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  1. #1

    Help with server upgrade -- website loads slowly

    We have an ecommerce website php/mysql that runs slowly and is sometimes not very responsive. We have been on the same server since January 2006, and think it is time to upgrade. Here is our current server:

    Athlon 64 2800
    1GB Ram
    Raid 1

    We have a lot of issues with the site loading slowly and not responding well. Our code is not well optimized, and that is something we are working on to limit mysql queries. We are also putting a lot of effort into SEO and hope that web traffic will go up. Hopefully improved sql queries and increased site traffic will be a wash on server load.

    What would most likely make the most difference to our site's performance? We will upgrade to at least a dual core cpu with 2 GB RAM.
    Would we gain more if we got a quad core cpu or added more RAM? In our server stats now the cpu is often overloaded when the site is running slow, but I understand that could be any number of things (RAM, I/O), and not just cpu speed. Is that correct?

    Thanks for all the help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Usually it is MySQL performance that causes CPU usage - increasing the RAM and optimizing MySQL should help quite a bit.
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  3. #3
    Ya I agree with the RAM upgrade. 1GB is hardly anything, especially for a site heavy on SQL connections. Try and upgrade to 2GB and see if that doesn't help you any.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDVB View Post
    Usually it is MySQL performance that causes CPU usage - increasing the RAM and optimizing MySQL should help quite a bit.
    Is there a big difference in performance of dual or quad core servers? It sounds like upgrading RAM would make the biggest difference, and we shouldn't worry too much about the cpu?

    Thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    CPU can be important, it depends on how much RAM you have, how much you can optimize MySQL and your queries, and if you are doing anything else on the server that is CPU intensive.
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  6. #6
    RAM is usually always the first bottleneck in any server that operates multiple services (read: web, database, mail). In your case, with only 1GB RAM, it's fairly easy to hit this bottleneck when you consider that you're running an eCommerce site. My advice would be to upgrade this first. How big is your eCommerce database?

    Upgrading to at least a dual core processor would almost certainly improve things further, since you're distributing the workload further, which should make things more responsive.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JulesR View Post
    RAM is usually always the first bottleneck in any server that operates multiple services (read: web, database, mail). In your case, with only 1GB RAM, it's fairly easy to hit this bottleneck when you consider that you're running an eCommerce site. My advice would be to upgrade this first. How big is your eCommerce database?

    Upgrading to at least a dual core processor would almost certainly improve things further, since you're distributing the workload further, which should make things more responsive.
    I think I will upgrade the RAM, although the price to add RAM to my current server is the same as upgrading to a Core2Duo E8400 3.0GH with the similar upgraded amount of RAM, so I may as well upgrade servers. Questions are will 2 GB of RAM be enough, although i guess I will upgrade to 2 GB and see if we need more. My other questions is since I'd be switching servers is it worth going to the Core2Quad Q9450 2.67GHz for only about $20 more a month. I'm happy with my hosting company, so plan to just upgrade with them.

    The ecommerce database is 400 MB

  8. #8
    The more RAM you can afford, the better, since it's likely this is the first server resource you'll reach the limit of and possibly exceed to the point where you begin to swap to disk. Remember, it's much easier to reduce overall load by optimisation (script or database) than it is to decrease RAM usage (which can be nigh on impossible), so you really don't want to cut corners here.

    A 4GB RAM specced dedicated server should be cheap enough these days to be an option for you, and that's what I would personally recommend a minimum of. 2GB will work, and should also be a reasonable improvement, however.

  9. #9
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    How are you using MySQL? How many quiries/tables ect.? just by 'trimming' down the information stored or loosing some of the possible quiries helps dramtically.
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  10. #10
    That won't really help with RAM usage though, just server load. Unless of course the 400MB database has a lot of wasted space and unnecessary data.

  11. #11
    Thanks for the advice everyone! I am definitely going to try 2MB RAM, and consider going to 4.

    On a side note, how important do you feel RAID is for an ecommerce site if there is nearly continuous offsite backup?

    Thanks!

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