FreeBSD Install config

Paul Robinson paul at
Sat Dec 22 19:54:11 GMT 2001

On Dec 22, Jeff LaCoursiere <jeff at> wrote:

> Web serving isn't very memory intensive.  2x is just a generaliation, and
> this case (since you have so much RAM in the machine to begin with and the
> application is not memroy intensive) you could get away with much less.

I just want to correct you a little here. Webservers CAN be memory
intensive, it's just that Apache is so badly written in terms of performance
(the authors snub those who try to benchmark it) that it has no cacheing
implemented (mod_file_cache can be compiled in, but it's discouraged),
meaning it's not only slow but won't use a decent chunk of memory.

Now, take a commercial webserver product like Zeus, and it's caches-ahoy. In
addition, for dynamic content (where cacheing isn't going to help) if you're
going to develop in PHP, and have all of that linked in via fastcgi under
Zeus (much, much, MUCH faster than CGI), you're going to have even more
cacheing going on.

Added to that, if you're running a high-traffic site (a million page views 
or more per day - not hits, page views) then you are going to get more 
cacheing going on, and you're going to NEED that cacheing if you're running 
it all on relatively cheap hardware - I have fcgi PHP process running on one 
machine over here that each have anywhere between 4 and 16 megs of ram each. 
That can add up to a fair old chunk of memory.

So just to correct you in summary then:

1. Apache doesn't use much memory because it's not very well written
2. Webserving is a strong candidate for using RAM because of it's nature
3. Nobody at Apache cares about this
4. Decent webservers and decent webmasters do
5. As a result, 'correctly' configured web servers have a big pile of RAM 
and use it all very nicely, thank you very much...

Of course, this is all affected by what it is you are hosting - if you only 
have 1 very small site, it probably won't use up much RAM even if you hold 
the whole lot in memory. However, if you're a webhosting firm with say a few 
hundred websites minimum, some of them quite chunky, some of them quite 
popular, you'll start to notice the difference.

Just my 2p... ;-)

Paul Robinson

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