"Your php forum software is using way too much resource

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WebDork
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Post by WebDork »

There is of course no way of knowing how many other sites are on the server you host on. Personally I would be picking it as an issue with your hosting providers resources or configuration of the box. I have a VERY VERY busy forum with MASSES of images, users and posts and the CPU average never goes over .2
9:49am up 3 days, 8:58, 1 user, load average: 0.13, 0.22, 0.17
83 processes: 81 sleeping, 2 running, 0 zombie, 0 stopped
CPU states: 31.6% user, 3.9% system, 0.0% nice, 64.3% idle
Mem: 497240K av, 481548K used, 15692K free, 0K shrd, 22132K buff
Swap: 265032K av, 96K used, 264936K free 314416K cached


I have another 3 or 4 busy forums on the same box - running VBulletin, as well as 10 or so mySQL databases, and several ecommmerce sites. If PHPBB was going to pull down a server I figure I'd know about it :)

Id be looking at another host...
krijgsman
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Post by krijgsman »

WebDork,

That is an excellent preformence!
I know that the server i'm hosting on has several forums running on it, with a total of 10.000+ posts a week and about ten times that amount in pageviews. The server load is normally between .2 and .7 which I think can go down.
If you have any comments on how to improve the load on the server side (so without making changes to the forum configuration, like disallowing pictures/gzip etc. etc) and wish to share that comments with the rest of us, please do :D

Here are some of my server's PHP settings:
(in case you are interested)
zlib.output_compression = Off
sql.safe_mode = Off
mysql.allow_persistent = On
mysql.max_persistent = -1
mysql.max_links = -1

This is the current system load:

11:46am up 87 days, 20:49, 6 users, load average: 0.42, 0.49, 0.51
113 processes: 108 sleeping, 5 running, 0 zombie, 0 stopped
CPU states: 43.1% user, 3.5% system, 0.0% nice, 53.2% idle
Mem: 512284K av, 486816K used, 25468K free, 16K shrd, 70296K buff
Swap: 522072K av, 41304K used, 480768K free 292492K cached

I don't know how many people are online right now on all the forums currently running but I guess about 25 people or so.

I hope someone can give me some good advice on how to run these forums even better :)

Cheers,
Dirk.
ICWizards
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Post by ICWizards »

I would like to know more about Nuke's crappiness please!
My host told me via email when I made enquiries that they have about 11-12 ppl (accounts) per server (sharing 50gigs bandwidth a month). I have no idea how powerful those servers are and I dont actually monitor page load times, but so far as I can guage all seems well.

when choosing a host (and mine is far from perfect but I wont say who they are) email them first and ask a few questions (also look at their FAQs etc), but this is what you need to know:

How much bandwidth am I entitled to? (If site says Unlimited/Unrestricted, then the other questions are evn more important!)

How many people share a server?

What version of PHP/mySQL do you have installed and what extensions do you allow?

How powerful is the server?

How fast are your web connections?

Whats your policy regarding bursts (lets imagine 10 ppl share a server you are allowed 10% of the resources, but at brief times you may consume 50% of the resources, you dont want to be punished for those brief moments)

How much diskspace am I allowed (phpbb2 needs 2megs or so, and you should grant urself an extra 25megs for the database to have room to grow, or on a busy site 80megs for the db, and when the db size gets really big prune havily old posts, inactive members)

Also and this is vital, how long do they take to respond (and why its well worth an email). Less than 24hours and you have a good responsive host, more than 72hours and you should think their customer support may be shite.
ICWizards
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Post by ICWizards »

I would like to know more about Nuke's crappiness please!
My host told me via email when I made enquiries that they have about 11-12 ppl (accounts) per server (sharing 50gigs bandwidth a month). I have no idea how powerful those servers are and I dont actually monitor page load times, but so far as I can guage all seems well.

when choosing a host (and mine is far from perfect but I wont say who they are) email them first and ask a few questions (also look at their FAQs etc), but this is what you need to know:

How much bandwidth am I entitled to? (If site says Unlimited/Unrestricted, then the other questions are evn more important!)

How many people share a server?

What version of PHP/mySQL do you have installed and what extensions do you allow?

How powerful is the server?

How fast are your web connections?

Whats your policy regarding bursts (lets imagine 10 ppl share a server you are allowed 10% of the resources, but at brief times you may consume 50% of the resources, you dont want to be punished for those brief moments)

How much diskspace am I allowed (phpbb2 needs 2megs or so, and you should grant urself an extra 25megs for the database to have room to grow, or on a busy site 80megs for the db, and when the db size gets really big prune havily old posts, inactive members)

Also and this is vital, how long do they take to respond (and why its well worth an email). Less than 24hours and you have a good responsive host, more than 72hours and you should think their customer support may be shite.
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psoTFX
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Post by psoTFX »

[rant]
I'm concerned about some of the posts in this topic, or more correctly the hosting providers. In the past we've had a few (very few) 'complaints' originating from a (very) few hosting providers.

