EECI 2013 - ExpressionEngine Performance & Optimization - Laying a Solid Foundation

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The environment in which your EECMS lives is as important as what can be seen by your clients in their browser. A solid foundation is key to the overall performance, scalability and security of your …

The environment in which your EECMS lives is as important as what can be seen by your clients in their browser. A solid foundation is key to the overall performance, scalability and security of your site. Building on over a decade of server optimization experience, extensive benchmarking and some custom ExpressionEngine extensions this session will show you how to make sure your ExpressionEngine install is ready for prime time.

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  • 1. ExpressionEngine Performance & Optimization: Laying a Solid Foundation (& Caching) CHR IS WE L L S – CE O – NE XCE SS .NE T L LC
  • 2. The Ambassador Bridge (USA/Canada) • Completed in 1929 (Longest suspension bridge worldwide) • Busiest international trade crossing in North America! • Carries 25% of all US/Canadian merchandise trade • Drive south to go north? • Owned by a private citizen !?
  • 3. The Ambassador Bridge (USA/Canada) The DetroitWindsor tunnel Detroit, MI USA is cool too! Windsor, Ontario Canada
  • 4. Today’s Topics • Why is the foundation important? • MySQL choices • PHP & the Apache/PHP hand-off • Caching overview • ExpressionEngine internal caching • ExpressionEngine (modified) template caching • Caching with CE cache • Caching the caches with Varnish • Clustering ExpressionEngine
  • 5. Perspective • Nexcess is a 13 year old company • 90 employees (customer service being the largest contingent) • Staff of 48 in support/customer service (all U.S./Michigan based) • Wholly owned data centers in the U.S. • Partner data centers in the U.K. and Australia • For better or worse we are not designers • Hosting company / infrastructure view of the system • We often are developers but again with a view that differs from web application developers
  • 6. Why Care About The Foundation? • Security, Stability, Performance • Proper security/stability/performance permeates to the bare metal • Do what you can with the access you have, ask questions about what is out of reach • Assume nothing
  • 7. The Foundation • Linux • Reboot-less updates (including on the kernel level) • Apache (of Nginx) • MySQL (Percona Server) • PHP • ExpressionEngine
  • 8. MySQL (For Very High Traffic Sites) • Don’t use MySQL! • Use Percona Server! • Percona Server is a simple MySQL replacement • Percona is much better under stress • Percona has a very good implementation of InnoDB tables (called XtraDB) • Use InnoDB! • Row (instead of table) level locking • Tune InnoDB for your CPU / RAM configuration – it matters! • A sample my.cnf is on our github account: https://github.com/nexcess/ee-whitepaperv1-configs • MariaDB is an alternative as well although we haven’t benchmarked it (yet)
  • 9. PHP Basics • Use APC (as an opcode cache only) • apc.shm_size • apc.num_files_hint • apc_stat = 256M (at least) = 10000 (at least) = 0 (for production) • Bump PHP’s memory_limit (128M works well) • Turn off open_basedir • Leaving it on kills the realpath cache • Security concerns can be handled with tighter file system security • Use a recent version of PHP (5.4.x+) • 5.4.x is fast! • 5.4.x has a much lower memory footprint than prior versions • Invoke PHP in the right way
  • 10. The PHP Hand-off • This handoff is critical for both security and performance • Apache + mod_php • Runs as webserver user • Unified mega-process • Apache + suPHP / phpSuEXEC • Runs as you • Expensive to create • Apache + PHP-FPM • Runs as you • Cheap to use • Scales more efficiently than all of the above
  • 11. The PHP Hand-off – Apache+mod_php
  • 12. The PHP Hand-off – Apache+suExec[PHP]
  • 13. The PHP Hand-off – Apache+PHP-FPM
  • 14. File System Permissions Matter YES! Do This!!
  • 15. File System Permissions Matter 666 and 777 settings are both evil!
  • 16. Fixing File System Permissions Fix it!! (relative to your web root) 1. Own your files / directories chmod find -exec chown eecms.eecms {} ; 2. Make browsing directories for others non-trivial. find -type d -exec chmod 711 {} ; 3. Make sure the webserver can read it all 711 On What? Means Directories You can do anything, others can ‘list’ 644 Files You can read/write, others can read 600 Files You can read/write, others have no access find -type f -exec chmod 644 {} ; 4. PHP scripts are for your eyes only find -type f -name “*.php” -exec chmod 600 {} ; NOTE – config.php and database.php are 600! This is good! NOTE2 – This only works in a PHP-FPM or suPHP world! NOTE3 –You may need root level assistance to achieve this
