heavyt’s last blog post – optimization

not sure if you guys read this yet or not –…re-you-losing/

Maybe he can weigh in on some specifics here. Server optimization is something I’m not really familiar with at all, and generally rely on other people’s help and input with, so I could stand to learn.

@heavyt (or anyone else that has any experience) – what cdn do you use, and how much of an advantage does is have over s3? Is the advantage worldwide, or does it vary by region?

For http client, I’ve been told litespeed is pretty good, so I’ve recently installed it and am testing it out.

I’m not even sure what a caching module is or what’s available, any links or recommendations there?

I really need to brush up on some server admin, so in the mean time any advice on these topics would be super helpful.


User Comment:
Well , I guess anyone has different experiences.

I have split tested thoroughly the use of a CDN ( S3 in my case ) and loading images directly from my server.

This test was done for 7 days on a campaign that was getting from 500k to 700k pops a day.

I was using cloud hosting and a server with 8gb ram , 9Ghz processor and SSD hdds.

My results were that loading images from my own server improved my ROI by 20% .

This makes sense since using a CDN requires an extra DNS lookup to resolve amazon’s address.

Keep in mind that my server was powerful enough to support the current traffic without slowing down.

I’m sure that if I were using a server with lower specs the CDN would have had a higher ROI.

I also use the following combo on all my servers :

Nginx + PHP-FPM + Memcached + APC

I would suggest Nginx to anyone pushing big volume.

It beats apache on all kinds of fronts: i/o, cpu, memory, reqs/sec etc

User Comment:
I’m clueless on this side of things – I’m not even sure what I’m running I just got one from Softlayer years ago and kept with it

User Comment:
Yeah , no need to know all these things.

I know that Tyler at beyondhosting does all this for you for free if you host your sites with them.

I strongly suggest using nginx/memcached/apc if you are planning to do big volume.

User Comment:
cool, thanks for your insight. I’ll check out what tyler has to offer.

User Comment:
varnish cache, maxcdn, good hosting nginx

User Comment:
"My results were that loading images from my own server improved my ROI by 20% ."

Dang that is nuts.

User Comment:
Morgan, where you run the varnish cache ? on your vps/server or CDN ?

User Comment:

Originally Posted by hd2010

Morgan, where you run the varnish cache ? on your vps/server or CDN ?

He’s talking about his own server.

User Comment:
max cdn is faster and cheaper than s3, varnish with apache on your own server but geoip gets fuxed with it but anyway and then nginx on prosper stats.

User Comment:
looks like I need to install varnish cache, thanks for recommending the tool, never heard of it till now

User Comment:
Just for the record, S3 isn’t a CDN, it’s static file hosting, but it’s only served from one geographic location… probably the east coast where most of AWS servers are. CloudFront is Amazon’s CDN service which is really easy to setup after you have the s3 bucket setup… you just create a CloudFront "distribution" from the S3 bucket.

… probably has a lot to do with why your test results were wonky.

I’ve used a few CDNs and like Cloudfront the best, mostly due to it’s ease of use and how quickly it gets files propagated. Something like Akamai can take 24-48 hours to get a distribution live which can be a real PITA when you’re tryin’ to bang out landing pages ASAP.

Aside from a CDN serving files faster, and with lower latency… it also takes the load of serving those images off of your server, which is at least equally important to me. Cutting the server load down from serving 20+ files to just 1 (the html of the page) is huge! It allows your web server to serve the html to the user faster and with less latency as it isn’t handling all the static file requests.

To take this a step farther, if you have a pixel tracking solution, you can cut your landing page down to only HTML (no php) and place a pixel on your page that loads from a separate server… you can cut down the latency of your landing page even more. Most people don’t realize this, but most of the "load time" of a page is latency and not actual data transfer. By serving only HTML and not parsing PHP you’ll cut down on your latency at least 4 fold (maybe more depending on how much PHP you’ve got) simply by not having to parse PHP.

One last thing, if your LP is only HTML, you’re also able to serve that from a CDN like CloudFront. Taking the entire load of serving your landing pages off of your own server, at which point you only have to worry about serving tracking.

User Comment:
My bad if I said S3. I was actually using Cloudfront for the S3 bucket where the images were uploaded.

I agree with you that it takes load away from the server but as long as your server can handle the stress without slowing down it can still be faster.

In my case using APC and nginx as a server and reverse proxy helped a lot to handle the load.

I also found another campaign that I split tested Amazon with my own server and the results were a 28% higher CTR for images loaded from my server. Here it is :

User Comment:
for those that wanna check out maxcdn (mentioned above by heavyT) – appsumo have a deal on where you can get the maxcdn 1tb (normally $40) for $20.

its valid for another 11hrs at time of writing

User Comment:
Thanks tijn , going to buy it and split test with amazon’s cdn and my own server.

User Comment:
in my experience – maxcdn for US traffic is considerably faster then amazon s3 + cloudfront. for european/asia there wasnt much difference.

but ultimately – if your sending html with say 1 image – keeping it all on your own server might give you better performance if it can handle the load (as bbrock32 suggested).

User Comment:
Where do you guys recommend I get a super quick dedi server or something that can load quickly? I have a LP that has multiple steps, and I need it to load quick or else I’ll lose conversions. It’s crap with my current host.

User Comment:
Can’t argue w/ those stats brock. Thanks for sharing

Dan, I personally like EC2 for cloud, or SoftLayer for dedicated. SL has lower latency than EC2 in my experience.

User Comment:
I found a good managed dedi server, and I have all the options set and I’m going to buy it.
Should I upgrade to 12 gigs of ram or stay at 6 gigs?

User Comment:
You guys really must be pushing a TON of traffic if you need such servers yet…

The Article Published IN 04-29-2011 04:25 PM

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