Administration

System administrators have the opportunity to improve performance in ways that users, HTML authors, and programmers do not, because administrators deal directly with web and application servers.

Apache, by far the most successful web server, is used on more than half of all web sites. Apache has real-time performance monitoring tools and an optional log format that tells you how long each transfer took (see mod_log_config.html in the server documentation). Try to ensure that the server has been compiled with the latest C compiler and libraries for your server platform, or compile the server yourself.

See Dean Gaudet’s notes on tuning Apache servers at http://www.apache.org/docs/misc/perf-tuning.html.

AllowOverride

In the kind of full-path authentication used on Apache and some other servers, the current directory and each parent directory (up to the system root, not just up to the document root) are searched by default for a .htaccess authentication file to read and parse. You can speed up Apache by disabling this feature, turning off authentication for directories that don’t need it (like the system root) by putting the following in the access.conf file:

<Directory />
     AllowOverride None
</Directory>

<Directory /usr/local/mydocroot>
     AllowOverride All (or any of the other AllowOverride options)     
</Directory>

Even better, if you don’t use .htaccess files at all, disable them completely:

<Directory /usr/local/mydocroot>
         AllowOverride None     
</Directory>

The general web performance ...

Get Webmaster in a Nutshell, Third Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.