Now let’s examine some sample configurations of web site architectures for low-, medium-, and high-volume sites.
A low-volume site gets one to ten thousand hits per day. Such a site can easily be run out of your home. A typical configuration for this level is good PC hardware ($2,000) running Linux 2.2 (free), Apache 1.3 (free), with connectivity through a cable modem with 100kbps upstream ($100 per month).
For database functionality, you may use flat files, or read all of the elements into a Perl hash table or array in a CGI, and not see any performance problems for a moderate number of users if the database is smaller than, say, a few thousand items. Once you start getting more than one hit per second, or when the database gets bigger than a few thousand items or has multiple tables, you may want to move to the MySQL free relational database.
The database and connectivity are the weak links here. Apache and Linux, on the other hand, are capable of handling large sites.
A medium volume site gets ten thousand to one million hits per day. A typical configuration for a medium volume site is a Sun Ultra or an Intel Pentium Pro machine with 128 MB for the operating system and filesystem buffer overhead plus 2 to 4 MB per server process. Of course, more memory is better if you can afford it. Such workstation-class machines cost anywhere between $2,000 and $20,000.
You should have separate disks for serving content and for logging ...