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Is this good enough for a web server?

web server hardware query



3:40 am on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi, I've been building a website and it's live at the moment ([sixteennet.homelinux.org ]), but I'm doubtful about the hardware it's running on. First of all, the details:

Debian Linux 5 (Lenny) with Apache2/PHP5
AMD Athlon LE-1600 2.2GHz CPU (scales to 1GHz at idle)
2GB DDR2 non-ECC memory
cheap Gigabyte motherboard, micro ATX
VERY cheap PSU, could crap out any moment really, extremely loud, I keep telling the owner of the server (my dad) to get a proper PSU but he won't do it until it fails (I also keep telling him that if it does fail it'll kill everything else in the box :/ ).
MicroATX case with NO fans, all air flow around the case is provided by the PSU fan.

Now looking at this you would think that the temps are very bad, well really they're very good, CPU's never above 35C, nothing's above 42C, ever.

Anyway, so what I'm wondering is that if by some stroke of luck my site suddenly gets loads of hits (atm it doesn't really get any TBH, apart from my friends, even though it comes up on google if you search sixteennet), would the single core athlon be able to handle both the web server (apache) AND the mysql database (wordpress uses it) that the server also runs?

And yeah you don't need to tell me to get a better PSU :/



5:01 am on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Hi srynznfyra, first of all Welcome to WebmasterWorld!

My experience with power supplies is that they mainly fail when switched off and on often. The inrush currents and the changes in temperature of the components are the main source of problems. A web server is designed to run continuously and therefore even crap hardware may well serve your website for a significant time.

Of course it would be better to have server grade components, but hey, they come at a price :)

You should make sure to have backups of your whole configuration to rebuild the server in case your PSU dies, or if something else happens with the server like a hacker getting access to it over the Internet. Everyone has now potential access to the server so be sure you have every hole fixed.

It is your first time here and you may not have learned about how we interact here with each other yet, but we try to avoid links to our own site if there is no important reason for it. One of the reasons for this rule as I mentioned here above is that some not-so-nice readers of this message might try to see if your server is bullet proof.


1:39 pm on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

You'll be fine. Certainly there's a limit to how much that machine can handle, but it's likely a lot more than you think. It wasn't that long ago that the specs you posted were considered great, and there's a lot of webservers out there with those specs or lower running fine.

If you want to traffic proof the box, here's some easy stuff you can do that can dramatically improve performance:
1) fine tune wordpress (the program)
2) fine tune your html/css.
3) fine tune mysql
4) add more RAM
5) fine tune apache (I'd do that last). i.e make sure gzipping is on.

And if you're worried about getting hit with traffic, I bet there's tools out there that will convert a wordpress site to a static html site. That would remove most of the processing, disk and database overhead on the machine at which point even that dinky little machine should be able to handle obscene amounts of traffic. But I personally wouldn't bother unless I anticipated a slashdotting.


3:37 am on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi - first of all sorry for the slow reply - I've been too busy writing JS and not busy enough checking the forums XD

thanks for the replies, first of all:

@lammert: you mentioned security. The server's setup with SSH access over the internet, but on a non standard port (to avoid port scanners) - of course I'm not going to mention what this port is, highly confidential info ;)

But more to the point do you think that there's anything I might be overlooking in terms of obvious security holes (you're right - posting the link to two forums increased traffic so now there aren't just bots and ::1 cron jobs in the access.log!)? The only security measures I've really taken are non-standard port and a very secure password, and of course I've made it so that only the server's default user can login (username undisclosed of course) - although sudo is installed on the server and you can get root access this way with just the default user's password (is this a blatant security risk d'you think?). Please tell me if there's anything I might be overlooking.
Oh yeah, server grade components come at a price alright...sheesh! I'll stick with my 120 bargain basement server any day tyvm ;)

@wheel: surely if I converted wordpress to static HTML I wouldn't be able to update content anymore (unless I painstakingly updated each file)? Not exactly sure what you mean. I've certainly seen sites where it's obvious they've used blogging software, yet it's static HTML. By the way, a slashdotting of my site would be awesome :D

thanks very much


1:52 pm on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

You can't tell externally if it's html or a cms program.

I've not used those programs, so I expect they somehow scrape your entire site, creating flat html pages. If you did that, you would have to redo it after every update using the cms. So you wouldn't do this at all unless you get hammered with traffic is all. I didn't mean it as a suggestiong to do, merely something to look at if you're concerned about getting hammered with traffic. If you do, you've got that in the background ready to go for a day or two while your traffic spikes.


2:50 pm on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Oh OK, I get it now.


1:50 pm on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Agree with wheel on the static/cached page solution for resolving big spikes of traffic. It takes the database out of the equation which is the bottleneck 95% of the time.

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