In at least one case I personally tried contacting the person at the hosting company concerned to try and determine what may be happening (indeed we received comments from people on how surprising and generous it was to see a developer of a free application offer help in this way) ... the response to this offer of help? Nothing, nada, zip. They were so concerned about the issues that they went out of their way to help, not. Instead they simply banned phpBB from their servers ... until they discovered something else was at fault (a dodgy CPU IIRC) and quietly allowed users to continue using the forum ...

The moral of this story? I'm becoming increasingly convinced that some hosting providers are incapable of managing their businesses, let alone their servers.

Well over 100,000 copies of phpBB 2.0.0 have been downloaded. If just 10% are in active use that's 10,000 copies on servers around the world ... yet only a handful of complaints have been received.

Of those complaints the letters sent to users are typically pointless, irrelevant or completely unhelpful. Sorry, but if a system has a problem serving up a series of images that host needs to think seriously if they should be running their business. I also question just how much some of these people know about the systems they run. Equating MySQL connections with images? huh? I won't even go into the reports from people of MySQL failures (typically revolving around the inability to create temporary tables ... something that would effect any SQL forum software, not just phpBB).

My personal view? It's my feeling that a few hosts have grown too fast, they've loaded their virtual hosting servers with large numbers of users. Users who's scripts did no more than couple of DB accesses or serve a few pages of information. Now, with the internet more popular than ever before people are installing forums (not just phpBB but vB, iBF, Ikonboard, UBB, etc.), guestbooks, portals, blah blah and unsurprisingly the servers (and their admins) cannot cope ... their response? Shut the sites down and force the users to 'upgrade', good solution guys.

In the past we've been against associating phpBB with any hosting companies, that's not what we do. However, if this continues (particularly if the same old names crop up again) I'll seriously start recommending to the others that we start a list of 'friendly' hosting companies.
[/rant]

I know this doesn't address the problem but frankly I don't see a lot to address. If the template caching system (file or DB, pref file in this case) is in place, if the number of posts/topics displayed is reduced and if graphics are kept down there is not much else we can do. phpBB doesn't use persistent connections by default and does very few queries per page. Even our search system does its best not to impact server load.

phpBB2 will always be more intensive than phpBB 1.x, that's the price paid for increased feature sets, templating, dynamic post rendering, etc. Most similar software is also becoming more complex so I'd recommend hosting companies either move with the times and keep their hardware up to date or ship out and leave it to people that can handle the job.

With that said, if a hosting company has a definite concern about something and can trace it to phpBB (or better yet something specific within phpBB, e.g. unclosed DB connection, etc.) we are always interesting in cooperating.

Note, this post relates to a very small number of hosts ... most seem highly reputable, helpful, etc. and do a good job in a competitive and difficult environment.
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szr
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Post by szr »

Huh :? Am I missing something here???
krijgsman
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Post by krijgsman »

psoTFX,

There are more incompetent providers then you can imagine.
Untill recently I used UBB, 11.000+ registered users, 17.000+ pageviews per day, 3.000+ posts per day. I got banned from two providers as they claimed that my server load was too high (the last one claimed it went above 3.x).

Someone showed me phpBB and I was so impressed that I decided to do things properly this time, I searched for a proper host and migrated to phpBB. I was delighted to find a host that knew all about phpBB and even has arranged special servers for it.
However, making a list of providers that treat phpBB (and other software alike) the way it should be treated seems a bit impossible to me as you will never get the list complete and people are always positive about the service they get untill, their accounts get cancelled (if you asked me about the service of the two hosts that cancelled my account only days before the cancelation my response would be quite positive).
I would like to suggest to make such a list of hosts that are known to have cancelled accounts, a list of "bad hosts" sorta say a black-list.
Or maybe a (second) list of hosts that offer phpBB pre-installed (as those are the ones that obiviously know about the software).

Just my two pennies worth.

Dirk.
Last edited by krijgsman on Mon Jun 17, 2002 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Shin
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Post by Shin »

I think this topic is getting way off topic..but the points remain

Hosts are offering much more bandwidth to compete with each other...they are they posting crazy terms of service to limit you from using all of that bandwidth...

Much of the limiting verbage you'll see includes restricting most message boards, FTP files, and portal systems....

I have at least 5 decently busy boards, a postnuke site and various other "resource hogs"

here is my top output...this is peak time..

