|September 10, 2005
In this brief article, I'll
present some interesting info about my website, the hardware, the traffic,
I get a lot of emails from
people asking if their particular computer is fast enough to host their
website, specifically how much RAM and how fast a CPU is necessary.
Do I have enough RAM, is my CPU fast enough? Others ask me details
about this website and what kind of hardware I use. Here's the answer
to 99.9% of you: Yes, your hardware is fast enough for your site.
Even if you have a 486 66 Mhz, you can run a website. Of course if
your website has thousands of concurrent visitors, you'll need more CPU
power, but for most of us who run small to medium websites, BANDWIDTH is
usually the limiting factor, not the CPU or RAM.
For those of you who haven't
visited my Site Info page, here are the stats
of my site.
On an average day, my site has
around 3000 visitors and this translates into about 1 gigabyte of bandwidth
being served up on my DSL line. Not bad for a 384/384 line eh?
For most people, this site loads ok, not particularly fast, but not too
slow either. Pages with a lot of images such as my Step-by-Step
tutorials obviously load slower, but generally it's still acceptable.
Website: DSL/Cable Webserver
Connection type: ADSL - Fujitsu
Speedport DSL Modem
Speed (down/up): 384/384 Kbps
Etherfast Cable/DSL Router
Mail Server: Cobalt
Webserver Server: Dell
CPU: Intel Tualatin 1.13 Ghz
with 512k cache
Memory: 1024 Megs PC133 Registered
ECC (1x 512 MB, 1x 256 MB, 2x 128 MB sticks)
Boot: 1 x 20 Gig Western
Digital 200BB 7200 rpm 2 MB cache
Data: 2 x 80 Gig Maxtor
D740 7200 rpm 2 MB cache in RAID 1 on a Promise Fasttrack TX2000
Network adapter: Onboard Intel
Server Software: Windows 2000
Advanced Server with Internet Information Server 5.0 (IIS 5.0), PHP, MySQL,
UPS: 2 x APC 350 ES, 1x
For a long time, my server
had 512 Megs of RAM. Being an upgradeaholic (sp?) I wanted more RAM
and eventually upgraded to 1 GB. I think I just liked the way "1
GB" sounded versus "512 MB". I wondered if the performance of my
server would change. So I took screenshots of the Windows Task Manager
before and after the upgrade.
At the time of the screenshots,
the server had a fairly typical load. When I log into the server,
this is load I usually see.
As you can see, there is
very little difference between the two RAM configurations in terms of CPU
and memory usage. The amount of available memory is obviously different,
but it appears that for my website traffic, the upgrade made very little
difference. It would be a very different story if suddenly my website
traffic suddenly increased, I would obviously need more RAM, but for the
present amount of traffic, 512 MB or 1 GB makes little difference.
What is interesting is the
CPU load. Most of my website is static content which isn't very CPU
intensive. However, I do have a few things that require CPU time:
The low average CPU usage is
partially explained by the fact that our forums aren't super busy.
PHP/MySQL forums require a fair
bit of computation power.
PHPBB is being compressed on
the fly (gzip)
Symantec real-time antivirus
Analog stats log file analysis
- 100% CPU time for about 2 hours a night
In any case, a faster CPU
makes administering the server much easier, but it may not do much for
I've had this server for
over 3 years now and while I am itching to upgrade the hardware (pretty
much just for fun), it is quite apparent that the current server can handle
the current site just fine and then some. What needs to be upgraded
actually is my BANDWIDTH. My current service of 384/384 can bog down
at times. Unfortunately, I'm still on the old frame relay DSL, not
the more common ATM DSL, which limits the DSL plans I am eligible for.
My DSL company said that I could transfer from frame relay to ATM, but
the transfer would take over 2 weeks. No thanks. Unless this
site suddenly skyrockets in the number of visitors, I'll live with it.
Hopefully this article gives
you something to gauge your own website and server hardware against.