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The various options specify (among other things) how many servers (httpd processes) get run, max connections, etc...
For best results, look at the Apache documentation for your version and review what the numbers mean.
In terms of memory useage, your best bet is always just more memory. Nothing beats more memory for an easy fix to speed up a server.
Also, if you're using a database driven site, i.e. a mysql backend, then you'll probably get far better performance increases by tweaking mysql and your website program that calls mysql.
There's two other easy things I'd do on a site that's getting that much traffic. First, make sure apache is compressing or gzipping the output. That'll possibly cut bandwidth by 50% or more. Secondly pore over your HTML and get rid of whitespace. Typical web pages have 30% whitespace - that's a 30% savings on bandwidth and traffic for getting rid of spaces.
---------- my.cnf -----------------
# Default to using old password format for compatibility with mysql 3.x
# clients (those using the mysqlclient10 compatibility package).
max_connections = 800
key_buffer = 256M
myisam_sort_buffer_size = 64M
join_buffer_size = 2M
read_buffer_size = 2M
sort_buffer_size = 4M
table_cache = 1800
thread_cache_size = 100
wait_timeout = 40
connect_timeout = 20
max_allowed_packet = 16M
max_connect_errors = 10
query_cache_limit = 1M
query_cache_size = 128M
query_cache_type = 1
log-slow-queries = /var/run/mysqld/mysql-slow.log
long_query_time = 5
open_files_limit = 16384
max_allowed_packet = 16M
key_buffer = 64M
sort_buffer = 64M
read_buffer = 16M
write_buffer = 16M
My concern is that you've over tweaked your apache settings. here's what I would do:
- put your apache settings back to the default install (i.e. out of the box). Apache out of the box should have little problem dealing with your load.
- Maybe tweak minspareservers up to 20 or something. Or just a bit higher than the default apache install.
- do some googling on stuff like 'configure mysql' or 'optimze mysql'. Unlike apache which IMO needs little optimizing out of the box, you can get a lot of mileage by tweaking mysql just a bit. I've done a bit of mysql tweaking by doing just as I've noted - reading on google - and seen some excellent results.
in summary, I think you may have screwed up apache. Take apache back to what it is out of the box. Then spend some time tweaking mysql.