is lacking
is this area.

Any comments or suggestions are welcome -

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