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Server Performance Questions

What should the server load be like?

11:01 am on Dec 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hello There,

I have two quite large web sites running on a dedicated server and as they are getting more popular every month, I am getting concerned about performance issues. First of all, some info on the sites:

- Each have about 5,000 registered users
- Combined, they get about 80,000 total and 20,000 unique hits monthly

The server specs are:
CPU: 1 x Intel Celeron 2GHz
RAM: 512MB

During peak hours, the server load goes as high as 9.00 (and the total CPU load 80%), but doesn't stay there for too long, the average high period server load is 4.50, and during quiet hours it goes below 1.00.

As far as I can see using the top command from the SSH, the most cpu consuming processes are mysql functions. My question is, do you think there is something wrong with the way I programmed the database connections, or is it normal to have such high server loads on this server with so much traffic coming in?

And finally, do you think the server can handle so much load, or should I upgrade, or investigate possible programming mistakes?

I will be grateful to everyone who share their opinions on this matter. Thank you.

Taylan Pince

11:12 am on Dec 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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if you are getting >80% for more than 10 minutes at a atime then you have a potential CPU bottleneck. You might be able to optimise some Joins , perform client-side sorts or use connection pools, but in the long term you need to upgrade RAM/CPU
10:50 pm on Jan 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My take is that you need to do some tweaking of your program - and you're right to be suspicious of your mysql calls. Go over them in your program, see if you can decrease your mysql calls.

Also do a 'top' and make sure you know exactly what everything is doing. If there are processes running you're not familiar with, find out what they are, and kill them if they're not needed.

You can probably do some mysql tuning as well but I'm less familiar with that so can't offer specific suggestions (other than I expect you can get some more horsepower out of it just through tweaking).

I'd spend a lot more time fine tuning the program before looking at hardware upgrades.

1:25 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It does sound like the load is a bit heavy.

There are other things you can do to get improvements apart from optimising the SQL itself, but they depend on what software you're using. For example if you're using Perl, then Apache::DBI connection pooling with mod_perl works very well.