Web Server Upgrades

     We are always trying to improve the speed, reliability, and functionality of our products.

     To this end we’ve made the following upgrades to our web server:

  • Upgraded to Apache 2.4.41
  • Added read-ahead and writeback caching to the file systems.
  • Added gzip compression to our server configuration.
  • Enabled transparent huge pages for both web server and our physical hosts.
  • Changed the way the network interface is configured.
  • Made changes to systemd configuration to insure prerequisites are up and running before Apache is started.

     The last two items are primarily aimed at improving boot time so during a server reboot downtime is reduced.

     The upgrade to Apache 2.4.41 fixes a couple of flaws in Apache that could be used in a denial of service attack against our web server.

     Gzip compression will improve page load time over slower links by reducing total page time.  Note that Pingdom tests will report that we do not have gzip enabled.  This is untrue but because we include some code that calls Twitter and Twitter does not compress, it causes this test to fail.

     If you have a WordPress plugin that does gzip compression, please disable the gzip function in this plugin.  Otherwise double gzip compression will result which browsers will not know how to handle resulting in gibberish.

     Transparent huge pages is largely a major win for MariaDB used to provide database operations for WordPress, other content management systems, and other applications on our website and on customer websites.  The combination of having this enabled on our physical host machine and web server improves the response time of MariaDB by approximately 400%.