Drupal Performance

Presentation: Drupal Camp Toronto 2011 Web Site Performance Optimization and Scalability

Together with Alan Dixon of Black Fly Solutions, Khalid Baheyeldin of 2bits.com, Inc. gave a presentation on Web Site Performance, Optimization and Scalability at Drupal Camp 2011.

The slides from the presentation are attached below.

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Bypassing Drupal core Node Access table joins to avoid outage caused by slow queries

A client site was facing intermittent outages, specially at peak hours.

We investigated the issue over a few days, and narrowed down the cause to certain slow queries, described in more details below.

They had tagadelic on every page, displaying a tag cloud, and from that, crawlers hit every term to paths like taxonomy/term/1581.

Slow queries causing server outage

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Improving the performance of Drupal's cron by using the Elysia cron module

One great feature that Drupal has is the ability to make modules run certain tasks, often heavy ones, in the background at preset intervals. This can be achieved by a module implementing hook_cron.

Core uses this feature to index new content for the search module, ping module to notify remote sites of new content, fetch new release information from drupal.org, poll other sites for RSS feeds, and more.

Various contributed modules use this for various purposes, such as mailing out newsletters, cleaning up logs, synchronizing content with other servers/sites, and much more ...

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Drupal on a dedicated servers vs. Amazon AWS/EC2

With the "Cloud" being in vogue currently, we see a lot of clients asking for cloud solutions, mostly Amazon AWS. Sadly, this is normally done without really doing a proper evaluation into whether the cost is reasonable, or the technology is suitable for their specific needs.

Amazon AWS provides some unique and compelling features. Among those are: instant provisioning of virtual servers, billing for used resources only, ability to provision more instances on demand, a wide variety of instance types, and much more.

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Reducing the size and I/O load of Apache's web server log files

Apache, and all other web servers, have a mechanism to write an "access log" recording every HTTP access to the server. The information that is logged is valuable, and includes things like the IP address of the user making the request, the date and time, the size of the request in bytes, the return code from the HTTP protocol, the request's URI, the referer, and the browser/operating system that the user is using.

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Reducing server resource utilization for busy sites by implementing fast 404s in Drupal

One of the things that a default Drupal installation does is that it handles 404s for static files within Drupal itself. In other words, a 404 for a .css or .jpg file causes a full Drupal bootstrap. This is not necessary, and wastes resources on a site that gets lots of 404s: lots of code is executed, many database queries are performed, only to return a 404 for a static file.

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Drupal Performance Assessment, Tuning and Optimization

As your Drupal site grows, more visitors and more page views are served. This puts more load on your server, and often bottlenecks cause the site to be slow, or experience hangs occasionally.

2bits has been involved closely with many high traffic web sites, for example, 74 million page views per month, and over 3,400,000 page views per day. We have assisted many large clients with their web site bottlenecks, solving performance issues with sites running on Virtual Private servers, to multiple dedicated servers.

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