  • 17. The Need For Caching • Any DB (or file) based CMS introduces complexity • More complexity means slower page loads • A single sub-optimal query can kill a site’s performance • This all sounds pretty dire  • More queries does not necessarily mean slower page loads! • Developers need strike a balance between speed, complexity and maintainability • Caching can fix it!!
  • 18. ExpressionEngine Built-in Caching • Tag Caching • Caches tag results (to disk) • Good for pinpointing bad tags/queries and caching them on the spot • BUT… The 1st instance of the tag will still be slower • Template Caching • Caches entire templates (to disk) • Dynamic Channel Query Caching • Caches parts of the channel entries (to disk) • MySQL’s query cache can help here too • Query Disabling • More a pruning measure than caching but still effective
  • 19. Benchmarking Caching Strategies • “Agile Records” default install • 100,000 additional news entries (thanks EllisLab!) • This is an atypically sized ExpressionEngine site (i.e. BIG) • We’re trying to push the limits! • Dell R410 (What equates to our EEP-400 offering) • Dual E5620 quad core CPUs • 16GB RAM • 4 x 147GB 15k SAS drives (RAID 10) • Software Snapshot • ExpressionEngine 2.7.0 • CentOS 6.4 (64-bit) • PHP 5.3.24 (5.4 would have been faster) • Percona Server 5.5
  • 20. Cache “warming” in progress Transactions / sec go from 7 to ~80! A warm cache makes a big difference  Avg. response time goes from ~8 to ~0! Concurrency = 30 900 Random URLs
  • 21. 200 concurrent users @ ~260 physical Server’s trans/sec resources exhausted 
  • 22. Nexcess’ Memcache Patch • Replaces the on-disk portions of ExpressionEngine’s default caching with memcache • No code (customer) code changes needed • Memcache is an in-memory data store • Key/value based • Very fast compared to disk • Avoids file-system IO limitations • File locking • Read/write performance • Created as a stop-gap on higher traffic sites • Open source – BUT BE CAREFUL!
  • 23. ~8 transactions / sec faster Concurrency = 30 900 Random URLs
  • 24. Much better high traffic performance!
  • 25. Causing Effect’s Cache Plug-in • Created by Aaron Waldon of Causing Effect • Very flexible cache addition to ExpressionEngine • Memory or file-based back-end, with failover • Leverage fast memory caching • Fall back to file based caching if any daemon fails • Full static page capability • Good for OMG events • Benchmarks are done using the full page static caching • Given EE’s flexible nature this was the easiest/best test
  • 26. CE Cache’s static caching hits ~100. EE’s template caching was ~80 trans/sec Our patch raised this to ~88 Concurrency = 30 900 Random URLs
  • 27. Aaron’s hits a pretty consistent 500 trans/sec Our patch peaked @ ~360 trans/sec
  • 28. Caching the Caches With Varnish • Varnish is a caching HTTP reverse proxy (i.e. web application accelerator) • Varnish caches entire rendered pages in memory • Once a page is in Varnish it bypasses: • The webserver (Apache) • The web application (PHP/MySQL) • And everything else lower in the stack! • Application level caching still matters! • Cache misses hit the application • Using Varnish with even brief (1 minute or less) timeouts can still help • SO JUST TURN IT ON FOR MY SITE ALREADY!!
  • 29. Varnish is ~550  All previous were ~80 – 100 trans/sec Concurrency = 30 900 Random URLs
  • 30. Varnish @ ~1000 trans/sec CE Cache Static Files The Nexcess patch EE template caching
  • 31. Pushing ExpressionEngine Further • Pitfalls to avoid • File synchronization • File-based caching causes flock() contention • Clustering • • • • Load balanced over many web application servers Unified in-memory caching with dedicated caching server Varnish front-end servers DB clustering • THE FOG… • Hybrid cloud solution • Provides on-demand expansion where it counts • Offload PHP-FPM to the Fog
  • 32. Final Thoughts • Detroit is not so bad. Lots of inbound Canadian and outbound U.S. merchandise passes through it at least! • Don’t build your house on a rock pillar in the ocean • 666 & 777 are evil • PHP-FPM is the way to go • Use Percona Server over MySQL and InnoDB on high traffic sites • Caching is good – decide which works for you • Choose the fastest cache mechanism that makes sense • In memory caches are almost always the best option • Varnish is good but requires TLC • The sky is the limit when it comes to ExpressionEngine performance!
  • 33. More Information • Our github repository is at: https://github.com/nexcess • Our new performance whitepaper is available at: http://www.nexcess.net/eecms-best-practices-whitepaper
  • 34. Thank You! Questions? Chris Wells – clwells@nexcess.net