Need more Ram on your Server but don’t want to pay for it?

More visitors to your website means you need extra RAM, or does it?

This is a problem I came across recently. A client of mine was having problems with their website. The website started crashing, which was not good news. What was good news was that it was the

ram
JOKING – Its actually Random Access Memory I mean!

increase in the amount of traffic they are now receiving that was causing the problem. They were about to buy some more RAM to handle the extra traffic when I checked which PHP version they were using. It was Apache 5.3.3. This is the old reliable version of Apache that most small websites start out on. While it is fine for low traffic websites, once your traffic picks up it might be a good idea to update the PHP version. I found using a handy little WordPress plugin called ‘Server IP & Memory Usage Display ‘ that each person visiting the site was using 17.5% each of the available RAM. This meant they could only have 6 people on the website before they were in trouble.

When I updated the server to PHP 5.6.30 the visitors were now only using 2.5% of the available ram. This meant that where their hosting had only been able to handle 6 simultaneous visitors, now it can handle 40!

More good news! This is not even the latest version of Apache! The latest version is 7.0.15.

Why Not Use The Latest Version of PHP?

Why did I not use this? Well I did, just to see how much better it performed. After which I went back to the second last version, because I know any kinks have been sorted out. I’m sure the 7.0.15 version is perfect too ( I’m using it on my own site!) but better to be safe than sorry! Especially when working for a client.

But How Much Better Is Version 7.0.15?

Version  7.0.15 only used two thirds of what version 5.6.30 does. This means that my client’s website could now handle 60 simultaneous visitors. They presently don’t need the capacity, but when they do they know it is there ready for them! Without having to pay extra to the host for more RAM!

Is That Everything?

There is actually a popular different server version than Apache. It is called NGinX ( pronounced engine X ). Presently, it is almost as popular as Apache and will probably pass it out some time in the future. It was designed to handle larger amounts of website users using less memory.  It excels at static websites, but is a bit more complicated to use for dynamic websites. I will write a comparison of the 2 – Apache and NGinX –  in the near future and publish my conclusions. I want to test NGinX to see if it will affect a website’s rankings. Also, there is some proof that definitely for E-commerce websites it may be the way to go.

And with that tidbit I’ll leave it for now.

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James McCarthy

I have worked for 2 Digital MArketing companies building websites and ranking websites using SEO. I also have certificates in programming and a Masters in IT Management . Happily married with 4 kids.

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