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Counting more than 6 million pageviews each month and being listed by as one of the 200 most visited websites from Portugal, is probably the most popular website in …

Counting more than 6 million pageviews each month and being listed by as one of the 200 most visited websites from Portugal, is probably the most popular website in Portugal powered by Drupal. It is built and maintained since 2001 by a community of fans that only have scarce resources available for running it, so the performance of the site must be planned with caution to tolerate usage peaks that can reach on match days about 2000 online users. In this session every step that we took during the migration to a Drupal architecture will be detailed. Starting by the design and architecture and passing by the configuration performed on several cache levels and database and server tuning. Pressflow, AuthCache, Memcached, nginx, APC and lots of imagination are active stake holders and will be stared in the credits. Unfortunately not everything has the same glory as Benfica, so it is imperative to talk about the problems we had since the opening date and how little details can become critical when exposed to an unexpected traffic load and how we learnt from our experience to prevent them.

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  • 1. Drupal  Performance  -­‐  Case  Study   Hernâni  Borges  de  Freitas   @hernanibf   DrupalCamp  Lisboa  2011    
  • 2.   Biggest  online  fan  community  about  Benfica.    About  10  years  old.    Done  as    hobby  by:     Staff  around  20  people     Members  (~31  000  users,  8000  Active  Members)    Articles,  blog  aggregation,  image  gallery,   forum,  press  aggregation,  matches  and   players’  profiles.  
  • 3.   January  2011     7M  Pageviews  total   ▪  225k  /  Day       590,848  Visits   ▪  19k  Visits  /  Day   ▪  ~8k  Unique  Visits  /  Day     12  pages  per  Session  (!)     5500  forum  messages  per  day.     50  blogs  aggregated.  
  • 4.   According  to  (Fev  2011)     170th  most  visited  website  in   Portugal.     On  top  50  portuguese  websites.     Most  popular  portuguese  website   made  in  DRUPAL!  
  • 5.   Technology  was  slowing  us  down     Custom  designed  CMS,  with  10  years  legacy  code   and  cache  control  based  in  Smarty.    Site  must  be  done  by  community     Workflow  and  revision  process  was  weak  and   unsafe    Developments  took  to  much  time     Hard  to  implement  or  change  existing  features.    Performance  problems  on  traffic  peaks       Around  1700  users  at  same  time.  
  • 6.   Dedicated  Server       Quad  Xeon  2,4  Ghz     4  Gb  Memory     Lighttpd/Apache  as  App  Server     Php  with  eAccelerator.    Most  of  pageviews  are  seen  by  registered  users.    Most  pageviews  are  generated  by  forum  (based   on  Simple  Machines  Forum).    Cache  control  was  made  using  smarty  and  forum   cache  system.  
  • 7.   Development  started  in  August  2010    Done  on  spare  time  by  1  Drupalista.    We  went  live  in  24th  October  2010  (2  months   of  dev...)    Website  redone  from  scratch    Data  migration  done  used  custom  scripts     60k  nodes,  30k  users,  2,5k  terms,  16  content  types     100  modules      Portuguese/English  ,  Web/Mobile  Site  
  • 8.   Optimize  using  iterative  improvements   (Progressive  Doping)     1.  Architecture     2.  Profiling     3.  Caching     4.  Application  diet     5.  WebServer     6.  Drupal  Tips  and  Tricks     7.  Future  Ideas  
  • 9.   Use  Pressflow!     High  speed  drupal  fork   ▪  Optimized  for  PHP5  and  Mysql  (No   wrapper  functions)   ▪  Designed  for  Database  replication  and   Reverse  proxies.   ▪  Squid  /  Varnish   ▪  Optimized  in  session  and  path  handling   ▪  Non  Anon-­‐Sessions  (Lazy  session  creation)   ▪  Fast  path  alias  detection       Avoid  tons  of  calls  to  drupal_lookup_path.  