Code: Select all

  2:46pm  up 2 days,  9:19,  1 user,  load average: 1.02, 1.08, 0.72
102 processes: 96 sleeping, 6 running, 0 zombie, 0 stopped
CPU states:  0.3% user,  1.3% system,  2.5% nice, 95.6% idle
Mem:   512904K av,  500664K used,   12240K free,    1352K shrd,   78612K buff
Swap: 1024088K av,    1648K used, 1022440K free                  324696K cache
Yes, I just rebooted 2 days ago
krijgsman
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Post by krijgsman »

Maybe this topic should get split as we are getting way off topic :)

Having a load of 1.x+ on a server that only runs a few sites, is too high imo. Although it depends on the traffic and software you are using, but with a load of 1.x+ it must be an awefull lot of traffic :)
Right now I'm experimenting with the file-caching addon. I hope it will reduce the system resource and improve the fetch speed, i want to reduce the server load to below .5

psoTFX, have you ever given out any advice to an host about making certain tweaks to httpd.conf ? or php.ini ? Right now these are just default, I hope that there are settings that will improve the performence of phpBB. As it's the only kind of software running on this server it's no problem to tweak all the deamons to make it run perfect with phpBB :D

Cheers,
Dirk.[/quote]
Shin
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Post by Shin »

you gotta remember that there are other things going on...it doesn't stay at that load average all the time.

here is the current:

Code: Select all

  3:49pm  up 2 days, 10:22,  1 user,  load average: 0.29, 0.19, 0.15
96 processes: 94 sleeping, 2 running, 0 zombie, 0 stopped
CPU states:  2.9% user,  2.1% system,  7.1% nice, 87.6% idle
Mem:   512904K av,  498204K used,   14700K free,    1352K shrd,   78864K buff
Swap: 1024088K av,    1648K used, 1022440K free                  321260K cached
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psoTFX
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Post by psoTFX »

krijgsman wrote: psoTFX, have you ever given out any advice to an host about making certain tweaks to httpd.conf ? or php.ini

[rant]
No, it's the hosting companies job to know how to setup, run and maintain a server. If they are uncomfortable with handling the more detailed side of tweaking settings to optimise performance then once again my suggestion is they clear out and make room for people that can do the job.
[/rant]

With that said, there are lots of helpful people on this board. If a hosting provider/user posted here on the subject of tweaking MySQL/Apache/etc. settings I'm sure people would respond. There are also various resources on the web discussing this sort of thing, USENET, etc.
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Techie-Micheal
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Post by Techie-Micheal »

szr wrote:
Techie-Micheal wrote:Easy guys, this isn't a "name your favorite host" it's a server load question. Flat file cache is better, just FYI. If anybody else names their host, I'll lock this on the spot.
Uhm, I didn't name my favorite host and that is not a hosting company. I think you better take a look at the web site again.


If you didn't name a host, then I wasn't referring to you. I don't have time to look through every link posted unless someone says "look at my site!" then I will look at it and report them if necessary.
Proven Offensive Security Expertise. OSCP - GXPN
jbay
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Post by jbay »

psoTFX wrote: Users who's scripts did no more than couple of DB accesses or serve a few pages of information. Now, with the internet more popular than ever before people are installing forums (not just phpBB but vB, iBF,


and blog software. some of which may be driving system loads sky-high under certain conditions, from what I've been seeing. I've watched phpBB2 user load, user actions & system loads under a large variation of times of day, user loads, etc., and I haven't been able to see that phpBB is at fault with adding system load to a typical system. But on the same system, when multiple instances of blog cgi's are executed (i.e., a posting-storm of replies, for instance) the system load shoots up from 1's & 2's to double digits.

I'm starting to think blog software is evil
dougk_ff7
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Post by dougk_ff7 »

Ok, I would just like to add that in some cases this is a server misconfiguration (your host's fault). I would recommend having presistant connections on, use them, limit the maximum DB connections, and reduce the persistant connection lifetime in MySQL. If you fail to limit the lifetime of a persistant connection, MySQL keeps the connection alive for about a day, long after the Apache httpd process that initiated it died (making the connection useless).

I.E. It isn't your fault; if necessary, find a new host.
dougk_ff7.... stand by for sig! oooh! wow.
DAmanda
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Post by DAmanda »

This is my first time posting, I've attempted to not be the annoying newbie by actually using the search feature to see if my problem has been previously addressed, this was the closest I could find.

I admin a bb currently using UBB and want to switch to something else. I've used phpBB as a user on other boards and really like it. The problem is that the board I admin has over 7000 users, with over 300 signing up in just the past week. We regularly have over a hundred users on the board at any given time, several hundred thousand posts, and several hundreds of thousands of page views per month. We do have our own dedicated server, but I don't know yet what kind of hardware it has, nor the available bandwidth to us. I would like to know if phpBB can handle a board of that size without too many server problems like those described here.
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