  • 10.   Use  Devel  Module    Use  xdebug.profiling.    Identify  heavier  pages,  functions    and  queries.     Start  by  most  visited  pages     Try  to  identify  which  functions  are  taking  most   time.    You’ll  find  a  non  pleasant  detail     Drupal  Bootstrap  in  a  normal  site  can  be  slow.    Great  to  understand  how  drupal  core  works!    Great  to  measure  cost  vs  importance  
  • 11. Generic  Drupal  cache  handling    Page  Cache   Content  Cache   Function  Cache   •  Only  for   •  Block  Cache   •  Static   Anonymous   •  Filter  Cache   variables   Users   •  Modules   already   Cache   fetched  from   db  
  • 12.   If  user  is  anonymoys  and  cache  system  is  active       On  Bootstrap   ▪  Check  if  we  have  a  valid  cached    page  for  that  url  and  delivery   it  without  load  all  modules,  render  all  regions...  FAST!    Blocks  and  some  content  is  also  cached,  and  can   be  served  to  authenticated  users.    Cached  content  is  stored  in  database  tables    Tables  are  flushed     Nodes  and  comments  are  posted     Cron  runs       Explicits  calls  to  cache_clear_all  
  • 13.   However  most  of  our  traffic  is  authenticated     We  can’t  use  drupal  base  cache     There’s  a  module  for  that  !  =>  authcache    AuthCache     Register  cookie  variables  on  login  like  roles,  login   name  and  login  profile.     On  page_early_cache  bootstrap  verify  if  there’s  a   cached  version  of  that  page  to  the  roles  the  user   belongs.     If  there  isn’t,  do  full_bootstrap  ,  render  the  page  and   save  a  rendered  version  on  cache  to  future  usage.  
  • 14.   Include  a  setting  in  settings.php:    $conf[cache_inc]  =  ./sites/all/modules/authcache/;    Configure  roles  and  pages  to  cache     We  are  not  caching  anything  to  editors/ moderators,  neither  any  page  in  admin  section  or   content  edition.     Be  Careful  with  ajax  stuff..  
  • 15.   Small  problem:  all  page  looks  the  same  to   everyone.    We  want  to  customize  the  header  with  a   pleasant  message.    Authcache  recommendation  is  to  do  page   replacements  using  ajax  calls  =>  More  http   calls    To  avoid  http  traffic  I  tweaked  authcache   module  to  do  a  str_replace  of  a  certain  zone,   and  start  to  store  cached  pages  not  gzipped.  
  • 16.   MySql  is  not  designed  to  be  used  as  a  cache   backend.    Fortunately  Drupal  allows  pluggable  cache   backends.    We  started  by  using  cache  router,  using   memcached     One  bin  for  most  cache  table     We  ended  up  using  memcache  module  because  of   several  crashs  and  white  screens.  
  • 17.   Install  MemCache,  MemCache  Pecl  Extension  conf  =  array(      memcache_servers  =>  array(localhost:11211  =>  default,                                                              localhost:11212  =>  cache_block,                                                              localhost:11213  =>  cache_page,                                                              localhost:11214  =>  users,                                                              localhost:11215  =>  session),      memcache_bins  =>  array(cache  =>  default,                                                        cache_block  =>  cache_block,                                                        cache_page  =>  cache_page,                                                                                                                                      users=>users,                                                        session=>session),      memcache_key_prefix  =>  sb10prod,  );  $conf[cache_inc]  =  ./sites/all/modules/authcache/;  
  • 18.   On  popular  pages  use  custom  cache!  if($content=cache_get(artigos:home:cronicas,cache_block))  {    $block-­‐>content=$content-­‐>data;  }  else  {      $view=views_get_view(artigos);    $view-­‐>set_display(panel_pane_1);    $block-­‐>content=$view-­‐>render();    $block-­‐>content.=<span  style="clear:both;float:right">.l(t("View  all"),cronicas).</span>’;        cache_set(artigos:home:cronicas,$block-­‐>content,cache_block);  }    We  are  storing  in  cache_block  to  allow  block   refresh  when  new  content  arrives.  
  • 19. UPDATE  sessions  SET  uid  =  1,  cache  =  0,  hostname  =,  session  =  ,  timestamp  =  1243567406  WHERE  sid  =  74db42a7f35d1d54fc6b274ce840736e    Sessions  Table  was  heavily  used.    We  replace  it  with  memcache  session   module.        $conf[session_inc]  =  ./sites/all/modules/memcache/memcache-­‐;     Serious  dropdown  on  server  load     Pressflow  already  does  not  store  sessions  for   anon  users  =>  non_anon  module  does  the   same.  
  • 20.   In  forum  pages  just  call  what  is  needed.   require_once  ./includes/;   drupal_bootstrap(DRUPAL_BOOTSTRAP_PATH);   $arg0=arg(0);   if($arg0==forum’)  {    require_once  ./includes/;    drupal_load(module,serbenfiquista);    drupal_load(module,filter);    drupal_load(module,locale);    require_once  ./includes/;    $content=render_forum();    /*      do  some  load  of  modules  when  content  not  cached,  vars  will  be  available  at  theme      ….      */        require_once  (./sites/default/themes/serbenfiquista/page.tpl.php);      }  
  • 21.   Remember  we  were  redirecting  only  non-­‐ static  content  to  apache   $HTTP["url"]  !~  ".(js|css|png|gif|jpg|ico|txt|swf)$"  {                                  proxy.server  =  (  ""  =>  (                                                  (                                                  "host"  =>  ”localhost  ",  "port"  =>  81)                                      )                                  )                  }      What  about  css/js  aggregated  files  and     imagecache  files  ?  =>  They  were  going  to   apache  also..  
  • 22. 07/Nov/2010  –  Things  went  bad    
  • 23.   Apache  was  handling  too  much  connections.    We  were  runnning  out  of  memory,  and  no   more  connections  available...    After  that  nightmare  by  night  we  decide  to   switch  to  nginx.  .  
  • 24.   Using  php  in  php-­‐fpm  mode    Configuration  based  on  perusio’s  examples:   ­‐with-­‐nginx    Using  APC  3.1.7  as  opcode  cache  to  use  shared  keys  in   memory  used  by  SMF.   apc.enabled  =  1   apc.shm_segments  =  1   apc.shm_size  =  300   apc.max_file_size  =  100M   apc.stat=0  #avoid  to  check  if  file  was  changed  
  • 25.   Don’t  forget  to  use  Css  and  JS  aggregation  to  avoid  http   connections    Index  customization  (Use  EXPLAIN  to  understand  queries)   select  title,created,nid  from  node  use  index(node_status_type)  where  status=1  and   type=usernews  order  by  created  desc  limit  0,4    Run  cron  twice  a  day   0  */12  *  *  *  cd  /var/www/html/  &&  drush  core-­‐cron  >>  /var/log/crondrupal    Do  not  use  cron  to  import  feeds   */10  *  *  *  *  cd  /var/www/html/  &&  drush  feeds-­‐refresh  blogs  >>  /var/log/cronblogs    Use  Apache  Solr  to  index  your  content.  
  • 26.   We  have  load  peaks  when  some  content  is  changed:  most  of   cached  content  is  erased.      Control  in  detail  what  is  cached  and  expire  only  what  is   invalid.    Pre-­‐Cache  most  page  details.    Use  Cache  Actions  and  Rules  to  clean  specific  views/blocks  / panes.    When  page  is  regenerated  its  components  are  already   rendered.  
  • 27.  by:  Alberto  Rodrigues,   André  Garcia,   André  Sabino,  André   Marques,  António  Alves,  António   Costa,   Bernardo   Azevedo,  Diogo   Sarmento,   Élvio   da   Silva,Filipe  Varela,   Francisco   Castro,   Hugo   Manita,  Hernâni  Freitas,  João  Pessoa  Jorge,  João  Cunha,   João   Mariz,   José   Barata,   Isabel  Cutileiro,,   Luis   Correia,Miguel   Ferreira,  Nelson   Vidal,   Nuno  Silva,   Paulo   Paulos,    Pedro   Lança,   Pedro   Neto,   Rafael  Santos,   Rodrigo   Marques,   Ricardo  Martins,   Ricardo   Solnado,   Valter  Gouveia    and  plenty  others  !